Employee Giving Campaign captains explain their ‘why’
Giving back is important to these employees
Each year, Campbell employees have the opportunity to support the mission and students of the University through the Employee Giving Campaign. The Office of Annual Giving doesn’t ask employees for a specific amount; any gift matters. The participation is key.
The campaign is something Campbell can take great pride in because the overwhelming majority of its employees participate, showing that its staff and faculty care about the well-being of Campbell and its students. After all, it’s caring people that make any work environment a positive one.
Every year, dozens of employees step up to volunteer as a captain of the campaign, motivating their specific department to give. It’s an integral role in the campaign because each department has a goal of 100% participation.
Here are profiles on a few of Campbell’s Employee Giving Campaign captains.
When Amber Parker (’15) attended the Employee Giving Campaign kickoff breakfast on Feb. 22, she had her picture taken holding a sign explaining why she decides annually to give back to her employer, Campbell University.
She went with a popular answer that morning: “Because Campbell has given to me.” But Amber slept on the question and the next morning, contacted our Office of Annual Giving which hosts the annual campaign, wanting to change her answer and have her picture re-taken.
“I [initially] wrote down, ‘because Campbell has given to me,’ but it’s not just because Campbell’s given to me,” Amber said. “I mean, I did receive endowments and some things and I know that’s part of the importance of giving but then it hit me that [the answer] is ‘because it’s home’ and you always give to home.”
Amber decided to be the team captain for the Employee Giving Campaign because Campbell has always been home. She has uncles, parents, cousins who attended Campbell – some who “finished”, some who didn’t. For most of her childhood, her maternal grandparents owned the house at 125 Marshbanks Street across from the Buies Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Amber lived nearby in Coats but often visited her grandparents, and one could say she grew up on Campbell’s campus.
Amber, now 30 years old, knows Campbell and its campus intimately – its past, its present and as an employee, she knows much of its future.
“As a kid, we would spend time just walking on campus. We would just get an adult and walk on campus,” she said. “Things have grown up and changed through the years. I remember when [the Marshbanks commercial strip] wasn’t even here.
“I had to change my sign to say that it’s home because it is home. It’s just as comfortable.”
While majoring in psychology, she began employment at Campbell in accounts payable as a student worker. Then she was a student account representative, then Student Financial Services team lead; and now Amber handles E-commerce for accounting at Campbell.
“When I was graduating, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “And so one of the [advisers] helped me figure out where I wanted to transition to. There was a position opening at the business office and I did an interview and everything. I graduated in May 2015 and started working in June, so it was a very quick thing and I’ve just been here ever since.”
While Amber said she could see herself elsewhere later in life, moving wouldn’t be easy because as they say, ‘There’s no place like home.’
“I’ve always said, ‘I’m going to be here until God leads me somewhere else.’ It’s a community like no other. And I don’t know you can really get this anywhere else,” she said. “So if God really opened that door, and I felt I needed to go away from here, it would be really hard.”
“You don’t always get to work on occasions where it’s so close and so tight, and you can literally walk everywhere and see somebody you know. Just to be able to have that community means a lot.”
Life came full circle for Brian Bowman (’91) when he returned to Campbell in 2016 as Assistant Professor of Communication Studies.
His Campbell experience began as a first-year mass communication major in 1986 and his “professional journey”, which included a journalism career and M.A. in Technology and Communication from the University of North Carolina, led him back to Buies Creek 30 years later.
Brian, who in 2020 earned the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, is a team captain in the 2023 Campbell Employee Giving Campaign because he knows the importance of investing in students’ Campbell experience.
“I remember being here in the late 80s as a student, and it really was a time of transformation for me,” Brian said. “I think that [Campbell students] have an energy that they bring where they’re ready to get out there and do exciting things. They feel like they really can make a difference in the world. And I hope that I can foster that and encourage that. Somebody’s got to, to go out and do big things.
“You invest in what you believe in. Having that opportunity to invest in something that I know is directly going to impact students – I think that’s a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to do.”
To Brian, the Campbell student experience is unique to other institutions. It’s one that allows professors to personally empower students in their goals.
“I think there really is a relationship between the faculty and the students, part of which is because our classes don’t have 500 people. They’re smaller classes,” he said. “I just want to play a small part in helping sort of focus that energy and optimism.”
Some of that optimism in the college experience comes from the fact that you can try new things and “there’s a soft landing if they don’t work out,” Brian said. One of those ventures is a student news production Brian instructs called Campbell Now. The program is produced by undergraduate students several times each week under the advisement of Communication Studies faculty.
“Being a news anchor is not something you normally really get to try in your life. So [students get to] try these things and see if it’s a good fit or not a good fit. But you’ve had the experience,” he said.
And for some, all it takes is the opportunity.
“I can think of students who have come in, and their first year, they were pretty quiet. They kind of kept to themselves,” Brian said. “And at some point, something clicked and they recognize that, ‘Hey, I, have just as much right to try these things as other people.’
“It doesn’t have to be the ones who were always quick to speak up. So it’s really fun to see when the light comes on for those students.”
Campbell University accountant Darla Reed loves to travel.
In June 2023, she will hit her 20-year anniversary at Campbell and she’s planned an Alaskan cruise to mark the achievement. Darla has been all over the U.S. Some of her favorite spots include Hershey, Pennsylvania; Washington D.C. and St. Augustine, Florida. And she’s also lived in a vacation destination, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Darla is a team captain in the 2023 Employee Giving Campaign. When she received word in February that her team had 100 percent of their team members contribute, Darla knew exactly how to celebrate.
“We threw a little Mardi Gras party,” she said.
Darla started with Campbell as a cashier for just a couple months, before moving to accounting and serving in different roles: purchasing, accounts payable, and more. Now she handles “general accounting”, oversees federal programs, and “handles draw downs from the government.”
While tremendously important, accounting – as Darla sees it – is a “role that’s kind of in the background.” She recognizes some students when she walks on campus but she doesn’t have the amount of interaction with them a professor or advisor would. But when asked why she thinks it’s so important to give back to her employer, Campbell University, Darla didn’t hesitate to answer: “the students.”
“They’re the main reason we’re here,” she said. “To me it’s just a peace, to know that we’re a part of something bigger. And it makes our future brighter helping the students.”
A close second for Darla is the simple fact that Campbell treats her right.
“It’s just overall a good place to work,” she said. “You know, you’re always going to have your ups and downs. But I have to say, I always try to stay positive and look for the bright things. Being here almost 20 years, I still feel like a new kid on the block compared to some of my co-workers where it’s been 34 years for them. They stay for a reason.
“If you have a family, [Campbell] allows you a little flexibility at Christmas and in the summer depending on your position. For me, I don’t have [much] family in this area so with the long Christmas break, I’m able to travel and spend time with family in Florida or Arkansas whichever direction I decided to go.”
But the primary reason that Darla has stuck around for two decades is her co-workers in accounting.
“We’ve had some come and go but overall, we’ve had a core that’s been strong. It means a lot,” she said.
Darla said her co-workers sometimes tease her about her dedication to the Employee Giving Campaign but for Darla, being a captain is a no-brainer.
“The giving campaign is a service to Campbell that I can offer to share with others that no matter what we’re able to give, it’s making a difference on the campus,” Darla said.
Darla has certainly made a difference at Campbell over the years and earned her vacation to Alaska, long a “bucket list item.”
“It’s going to be a wonderful time with family,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”