When Crystal Grave ’99 shifted degrees midstream, it was her professors and advisors who helped guide her toward studying her passion of business and marketing. “My professors stood out as advocates and helped prepare me for the business world,” says Crystal. While at UIndy, Crystal served on the Student Government Association executive committee and as class president. It was her involvement in these activities that helped her realize she not only had a passion for business and marketing but also for event planning and engaging communities. During college and after graduation, she worked at a number of local businesses such as the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Star, and Barnes & Thornburg LLP.
In 2009 Crystal was planning an event for a friend and realized how overwhelming this type of task could be for someone who wasn’t familiar with the industry and local venues. That’s when Snappening.com was born. In 2011 Crystal launched Snappening, an online service that aims to relieve the burden of event planning. She conducted extensive market research to design a forum and tools for quick and cost-effective event planning. The web-based database Snappening puts potential customers in contact with vendors and allows consumers to focus on what’s most important: making lasting memories with friends, family, colleagues, and partners. Snappening is available in six cities—Indianapolis, Bloomington, Lafayette, South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Louisville—with listings for any type of event, including weddings, social events, or corporate meetings.
Most recently, Crystal was invited to participate in an international crowd-funding campaign as part of Indiegogo’s International Women’s Day partnership program in conjunction with Elevate Ventures. The program offered select Indiana women who owned businesses an opportunity for exposure across the globe during the month of March. Crystal’s campaign goal was aimed at the development of a mobile application for Snappening—“SnApp.” Application development will help Snappening reach its national growth strategy to add new cities and new vendor categories. “I’m so excited to offer the power of Snappening.com on the go now—with better bells and whistles and cool new features,” says Crystal. She says helping people to reach more event-planning data faster has always been at the core of Snappening’s mission.
“Doing this well takes time, dedication, and cold hard cash!” she says. The campaign will wrap up in mid-April. Through all of this, Crystal has still found time to return to UIndy’s campus and provide an opportunity for students to connect with her as a mentor. The new Professional Edge Center at UIndy, established in fall of 2013, recently hosted a Real Life 101 panel discussion in which successful alumni and other professionals spoke and answered questions on career-related issues. The Professional Edge Center is working to create more engagement between students and alumni and more chances for students to connect with mentors and potential employers. If you’d like to participate as an alumni mentor and share your experiences and advice with students, contact Corey Wilson, associate vice president of the Professional Edge Center, at email@example.com.