Chrissanne Long

Name: Chrissanne Long

Title: CEO, Maximize Digital Media | Founder, Lakeland Business Leaders

Age: 40

Define what you do in 25 words or less: I run two businesses with my partner and best friend, Craig. At the core of both of these businesses is helping other businesses connect with customers.

What kind of workplace is it? It’s a downtown workplace and it’s a casual, fun and creative work environment.

Where do you spend most of your work time? Right here.

What about getting out and about? Is that part of what you do? Oh yeah, there’s a lot of getting out and about — a lot of meetings throughout every week. And of course the other side of my schedule is the Lakeland Business Leaders and the events that we do. We have one coming up Thursday night.

What in your workplace shows off your passions? We have several FSU items to talk about. We’ve got the national championship score card, the football autographed by Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, an autographed picture of Jimbo, college pictures from when I was at FSU.

What was your degree at FSU? My undergraduate was creative writing and Latin American studies.

Continuing to describe office items: The “Be Awesome” sign on the door was given to me by my Dad last Christmas. I really love the shadows when the sun projects it onto the wall. And my mom gave me this plaque which is, “Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.”

What project are you excited about? The new revamping of The Lakeland Connection. The original Lakeland Connection debuted about a year ago and I quickly found out it wasn’t going to provide the interactivity that I expected, so this iteration is more focused on the directory for the businesses to be able to find who does what. It’s going to have a mobile app that’s going to be driven by GPS so you can find businesses near you. That’s probably going to roll out in about a month.

What’s your most important work tool? I don’t think I could live without Dropbox. We have a business account so the team works on it when we’re working on projects. Every client has a folder, and then we have shared folders for clients that we share files with. And then when I leave work, all my files are wherever I go. I can’t imagine life without it.  The other tool I use is my connections — people that I have built connections with over the years. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t realize how valuable the people I’ve connected with are in my day-to-day life. It’s just connections for the sake of connections — not having an agenda but meeting somebody and knowing that eventually the reason we met will be revealed.

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Mac or PC?  Apple or Android? I’m a Mac and then I’m an Android for my mobile devices. The operating system in the Android is more flexible; it does a lot more for me. I got started on my Mac when I got my masters degree (Internet marketing from Full Sail University in 2010). It was the first Mac I ever had and I’ve loved it.

Favorite productivity tools: Google Calendars. Our team syncs digital calendars, so everybody knows what I’m doing at any given time — even on the weekends. Also, we started using a project management software called Teamwork and it allows us to invite our clients. It has Gantt charts and subactivities, so we know what needs to get done in what order.

Tip for keeping organized: Put it on the calendar. That’s our mantra. If it’s not on the calendar, it just doesn’t get done. I even block out personal time on the calendar.

Favorite diversions on your mobile: I love Spotify. I love being able to create my own playlists. I have a wide variety of musical likes. Also, I like Audible, Stitcher and the Kindle. My favorite podcast is called Coaching for Leaders. I’ve been playing around with If This Then That (to make  connections between apps). And I’ve been using Pocket (to save articles to read later) and Evernote.

Favorite information site: Honestly, it’s the Lakeland Business Leaders Forum (on Facebook). There’s so much activity and information. It helps me keep my finger on the pulse of the business community.

What do you usually wear to work? It’s a casual workspace, so most of the times jeans. On days when there are more formal engagements, I’ll dress up a little bit.

How did you prepare for what you do? I am a late bloomer. I think I learned a lot of the basics from my parents who instilled in me the importance of caring about others. You,  know, the Golden Rule. But I discovered along the way that it’s probably the most important rule in life and one that isn’t practiced enough across the globe. So, I started treating others the way I want to be treated. I try to listen to both sides of situations, and I try to look at everything from someone else’s perspective.  I feel more inclined to connect with people if they are willing to listen. So, I guess you can say “life” prepared me for what I do.  There’s enough ugliness in the world. I just want to be someone who doesn’t contribute to more ugliness.  Surrounding myself with positive, honest and caring people has made what I do possible. And it has gotten me through a lot of difficult times as well.

What book, TV show, movie or music has captured your imagination lately? That’s an easy one: “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. She wrote “Eat Pray Love.” It’s focused on helping the reader understand their own creativity and that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.

What’s your favorite leisure activity? Watching football and reading.

Is there something you’re working on that makes Lakeland a more livable community? I hope that the result of the work we’re doing with Lakeland Business Leaders is giving people that feeling of connectivity and accessibility, and I think that contributes to a livable community.

What about Lakeland makes you excited? There’s a whole new energy coming into the community that’s just really exciting. There’s new businesses opening up and it feels like there’s something coming.

What about Lakeland makes you worried? The continuing digital divide, not the one that people talk about, which is the inaccessibility to the digital age, but to bridge the gap between the old guard and the younger generation. (Some people) don’t want to try the new technology, so sometimes I’m afraid the younger generation is going to create their own economy and do their own thing … Young entrepreneurs can start up a business and not have any engagement in the community because they can do it all online — or move somewhere were there’s more receptivity to their desires to use the technology.

Social media profiles: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook: Lakeland Business Leaders | Facebook: Maximize Digital Media

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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