Numbering more than 51,000 worldwide, Columbia College alumni are involved in virtually every profession and career imaginable. Alumni and students interested in expanding their professional network, soliciting career advice and exchanging ideas frequently ask the College what opportunities exist to connect with this powerful community. I always direct them to the Odyssey Mentoring Program, a dynamic platform offered by the Columbia College Alumni Association (CCAA).
MICHAEL EDMONSON ’20
Odyssey, which recently marked its first anniversary, connects alumni and students for short- and long-term mentoring relationships, as well as for more informal connections. Importantly, it’s designed to be flexible. You can give as much, or as little, time as you have, to either students or fellow alumni looking to grow personally and/or professionally. The mentoring relationships can be adapted to fit your work style and availability. Communications can run the gamut from email, phone and text conversations to in-person meetings over coffee or a meal.
Alex Wallace Creed ’88, general manager of news, entertainment and studios at Verizon Media Group/Oath; a member of the CCAA’s Board of Directors; and VP, State of the College, had a very positive Odyssey experience when she was paired with Destiny Spruill ’20, who was interested in journalism. I asked her about it.
Behringer: What led you to participate in the Odyssey Mentoring Program, and what did you expect to contribute or get out of the experience?
Wallace Creed: I love interacting with Columbia College students. Each one I meet reminds me why I loved my time at Columbia. They are smart and inquisitive and honest. I also love mentoring. I think it is important to share some of the lessons, good and bad, that I’ve learned along the way.
Behringer: Was it easy to set up your profile on the portal?
Wallace Creed: Yes! It took less than 10 minutes.
Behringer: Tell me about your mentee.
Wallace Creed: She is a journalist and works on Spectator. She already knows more about the profession than I did when I graduated! And she has a love of reporting and truth telling.
Behringer: How do you and your student communicate?
Wallace Creed: We email, and we have met for coffee on occasion. She was an intern in my office last summer so I saw her in the office every day, which was great.
Behringer: What did the experience leave you with — and did you learn anything? Did you feel the interaction was meaningful?
Wallace Creed: Being a mentor might be the most rewarding thing I have done as an alumna. It has reminded me what I felt like as a student and all the things I wanted to do with my life after I left. It has reconnected me to my 20-year-old self in a very interesting and impactful way.
Thank you, Alex! I encourage all alumni, and students, to learn more about Odyssey and to consider participating. I’ve been involved with the program since its launch, and have found it to be a great way to give back and stay connected to the College community.