Posted on: February 10, 2021
Author: Casandra Blassingame, IACET CEO
The Wired-Side Chat: From the Desk of the CEO image

Happy February!  It is Black History Month! A time to celebrate the contributions of African American leaders to our global society. The month is designed to bring awareness and educate people not only about the major contributions, but also little-known information about science, architecture, inventions, discoveries, visual and performing arts, and music.

For example, Julian F. Abele designed the chapel at Duke University, in addition to the library, football stadium, gym, medical school, religion school, hospital, and faculty houses.  Abele helped create a splendid campus he himself could not attend and could never set foot on due to the Jim Crow laws of the segregated South.  All the work was created under the name of the Trumbauer Architectural firm instead of Abele’s.  It was not until after Abele’s boss died in 1938 that he signed his name for the very first time to one of his own designs. It was the design of Duke’s chapel, the same structure that played a part in reviving his reputation some 48 years later.

Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut once said, “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” Julian F. Abele is not alone in the existence of another’s limited imagination regarding his significant contributions to the world. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson were the team of NASA mathematicians that put John Glenn into orbit and back home but by far, are not the only ‘Hidden Figures’ yet to be discovered by us all. Many African Americans have made a substantial impact across industries and have been gradually revealed as the layers are peeled back through the work of historians, playwrights, and those who have a thirst for discovery.  It is my hope that you take the time to engage in the learning that is occurring this month and continue the path and commit to learning something new every day!

Speaking of learning something new every day, allow me to share some updates and ‘news you can use’ as you continue to engage:

  • Please be reminded that the IACET Awards Nominations process began on January 11, 2021. Do not hesitate to submit your organizations application.
    • We have a new category – the Emerging Leader Award! Have an up and coming professional in your organization?  Submit that nomination today!  We know they are out there!
    • The Grover J Andrews Research Award – this monetary award of $3,000.00 is presented to two eligible graduate students or others, who are interested in conducting research in continuing education and training and/or standards development.
  • Thinking about getting involved? The Nominations and Elections process opened February 8, 2021. The call is open for positions on the Board of Directors and our Commission!
  • Lastly, save the date for IACETs 2nd Annual Conference September 22-23, 2021, Hyatt Regency, Reston, VA. Sponsorship opportunities and registration opens March 15, 2021!

It is IACETs intention to communicate clearly and purposefully. We realize that how we present ourselves visually and through messaging has a direct impact on the way our value is perceived. We are here to provide you with the best customer experience possible in providing an opportunity to become an Individual Affiliate, a Corporate Affiliate, or an esteemed Accredited Provider that adheres to the ANSI/IACET 2018-1 Continuing Education and Training Standard. We appreciate you and value your contributions to our industry.

I leave you with yet another quote to ponder. “When we are talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.” —Ava DuVernay

Stay safe, healthy, and happy

Casandra Blassingame, CEO

About the Author


Casandra Blassingame, MEd, is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  She is a recognized leader in adult and continuing education and has over 20 years of experience in higher education, continuing and professional studies, and workforce development.  Prior to joining IACET as CEO, Casandra was the Vice President of Education Services for the American Gear Manufacturers Association where she led the organization’s effort in achieving and maintaining IACET accreditation.  She has also served as an IACET commissioner, reviewing dozens of applications, and an IACET Board Member.

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