There are many companies that need technical direction but can’t afford, or don’t need, a full-time CTO. This is what led Carrie Goetz to start StrategITcom. As Principal/ CTO at StrategITcom, Carrie is shaping the technology direction for companies and public entities.
She along with her team, help these companies match and master the technology that will help propel their businesses.
Carries has nearly 40 years of global experience designing, running, and auditing data centers, IT departments, and intelligent buildings. Besides, she is an International Keynote Speaker, STEM evangelist, and Podcaster, and has been published in more than 250 publications.
Inspired by her vision and approach, we at CIO Look got into a conversation with Carrie to know more about her journey and contribution to the IT industry.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at StrategITcom. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
Like many people in the data center industry, we sort of inherited it, started it and grew it all out of need. My journey started in architecture. I began teaching civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical drafting and then computer-aided engineering when Autocad first came out. I started writing code for those packages learning a new language. Then, when networking was in its infancy, there was a project to tie several campuses together and they asked if I would take that project on since I had some computer understanding. I jumped in with both feet. Back then, it was frame relay for the WAN, and LANs were starting to compete for market share.
From there, I quit teaching and started a networking division for an international company and began a journey into consulting. That was a tremendous time in that you learn so much about the way businesses operate, what’s important, the commercial and business aspects, and decision factors. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! That experience led me to some top leadership roles within some large enterprises knocking on and breaking that glass ceiling. I then had the opportunity to take that expertise global with an established company but as a new line of business, data centers. The global scene was an amazing opportunity both personally and professionally. I have a huge extended family that spans the globe. It’s the “sexy” side of tech, I suppose. The ability to travel and learn about other cultures and business in a global setting is vastly different when you are feet on the ground compared to our preconceived ideas. I also got to show people around the globe other things about our country and culture that they may not have known.
I have been blessed to work on amazing projects with amazing people all over the planet. To date, I have over 4 million miles (that I can actually count) trekking the planet and that doesn’t include trains and automobiles. I have worked with some of the most amazing minds in the industry. I have embraced tech for good and thoroughly enjoy the sustainability aspect of our industry. I don’t mean work on renewables, but of course that is part of it. But really drilling down and making sure that loads are what they need to be, redundancy is under control, power considerations within designs, and the entire ecosystem that makes up a data center.
I am a firm believer in the ecosystem approach. Every business is its own ecosystem. Every data center is its own ecosystem. In working with companies, we take a wholistic approach. After all, you want your tech to work for you; you don’t want to have to fight your technology.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
When I opened StrategITcom, the charter was simple. Fifty percent of all employees will be female and 50% of all partner referrals will go to diversely owned enterprises. We believe in being the voice and catalyst for the change we seek. There are two sides to this business, services, and solutions. On the services side of the house, our flagship offering is CTOaaS, or fractional CTO services if you will. On the solutions side, we are a broker and work to bring solutions to those that already have technical expertise in house, but are looking for the right solutions from a vendor agnostic broker from which to choose. We openly disclose any finder’s fees or contracts with our customers. We feel the open and honest method suits us and our customers best.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Information Technology & Services niche through your expertise in the market?
I have been a stanch advocate of diversity and inclusion from early on in my career. For me, it has been highly beneficial through learning from a vast array of talented individuals. I also am one of the few people that have been down multiple tracks in my own career from coding to design, audits, operations, and the like. As such, I have crafted methodologies to drill down through technologies through a holistic ecosystem approach. As an example, when picking a technology, you should know what that technology provides, that’s a given. But one should also explore what that technology will do to the ecosystem. We also like to take a lifecycle approach. Decisions for short lifecycles will not always be the same as those that are longer term decisions. Our niche really is born out of in house and external talent. It’s a matter of working to connect the dots for the good of the customer. Sometimes that means playing the devil’s advocate. We are lucky to have the best customers around!
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
I believe to leverage technology one must constantly stay abreast of the latest and greatest and WHERE those technologies fit. I am not a fan of “one size fits all” statements. We view every piece of technology as a tool in a tool kit. Sometimes you need a hammer, sometimes you need pliers.
Working with the customer is the best of all worlds. When we find some amazing technology; we can evangelize it to those that it can help. Most times, it’s a mixed bag of tricks, like solving a puzzle. Which personally, to me, is the most fun! We don’t believe in technology for technology sake, rather we believe that there is a right solution for the right time period to solve a particular problem.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for StrategITcom?
In the long run, our goal is to catalyze those we can, grow where we can, and enjoy life while doing so. I plan to incorporate as many charitable projects as possible. I’m strongly committed to mentorship and sponsorship for those coming into the industry, so that work will continue as I find it immensely rewarding.
The company continues to grow and our partner network expands selectively building stronger and more robust offerings and referrals. We are steadfastly committed to our sister companies and helping to grow their businesses as well as ours. We are also launching a remote work program for business development to help some of the women that lost their jobs due to covid. We feel that we can be impactful while still supporting work life balance and expectations.