A Marketing Maverick Making a Difference

Monday, 28 December 2009 11:43 Written by  Administrator
Cicely V. Teal

cjIt is undeniable that over the course of a couple of years many young people have lost their lives to violence on Chicago’s streets. We know all too well that this is not an issue that can be solved in one day or with one solution, but any course of action that is taken to make a difference is highly commendable. Crystal Jones, founder and CEO of the Bumble Bee Network, has found a way to use her marketing savvy, intrinsically outgoing personality and spirit to focus on today’s youth and the building of her community through the arts.

The birthing of her passion…

Crystal Jones attended Northern Illinois University and Columbia College having studied broadcast journalism. She worked for the Tribune, as well as Dowling and Polk Advertising. However, her scholastic background and job experience is not the defining source for her natural inclination for marketing and public relations, and her fervor to connect with people and people in the community. Her drive comes from what she’s been through, personally. A few years ago, Jones received a devastating phone call from her mother informing her that her father was killed in a car accident on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. “I needed to divert my attention from the pain,” Jones said. Her pain has inherently shaped her success.

Flight of the Bumble Bee…

Jones knew she wanted to create a business where she could provide the gift of collaboration and assembly for a purpose across ethnicities, as well as to better the lives of others. Thus, the Bumble Bee Network began to take shape. “I wanted to put myself in a position to enrich the community; to put events together of value,” she said. Jones knew she did not want her business to be based on monetary gain. She had an understanding of two important concepts. The first was that Chicago is an untapped market for local musicians, designers and artists. “My heart was fixated on positioning local artists,” Jones said. The second was that entertainment is such an effective vehicle. Projecting a positive message through arts and entertainment became the culmination of these two ideas.

Her destiny was written. She pitched ideas to several people, including her current executive liaison, Marie Catchum, who subsequently wrote Jones’ vision. “I didn’t go through a rejection period,” Jones said. What she believed her purpose to be was manifesting. The self-proclaimed “ambassador and advocate for extra-curricular activities” had one goal; to simply enrich the youth by creating a quality culture for the city.

Best of both worlds…

Jones wanted her events to encompass youth branding, so she built a network and made direct affiliations with various organizations. She wanted the socio-economic elite to be enlightened about youth who are struggling and the organizations that are working with those youth. The ChiFa Fashion Elite Purple Carpet Affair that took place in November not only kicked off the Bumble Bee Network launch, but Jones adhering to her purpose. The proceeds from the event went to Build Incorporated — a 40-year-old organization that focuses on giving youth alternatives to the streets.

Business methodology…

Jones says she follows the “Triple R” formula as she develops her business — meeting the right people, with real purpose to get the right results. Aside from being well versed in the client service industry, she knew she had something greater to do. “God is using me in a spiritual way,” she said. She simply wants to redirect and reinforce a message about saving our children.


We live in a time where our children are not being exposed to other options and resources that can assist them in securing a successful future. “We have become polarized to the violence,” Jones said. She believes there has to be reciprocity in place. Those that have the means, resources and contacts to better the lives of our children are  her everyday focus. Jones, a mother of one daughter, says that her daughter keeps her grounded. What she wants for her own child she wants for children who are plagued by disparity.

The bumble bee has genetically powerful colors — colors that stand out. The Bumble Bee Network is a reflection of that. Crystal Jones is building a powerful organization that is a vessel for everyone — local artists, the youth and those who want to be in the mix and feel like they are giving back to the community. The bumble bee is aesthetically appealing and through events hosted by the network, that aesthetic appeal will draw more people and in turn will highlight the bigger picture. Crystal Jones is focusing on the root of the issue where young people are concerned by watering the seed through music, fashion and art.

“I am creating a new formula by putting care back into the equation,” Jones says.


Check out the Bumble Bee Network's Facbook Page to stay up-to-date on everything Ms. Jones is working on. 


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Cicely's Facts: Cicely V. Teal is a new GMO Staff Writer. Cicely graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a BA in Communication and is studying to get her MA in Journalism at Depaul Univeristy. She has worked as an intern for WTTW Channel 11 and currently contributes to N’Digo Magapaper and Urban Influence Magazine. She can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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