Close Search
Home / News / Cicely Campbell ’99: An ...

Cicely Campbell ’99: An Inspiring Journey

Posted on December 6, 2023 in Articles

Cicely Campbell ’99: An Inspiring Journey

As a powerhouse of leadership and service, Cicely Campbell ’99 has a life journey characterized by dedication, resilience, and a relentless commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others. From her early days at Beaumont School which earned her a full ride at Vanderbilt University for cross country and track and where she majored in Human and Organizational Development, to her current role as the Executive Director of the Ohio Options for Adults Program, Cicely’s story serves as a shining example of the transformative gift of education, mentorship, and the pursuit of one’s passion.


Cicely’s passion for service is rooted in her upbringing and was reinforced at Beaumont, resulting in her commitment to helping others. “Beaumont instilled in me to be of service to others, and I’m grateful that is what I get to do for a living.”

Her desire to work with kids led to an early career position helping at-risk youth in Nashville. Soon after, she sought to expand her abilities and obtained a master’s degree in social work from the Warren G. Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

Cicely’s journey eventually led her to the YWCA of St. Louis where she worked with women transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. Her experience with this vulnerable population not only deepened her commitment to social work but also honed her skills in aiding those in need. She had found her calling in helping individuals rebuild their lives.

Anticipating the arrival of her son, Cicely moved back to Cleveland to be near family, with a desire to give back to her own community. “I always felt I wanted to give back to Cleveland, and now I have the privilege to serve the community where I grew up.”

Cicely discovered the Women in Transition program at Cuyahoga Community College and started her journey with them as the Financial Literacy Coordinator for the program. Her unique combination of skills gained through her educational background and professional experiences set her apart. The director at the time recognized her expertise and dedication, and this marked the beginning of a remarkable journey within the college.

Cicely’s role evolved to director of the program where she significantly expanded to various locations and class offerings. For over 10 years, she worked to empower women to overcome barriers and change lives, one success story at a time.

Today she is the Executive Director of the Ohio Options for Adults Program, an organization aimed at supporting individuals who still need to complete their high school diplomas or a GED.


“Beaumont taught me that I could always be a leader,” said Cicely. Cicely recognized the value of this early in her college days. In her first dorm meeting, as the RA was reviewing rules and expectations, a group of football players was loud, obnoxious, and not paying attention. “Without a second thought, I stood up and said, ‘Can you please be quiet because she’s trying to talk?’” Cicely recalls. “The room went silent and afterward, girls in my hall were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you said that to them!’ Then it hit me, I never had football players in my high school classes, and I’ve never had to make myself smaller for anyone in the room. It hit home for me that my voice is important, loud, and effective.”


It was the mentorship from inspiring teachers throughout Cicely’s time at Beaumont that cultivated the belief she could make a positive impact on the world. She has often reflected on the significant influence of some remarkable Beaumont teachers who encouraged her growth and development.

“Mrs. (Susan) Blakely (deceased), my honors math teacher, left a lasting impression by consistently encouraging me to believe in myself and my abilities. She had unwavering support and belief in me, telling me ‘You got this,’ when I felt I really didn’t have it.” Her support played a pivotal role in Cicely’s understanding of her capabilities.

“The librarian Mrs. (Marie) Engstrom saw my potential when my family faced financial challenges and she ensured I had senior pictures.” This early experience instilled in her the importance of recognizing and nurturing potential in others.

“Mr. (Bob) Crawford, my history teacher, was also incredibly supportive.” Cicely recalls how his encouragement and mentorship made her feel valued and inspired her to take on leadership roles.


When asked about the guidance Cicely offers Beaumont students, she shares her own learning experience regarding the effectiveness of networking. “One thing I did not take advantage of was networking more while I was in college. It might have been because of my athletic background, and I really didn’t have time, but I wish I would have volunteered more and done more internships,” said Cicely. “My accomplishments look good on paper, but I still need to make connections with people to make those qualifications come to mind for someone. Networking and internships help bring you to top of mind of those who may be hiring or able to advance your career,” shares Cicely. “I would recommend to Beaumont students to always take advantage of internships and make connections with people. Networking and building relationships are vital to opening doors and creating opportunities.”


Of her Beaumont friendships, Cicely attests to their lasting imprint on her, reinforcing the influential impact a supportive and empowering group of friends can have on one’s life. “The majority of my friends are very successful in their careers, and we celebrate each other every chance we get. We learn from each other. We build each other up. We never feel jealousy or a need to bring anyone down. We are here for each other,” said Cicely. “I always say, Beaumont was the best four years of my life.”