FAMU Alumna Disney Executive Sybil Crum Shares ABCs of Success with Graduates

May 03, 2022
Sybil Crum
FAMU Alumna Disney Executive Sybil Crum Shares ABCs of Success with Graduates

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna and Disneyland Resort Vice President Sybil Crum shared the ABCs of success with spring 2022 graduates Saturday morning.

Crum told the thousands gathered at the Al Lawson Multipurpose Center about the alphabet of values – from authenticity to tenacity, courage to hustle, resiliency to optimism – graduates will need to make their mark in the years ahead.  

“Be yourself; lean into your own uniqueness; don’t compromise; if you do, you always will, and that’s an extremely dangerous brand,” said Crum, vice president of Marketing & Commercial Strategy for Disneyland Resort in California. “I’ve been in brand marketing for over 25 years, but we’re all a brand. Brands are built based on consistency. Decide now, the attributes that will define you and demonstrate them consistently.”

Crum spoke of her career and the inspiration she took from members of her family – her mother, Ianthia Woolfork, who taught elementary school for 42 years; her older sister Lisa Woolfork, a professor at the University of Virginia, and her uncle attorney Paul Woolfork, who is among the College of Arts, Social Services and the Humanities distinguished alumni.  

“Courage is required to do anything great,” she implored graduates. “You have to constantly challenge and push yourself. I don’t love public speaking, but I push myself every time to do it. You will have to push yourself.” 

Spring 2022 GraduatesSpring 2022 graduate Kalen Shaw poses with brother Offset and family members. Photo taken by: Christian Whitaker

A highlight of the ceremony was the appearance of the rapper Offset to celebrate the graduation of his brother Kalen Shaw, who earned a degree in information technology and video game design. Student Government Association President Carrington Whigham received the President’s Leadership Award. Robinson awarded a posthumous master’s degree in Occupational Therapy to Theodore Scott Thomas, who died about a month before graduation. 

Robinson also recognized Ricardo and Nina Kinsey for the graduation of their daughter Jansen, Robinson also recognized Ricardo and Nina Kinsey for the graduation of their daughter Jansen, their fourth child to graduate from FAMU. He also acknowledged Kinsey and his fellow Rattlers in Arms colleagues for their financial support of students. President Robinson also thanked Frank and Laura Baker for their $1.2 million donations, the initial $300,000 installment that will allow spring and summer 2022 graduates who finish in four years to venture forward without the burden of debt to the University.

“There have been good times and there have been times throughout our history we’ve had to rally “There have been good times and there have been times throughout our history we’ve had to rally together to move the Rattler spirit forward,” Robinson told the graduates. “Collectively, we are the keepers of the Eternal Flame. We will weather the storm together so that others can follow you to the ‘Hill’ and can enjoy all the wonderful things that you’ve experienced here and that you will later do in your life. Thank you for your perseverance. Thank you for pushing forward and thank you for never giving up on your education.”

Crum, a spring 1994 FAMU graduate who went on to earn a master’s degree in marketing and strategy from Purdue University two years later, also emphasized the importance of education. 

“The many great teachers and professors who molded me here at FAMU are the reason, I’m convinced, that educators are the greatest professionals in the world,” said Crum, whose husband, Kevin Crum, is a 1993 FAMU graduate. “Their ability to influence and invest in the future generations is unequaled. I just stand in awe of educators.”

In her present role at Disneyland Resort, Crum is responsible for leading the team accountable for developing consumer insight-driven marketing and commercial strategies to deliver planned revenue, attendance, and room night goals for both consumer direct and sales channel marketing. Previously, she was director of marketing strategy for Walt Disney World Commercial Management. Before joining Disney nearly two decades ago, Crum was a senior manager at American Airlines for eight years.

Crum addressed graduates from the College of Law, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, College of Education, College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, School of Nursing, School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Science and Technology, School of the Environment, and School of Architecture and Engineering Technology. 

Her advice ranged from the practical to the philosophical, the biblical to the lyrical.

“Do not forsake the nod. The nod gives me life. You will need the nod from the folks who look after you,” said Crum, referring to the real and symbolic ways African Americans acknowledge and support each other in public and in the workplace.  Later in closing, she returned to earlier themes.

“Be courageous and know that you have the right balance of hustle and heart to do anything that you need to do to succeed,” Crum said. “I cannot wait to see what the class of 2022 does to go and change the world. Congratulations to you!”

To watch the ceremony, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3743Pfq23uI&t=12s.