At the start of 2020, we were lucky enough to celebrate some of the most talented and inspirational women in digital at a fantastic in-person event. To recognise the ongoing outstanding achievements of our winners, we compiled Digital Women’s 40 Digital Women to Watch list. Among the list: Carolyn Strand, Founder and Managing Director of C J Strand Cyber Hype. Since starting her business in 2001, Carolyn has been a huge force in the digital world, promoting digital technologies for SMBs and advocating for women in business. We’ve brought her back for this blog series to share her incredible insights and hear how being among Digital Women’s 40 Digital Women to Watch has impacted her over the last year. Remember, you can enter yourself or nominate a fellow woman who’s doing outstanding work in digital for the Digital Women Awards 2021 now!
We’ll jump straight in, Carolyn! Has your business evolved since being featured as a Digital Woman to Watch 2020?
Yes! I have added more business-critical and legal services alongside my technical and marketing digital services in this pandemic era of high digital demand. Business owners like to work with someone they can trust so I have broadened my services to include Business Continuity Planning, Intellectual Property Protection and Legal Documents for online business. Having submitted my plans and demonstrating how it would support many small businesses, I was fortunate enough to be awarded a European Business Development grant to support this. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I have spoken to and helped hundreds of small business owners make both small changes and complete pivots through technology to support their businesses and clients both now and into the future. Several clients have found new income opportunities they would not otherwise have uncovered!
It’s great that you mention helping other businesses to pivot and adapt during the pandemic. How did the changing role of digital businesses and the sudden increased reliance on digital in 2020 affect you and your business?
Mostly, I have just been extremely busy! I have taken some time however to restructure slightly and take stock of what businesses really need, trying to take the heat out of the stampede to ‘get online’ – with many businesses not actually putting much thought into the process. I have formulated almost standard procedures for businesses to make change quickly but in a structured and thoughtful way. This means decisions can be made quickly whilst protecting businesses from knee-jerk reactions to an unfamiliar environment. Throughout the pandemic, I have invested in improved development and monitoring tools to enable more rapid deployment and easier management.
Are there any names that spring to mind that you think we should be watching out for 2021?
Holly Billinghurst has done amazing things in the education sector. She was just about to open her first in-person training centre when the pandemic hit. Since then she has ramped up her online training to support the huge increase in home learning and has pivoted very hard to start up a second online learning facility for the teachers themselves – to learn how to deliver teaching online and also network amongst themselves. She’s done an incredible job.
As you know, the Digital Women Awards are quickly approaching! Do you have any advice for women who are considering entering themselves or nominating others this year?
Do it! The Digital Women Awards have credibility and are worth the time and effort to enter. Winning or being nominated for one of these awards shows that you are not only serious about what you do, but that you are also a serious contender in the digital skills marketplace.
And finally, what is your favourite thing about the Digital Women community?
So many different areas of expertise and at different stages in our digital careers. From newbie beginners to longer-standing digital women, we’re all in it together and lift each other up.
If you’d like to find out more about Carolyn, you can find her on social media at:
Or visit CJ Strand Cyber Hype’s website at:
Get your applications at the ready! Enter the Digital Women Awards 2021 here: https://digitalwomenawards.com/categories-and-enter