Tucked away in one of my favorite cafes on Bermondsey Street in southeast London, I waited for the call from Jenny Youngblood Campbell ’95, the chief marketing officer at Tinder and my alumni mentor.
I tried to calm my nerves by focusing on the warmth of the cup of Earl Grey tea in my hands and enjoying the view of London’s drizzly October skies from my seat by the window.
The woman with whom I was moments away from chatting with was someone I’d secretly looked up to for months, after listening to her journey to success on Morehead-Cain’s Catalyze podcast series. My mentor is The Jenny Campbell.
My mind took me back to that spring, sitting in Julie DeVoe’s [Morehead-Cain’s director of scholar advising] office at the Foundation to discuss my next steps at Carolina. My path had so far been circuitous, to say the least (my college career has so far included stints in pre-med, psychology, and public relations and marketing).
As we landed on an internship at ANM Comms LLP, a London-based, independent public relations agency, under the direction of managing partner Louisa McCarthy ’95, as a good fit for my fall study abroad plans, Julie looked me in the eyes with a look of clarity.
“Jenny. You need to learn from Jenny.”
I saw glimmers of the creative world I had set my mind on entering, and here was an influential figure who might help me march through that first door by way of the Foundation’s first-ever Alumni-to-Scholar Mentoring Program.
I’ve now known Jenny for over a year (P.S. That first call? It went well). During the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve kept up through monthly Zoom meetings. We’ve swapped travel stories from our Morehead-Cain experiences and even shared our coping strategies for staying sane and entertained while in quarantine.
Jenny is warm-natured, genuine, selfless, determined, and—above all—a patient listener and teacher. I learn something valuable from every conversation we have, from how to ace a job interview to the differences between working in-house for a marketing company versus an ad agency, as well as from her life experiences.
It’s humbling to think of someone so successful being interested to hear my input on her current projects at Tinder and my ideas for how different generations perceive the dating app. We relate real-world case studies to my current work at UNC-Chapel Hill in advertising and psychology. Last week, we discussed Tinder’s strategy during a time when people are shuttered indoors and not able to go on dates.
During that first conversation last fall, something Jenny said has stuck with me ever since. She told me, “I want to help as many future female leaders as I can get a toe hold in this industry.”
She’s already done just that. Jenny introduced me to Phil Fry, the director of consumer communications and media relations at Tinder (someone who I learned has also had a less linear path as a former pre-med student), who has since connected me with public relations agencies, prepared me for upcoming interviews, and even helped me design my resume.
Because of this mentoring relationship, I have the confidence to pursue a career in marketing. Jenny told me on one of our Zoom calls that she and her husband once decided to quit their jobs to travel for a year. How did she have the courage? She said, with a big smile on her face that seemed to break through my laptop screen, sometimes, you just have to “make the jump, and have it come along with you.”
It’s scary to face change head-on. It’s scary to take risks, to be unsure of what will happen next. And it’s scary to take that first step after graduation, in times that become less certain by the day.
Because of Jenny, I’m less afraid to jump.
Caroline Durante ’21 is an interdisciplinary studies and psychology major with a minor in creative writing.
Jenny Campbell ’95, the chief marketing officer at Tinder, graduated from Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. Following graduation, she worked at Wieden + Kennedy, an independent advertising agency, for eight years before joining Nike as a marketing consultant. She eventually was appointed as the senior global brand director for Nike + Member Services and led the development of NikeFuel. Following a year of travel with her husband, Alistair, and their two kids, she moved to California to serve as managing director of 72andSunny, a content development and production company. Jenny has worked at Tinder since the fall of 2018 in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
To be matched with a mentor, fill out the scholar survey form on the Morehead-Cain Network by June 1. Rising juniors and seniors are eligible to participate. For more information about the Morehead-Cain Mentoring Program, contact Emily Olson, the alumni engagement manager for the Foundation, at email@example.com.