Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Nichelle Stephens


Photo Credit: Nichelle Stephens

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Nichelle Stephens, Community Evangelist for DigitalunDivided.com, a company that develops programs, projects, and forward thinking initiatives that bridge the digital divide including the FOCUS100 Symposium and Pitch BootCamp (will be held in October 2012). Nichelle is the co-founder of Cupcakes Take The Cake, the most popular blog about cupcakes (click here to watch a video of her talking about cupcakes), and the founder of new lifestyle blog, CoolBlkPpl (launched in May 2012). In addition, she serves as an editor, event producer, publicist, and social media strategist. CNN, The Today Show, Martha Stewart, and The Food Network have featured her.

FUN FACTS: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke met Nichelle during the Blogging While Brown Conference held in Washington, D.C. During the conference, she introduced the blogging community to the NAACP Image Award winning Pepsi We Inspire, a branded lifestyle blog and community for African American women. She also spoke about the business of blogging. 

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I was on Friendster and MySpace back in 2005. I joined Facebook and Twitter in 2006, but didn’t really start using it until 2007.

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

Social media helped me get freelance social media gigs, speaking opportunities at conferences and universities, new friends, and quick answers to questions.

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 became the editor of Pepsi We Inspire via social media which led me to interact with a community of Black women. I am also the event organizer for my blog, Cupcakes Take The Cake, and I plan monthly offline events for the meetup group. I have set up Twitter chats to answer questions about baking.

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?

Social media women leaders support each other, motivate others, brag and praise others’ successes, and share useful information.

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

I connect people, promote others, and share good links.

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

Someone is always listening.

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

I aim to do more paid public speaking.

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

Jamilah Lemeiux @jamilahlemeiux is a straight talker.  Tayari Jones @tayari is generous with information for writers.

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

  • Share good information and links.
  • Listen before jumping into conversation.
  • Be your best you.
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