Cheryl Griffin featured

Inspirational Woman: Cheryl Griffin | Author & Creator, AlphaBetty NFT Project

Cheryl GriffinCheryl Griffin is a self-published author of two children’s books and the creator of the first family focused NFT project.

In 2019, Cheryl released her first book, ‘The Seagull Finds His Talent.’ In 2021, she released her second book ‘AlphaBetty Doodles’ which aims to help 3-6 year olds learn the alphabet in a colourful style. Cheryl created the illustration in her second book herself which has gone on to become the first NFT project aimed at young people and first timers on the blockchain.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background, and your current role

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be an author. However, I think it can be easy to lose track of those dreams when you get into the real world. When I started a family, I opted for more stability and chose a permanent role in banking.

I’m now working for the NHS but that creative passion for writing has stayed with me and it’s what led me to self-publish two children’s books for early learners – ‘The Seagull Finds His Talent’ and ‘AlphaBetty Doodles’. 

I grew up reading ‘Miffy’ books and drew on that inspiration with my AlphaBetty Doodles character, who I believe can be a big name up there with the likes of Miffy and Hello Kitty, especially after the AlphaBetty character has become the first family focused NFT project.

I quickly realised I’d hit on a niche in the market that appealed to first time buyers who were nervous about stepping into NFTs. Parents can use AlphaBetty to teach their children some of the basic principles of NFT as well as buy them a physical book to read.

The aim was to create an NFT collection that could help to increase the profile of the AlphaBetty brand and raise money for educational charities in the process.

After launching the NFT project, the collection quickly sold out and there are now over 3,500 owners of Betties, including some famous celebrities and influencers; the community have all been incredibly supportive and believe in the vision. But, more importantly it’s enabled me to donate money to charities very close to my heart.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Well, I’ve always been creatively driven. I’ve had the idea for both books in my head for over 10 years ever since I used to tell the story of the seagull to my children. So, the plan was always there and I believe my commitment to making it happen shows a positive message for my children – it’s something for them to aspire to.

It has only been recently, with lockdowns and a little more time on my hands with my children being older, that I decided to make my dream of becoming an author a reality.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these? 

I found getting published and marketing my work the biggest challenges. I decided to go down the self-publishing route and received positive feedback from this but of course that can be challenging and requires a lot of time.

It’s still a goal to get the book professionally published so it can fulfil the mainstream potential and I hope that introducing AlphaBetty Doodles into the NFT market will help me reach that wider audience.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Making such big donations to charity – in a short space of time the AlphaBetty NFT project has raised over £100,000 for educational charities such as Donor’s Choice and Gamers Outreach, a charity that makes video games available and easy to manage in hospitals. We also donated to my children’s old primary school, which is close to my heart, so that has definitely been a highlight.  This was only made possible by selling out the 10k AlphaBetty collection and there’s much more to come.

The positive feedback I’ve had from parents and children that love the character is also a big achievement. It’s heart-warming to hear and great to know that my creation has had an impact on other people’s lives. Helping children to engage with learning in a fun way is my motivation because it’s a special thing to be able to achieve.

Recently I even saw children dress up as AlphaBetty Doodles for Halloween!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Perseverance is key.  It’s all about pushing through and tackling obstacles along the way to be able achieve your end goals. This can range from your own creative doubts, time management or rejection. You must be strong within yourself to face adversity, and this can be where many tell themselves it’s too difficult and give up.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Never give up, persevere, keep learning and be open to all possibilities.

In technology, particularly with NFT, it is a steep learning curve. Technology is always changing at a rapid pace, so it is important to keep up to date with the ever changing environment. If you don’t you can feel like you’re getting left behind very quickly.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The tech world, particularly in the NFT space, is heavily male dominated and because of this there may be the perception that women aren’t as capable, or that it is difficult for them to further their career as much as men can in the tech industry. However, I hope that as more women enter the tech space, people will realise that gender isn’t important, and it will become a much more inclusive industry to work in.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology? 

Ensure women are provided with equal opportunities and encourage more female senior positions. Companies must encourage diversity and create an inclusive culture. Women of all ages and backgrounds should be able to feel confident and welcome to show what they can bring into tech roles.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Make technology more accessible to girls from a very early age. We’ve seen LEGO and Barbie introduce dolls and figures that dispel the myth that STEM is just for boys. I’d love to see more of that.

Both parents and teachers have a role to play in changing the narrative. Girls from a young age need to understand that they can be equally qualified and skilled to work in a tech role and they can offer a lot of value to the sector.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Currently women only make up 15% of crypto users but as more artists enter the NFT industry, communities such as Women of Crypto Art have created a space for females to come together and share their ideas, which is fantastic to see. I think it is important to have that positive encouragement from other women and to build each other up.

Networking events such as the NFT event held in New York last month are also a great way for women in tech to connect and gain advice.