Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Bonibelle “Boni” Candelario

Photo Credit: Boni Candelario

Photo Credit: Boni Candelario

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Bonibelle “Boni” Candelario.

Congratulations to Boni on graduating from Quinnipiac University with a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership!

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media in 2007, but launched my blog in 2009.  I found it was a great way to meet new people in the focus areas that are meaningful to me.

3) What has social media allowed you to do in your life (personal, professional, business, nonprofit, community)?

Social media has allowed me to expand beyond my cubicle and job title and pursue the work that I’m passionate about and to meet “my people” who inspire me.  I’ve learned great skills that are now a hot commodity as many people turn to the web to interact.  I’ve created a following of loyal people and we help each other achieve our dreams.

4) In her 2011 Digital Women: from geeks to mainstream presentation that was given at the WIFT International Women Conference for Digital Women, Dr. Taly Weiss, a social psychologist and CEO/Founder of Trendspotting, concluded that “women are dominant digital users – they breathe and live digital.”  Dr. Weiss’ conclusion echoes BlogHer’s 2011 Social Media Matters Study findings.  They include 87 million women (18 to 76 years old) are now online, 69 million women use social media weekly, 80 million women use social media monthly, and 55 million women read blogs monthly. These facts illustrate the power and presence women have in the digital space. Now that’s Digital Sisterhood!

How has social media helped you carve out leadership roles as you interact online and offline?

I now trust my social media tribe for product endorsements more than TV or commercials.  Hearing a testimonial from a trusted blogger has more significance than watching a commercial that is seen by the masses.  The blogger gives me a customized commercial.  Bloggers represent my style, specific interests, and passions.  A national commercial can’t do that.  So I turn to the web to learn about products and to make a buying decision.  Social media has helped me establish myself as a subject matter expert.  I can dive into my field and get really specific about my topic of career development.  This is very valuable for those who are seeking information on my topic.

5) Social media has helped women become Digital Sisterhood Leaders, ambassadors of social expression who share what they are passionate about online.  In her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years (Fall 2012), Ananda Leeke, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network, writes, “Without even knowing it, women have become Digital Sisterhood Leaders as they use their social media platforms to advocate causes; to build communities; to create apps, art, books, businesses, products, publications, services, tools, and webisodes; to curate content; to educate and inform; to give voice to their thoughts as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and brand ambassadors; to share information and experiences; to explore and experiment with new technologies as early adopters and trendsetters; to engage in social good; to influence others with their lifestyles and personal interests; to inspire and motivate; to mentor; to network; to tell their personal stories; and to promote and celebrate the expertise, gifts, and talents of others.  Based on my online and offline interactions, I have identified 12 key leadership roles they play: advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader.”

What other types of leadership roles do women play in social media?

You have hit on the main ones! I can only think of one other one, which goes along the lines of influencer and that’s trendsetter.  We are setting the trend for communication.  First it was the static blog with the written word, now it’s online radio, vlogging, and group membership sites with a lot of interaction.  We are setting the trends for media right now.

6) What types of leadership roles do you play in social media?

I would say I am a curator and motivator, but more importantly a promoter.  I promote those products and people who I love so their services and touch other lives.  I take this very seriously and the love comes back to me twofold.

7) What lessons have you learned as a leader in the digital space?

I’ve learned to be thoughtful of what I say in the digital space.  Everything I do and say is reflective of my brand and my integrity.  If I had no purpose and just talked about any brand, retweeted anything, had a blog with no focus and tried to do everything, it would show loud and clear that I don’t know myself and that I’m running around confused.  No one wants to follow a confused person without a purpose.

8) Do you have plans to expand your leadership roles in the digital space? If so, what are they?

I would love to work with the next generation of women and to help them define their online brand early so they don’t create bad web karma such as pictures of them doing kegstands which later are seen by a prospective employer or worse.  They are capable of blowing our minds in what the web can do.  I would love to guide them to be respectful of the digital space, but also to know their power and make it work for them.

9) Who are your favorite social media women leaders and why?

I love love love Marie Forleo, Laura Roeder, Pam Perry, Ananda Leeke, Stacey Ferguson, Gabrielle Bernstein, Taryn Pisaneschi, and so many others.  They are my idols in how to be yourself and engage others.  They have great information products and fun videos. I can stay on their sites for hours.  Their content is deep and engaging.

10) Share three ways women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand.

  • Follow people whose personality match your friends and loved ones.  If you can see yourself being friends in real life (IRL), then they will touch your heart virtually.
  • Get focused about who you are and what you are about.  Stay true to yourself and don’t just jump on the bandwagon of a trend.  Authenticity is key to keeping your followers and building your brand.
  • Be generous to others. Promote other people who you love.  Don’t keep them a secret.  The Universe will return the favor!

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