Image of Amabelle Camba

Amabelle Camba

Director of Development and Communications, CASA of the River Region

Family: Husband Andrew Odom, daughter London, and dogs Bear and Blue

By Carrie Vittitoe | Photo by Kylene White

Time, and prioritizing it, are important to Amabelle Camba. As part of a midsize nonprofit, she has many tasks that she focuses on from day to day, from fundraising to social media. Her focus on time and making it count stem from seeing her older sister, Marisal, deal with three bouts with cancer, the last of which took her life at age 33. From that experience, Amabelle also recognized the importance of support and having people around to problem solve with and learn from in her professional endeavors. 

How do you manage to creatively problem solve? 

I’ve been with CASA for eight years. When I first started, it was me and my CEO rolling tables on the waterfront for Bourbon by the Bridge. After that first year, I created a working, on-the-ground development committee. I don’t really have anybody to throw ideas at as a sounding board. When you’re in a job for so long, you tend to have a myopic view of things. I love having people volunteer with us because they’re a whole new mindset. I love the collaboration of being able to include volunteers and committee members. 

How do you support young people starting in and women returning to the workforce? 

We don’t have an official internship program, [but] I look for university students and some older high school students. I wanted to show what nonprofit work is like. When I first got into nonprofits 20+ years ago, it took me a long time to get a job because they always wanted experience for [an] entry-level coordinator. I made it a priority to have these types of internships for people who are interested in nonprofits or shifting careers.  

What is something you won’t do again? 

Taking a job for an organization whose values didn’t align with mine. After 10 months, I was like, ‘This place is not for me.’ [I stayed] a little too long and [learned] when to say when. I keep that lesson in mind.  

What warning label would you come with if you could have one? 

Proceed with caution. I’m 4’ 11” and Filipino, and I think people have this idea that I’m demure or quiet or somebody that might not have a strong opinion. Once I open my mouth, people are like, ‘Oh, crap.’ I say what I think.  

What person from history would you love to meet and have coffee with? 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was tiny like me, but she was a force to be reckoned with, and I love that. One of the things I want to know is how do you keep that fight for so long and maintain integrity.  

Are you a mountain, beach, desert, or city person? 

I grew up on many coasts. I always love the ocean. I grew up in big cities in San Francisco, California and Manila, Philippines. If I had to choose a place to visit, I would go to the mountains. There’s something about being at [high] elevations. There’s a quiet stillness that is opposite of how I grew up. You’re reminded of how big the world is and how small you are in comparison. We [my husband and I] got married on a mountain at 10,000 feet.  

If time and money weren’t concerns, what would you do? 

Travel, hike, and take photos. I have 13,000 photos on my phone.  

What would you title your memoir? 

I’m Hungry. I will wake up hungry. While I’m eating lunch, I’ll ask my husband, ‘What’s for dinner?’ It’s apt literally because I love to cook and feed people. I also think it’s a great metaphor for things. I’m hungry for getting all the best things, with time, vacations, family, with my work.