‘Best face forward’ on the web

New director of digital strategy has her eye on engagement, enrollment

Lisa Wendland has partnered with some of the world's hottest fast-growth startups and global enterprise brands to provide ongoing industry insight and strategic development to digital programming.


She's now joining Central Michigan University in the new role of director of digital strategy, where she will lead the ongoing redesign of CMU's web presence with a focus on enrollment. Wendland is part of the University Communications team.

Read on for questions and answers about Wendland and her digital mission.

Tell us a little about your professional experience.

After more than a decade in marketing, I know what drives conversions and builds community engagement. I have applied my knowledge to multimillion-dollar brands and startups, generating exceptional revenue growth through messaging across all channels and evolving communications outreach. I have more than 10 years of professional digital experience, including expertise in strategic communication, partnerships, fundraising and management, utilizing analytics, and optimizing team workflows. I have worked with several major nonprofits along with higher education and medical organizations. Before working at agencies, I worked directly for the University of Michigan and Quicken Loans.

What can you tell us about the current CMU web presence?

In 2020, your presence is not only your website but all digital aspects leading prospective visitors to the site. We rely on the website and digital means to put our best face forward, and this will be achieved with consistency and collaboration. I am thrilled to take a leadership role in helping to guide and grow CMU's already strong and accomplished web presence initiatives that connect all who seek to continue their education and become a part of the CMU community.

What does the director of digital strategy do?

The core responsibility is to manage the university's external-facing website, provide strategic direction on content, offer expertise and guidance on user experience, and participate in CMU's web governance and leadership.

Essentially, I will oversee development, implementation, maintenance, processes and standards for CMU's web presence. I am very excited to collaborate with stakeholders throughout the university to ensure a robust and user-friendly web presence, with an eye toward constant optimization.

To aid in this, I am assessing the need for, and developing tutorials for, educating staff and faculty members in web development, including content standards for web production, accessibility and search engine optimization.

What goals do you have?

To engage our target audiences based on their goals while evaluating metrics and consulting with university partners to carry out our strategic messaging. I want to ensure that CMU delivers digital communications using established guidelines and best practices for the web.

My goal is to bring guidance to our campus to put our best face forward in the digital world.

"Our current site exudes school spirit, and that isn't going away. Fire Up Chips!" — Lisa Wendland, CMU director of digital strategy

What is the current website doing well, and what can be improved?

Our current website has a wealth of information, and that is a big win in the digital world. Communication on and off campus is a clear priority: We have developed online resources for our constituents, including evergreen content, current news and upcoming events. CMU's social media presence shows a promising opportunity to further engage with our community and our world.

This goes without saying, but our current site exudes school spirit, and that isn't going away. Fire Up Chips!

As far as improvements, I'm excited to say we'll be optimizing our overall website accessibility. Across our digital channels, we'll build consistent paths to the abundant information our audiences seek. This will be a mobile-first approach, as we see over 70% of our traffic coming from mobile devices to Ultimately, we aim to expand our reach and provide a seamless journey to the content our community is seeking.

How can the CMU community come together to support these goals?

My leadership will put a major emphasis on training and teaching teams with varying levels of experience in digital. I also plan to regularly conduct needs assessments together with key stakeholders to develop program roadmaps to meet the goals of our university. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out by email,

What else would you like the community to know about you?

As a lifelong learner, I am always looking for a variety of professional development opportunities to gain new skills and refine my existing skills. I have certifications in subjects across the digital concentrations including content marketing, social media, email marketing, email deliverability and Google Ads. I enjoy keeping up with digital marketing trends and have researched and implemented strategies for constantly evolving platforms and approaches including influencer, text messaging and social media marketing.

As a part time volunteer, I teach and advise youth in various programs and activities, typically in art and outdoor events for physical and mental growth. When not outside enjoying Michigan's trails, I enjoy playing piano and baking.

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