Building social networks with Emily Crume ’86
by Martin de Bourmont '14
September 22, 2013
Emily Crume '86 (right) poses at the Free Lunch Friday Rig at SXSW in March 2013, where she and her colleagues served 1,000 meals to hungry entrepreneurs.
We often hear that America is a nation built on the vision and work ethic of entrepreneurs. Emily Crume '86 embraces this view, devoting herself to ensuring that small-business owners and start-up companies have access to the tools and information they need to succeed.
As a director of strategy for Social Media Examiner, the world's largest online social media magazine, Crume develops plans to help the publication connect consumers to brands—ranging "from the one-person consultant to the 10-person small shop, up to businesses like Wal-Mart"—through social media outlets.
Crume says the foundation she laid at Dickinson while a psychology major prepared her to go forward in any direction—"I learned how to learn," she says—and she uses much of it to define her role in the business world.
"I think that's one of the reasons I went into marketing and advertising," she explains. "I call it 'HN,' or human nature—understanding people's motivations. So I look at it as studying people, even if I'm not a psychologist."
When she's not working on marketing strategies for Social Media Examiner, Crume stays busy with her "passion project" as managing director of a nonprofit group called Free Lunch Friday. Free Lunch Friday aims to nurture the start-ups and entrepreneurs crucial to the growth of the American economy with, as she says, "a steady diet of community, content, and connections." (And the connections go right back to Dickinson in at least once case, as Free Lunch Friday's marketing & communications director is Danielle Forsythe '95.)
Intent on building a real-life community of entrepreneurs, the organization gathers start-ups, mentors, experts, partners and investors at locations across the country on the last Friday of each month to connect with others in their field over free beer and food.
"People who have no experience with something sometimes come up with the best idea because they have a clean, unfettered view," she says. "And that's one of the things that Dickinson taught me."