Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project Profile – Veronica Arreola


Photo Credit: Veronica Arreola

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Veronica Arreola, founder of VivaLaFeminista.com.

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I was using AOL Instant Messenger & Yahoo Messenger back in the late 1990s. I started on Facebook in 2005.

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

It has allowed me to amplify my voice in relation to the issues I work on, especially my professional work. I think that comes from being able to connect to others who are concerned about the lack of girls and women in science and engineering careers.

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?

Social media has allowed me to connect to far more people than I could have in person. My passion for getting girls engaged in science and engineering is one of the things people remember about me. This is where conversations start, then I can connect to gender expectations, leadership, self esteem and on and on. Sometimes in a quick Twitter chat!

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?

I think you got them!

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

Advocate, curator, educator, mentor, promoter, social do gooder, and thought leader

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

To honor my role as a leader and not abuse it. One quickly learns how swift your word can spread, so it better be golden!

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

Right now I’m focusing on completing my PhD. studies. I’m in maintenance mode for my digital leadership.

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

Mamita Mala. She is so honest with her views on everything including her own life. She doesn’t reveal everything, but when she discusses her life, it’s raw. She takes the same rawness to her discussion of politics and public policy.

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

  • Be yourself. Don’t try to fit a mold. Just because you have a brand doesn’t mean you have to act like a brand.
  • With power and influence comes responsibility. Be true to your readers. In other words, don’t sell them out.
  • Have fun! While it can be a job, you still need to have fun.
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