The Kids Have Got Gumption

By on 8 June, 2016 in Meg Lewis, Municipal business with 0 Comments

CH4u1pmW8AA-i7mFor college students, summer used to be a few months of freedom – days of endless naps, camping trips, and dreaming about the future.

Times have changed, though. These days, no college student worth their university branded apparel would be caught dead lazing away these precious summer hours that would be better spent gaining valuable resume credits, broadening their networks and getting a leg up on the increasingly difficult job market through a summer internship.

Montgomery, by virtue of a program of the Gumption Fund, is benefiting from the opportunity that these eager young students present through a program called “The Gumptioneers.”

The Gumptioneers effectively function as a small, independent advertising agency with no agenda other than ensuring that Montgomery thrives by providing the creativity, energy and often labor to execute the great ideas that originate with some of the business, community and creative leaders in the city.

Because the group is independent, they are uniquely positioned to mobilize quickly and respond swiftly. They don’t charge their “clients,” and thus are motivated purely by the desire to be a serious force for positive growth in Montgomery.

The group operates out of the Ampersand co-working space downtown, and they meet regularly with local business and community leaders who present and help select initiatives as well as advising the group on plans of action and making the connections and introductions necessary to allow this group of students to execute these plans.

Last year the first class of Gumptioneers gathered in early summer to form a team that would take on the ambitious ideas that were percolating around MGM. Among those ideas were a first-ever restaurant week called EatMGM, for which the group created branding and design elements as well as providing some footwork to recruit participating restaurants.

Another successful initiative was the What’s Good Gump Twitter account (@whatsgoodgump) which shares the positive news around the city, something that is too rare. Within the first month the account had gained over 300 followers and reached more than 7,000 users with tweet impressions. Yet another project was a Pop-Up Tool kit, which provides step-by-step instruction on how to set up a temporary retail site in Montgomery.

This summer the Gumptioneers will again be a team of three including University of Alabama student Michael Tyner and Auburn University Montgomery students Alysheia Gray and Candace Hilton. They will be advised by Gumptioneer’s class one alumnus Alex Trott, DBA Montgomery president Clay McInnis, and David Allred, Principal, and Kristin Dillensnyder, Operations Manager, at Stamp .

The group meets for the first time on Thursday and the ideas will begin flowing. Stay tuned for updates on the projects and ideas they put into action.

Meg Lewis is a runner and cupcake baker who lives the loft life in Downtown Montgomery. She regularly makes her rounds through downtown and midtown Montgomery evaluating the beer selections, live musical performances and the social atmosphere of local establishments in the company of a small and close-knit group of fabulous people.

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