Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kathryn Finney


Photo Credit: Kathryn Finney

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kathryn Finney, CEO of the TBF Group, LLC, founder of TheBudgetFashionista.com, author of How to Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to
Looking Fabulous for Less, and Editor-At-Large at BlogHer.

Photo Credit: DigitalunDivided.com

This year, Kathryn launched DigitalunDivided, a company that develops programs, projects and forward thinking initiatives that bridge the digital divide. On October 5 and 6, DigitalunDivided will host the FOCUS100 Symposium and Pitch BootCamp, a two-day event that connects thought leaders, tech start ups founded or co-founded by Black women, brand managers, and innovators in New York City. Majora Carter, founder MCG Consulting and co-founder of Startup Box: South BronxClick, will serve as the Symposium keynote speaker. Click here to learn more about event.

The Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is a proud media sponsor for FOCUS100. DSN founder Ananda Leeke is a FOCUS100 Advisory Board Member.

FUN FACTS: Ananda and Kathryn met for the first time during the BlogHer 12 conference in New York City. During the conference, Kathryn organized, styled, and MC’ed the first-ever BlogHer Fashion Show featuring women bloggers and pretty pooches. The fashion show was one of Ananda’s favorite events. 

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I kinda of stumbled into social media. I started using Twitter after speaking at SXSW in 2007. I was heading on a vacation to Europe and wanted a way to chat with The Budget Fashionista audience without having to lug around a laptop.

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

Social media has allowed me to chat with my audience directly. It’s also changed the way I access and consume information and news. I get a lot of my news via Twitter. In terms of Facebook, I use it to keep in contact with close friends and family and to share photos. It’s so much easier to upload photos to Facebook than to try and send them via email.

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 experience more organic forms of communications with a larger audience. For example, I’m mostly known for my work in the fashion and style space, but, as the CEO of a online media company, I have a variety of interests. Social media allowed me to reach out to other women in tech and build relationships that have helped me to launch the FOCUS100 symposium.

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 would also say we play the “connector” role. Whether it be connecting two people who have shared interests or connecting our readers with breaking news and knowledge.

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

I try to provide information that is useful to our audience as well as remain accessible and a connector.

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

I have learned to always, always, be yourself. This is a marathon, not a race we’re in and the only way you will be able to sustain yourself is by being true to yourself.

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

I am actively working on DigitalunDivided and the FOCUS100 Symposium, which is a two-day conference focused on helping 100 tech companies founded/co-founded by Black women receive angel investors, venture funding, and/or acquisition by the end of 2015.

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

There’s so many that it is truly hard to name just a few. Women are truly THE force behind the social world, both online and offline. Seven of the 10 most followed people on Twitter are women.

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

  • First, register for an account.
  • Second, ask yourself “who am I?”.
  • Third, Engage, Engage, Engage.
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