Michele Campbell

LeBron James Family Foundation executive director is an Ashland University graduate

Published on Oct. 17, 2023
Ashland University

Even after 30 years, Michele Campbell still cherishes her years at Ashland University.

“To this day, I have lifelong friendships that were made there,” said the 1991 AU graduate. “Ashland helped shape me into a young professional and the leader that I am today.”

Today, Campbell is leading the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) as its executive director and oversees all of its I Promise Schools in her and James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio.

“When it comes to leadership and someone that knows how to galvanize people for the greater good, there is no one better than Michele Campbell,” said Stephanie Myers Bussan, a member of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s core team. “She’s incredibly hard working, dedicated and compassionate. She leads in a way that makes you know you’re part of a team and family that is bigger than yourself, which makes us all better as we serve others.

“Her legacy is the life-changing impact she has on her team and everyone around her,” Bussan added.

Campbell said she feels privileged to work with and serve some of the most amazing people as the LJFF’s executive director.

“I call my LJFF team the Best Team in The Land, and I believe that wholeheartedly because I get to lead a group of individuals all living beyond themselves,” Campbell said. “I also love that I’ve been empowered to help build and grow something that has the potential to change the world.”

With its foundational I Promise Program, LJFF serves more than 1,600 students and their entire families by providing them with the fundamental resources, wraparound supports and family programming they need for success in school and beyond, according to the LJFF website.

Aside from a few nay-sayers here and there who may not understand the depth of what the Foundation is undertaking, Campbell said she loves everything about the work she does.

“I am getting better at tuning out the noise and focusing on the important work we have in front of us,” Campbell said.

As the executive director, Campbell said she is always using the leadership tools and skills she learned at Ashland “to help our team be better, our community be better and challenge myself to be better.”

“Ashland is where I learned my leadership skills,” she said. “My time at Ashland is when I learned to be the leader I wanted to be. Ashland gave me opportunities to become and be a leader, and I use that every day in my work.”

Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Ashland, but has ended up spending most of her career in education, including having several director of student affairs and dean positions at the University of Akron.

“While it lives a bit outside of the educational sector, I believe business management has transferable skills when you talk about educating people in a setting outside of the school,” she said. “I apply lessons I learned in my business management studies to my work daily.”

The campus, the professors, cheerleading, her sorority — Campbell loved everything about Ashland University.

“Ashland provided an intimate setting where I felt comfortable and safe,” she said. “Being active on campus within the caring atmosphere provided there challenged me to be more than I ever thought I could be.”