Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Tomika DePriest

Photo Credit: Tomika DePriest

Photo Credit: Tomika DePriest

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Tomika DePriest, Director of Communications at Spelman College.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke and Tomika are both from Michigan. They met during Digital Doyennes: Wisdom from the Women who Lead in Social Media and Digital Innovation, an event sponsored by Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon and Women in Film and Television Atlanta in 2011. They reconnected during Spelman’s  Women of Color Leadership Conference in 2012. They continue to support each other online and offline. 


Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview:

1) How can people find you online?

2) When did you start using social media?

I started using social media in 2006.

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

Social media has allowed me to make global connections, get real-time feedback, and engage others in a cause.

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’ve used social media to leverage my leadership role by placing management of these tools under the operation of the Office of Communications at Spelman College.

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?

Spelman College faculty use social media as a teaching and learning engagement tool. Writing blogs, Twitter chats and YouTube video are just some examples.

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

I serve as the Team leader for the launch of the Interactive Unit in Spelman’s Office of Communications, which includes Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, a digital magazine titled Inside Spelman, a weekly e-mail newsletter titled Spelman Connection, and

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

To always be a student of field, but to not try to be all things to all people. It’s most important to place stakes where the majority of your primary constituents reside.

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

I plan to continue working with the Spelman team to keep the college on the cutting edge of technology as it relates to engaging constituents in the digital sphere.

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

Patricia Cesaire, Director of Social Media Strategy at Black Enterprise (BE) is one of my favorite social media women leaders because of the way she uses the platform to position BE’s brand as a go-to source of commentary for business, technology, and tech news and information.

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

  • Use it to blog daily tips or thoughts on a particular topic.
  • Use it to host 20-minute Twitter or Facebook chats on a timely topic.
  • Use it to generate focus group- type feedback on concepts, designs or marketing ideas.

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