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Laura Stringer

Laura Stringer

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I'm an independent consultant focused on strategy and solutions for digital maturity. In a nutshell, I provide planning, design, governance, and other services to help companies improve the quality of their digital initiatives and properties. I left corporate in early 2018 to focus on consulting because my skills are most valuable outside a departmental silo, and it's been a wonderful, hectic ride so far. Right now I'm juggling client work with business development, while also improving my general business skills.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

When I first launched my business, I knew I had a lot of the skills to do it. But I also knew that networking was a weak point, and that in my line of work, networking is how you get clients. Ellevate has been a phenomenal resource for me to get more comfortable working a room, practice remembering names, and even helped me refine my ellevator pitch!

How would you define your professional mission?

My mission is to help my clients - and by extension, their customers - thrive among the chaos of digital change. Digital is the future, and I want to make sure the future gets built right!

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

When done right, digital is multidisciplinary, so you have to be comfortable speaking to technologists, marketers, creative designers, and others, in terms they'll understand. You need to be able to understand and communicate how each department contributes to the bigger picture, and how they should work together to create a better digital culture and product. Of course, digital changes constantly, so you also have to have a drive to learn constantly, or else you'll be left behind. And lastly, you're going to have tough conversations with clients from time to time; those conversations are crucial, and clients appreciate it in the end, but you need to have a comfort level with those kinds of conversations that gets you through them effectively. That probably all makes this field seem unapproachable, but the great thing about digital is that there are so many ways to come into it, and so many ways to add value - you just have to find what's right for you.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

I'm still building my business, and when your clients are larger companies, it can take several months to go from "hello" to signing a contract. I need to get a fuller, more stable pipeline in place and eliminate the gaps between projects. That will bring another challenge: capacity planning. I'm working through both challenges right now, but they're definitely what keeps me up at night.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

My parents ran a small business together, and I always knew I'd follow on the entrepreneurship track someday. I love nearly every aspect of running a business - from financials to marketing - and wearing so many hats keeps me from getting bored. There is always something new to learn and do. Consulting is the right choice for me because with 20 years experience in corporate, I have a really solid understanding of the problems companies are facing regarding digital programs and properties, and lots of ideas on how to help. Being an outsider to my clients, I'm able to look across all the silos and see how they should integrate.

What is your morning ritual?

Mornings are usually pretty intense until I have to break for lunch; evenings are my calm quiet time. We have a crazy hour or so while my husband and I get ready for work and our son gets ready for school. Once he's on the bus, I usually try to handle a couple quick chores, before heading to my home office to start work for the day. I do check social media first thing pretty often - I like to start the day knowing what's going on in the world - but admit that it's maybe not the most efficient thing, so I'm trying to curb that habit.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

I am a speedy learner and am always absorbing new information. That comes in handy in consulting, where you're often thrown into unfamiliar situations with people, clients, and industries you may not be familiar with. You don't get a lot of time to ramp up, so it's important to be able to pick up information as you go so you can make meaningful contributions right from the start.

What does success look like to you?

Ultimately, I'd like to grow my single-person business into a small, boutique consulting firm with an excellent reputation. Along the way, I hope to be in a position to hire and empower other women and give them the opportunity to shine.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I've given up on balance! Instead, I have the privilege of being able to blend work and personal. My husband and I both work out of home offices, so we get time during the day to collaborate on household projects or run a load of laundry, etc. And owning my own business means I usually have the flexibility to deal with any school or house things that come up during the day - I just make up the time after dinner. The most critical thing, and I truly don't think I could do what I do without it, is having a partner who is not just supportive, but a fully equal contributor to the family and household (ladies, accept no less). Our little family unit considers ourselves a team, and that attitude carries us through the extra-busy times.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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