Business People and Community

Supporting startups

Cam Ezell stretched his entrepreneurship muscle as a venture consultant for The Launch Pad. This fall, he will continue working in the office as he begins his graduate studies.
Cam Ezell
Cam Ezell will be working at The Launch Pad will he pursues his graduate studies. Photo: Eliza Ball/University of Miami

After transferring to the University of Miami, then-sophomore Cam Ezell was on the search for a job. 

As an accounting major, he wanted to find a position that would help him grow in his chosen career path. During his search, Ezell came across a listing as a venture consultant for The Launch Pad—the entrepreneurship center at the U that assists students, alumni, and faculty and staff members in starting or growing their business. 

“I’m an entrepreneur myself; I liked that they had a position for a student to be a consultant,” said Ezell. 

Ezell began his journey into entrepreneurship during his first year of high school, founding a web design company called Creative Site Solutions. Ezell designs websites from a blank canvas for his clients and provides services in search engine optimization, automated email drip campaigns, and Google Ads. 

After applying for the venture consultant position, Ezell met with Samantha “Sam” Palmer-Shields, The Launch Pad’s assistant director, and said they immediately “hit it off.” As a venture consultant, Ezell meets with both established and aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their idea or brand, assists in events, and contributes to The Launch Pad website. 

“The Launch Pad is an entrepreneurship center, but it's also fostering the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem at the University of Miami and beyond,” he said. “The most rewarding part is getting a client and having them return and watching them progress through the venture process and ultimately, create something that’s pretty cool,” Ezell added. 

The Launch Pad hosts a variety of events on the Coral Gables Campus, Ezell’s favorite being the MVP showcase, where student entrepreneurs have the opportunity to put their products on display. “That was a lot of fun for me to see because it’s very helpful for University of Miami student entrepreneurs that are trying to get their product out there,” he said. 

During his time at The Launch Pad, Ezell has developed valuable entrepreneurship skills, such as how to conduct a meeting, and how best to advise clients based on their needs. “A lot of times you get into a meeting, and you think you’re going to talk about something, but then the client takes it another way, and you kind of have to learn to adapt, and so what I’ve learned is to be knowledgeable. Be knowledgeable about the industry, be able to adapt and communicate your ideas,” he said. 

Reflecting on his past three years with The Launch Pad, Ezell shared some of his favorite memories, one being the end-of-year staff meeting organized by Palmer-Shields and Tanayla Bentley, The Launch Pad’s program coordinator. “Sam either caters in or she cooks for all the staff. That's another benefit of working here is the camaraderie is great with this office, and they do a great job of making sure everyone is being communicative and engaged with each other,” said Ezell. 

“Whether you're a student and you think you might have something, you might have an idea, you don’t know really what to do with it, or you have a fully profitable company, and you just need some tweaking, I would say come to The Launch Pad,” Ezell encouraged. “It’s definitely worth a shot; we’ll advise you on anything. The Launch Pad works with over 20 different industries, there’s really a lot we can do. All it takes is setting up a meeting, going on our website and sitting down with one of the consultants and talking. It’s really beneficial, so I would definitely recommend students to do that—not only students but staff, faculty, alumni. 

“I think it's a great place, a valuable place, and I've loved spending my three years working here,” Ezell said.

Looking back on his undergraduate years at the University, Ezell spoke fondly. “The people, the professors come from backgrounds of corporate America, so they’re teaching you what they learned. It's not from a textbook, it’s from their experiences.” 

This fall Ezell will begin graduate school at the University to get his Master of Science in Accountancy, while still working with The Launch Pad as a venture consultant.