June 18 DC Event: Digital Sisterhood Book Signing/June DSN Meet Up


Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Calling DC/MD/VA Digital Sisters!

Join Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke for her Digital Sisterhood book signing on June 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Lettie Gooch, 1517 U Street, NW in Washington, DC. The book signing event is also serving as the June DSN Meet Up. Click here to learn more about her book and to register for the event.

If you are unable to attend, you can purchase the book on Amazon for Kindle or as a paperback. It is a great summer read!

Thank you for the support!

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.

Happy March, Women’s History Month & IWD Day: Finding Your Digital Tribes


Empowerista Digital Sisters of the Year Photo Collage

Empowerista Digital Sisters of the Year Photo Collage

Happy March, Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day Digital Sisters!

This month, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is celebrating the theme, “Finding Your Digital Tribes.” The phrase “Digital Tribes” refers to online communities that empower you. What online communities empower you?

Today, we would like to introduce you to Empowerista, one of the Digital Sisterhood Leadership archetypes. An Empowerista is a woman who creates and curates content, shares information and experiences, connects with others and establishes positive relationships, and builds and participates in communities that empower her and others.

Badge Design by Dariela Cruz

Badge Design by Dariela Cruz

During Digital Sisterhood Month 2012 and 2013, the women listed below were named Empowerista Digital Sisters of the Year. Take a few minutes to learn about them. They are great Empowerista virtual mentors.

2012 Digital Sisters of the Year

2013 Digital Sisters of the Year

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Visit Amazon.com to read about and purchase Ananda Leeke’s Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available for Kindle and as a paperback). The book includes a list of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Digital Sisters of the Year. It also features an appendix that helps you explore and identify Empowerista and the six other Digital Sisterhood Leadership Archetypes. The interactive exercises encourage you to journal your thoughts in the book’s notes section.

Photo Credit: State.gov

Photo Credit: State.gov

PS: Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 by participating in the U.S. Department of State’s #WeAreCourage campaign. Visit Instagram or Twitter and post a photo of your woman of courage with the hashtag #WeAreCourage.

Happy February: “Tapping Into the Magic of Your Heart”


Happy February Digital Sisters!

This month, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is celebrating the theme, “Tapping into the Magic of Your Heart.” Click here and listen to DSN founder Ananda Leeke introduce the theme and share her poem, “Loving Me” (published in her book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery).

The podcast also includes a breathing exercise that is intended to help you relax, become still, and reconnect with your heart. What does tapping into the magic of your heart mean to you?

Photo Collage of Enchantista Digital Sisters of the Year

Photo Collage of Enchantista Digital Sisters of the Year

Today, we would like to introduce you to Enchantista, one of the Digital Sisterhood Leadership archetypes. An Enchantista is a woman who taps into the magic of her spirit as she focuses her energy, opens her heart, trusts her intuition, embraces her fears, and shares her gifts in service to others. Click here to listen to a short podcast that explores the meaning of an Enchantista.DSoftheyear300 During Digital Sisterhood Month 2012 and 2013, the women listed below were named Enchantista Digital Sisters of the Year. Take a few minutes to learn about them. They are great Enchantista virtual mentors.

2012 Digital Sisters of the Year

2013 Digital Sisters of the Year

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Visit Amazon.com to read about and purchase Ananda Leeke’s Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available for Kindle and as a paperback). The book includes a list of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Digital Sisters of the Year. It also features an appendix that helps you explore and identify Enchantista and the six other Digital Sisterhood Leadership Archetypes. The interactive exercises encourage you to journal your thoughts in the book’s notes section.

Happy New Year: Tips on Creating A Digital Wellness Plan


Happy New Year and Happy Digital Sisterhood Wednesday!

This month, the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is focused on the topic, “Creating Your Digital Wellness Plan.” In an effort to help you incorporate more digital wellness moments in your life, we have included an excerpt from Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon as a Kindle download and a paperback book). The excerpt provides tips on how to create your own digital wellness plan. We hope you find these resources helpful. Please be sure to visit the DSN web site tomorrow for a blog post about living as a Flowista, a woman who unplugs from her digital devices from time to time.

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Cover Art by Dariela Cruz

Excerpt from Appendix C of Digital Sisterhood by Ananda Leeke –  Copyright 2013 by Madelyn C. Leeke.

 
Creating Your Digital Wellness Plan
A digital wellness plan is a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, and using time management tools (HootSuite, TweetDeck, and an editorial calendar) to schedule your blog and social media posts.
TIP 1: BREATHE!
 
  • Before you begin thinking about your digital wellness plan, find a comfortable seated position in your chair. Come to the edge of your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. If you are wearing glasses or shoes, take them off to relax. Create hip width distance in between your legs. Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale it through your mouth. Notice how you feel. Now do it SEVEN more times.
  • When you breathe intentionally and deeply, you invite yourself into the present moment.  The more you breathe intentionally and deeply, the more open you become to PEACE.  When you have PEACE, you are free to IMAGINE. Your imagination helps you DREAM. Your dreams help you CREATE and INSPIRE others in your blog, business, career, and family.
  • Four Takeaways from Breathing: Breathing creates Peace. Peace helps you Imagine. Your imaginations helps you Dream. Your dreams help you Create and Inspire.
  • Breathing Exercise: Take SEVEN deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth to release any stress or pause any thoughts or to do lists you carried with you into this moment.
TIP 2: BREATHE AND WRITE WHY YOU NEED TO PRACTICE SELF CARE IN YOUR DIGITAL LIFE.
  • Take SEVEN deep breaths. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Ask yourself why you need to practice self-care in your digital life. Use the next 10 to 20 minutes (or more if you need it) and a piece of paper, journal, smartphone, iPad, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to write or type your response to the following writing prompt: “I need to practice self care in my digital life because _________________ (fill in the blank).”
TIP 3: BREATHE AND WRITE WHAT YOU NEED TO PRACTICE SELF CARE IN YOUR DIGITAL LIFE.
  • Take SEVEN deep breaths. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Ask yourself what you need in your digital life to practice self care. Use the next 10 to 20 minutes (or more if you need it) and a piece of paper, journal, smartphone, iPad, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to write or type your response to the following writing prompt: “To practice self care in my digital life I need _______ (fill in the blank).”
  • Feel free to include the amount of time you need on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis to unplug. Consider taking sabbaticals or vacations from your digital life, too!
  • Share the types of activities you can do to rest, relax, and recharge.
  • Identify one or two people in your life that you can ask to be your accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will gently remind you to practice self care in your digital life.
  • If you can, give yourself a start date for launching your digital wellness plan.
Just in case you need more suggestions for creating mini unplug moments, I have included a list of my favorites below:
  • Before you get out of bed, incorporate breathing exercises into your morning routine by taking SEVEN deep breaths. Place your hand on your heart as you inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Establish FIVE minutes of “soothing your soul time” at the end of your day. UNPLUG from your electronic devices. Start with playing your favorite music. As you listen to the music, take SEVEN deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, release any thoughts, stress, to do list items, or emotions that may prevent you from being in the present moment.
  • While you’re working during the day, UNPLUG from your electronic devices and take a THREE minute break by inhaling and exhaling through your nose three times.
  • During your morning and evening commutes, UNPLUG from your digital devices and take FIVE deep breaths (inhale and exhale through your  nose) before you turn your car or motorcycle/scooter, start to bike, or when you sit down on public transportation.
  • Before answering your phone, take a deep breath (inhale and exhale through your nose).
My Final Thoughts
Remember to be patient with yourself as you make changes in your digital life. Take baby steps. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small or big they are. Enjoy your digital wellness journey!

Join @DigitalSisterhd & Ananda Leeke for 10/23 #DigitalSisterhood Book Twitter Chat at 9pm EST


Happy Digital Sisterhood Wednesday!

Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is launching the #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Question of the Day (QOTD). It is based on Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. Many thanks to our digital sisters Julie Diaz Asper and Xina Eiland for brainstorming the idea.

Today’s QOTD is: Who are the digital sisters that have influenced you the most?

Ananda Leeke and her mother, Theresa B. Leeke

Ananda Leeke and her mother, Theresa B. Leeke

This morning, Ananda shared an Instagram photo of her digital sister. Guess who it is?

Her mother, Theresa B. Leeke. Click here to read how her mother has influenced her digital journey and life. Listen to the audio blog too.

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

Photo Credit: Twitter.com

Also, join Ananda for the #DigitalSisterhood Book Twitter Chat and a deeper discussion about this topic tonight from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST. Follow @digitalsisterhd and use #DigitalSisterhood to participate in the conversation. HootSuite.com, Tweetchat,com, and Tweetgrid.com are great tools for tracking the discussion.

9781491706398_COVER_FQA.inddYou can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.

Women Are Talking About The Power of Digital Sisterhood in October & November


Logo by Dariela Cruz

Logo by Dariela Cruz

9781491706398_COVER_FQA.inddWith the release of Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon), women are talking about the power of Digital Sisterhood online and offline this month. In Chapter 14 of Digital Sisterhood, Ananda writes,

“Digital Sisterhood is the feminine currency women use to create relationship wealth through the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. The relationship wealth of digital sisterhood is based on what women care about and their shared interests and experiences. This wealth supports women as they stand in their own power and reclaim themselves online and offline. When they do so, they move with a power not seen before. It is rooted in women being fully,

P – Present when they

O – Own their lives as

W – Women who believe they have

E – Everything they need to live out their

R – Revolution of authenticity.

When all women know their investment in themselves and each other, they will yield a high return!”

What do you think about her definition?

What is your definition of Digital Sisterhood?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Check out the list of upcoming events sponsored by DSN, 85 Broads Boston, Everywhere, Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon and Art of Genius Creative Technology Series below that women are participating in to discuss, explore, and learn about the power of Digital Sisterhood.

 

CelebrateDS300

SPECIAL NOTE: Digital Sisterhood Month (#DSMonth), the fourth annual celebration of women in social media and tech, will be held December 1 through December 31. This year’s theme is “Fierce Living: Too Bold for Boundaries.” During #DSMonth, DSN will announce the 2013 Digital Sisters of the Year, a dynamic group of 100 digital diva leaders known as the “Digital Sisterhood 100.”

Day #11 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign: Read Chapter 14 Excerpt


Logo by Dariela Cruz

Logo by Dariela Cruz

Happy Friday!

It’s the final day of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 14 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 14 is Empowerista Declares Her Digital Sisterhood Manifesto. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley - www.leighmosley.com

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley – http://www.leighmosley.com

Chapter Fourteen: Empowerista Declares Her Digital Sisterhood Manifesto

“A manifesto is a bold and powerful public declaration of what you stand for. It’s a catalyst to step up to the platform of your innermost truth. It’s a call to action of how you want to sculpt your words and efforts for the betterment of humankind.” Sianna C. Sherman, founder of ManifestoMovement.com, poet, and yoga teacher

Right after the Blogalicious Weekend ended in 2010, I sat with my PR coach Xina eating lunch and chatting about our conference takeaways in the poolside café at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. One of my greatest takeaways was interviewing conference attendees about their definition of digital sisterhood and realizing how much they embraced, identified with, and adored the phrase. The other takeaway was learning how Twitter conversations that use hashtags and are scheduled on a weekly basis help build community, influence, and relationships during a keynote presentation given by James Andrews, founder of SocialPeople.tv.

I told Xina how Andrews’ presentation convinced me to launch #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday, a weekly Twitter celebration that would use the Friday Follow format to give women in social media an opportunity to build and strengthen their communities. She suggested I make a video about it. So I gave her my camera and we spontaneously recorded a short video that invited women to participate in #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday by tweeting other women and sharing information about their blogs, businesses, campaigns, causes, creativity, dreams, expertise, experiences, events, lessons learned, and links to social media and web sites. The next day I reserved and paid for Digital Sisterhood’s domain name and registered it on Twitter. My Sisterhood the Blog web site and radio show were renamed to reflect this change.

October 13, 2010, marked the launch of the first #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Twitter celebration. I had no idea if women would embrace it. It was something bigger than me. It felt like I was called to do it. So I stepped up and did it without a real plan or expectation for what would come next. It was organic and fluid. Something directed from my innermost truth. And then it happened. My Blogalicious sisters jumped on board and began tweeting and retweeting each other. They breathed life into what my intuition was guiding me to do.

What is Digital Sisterhood?

As the weeks passed by and more women participated in the Twitter celebrations, I began to journal about the meaning of digital sisterhood. I reread blog posts I wrote and notes I made about conferences, events, and meet ups I attended. I watched video interviews and listened to podcasts and radio interviews featuring women bloggers I met. The end result was a statement that echoed my feelings about the power of women in the digital age:

Digital Sisterhood is the feminine currency women use to create relationship wealth through the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. The relationship wealth of digital sisterhood is based on what women care about and their shared interests and experiences. This wealth supports women as they stand in their own power and reclaim themselves online and offline. When they do so, they move with a power not seen before. It is rooted in women being fully,

P – Present when they

O – Own their lives as

W – Women who believe they have

E – Everything they need to live out their

R – Revolution of authenticity.

When all women know their investment in themselves and each other, they will yield a high return!

This statement became my manifesto, a catalyst for me to embrace my calling: celebrating women in social media. It also transformed me into an Empowerista, a woman who creates and curates content, shares information and experiences, connects with others and establishes positive relationships, and builds and participates in communities that empower her and others.

Digital Sisterhood Month

Digital Sisterhood Month developed as a result of women asking me what I was going to do next with the #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Twitter celebrations. I didn’t have an immediate response and was not looking to develop another project. However, my intuition stepped in once again and whispered, “host a month-long celebration that women can participate in annually.” I tried to ignore my inner voice, but it kept getting louder. Just when I was ready to run for the hills, my inner voice reminded me of my manifesto. I took a deep breath, did some yoga, gave myself some Reiki healing touch, sat in meditation, and said a prayer of surrender.

Guidance on what to do began to sprinkle itself into my daily activities. It helped me develop a schedule of online events including blog posts, Digital Sisterhood Radio interviews with women thought leaders, suggestions on how women could celebrate with their online and offline networks, Twitter chats for #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays, giveaways, and online yoga classes. Offline events for D.C. area women including a writers’ meet up at a woman-owned tea café, field trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and yoga class field trips to woman-owned studios were held. In addition, Shameeka Ayers, an African American woman, wife, mother, and Chief Lifestyle Officer of The Broke Socialite, was selected as the Digital Sister of the Year because of her achievements and community building efforts as a blogger, entrepreneur, and founder of lavish!, the first unconference for lifestyle social networkers.

Digital Sisterhood Network

One of the most popular questions I received during the first Digital Sisterhood Month celebration centered on my plans for 2011. I honestly didn’t have any until I realized how appreciative women in the digital space were for Digital Sisterhood Month. So I said another prayer of surrender and waited for my guidance. When it came, it showed up as the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN), a media channel that promotes digital sisterhood as a self-care, self-discovery, and social justice movement for women in social media. Once again, I had no idea what this meant or entailed. I followed my intuition and went with the flow of the year which produced a series of initiatives.

9781491706398_COVER_FQA.indd

You can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.

If you are in Washington, D.C. on October 19, please plan to attend Ananda’s author talk and book reading from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Green Line Metro Station). Click here to register for the event. See you on October 19th!

Day #10 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign: Read Chapter 13 Excerpt About Blogalicious


Beblogalicious.com logo

Beblogalicious.com logo

Happy Thursday!

It’s Day #10 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 13 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 13 is Making It Personal with Blogalicious’ Passion. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Stacey Ferguson

Photo Credit: Stacey Ferguson

Chapter Thirteen: Making It Personal with Blogalicious’ Passion

“Being Blogalicious means to be genuinely passionate about your relationships, your work and your passions, rooted in social media, and to live that passion.” Stacey Ferguson a/k/a Justice Fergie, Blogalicious co-founder and chief curator

 

Something spectacular in the world of social media happened on October 9-11, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the Blogalicious Weekend, the inaugural conference created to celebrate diversity in the blogosphere. The conference attracted women bloggers of color and other interested women and men.

The W.O.W. Factor

The 2009 conference theme was “Your WOW Factor” which referred to the unique qualities that distinguish each woman blogger in the social media market. In a post conference article I wrote for my Examiner.com column, I transformed WOW into an acronym:

Women Owning Who they are through the content, connections, communities, and commerce they create as they share experiences, insights, opinions, humor, creativity, expertise, and information. In short, they represent 21st century sisterhood.”

The conference kicked off with a Friday night of fun that included a welcome cocktail reception sponsored by “So In Style” by Barbie and Pine Sol. During the reception, I had an opportunity to meet and chat with the Migdalia Rivera of Ms. Latina blog, Nirasha Jaganath of Mommy Niri, Yakini Etheridge of The Prissy Mommy Chronicles blog, Renee Ross of Cutie Booty Cakes blog, Thien Kim of I’m Not the Nanny blog, and PR professional Xina Eiland. Chatting with these women helped me quickly recognize that Blogalicious was more than a conference. It was a movement comprised of a bold new breed of brilliant and beautifully different women bloggers.

The next two days of the conference were spent attending sessions that discussed social media basics, taking your blog to the next level, the possibilities and pitfalls of being on the Internet, the art of small business blogging, marketing to women of color, hot social media trends, secrets to a successful blog, and blog-life balance. I was able to teach an office yoga session for social media users. The feedback I received from several attendees including Boni Candelario of CoachMUp.com encouraged me to approach Maria Bailey, founder of MomTV, about hosting a yoga class on her online network, during the conference. She welcomed my proposal and later approved it for launch a month after the conference.

Throughout the conference, I used my flip video camera to conduct interviews with women bloggers and speakers including my digital diva shero, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, founder of NiaOnline.com. When I returned home, I posted the videos on my YouTube channel and shared them with the Blogalicious community on Facebook and Twitter. I also launched a Blogalicious interview series on my Sisterhood the Blog radio show that featured many of the conference attendees and speakers. These efforts helped me give back to and truly embrace the Blogalicious community as my own.

Ananda & Xina @ Blogalicious 2010 Open Mic Luncheon - Photo Credit: Carol Cain

Ananda & Xina @ Blogalicious 2010 Open Mic Luncheon – Photo Credit: Carol Cain

Making It Personal

During the opening reception, I spent a lot of time sipping cocktails and chatting with Xina. We learned we were both born in Michigan and currently living in the D.C. metropolitan area. Throughout the conference, we reconnected with each other and other women like “WhimsiGal” founder of Whimsicard, LLC from the D.C. area. When we returned home, we used Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay in touch. We also discussed our Blogalicious experiences on my Sisterhood the Blog radio show.

And then it happened. We reached out by telephone and agreed to meet face-to-face in D.C. Our first meeting occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the U Street Café in December 2009. Xina, “WhimsiGal,” and I sat at a table for a few hours discussing our lives, life goals, ways we could support each other, and ideas for a local Blogalicious meet up. That one conversation paved the way for our Blogalicious D.C. community building efforts.

Together, we were able to help Blogalicious co-founder Stacey Ferguson organize two D.C. meet ups in February and April 2010.  Xina played a major role in securing space and media coverage, promoting the events on Facebook and Twitter, identifying speakers and sponsors, developing the agenda, and obtaining in-kind donations for both events. I served as panel moderator for the April meet up.

In addition to supporting the Blogalicious D.C. community, we also made a commitment to support each other and our business goals as accountability partners and peer mentors. We launched our commitment with a breakfast meeting at Busboys and Poets, a popular D.C. hangout, in January 2010. Seated on comfy chairs with herbal tea and delicious breakfast items to keep us company, we shared our expertise. Xina became my PR coach. She convinced me to follow her instructions on branding for my books, artwork, yoga practice, speaking and sponsorship opportunities, and coaching services. I became her creativity coach and helped her develop a social media plan to support her intention to blog and learn more about social media tools.

9781491706398_COVER_FQA.indd

You can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.

If you are in Washington, D.C. on October 19, please plan to attend Ananda’s author talk and book reading from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Green Line Metro Station). Click here to register for the event. See you on October 19th!

Day #9 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign: Read Chapter 12 Excerpt


DSN_LLL150

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday!

Today, Digital Sisterhood Network DSN) is celebrating the fourth anniversary of #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday on Twitter. DSN launched the weekly celebration of women in social media and tech on October 13. 2010. Click here to read about the launch. Watch the video too!

It’s Day #9 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog post features an excerpt from Chapter 12 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 12 is BlogHer Conferences Rocked My Digital World. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: BlogHer.com

Photo Credit: BlogHer.com

Chapter Twelve: BlogHer Conferences Rocked My Digital World (Copyright 2013 by Madelyn C. Leeke)

“The story of BlogHer is about a lot of things: it’s a narrative about women, blogs, and influence, a story about the rise of social media, and even a commentary on how social technologies are shifting the balance of power in the media industry. But above all, BlogHer portended the wave of women that would flock to social media and technology shortly thereafter.” Jessica Faye Carter, author of The Coming Wave: Exploring Women, Innovation, and Social Technology and Double Outsiders

 

The first time I heard about BlogHer was on Myspace in 2006. One of my Myspace friends posted a link about it. My Internet geek curiosity drew me in and forced me to click on the link. What I discovered was women who flocked to social media and technology to connect and build community for the same reasons I spent time hanging out online with women I met through iVillages in the 1990s and NiaOnline.com and Netnoir.com’s Women’s Channel in the early 2000s. To be honest, I made that one visit and did not return until two years later.

Here’s what happened that brought me back to BlogHer in 2008. While I was attending the first Blogging While Brown conference, I met BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page. We had several conversations about the BlogHer community and conferences. Page encouraged me to revisit the site and set up a profile page with a short bio and photo. I took her advice and spent my first year in the BlogHer community following the 2008 Presidential election campaign. I enjoyed reading First Lady Michelle Obama’s blog posts and other politically inspired posts written by BlogHer members.

My second year was very different. That’s when my full blown blog-affair with BlogHer began. It was born during the Fem 2.0 conference. I attended a session that featured Page as a panelist. We chatted briefly after the session about the value and benefits of attending the BlogHer conference. Our chat was the reason I registered for the conference a week later.

 

The BlogHer 2009 conference that was held in Chicago exposed me to a new world of women bloggers. I interviewed many of them with my flip video camera. I visited the Geek Labs and learned new technical skills to support my video blogging, podcasting, and community building strategies for my Talkshoe.com podcast and lifestyle social networking sites on Ning.com. I gained many tips during the sessions that discussed how to own your expertise and transform your blog into a book. I expanded my network through conversations with Deb Rox, author of Five Ways to Blank Your Blog, That Black Girl site founder Corynne Corbett, and SheWrites.com founder Kamy Wicoff. These women became peer mentors. Rox’s comments made during a session on transforming your blog into a book lit a fire underneath my creative feet and provided many tips I later used when turning my author blog posts into a creative memoir. After Corbett participated in the Voices of the Year by reading her blog post about First Lady Michelle Obama, she spent time sharing with me how she was using her blog, online community, Internet radio show, social media platforms, and speaking opportunities to build her brand. She also gave me tips on how to develop and improve my brand. While I was sitting next to Wicoff in a session, she pulled out her laptop and gave me a tutorial on how to use SheWrites.com. She also shared blogging and publishing resources, convinced me to become an active member, and encouraged me to host local She Writes meet ups in D.C. as a way to build community and network with other women writers. The beautiful thing about these women and the connections we made is that they still exist today!

When it came time to register for the BlogHer 2010 conference, I wasted no time. I headed to New York City for another great experience. I attended the White House Project, a one-day pre-conference seminar, and learned how women could use their online presence to affect political change. Throughout the conference, I used my smartphone and Cinchcast to interview a diverse group of women bloggers I met during sessions. Many agreed to participate in my Talkshoe.com interview series. Right before the conference ended, I met BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone in the Expo Hall. We talked about the importance of self-care in the blogger community. Stone encouraged me to submit a blogger wellness session proposal for the next conference.

Me & My BlogHer 11 Roomie Lilian Chang

Me & My BlogHer 11 Roomie Lilian Chang

 

Me conducting my Blogger Wellness session at BlogHer 11

Me conducting my Blogger Wellness session at BlogHer 11

 

By the time 2010 ended, I submitted my blogger wellness session proposal for the 2011 conference. Having it accepted was one of the things that made BlogHer 2011 mega special. It was also a trip of several firsts. My first trip to San Diego. My first time as a speaker for two sessions, Blogger Wellness and Peer Mentoring. My first time using the BlogHer conference board to find my hotel roommate, Lilian Chang, founder of the Chinese Grandma blog. My first time participating in an unplugging workshop facilitated by Gwen Bell, yoga teacher and author of Digital Warriorship.

The BlogHer 2011 conference inspired me to step up my game and submit another series of session proposals for the 2012 conference. Once again, BlogHer selected me to speak. There was a slight twist to the invitation. I was asked to moderate a Podcasting 101 Panel with two digital media rock stars, Jasmin Singer and Deborah Shane. I never would have proposed that topic, however, the BlogHer team saw something I could not see: my thought leadership as a podcaster and Internet radio host.

President Obama speaking at BlogHer 12

President Obama speaking at BlogHer 12

My BlogHer 12 Roomie Arnebya Herdon reading her Voices of the Year blog

My BlogHer 12 Roomie Arnebya Herdon reading her Voices of the Year blog

 

 

BlogHer 12 Podcasting Panel Photo Collage

BlogHer 12 Podcasting Panel Photo Collage

Incroyable (incredible in French) is the best word to describe BlogHer 2012. First, I was able to see President Obama’s live address. Second, I roomed with Arnebya Herndon, founder of What Now and Why blog, who rocked the Voices of the Year when she read her blog post about Trayvon Martin. Third, I gained tremendous insights and inspiration during the luncheon keynotes featuring Katie Couric and Martha Stewart, and the sessions on the brand-blogger connection, how to price and value your services, and travel philanthropy. Fourth, I attended the first-ever BlogHer fashion show that featured women bloggers. Fifth, I had an amazing time celebrating with mis hermanas at the Social Fiesta party sponsored by Latinos in Social Media. Sixth, I spoke about the impact the BlogHer and Blogalicious conferences have had on my digital life during the Brunchalicious event.

 

A few days after I returned home from the conference, I woke up with a deep sense of gratitude for the things the BlogHer team and community have done and continue to do for women. I reflected on how I am a direct beneficiary of their efforts. I smiled at how much I have been able to dream and do as a result of the lessons learned, skills developed, connections I have made, and speaking opportunities I have had. So I wrote an email to the BlogHer co-founders and team members that stated how much I valued what they do to build and nurture its ever-growing and evolving community. I acknowledged how hard it is for them to build a movement, community, business, and economy. I reminded them because they invest in me I invest in them, and we are ONE!

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You can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.

If you are in Washington, D.C. on October 19, please plan to attend Ananda’s author talk and book reading from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Green Line Metro Station). Click here to register for the event. See you on October 19th!