Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke and Nicole met via Women for Change’s online community created by Niambi Jarvis, founder of Hiyaah Power. They met in person during a Fabulous Women Business Owners DC meeting in 2010. They reconnected over breakfast with Marie Isabel Laurion at Teaism. Their breakfast meeting led to a podcast and Digital Sisterhood Radio interview that promoted Vision Quest Retreats’ Taking your Dreams from Design to Destiny: The Next Level Conference. Nicole invited Ananda to speak at the Conference. Since then, they have supported each other online and offline.
Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview:
1) How can people find you online?
- Web Site/Blog: http://www.visionquestretreats.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/VisionQuestRetreats and www.facebook.com/WOBWs
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/successdoc
2) Why did you start using social media?
I started using social media to network for my business; Vision Quest Retreats, and as a platform to share my content. I also knew I could learn a lot from the women on the web.
3) What has social media allowed you to do in your life (personal, professional, business, nonprofit, community)?
It’s allowed me to connect with so many people but especially women who I would not have otherwise known. It’s also allowed me a place to host forums and build a community to bring women together since this is what I love to do. It really has opened avenues for me to amazing people and I love this since I work at home by myself.
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?
Hosting my Vision Quest Retreats and Women Owned Business Wednesdays forums has allowed me another space in which to facilitate discussions that uplift and inspire women to live their visions of success and to be able to better navigate the heroine’s journey. The online forums augment what I also do in “real life” when I have live events. The social media platforms also give women access to what we do at live events who can’t otherwise participate.
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: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (2013), 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 covered it!
6) What types of leadership roles do you play in social media?
Maybe I’m being egotistical but I think I play all of these roles to some extent; advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader.
7) What lessons have you learned as a leader in the digital space?
- Build it and they will come.
- You can find important members of your tribe in the digital space.
- Even though it’s digital it still takes time to build.
8) Do you have plans to expand your leadership roles in the digital space? If so, what are they?
I introduced a new character to the digital space. She’s a sort of comic heroine figure who captures the spirit of social media. I’m going to let her fly with whatever ideas come to her. I introduced her at my May 18, 2012 event called Reclaiming the Goddess that was held at International Visions Gallery in Washington, D.C.
9) Who are your favorite social media women leaders and why?
- Ananda Leeke – because of her determination and beautiful spirit
- Stacey Ferguson – for her great ideas and ability to get powerful women together
10) Share three ways women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand.
- Post content that represents their brand.
- Use the power to connect and support others.
- Be consistent and responsive to people.