Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj, co-founder of and According to Mags blog.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke met Melissa during the Podcasting 101 session at the BlogHer 2012 Conference in New York City. After the session, they chatted about Melissa’s podcast series. Ananda became an instant fan!


Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I began using social media in 2008 when we started our podcast, Night Light Stories. I started a Facebook page and then followed with a Twitter page.

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

Social media has allowed me to connect with other people who share the same interests. It also has given me opportunities to learn more about podcasting and blogging. I’ve been able to utilize social media to view professionals in this area and learn from their expertise.

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?

Since we have been producing the podcast for five years, we have helped others who are launching podcasts or thinking of starting one. We gave them tips on what we have learned through the years.  An example would be when we asked to interview the “Mommy Podcast” founders. We compared stories and shared our recording skills which helped to improve our podcasts. Everyone had something to share.

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?

Women are also trailblazers in social media. There are always new types of media or subjects to address. Women usually take a more sensitive subject and bring it into light with a little bit of sensitivity.

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

I am a storyteller, an educator, a creator, and an advocate for family time and providing positive learning to children.  We have built a community of listeners. I mentor my friends who are just starting out in the social media world. I promote myself and others who I find influential. You should always share other resources that are positive and useful. I think that by working together and supporting each other, that can help to build a strong sense of community.

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

I have learned that you are nothing without the support of others around you. Everyone out there has something to offer. You never know how you can help someone each day. Wen you do help someone, it makes you feel like you are contributing. You can’t do it all on your own and finding people who can share ideas is invaluable.

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

I would really like to be able to expand my leadership roles in the digital space. One thing I would like to do is apply to speak at conferences about podcasting or writing. I feel that after five years of experience of producing this podcast with my husband, we have some useful information and tips to share.

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

One of my favorite social media women leaders is Mur Lafferty, host of “I Should Be Writing” and the editor of Escape Pod (science fiction podcast). Mur is a writer who interviews other authors on her podcast in order to learn from them and share valuable writing and publishing tips with her listeners.

I also admire MommyCast founders Gretchen and Paige. They were one of the first groups of “mommy podcasters.” They interview the latest movies, products, and ideas for raising kids.

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

In the 21st century, women are providing a multi-model experience. This is a way to draw in a maximum amount listeners and readers. It will help make others to feel comfortable in communicating with you as a host if you are seen in writing, video, and audio.

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