Camille Vella-Wilkinson, a Warwick resident since 1988, has over 25 years’ experience in Human Resources, Multicultural Competencies and Project Management. Her background includes: EEO Compliance, Mediation and Total Quality Management. A recipient of the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award, she was nationally recognized by the NAACP for her significant contributions in the areas of civil/human rights, race relations, equal opportunity, human resources and public service.
Camille first came to Rhode Island as a Navy Officer Candidate in 1981. Her career encompassed standard assignments within military Human Resources as well as nontraditional leadership positions in Missile Guidance Systems, Missile Production, Nuclear Emergency Field Response Team and as a Courier Officer for an Arduous Sea Contingent. During her tenure, Camille participated in the development of the Navy's Command Managed Equal Opportunity Program. Her distinction as a “Top Recruiter of Minority Candidates” resulted in a temporary assignment to rewrite community outreach procedures for the Navy Recruiting Command in Washington DC. A war veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm, she retired as a Lieutenant Commander with numerous personal awards.
Camille started her own business, Higher & Hire as a Career Coach and Diversity Trainer. She has conducted various seminars on career/job transition, the prevention of sexual harassment, cultural diversity, team building and numerous other management and Human Rights initiatives. She is a graduate of Leadership RI (2000), was recognized as “A Woman Who Makes a Difference” during the 2002 RI Women’s History Month celebrations and was nominated as a Leadership Rhode Island “Line Crosser” in 2014.
From 1999 – 2017, she served as one of seven State Commissioners for the RI Commission for Human Rights. This agency enforces state and federal anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and delivery of services. She was elected as a Warwick City Councilwoman in 2010 and served for three terms. Camille was selected for a Fellowship with the Women’s Policy Institute where she focused on gender equality during the 2011 – 2012 Session and helped craft the Bill on “Paid Sick Leave.” She has participated with a variety of organizations to raise public awareness and donations for an abundance of programs. In April 2014, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for a lifetime devoted to public service. She was designated as “Woman Veteran of the Year” by the American Legion, “A Woman of Achievement” by the YWCA and “Legislator of the Year” by the RI Department of Disabled American Veterans in 2016.
A graduate from Long Island University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Psychology, she completed an international course of study at the Defense Resource Management Institute and later became a certified trainer through the National Multicultural Institute and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. She is also a graduate of the Warwick Citizens Police Academy. Camille has completed two advanced degrees: a Master of Science Degree in Labor Relations/Human Resources from the University of Rhode Island and a Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University School of Law. During the Spring of 2017, Camille was selected by the Council of State Governments (CSG) for the Henry Toll Fellowship, one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs. Aimed at developing leaders from all three branches of state government, Toll Fellows assists leaders by providing insights and perspectives not readily available in the course of everyday public service.
In May 2018, Camille was selected as “Legislator of the Year” by the RI Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars due to her unparalleled advocacy for the veterans’ community statewide. She was also nominated and selected to attend CSG’s Robert J. Thompson’s Eastern Leadership Academy (ELA) to further enhance her leadership skills and study the most significant policy issues facing the states today. Participation in ELA is a unique opportunity to learn with the best and the brightest policymakers from across the region. In 2019, Camille was selected as the Vice Chair of Veterans Affairs for the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council for State Governments. In the Fall of 2021, Camille was selected for the Verrazzano Award due to her statewide leadership and community support record. She was the first female veteran to receive this honor in 60 years of the awards' history.
Camille is married to Kenneth Wilkinson, a Math Professor with over 34 years of military service and a retired Sergeant from the Newport Police Department. They live in the Meadowbrook section of Warwick. Her son, Ian, is married to Amanda (Corey) Vella-Wilkinson.
Warwick Veterans Services Organization, Board Member
RI Military Organization, Advisory Member
Warwick AARP Community Group, Advisory Member
St. Benedict's Daughter's of Isabella, Circle 423 Member
Rhode Island Catholics for Marriage Equality, Member
Military Officers Association of America, Newport Chapter Member
Council of State Governments, Veterans Committee Member
American Legion Post 43, Member
National Rifle Association, Member
Second Amendment Foundation, Member
Warwick Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, Member
Leadership Rhode Island, Alum
University of Rhode Island Schmidt Labor Research Center, Alum