The Ambassadors are proud to recognize John Crum as the September Ambassador of the month.
Kansas City, MO | Tuesday, September 28, 2021
John has been a tried and true Ambassador, serving the organization for over five years and has just received his LGBT Business Enterprise Certification through the NGLCC. This certification will provide John and his team the opportunity to build relationships with America’s leading corporations, generate prospective business and clients and compete for contracting opportunities. John has always been an entrepreneur at heart and launched his business, Crum Cleaning, in 2012. We look forward to many more years having John as the welcoming face at many of our Chamber events.
Tell us about your career path.
My desire to support myself and make money started at age 12 with my first newspaper route. Every afternoon I would come home from school and prepare my papers for my route and always delivered them on time.
From there, my journey took me to Emergency Medical Services, going through extensive training and receiving my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. While serving as an EMT, I was able to concurrently complete Paramedic training, immediately moving into a Paramedic role for the next year.
I decided to move my career in emergency services to Kansas City in 1997, working with Metropolitan Ambulance Service Trust to expand my knowledge and experience for the next five years. I was later brought on with American Medical Response, eventually overseeing clinical care and overseeing training for around 60 employees.
A quick career shift to real estate was short-lived due to the 2008 crash of the housing market and from 2008 to 2013, I worked in the service industry. Serving others stirred in me the desire to become an entrepreneur; it was in working with local restaurants like Webster House, Le Fu Frog and Garozzos that I knew I wanted to own my own business and be in control of my new destiny.
Finally, at the age of 40, I began the journey of researching and discovering what I really wanted to create for myself. I was already exploring my creative side through creating abstract art but knew I needed to build something more sustainable. In 2012 Crum Cleaning came into existence.
How have you been involved with your community?
Over the years, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing non-profits. When I moved to Kansas City, I knew I had to get on stage and sing with the Heartland Men’s Chorus. As a singing member, I had the privilege of singing six seasons with the chorus, also serving on the board of directors and leading multiple committees.
I have also volunteered as a HIV counselor with the Kansas City Free Health Clinic; I was asked to participate in the first class of advanced counselors. In addition, I was trained in blood draw techniques and counseling as well as needle exchange and post-counseling techniques after positive & negative test results.
In 2015, a good friend of mine was wanting to form Kansas City’s first transgender, mix-vocal-style chorus. Along with a steering committee of about 10 individuals, we began the formation of Transfinity. My participation was an advisory role during the first year until they developed their own Board of Directors.
I was a member of BNI (Business Network International) for four years, serving as Communications Coordinator, New Member Mentor and President.
We are excited to expand our sales team this year and plan to join the Northeast Johnson County Chamber.
Why did you join the chamber or get involved if your organization was already a member?
My business joined the Chamber in 2013 for several reasons:
- Networking opportunities in order to find resources and create relationships with other organizations that are LGBT-owned or affirming organizations/businesses.
- To grow Crum Cleaning by creating a network of relationships who are willing to refer us to individuals, families, and/or businesses in need of our services.
- To learn and gain knowledge from other businesses and organizations to help Crum Cleaning become the better.
- To be more active in our community by showing support and helping the Chamber grow and share its mission to our business and LGBT community.
I have been an ambassador for five years.
What/why did you join the ambassador program?
When I started attending events with the Chamber, I found myself always migrating to the same people and hanging out with my friends and cohorts that I really enjoyed. As I looked around the room there were so many individuals, I had yet to meet or interact with. By joining the Ambassador program and learning more about what the chamber can offer different individuals and businesses, I decided my ability to network, natural curiosity to learn, to be a connector and love for gab could be put to better use than just sticking with my group of friends at these events. I really enjoy going up to new members or visitors, learning about them and their businesses, and connecting them to resources to help them move forward in their journey. Being a member of the Ambassadors has given me a sense of duty to make sure no one is standing alone.
What advice do you have to someone that is curious about getting involved with the Ambassadors or the Chamber?
Being a member of the Chamber is more than just paying your yearly dues. Find ways to be active and participate. We have so many wonderful committees, networking events, special projects and more that could use your talent to help the chamber meet its mission.
What benefits have you received from being an ambassador?
Being an ambassador really helps me focus on getting out and meeting new members and guests. The camaraderie of the ambassador group is really strong. Everyone is really supportive, willing to give advice, listen to my troubles and successes, and remind me of how amazing I am when I am not feeling so amazing. Being a business owner is lonely day to day. It is a great feeling being around others who understand how difficult the world of entrepreneurship is. Ambassadors are a great group of positive people and I love being around them.
Why do you think businesses should join the LGBT Chamber of Commerce?
The LGBT community has a lot of spending power. I think the Chamber is a great resource to encourage the growth of LGBT-owned and affirming businesses. I would encourage any LGBTQ business owner to become certified as the Chamber works to build relationships with our partners, local governments and creating programs to assist those businesses in obtaining more work. The Chamber has such a diverse membership from individuals to corporations so you can make the connections needed to help you grow personally, make business connections, great friends and create amazing memories along the way.