A Place for Mom SVP and GC Camille Cleveland illustrates the value of cross-continental connections
Did you ever think an email could land you a job offer that would take you nearly 10,000 miles from home? No? Neither did Camille Cleveland, who today serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel (GC) at A Place for Mom in Seattle.
A few years ago, Cleveland sent an email to a GC colleague at Ticketmaster to congratulate him following an announcement about his company’s work with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. She offered her help, should he ever need it.
He responded within 30 seconds, asking her to call him. One thing led to another, and that email kicked off Cleveland’s journey to Australia, where she served as Senior Australasian Legal Counsel for Ticketmaster Australasia.
Powerful Personal Connections
Before anyone started calling it “networking,” Cleveland was making connections. “You could say making connections with people has charted every path I’ve taken in my career,” said Cleveland, who sends cards to celebrate her connections’ birthdays and anniversaries.
While she’s plugged into LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, Cleveland most enjoys sending handwritten cards to those she’s become linked with during her career. “I love the written word,” she said, “and I think most people enjoy seeing and receiving cards.”
A birthday card she sent from Australia to a Chief Financial Officer with whom she used to work was met with a job offer to work at Papyrus-Recycled Greetings Inc., which was later acquired by American Greetings. “Neither of those were job-seeking opportunities. They were both part of being connected that led to something else,” Cleveland noted.
“I am continually humbled about the expressions of gratitude we receive from people that need help,” Cleveland said of the work done by A Place for Mom’s senior-living advisors. “I always make a point of reading them before I put on my mascara because they are so heartrending and I always tear up.”
Spread out across the country, senior-living advisors help those looking—either for themselves or on behalf of a loved one—for that next step in their lives where more assistance may be needed in a senior-living environment. Given that A Place for Mom is paid by its partner communities, this service is free to families.
“For a family in need—and a lot of the families are in critical need—there’s really no reason not to use our service,” said Cleveland, for whom her company’s mission resonates on a personal level. “I’m the perfect demographic in terms of age for people who use our service. For example, I’m getting close to the time in my life when I would be having these conversations with my mom and dad about what their plans are going to be for the future.”
“The thing I really like about being an in-house counsel is getting integrally involved in the business of what those companies are actually selling,” Cleveland added. “That’s what makes it unique. A mission you can claim as your own.”
To this day, Cleveland is grateful that in her first in-house counsel role, at Big Boy Restaurants, her boss took the time to edit her written legal documents. She practices this form of teaching with her A Place for Mom team today.
“I hope when I’m giving feedback to a lawyer or a paralegal here—and this is another piece of advice—that they’re not just making corrections, but they’re correcting the way they’ll write in the future,” Cleveland said. “That’s the way I learned, by someone teaching me how I could do it.”
Enthusiasm, too, is key in Cleveland’s mind. She doesn’t like to get bogged down in office politics or negativity. For her, leading by enthusiasm means staying positive, even about the most tedious tasks, and always keeping in mind the mission of A Place for Mom.
Open & Curious at Heart
Her move to Ticketmaster Australasia was “out of the box” for Cleveland, who, having lived her entire life in Michigan up to that point, relocated with her two teenagers and husband for the position.
“I wasn’t looking to move to Australia, but when we did, we took an unexpected left turn in life,” Cleveland said. “Since then, I’ve approached my positions in the same way: with a little bit of adventure and definitely being open to new opportunities.”
Aine Cryts is a freelance writer based in Boston, Massachusetts.
“People are just as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
Books I recommend…
“The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Normal Vincent Peale is an older book, but still relevant. It inspires you to adopt a philosophy that works in both your personal and professional life. The Rachel Gold books by Michael Kahn are a good fiction option featuring a strong female lawyer protagonist.
Things I carry with me…
A notepad for making my never-ending lists
Apps on my phone I can’t do without…
Instagram, BBC News and Uber
I can’t start my day unless…
I’ve read The Wall Street Journal.
I don’t consider my day done unless…
I’ve talked to my children.
I start my day by…
Checking my phone for messages and making coffee.
George Washington. You have to respect a man who could have been a king but chose the republic above personal opportunity.
My definition of retirement…
Has not been written yet, but definitely includes an Airstream and a guidebook to the national parks.
I unwind from my day by…
Taking a hike with my husband whenever I can.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned in my career is…
Reach out to people, and keep making genuine connections.
It’s 5:00 on Friday, and my drink of choice is…
A glass of Penfolds, my favorite Australian wine.
Camille's Key Partners:Lane Powell Attorneys & Counselors (Outside Counsel)
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