Alum Credits Business Degree for Career Success

by Sarah (Bartlett) Borich '02

Though economic times are tough, many Cedarville graduates are continuing to find great success and blessing in their financial careers.

Take Joel Campbell ’90, for instance. He currently serves as vice president of treasury operations and assistant treasurer for Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Campbell’s responsibilities include cash management, bank relationship management, internal and external financing, and some capital management. And it all began with a solid foundation in Cedarville’s business department.

Campbell, who grew up in Plymouth, Indiana, always knew he wanted to attend Cedarville. “It was part of my family from early in my life,” he recalls. His father, Hugh Campbell ’65, and both of his older siblings, Jill Law ’85 and Steve Campbell ’87, are alumni. “So, it was a family choice,” he continues. “And although I had other opportunities, I felt at home at Cedarville from day one, and I never looked back.”

Late in high school, Campbell decided to pursue a career in the business world, specifically in public accounting, although he admits he had “no idea what that really meant at the time.” He entered college just as his older brother was finishing his accounting degree and decided to follow in his sibling’s footsteps.

Looking back, there are several Cedarville professors Campbell credits with preparing him for his current career and responsibilities. “I think specifically of Sarah (Harriman) Smith ’75, Anne (Rodgers) Rich ’76, and my senior year with ‘new’ professor Chuck Hartman — great professors and great people who taught me a lot about accounting and lot about being a Christian in the accounting world,” Campbell adds. “I also think of classes with Clifford Fawcett, Richard Baldwin, and Ron Walker that opened my mind to the broader business world outside of accounting and prepared me to handle responsibilities in my management roles.”

After graduating from Cedarville, Campbell began his public accounting career with Arthur Andersen in Columbus, Ohio, and earned his CPA certification. He then worked for Borden, Inc., and after that, The St. Paul Companies (now Travelers Insurance), where he transitioned from accounting and auditing to a role in corporate finance and also earned his M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota.

After joining the company’s global treasury department, he took a three-year “tour of duty” at its international headquarters in London, England. “Living in London was a great career move and very rewarding personally,” Campbell says. “It helped me grow in my management style and in dealing with individuals from many different backgrounds and cultures.”

In his most recent career move, Ameriprise recruited him to set up a public company treasury function during its spin-off from American Express in 2005.

Campbell looks back on his career and can see how the Lord has guided him each step of the way. “God uses each of us in different ways as we progress through our careers and move from role to role and company to company,” he says. “I feel used by God in small ways every day as I manage my responsibilities and staff, demonstrate honesty and integrity in my relationships, and lead by serving and being a good example.”

Still, Campbell feels God uses him in even greater capacities outside the office — as part of the financial management team at his church and as a husband and father to his family: wife Dana (Daniels) ’92, a current member of Cedarville’s alumni council, and children Aaron (8) and Emily (7).

As for the future, Campbell plans to continue following the Lord’s leading and serving in professional roles where he can add value to an organization based on his background, leadership experiences, and passion for his chosen field. He also dreams of retiring from the business world someday to pursue a “second career” as a Christian college professor or administrator. When asked if he would consider Cedarville for that second career, he replies, “Yes, absolutely! After another 10 to 15 years in the business world, Cedarville would be my first choice.”