Alumni make immediate impact on students in mentor program

What does a finance pro living in Michigan have in common with a sports management major seeking a career in the world of soccer?

In the case of Campbell alumnus Richard Carden (‘18) and senior Matthew Downing, shared ambition and love of sports, travel and people have been enough to make for a lasting friendship. Carden and Downing connected on CamelLink, the digital alumni-student networking platform launched by the Alumni Association last fall.

CamelLink was built to foster meaningful connections between members of the Campbell community across the globe. It asks users to create a profile including their vocation, location, area of study and activities outside of work and the classroom. Users can then easily connect with other students and alumni with similar interests, career paths and goals.

Focused around career exploration and readiness, CamelLink also creates mentoring relationships between students and alumni who click. While their majors and career goals are different, Downing and Carden’s drive and love of sports made for a fast friendship. He can’t always speak to the sports industry, but Carden’s experience allows him to counsel Downing on leadership characteristics, good interview performance and time management skills.

“He’s helped me with professional development in a personal way,” Downing says. “Since we are in different fields and I had internship experience already, the ‘goal’ of our mentorship wasn’t career networking. We talk about speaking skills and resume tips, but also the experience of being a person of color in the workforce and understanding different perspectives.”

Carden and Downing meet for an hour every other week, and their conversations cover much more than the transition from student to young professional. The video chat feature of CamelLink has helped them stay in touch even after Carden’s move to Michigan.

“Mentorship is also a reciprocal relationship,” says Carden. “Matt has great energy; he is ambitious and is an innovator. I learn something from him every time that we meet. I’m grateful CamelLink brought us this friendship.”