Digital Sisterhood Network Lean In Circle Update


Greetings Digital Sisters!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we thought we would give you an update on the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) Lean In Circle that DSN founder Ananda Leeke launched as a part of Digital Sisterhood Month in December 2013. Before we dive into the update, we thought you might like to know what inspired Leeke to “lean in” and create the Circle.

BlogHer interview with Sheryl Sandberg

BlogHer interview with Sheryl Sandberg

She read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, over the course of one weekend last year. She found Sandberg’s book filled with several golden nuggets of wisdom she could use in her life and share with other women. Reading the book inspired her to write and submit a case study entitled “Lean In and Listen to Yourself” for the Hot Mommas Project that was included in her book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

Several months later, she attended the 9th Annual BlogHer Conference and listened to Sandberg’s interview with Lisa Stone, BlogHer Co-Founder and COO. Her key takeaways from the interview included:

  • Believe in yourself.
  • I am unapologetically a feminist (inspired by Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments and one of my virtual mentors from the 1990s).
  • Reach for any ambition.
  • Ask yourself what would you do if you weren’t afraid, and then reach for those ambitions.

At the end of the interview, Sandberg challenged audience members to write what they would do if they weren’t afraid on paper signs her LeanIn.org provided, take photos with the signs, and tweet and post the photos on LeanIn.org Tumblr. Check out the statements Leeke wrote below.

Ananda Leeke at BlogHer 2013 Conference with her Lean In statement

Ananda Leeke at BlogHer 2013 Conference with her Lean In statement

Writing these statements helped her get clear on what she really wanted to do with her passion, gifts, energy, and time. That experience inspired her to establish the DSN Lean In Circle as a support group for Washington, D.C. area women seeking greater accountability on their dreams and goals in 2014.

Launch of DSN Lean In Circle at Teaism in DC, December 2013

Launch of DSN Lean In Circle at Teaism in DC, December 2013

The kickoff meetup for the Circle was held on December 15 , 2013, at Teaism, a woman-owned tea café. Seven women attended the meetup. As they sipped tea and ate Asian-inspired food, they discussed their reasons for joining the Circle, Lean In experiences, 2014 goals, and expectations for the Circle. At the end of the meetup, the group selected their 2014 meeting dates, established its January discussion topic, and agreed to invite a small group of women to join the group in January with the caveat that it would be closed to new members after the next meeting.

During the January meeting at The Mediterranean Spot, a café owned by a wife and husband team, two new members joined the Circle. Members gave updates on their 2013 top accomplishments and challenges, discussed their 2014 goals and accountability needs, reviewed a list of education meeting topics, finalized 2014 meeting dates, agreed to create a Facebook private group since most members were not using the Mighty Bell web site, and decided to post Facebook group status updates about their goals, challenges, success news, and requests for assistance on Thursdays.

The group returned to The Mediterranean Spot for its February meeting. Challenges and how to overcome them were the main topics of discussion. Group members listened to each other and provided constructive feedback and resources for each member’s challenges.

Judyth Weathers, Ameriprise Financial Advisor

Judyth Weathers, Ameriprise Financial Advisor

The March meeting will be held this weekend. It will feature Judyth Weathers, an Ameriprise Financial Advisor, as the education speaker. Weathers will give a talk on “Financial Wellness for Women.”

PS: Read Lisa Bonos’ Washington Post article, “A year after ‘Lean In,’ these are  Sheryl Sandberg’s truest believers.” It features a quote by Leeke.

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