Stephanie Mumford Brown

Brown thumbnailStephanie Brown got out a notebook and pencil one summer day, climbed up a tree, sat on a branch, and wrote her first story: “If I was a Kig.” This utopian fantasy involved fair play and ponies for all. Orthography, not so much.

In college she studied storytelling with a couple of great ones, E.L. Doctorow and Grace Paley. She wanted to get paid regularly to tell stories, though, so she got into newspapering.

Of all the stories Stephanie wrote, the ones about businesses fascinated her most—how they got started, what they made, who bought it. So when she got to New York City and still wanted to get paid for writing, she began telling stories for companies, not just about them.

Eventually , she decided she couldn’t be a worse boss than anyone she’d worked for lately. So she started her own business and linked up with Kirk Smith, whom she’d met during a brief return to journalism.

Crafting interests her more than managing anymore, so Stephanie has returned to hands-on storytelling. Now she mostly sits under trees, not in them, to write. For Smith Mumford, she researches and prepares project text, and edits client-supplied drafts.

In her spare time, she’s working on a comic thriller set in a tiny city on the Hudson River that’s overwhelmed by its sudden chic-ness, yet threatened by intrusion of a private equity-funded industrial plant. She’s also writing a short book on online dating for an intended series, Female Over Fifty, of gimlet-eyed tracts for and by women of a certain age. In her spare spare time, she writes for the Times Union golf blog.

For a more conventional version of Stephanie Mumford Brown’s career, here’s her LinkedIn profile.

Kirk B. Smith

Kirk B. SmithKirk Smith is among the few people on earth who have both played double bass with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and managed a Congressional campaign. He is definitely the only earthling who has done those two jobs along with coaching a college baseball team.

Kirk also has worked as an investigative reporter, a private investigator, and an emergency medical technician. You want this guy on your side.

More to the marketing point, Kirk’s professional background ranges from typesetting (back when that was a job) to copywriting to account management to market research.

These days at Smith Mumford he’s more about pictures than words, but it’s especially helpful for our type of design to have a word guy in charge. It’s even more helpful, for white papers and certain reports, to have a data guy at the helm.

Kirk’s research knowledge spans social science quantitative methods, survey research, Q methodology, simulation modeling, and other abstruse stuff. He’s adept at performing input-output studies, to measure the economic effects of real estate and industrial developments.

It’s also helpful, when Smith Mumford or a client gets their apps in a twist, to have a former Microsoft contract software engineer in the house. Yeah, Kirk’s done that, too.

For the almost-full list of things Kirk B. Smith has done for a living, check out his LinkedIn profile. But that still doesn’t include his tournament go play or wood-crafting his own go board. Or sailing a 27-foot ketch single-handed. Not to mention canning his own apple butter. (Though apparently we just mentioned that.)

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