Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Brea Ellis


Photo Credit: Brea Ellis

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Brea Ellis,  a fourth generation native Washingtonian and founder of What I Wore: Tip to Toe, a personal style blog. Brea’s blog offers a glimpse into her life and closet. She is also an entrepreneur who offers her services as an Online Communications Consultant. She live tweets from events, sets up blogs, and much, much more!

Photo Credit: Fashion Night Out DC

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke and Brea have known each other since 1995. They met during the First Sunday meditation meetings for African American women hosted by Brea’s mother, Janis Ellis. Brea and Ananda reconnected during Fashion Night Out DC at Violet Boutique and spent the evening visiting boutiques in Adams Morgan. See the photo collages of their Fashion Night Out DC adventures below.

Brea inspired Ananda to relaunch her Tumblr blog as lifestyle blog, Ananda@16andUStreet: Lifestylista in Love with DC (soft launch on September 18). Guess what else? These ladies have decided to create an event partnership for two fashion, beauty and lifestyle-inspired events for Digital Sisterhood Month in December and several events in 2013. Look for more news in the coming weeks!

Fashion Night Out DC 2012 with Brea and Ananda in Adams Morgan

Fashion Night Out DC 2012 at Violet Boutique in Adams Morgan – Ananda and Kaarin

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media (blogging) in 2008 because I was living far from home in San Francisco and had just started a new job at Monster.com. My mom called and asked “How Was Your Day” (the name of my first blog on Tumblr) and wanted to know WHAT I WORE: tip to toe! (name of my current blog on Blogger.com) on my first day of work. I snapped a photo and emailed it to her but she couldn’t figure out how to open an attachment. So I continued snapping my outfits all week and posted them on a blog.

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

I’m currently employed as the Director of Social Media/Digital Media Analyst for a local Labor Union based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Blogging has allowed me to make some amazing like-minded fashion friends here in D.C.

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 am excited about leading the upcoming “Fashion Crawls” where I will partner with the Digital Sisterhood Network to lead Fashiontonians on a shopping tour of Washington, D.C.

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?

Women and their fashion often start the online conversation. Women are almost always the brand ambassadors just as they are typically the decision makers when it comes to household purchases. Sales people know if you get the women, you get the sale.

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

I am the connector; bringing together brands with potential customers and like-minded individuals with one another. I love to make “Twitroductions.”

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

I have learned to share, but do so with a purpose and a conscience…not everything you think is relevant to others or appropriate to share. Know your medium and your audience and you’ll never go wrong.

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

Yes, I am excited to expand my leadership role by hosting salons where Digital Sisters can come together and share IRL (In Real Life).

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

I love Bevy Smith (@bevysmith) for her ability to be a connector extraordinaire! I also love Whitney Stringer (@WhitneyStringer) for her supportive and humble attitude towards PR…and her amazing events!

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

  • Know your audience.
  • Know your medium (Facebook, Twitter, and blog)
  • Stay true to your voice.
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