Sylvia Crum

Sylvia Crum (Panelist)


How can we use our entrepreneurship to benefit our region?

Bellafina Chocolates is inspired by the creativity of young people, Appalachian Sustainable Development is motivated by healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced food, and Spearhead Trails’ passion is getting people out into the natural beauty of this region.

From making chocolate, to feeding communities, to becoming one with nature, all three participants of the social entrepreneurship panel have one thing in common: a vision of creating good for their communities. By looking forward, these social entrepreneurs have seen their big ideas blossom into sustainable businesses that work to empower and support local economies.

People are at the center of each business. They’re the consumers, the employees and the leaders. Recognizing the importance of who a business affects is one of the most important aspects of starting a business. So, where should you start?

During this session, panelists will discuss how we all can forge results out of innovative ideas, see how businesses can create small and large change into a region, and how we can create a sustainable environment for broad economic growth.

SYLVIA G. CRUM, who originally hails from Chicago, moved to the region in 1994 after falling in love with the hardworking farm families and rugged landscape of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

As director of communications and development for Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), Crum supports ASD’s executive director in the crafting of collaborative regional economic development and food access strategies. She is also responsible for ASD’s marketing and communication efforts and fundraising. Through creative positioning and by leveraging the intersections between agriculture, economic development, community building and health, Crum has helped the organization network with a variety of partners to propel ASD’s mission and bring financial resources to Central Appalachia.

Crum holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Columbia College in Chicago. Over the years, she has worked in for-profit marketing/advertising, and sales and management roles for several small to mid-size companies.

She has two adult children and lives on a 15-acre farm in Washington County, Va.