Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Deborah Shane

Photo Credit: Deborah Shane

Photo Credit: Deborah Shane

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Deborah Shane, a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Career Transition Author, Personal Branding Strategist, Media Host, Writer, and Speaker.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke and Deborah met while serving on the Podcasting 101 Panel at the BlogHer 2012 Conference in New York City. While working with Deborah to prepare for the panel discussion, Ananda became a huge fan of her work!  


Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview:

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I was an early adopter with using  email. I started seriously using social media in 2007 when I launched my consultancy and training company to build my community and reach.

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

Build communication bridges, communities and conversations about the issues and professional areas I advocate for and am passionate about.

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 am tapped and sought out for speaking, writing and community projects. I host a blog, but also write for several prominent blogs in my professional space, and host a weekly radio podcast that is now up to 94,000 downloads and pageviews, on BlogtalkRadio.

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 am seeing women in politics, government, medical, social issues, entertainment and philanthropy using social media to build reach and impact. We just heard and saw Martha Stewart, Katie Couric and Soledad OBrien at the Blogher 12 talk about their activities and how social media is a central driver of awareness.

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

I was named a Top 100 Small Business Champion for 2012 by!

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

Give, share, connect and receive and watch what happens! Niche communities of people are gathering, and finding each other to advance passion and causes!

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

I plan to continue to contribute and engage and know that more doors will open to serve and help.

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

There are so many great examples of women demonstrating leadership using social media. I am so grateful to see how it is advancing the impact women have today and will continue to have as the generations shift.

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

  • Blog and write about things you are passionate and knowledgeable about regularly.
  • Support and advocate for other people who you believe in, admire and want to emulate.
  • Connect and introduce great people to each other who have you in common and build your tribes!

Digital Sisterhood Radio Tips for Launching A Podcast or Internet Radio Show

NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years by Ananda Leeke (2012) 

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke

Podcasting represents a type of digital media that allows you to create audio content, organize it into an episodic series of audio files that can be subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer, lap top, netbook, tablet, or mobile device when it is convenient to the listener.

Podcasting is used to:

  • Generate conversations through storytelling, sharing information, and interviewing others.
  • Create, curate, and market content.
  • Advocate and promote causes and campaigns that promote social change, social good, social justice, and other issues.
  • Build and engage community.
  • Market and promote events, products, and services.
  • Develop thought leadership expertise and speaking skills.
  • Gather research and document best practices.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley

Podcasting entered Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke’s life as a content marketing strategy for her first novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One in 2007. When Leeke held her first online book party for Love’s Troubadours on Myspace, she used her radio experience as a volunteer calendar reader for WPFW 89.3 FM to develop a podcast series with Gcast, a free mobile software application. Her podcasts featured excerpts from her novel, reflections about her writing process, and event notices about book readings and author talks. The more she recorded and posted podcasts with her cellphone to her author blog and member pages on various social networking sites, the more connected and engaged she became with her audience. Through her active participation in Black Author Showcase social networking site, she learned about and BlogTalkRadio, web-based radio platforms, and was inspired to create two Talkshoe shows, BAP Living Radio and Go Green Sangha Radio, in 2008. That same year, she decided to strengthen her podcasting skills by attending Podcasting 101, a workshop taught by Fanshen Cox and Heidi Durrow, the founders of Mixed Chicks Chat, at the Blogging While Brown Conference. The workshop exposed Leeke to Utterli, a mobile micro-blogging tool that she began using to post weekly audio blogs about her creative adventures as an artist and an author. She also used Utterli to live blog and conduct interviews at events, meetups, and conferences. In 2009, she began using BlogTalkRadio and Cinchcast, a micro-blogging tool, to host author chats and to promote her book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. She also launched Digital Sisterhood Radio to document the accomplishments of women in social media and to discuss feminism online. To date, Cinchcast has become her favorite podcasting tool to use with her smartphone as she live blogs and conducts interviews at conferences, events, and meetups. Visit Ananda Leeke Cinchcast – and Digital Sisterhood Radio – (series will return in late 2012).

Are you ready to launch a podcast or Internet radio show? If yes, check out Leeke’s 14 tips for launching a podcast or Internet radio show below.

14 Tips for Launching a Podcast or Internet Radio Show

1) Listen to several podcasts and Internet radio shows to get an idea of how they are organized and hosted.

2) Take time to answer the why, what, how, who, and when podcasting questions.

  • Why do you want to launch a podcast?
  • What themes will your podcast focus on (general themes, episode themes, and guests)?
  • How will you host your podcast (podcasting platforms such as BlogTalkRadio,, and
  • Who is your audience (gender, age, ethnicity, geographical location, lifestyle choices, profession etc.)?
  • When will you launch your podcast and how often will it air (5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.)?

3) Create a name for your podcast that supports your brand (blog, web site, social media sites, book, products, and services).

4) Select a podcasting platform (i.e. BlogTalkRadio,, and that accommodates your schedule, finances, and technical skills.

5) Decide if your podcast will include audience participation with questions from a chat room, phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

6) Determine if you need a digital producer or assistant to help you manage the podcast (introduction, questions in chat room and from guests, live tweeting etc.). Select individuals who are reliable and are able to commit to your schedule.

7) Develop an episode schedule with themes, guests, and back up guests. Make sure your themes allow you to provide original content or present content in an original way.

8) Spend time making your podcasting site look visually stimulating with your logo or photo and a clear and concise description of the program’s themes, episodes, and guests.

9) Contact guests well in advance to schedule interviews. Use face-to-face meetings at events, a phone call, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, other social media sites, or email to make the initial contact. Follow up with an email that includes a brief introduction about your show (if they don’t know about it), detailed instructions on how to access the podcast, interview questions, additional information about other guests, your contact information, and a request for the guest’s contact information (web site, social media sites, and phone number). You may also want to ask the guest for a short bio (200 words or less) and a photo for promotion of the show in a blog post.

10) Promote your podcast on your web site, blog, video blog, and social media sites, and wherever your audience hangs out online. Schedule your notices in advance (post a full schedule in advance and monthly or weekly reminders).

11) Practice using your podcasting platform several times before your first show. Set up mock interviews with others to practice your interview and hosting skills. Record the shows and listen to them to learn how you can improve your skills. Ask others to listen to the recordings and provide feedback.

12) Know that your podcast will evolve over time. So be patient with yourself as you learn and grow.

13) Be yourself!

14) Have FUN!

PS: Guess what? Leeke will be moderating a Podcasting 101 Panel at BlogHer on August 3 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hilton New York in New York City. Her co-panelists are Deborah Shane and Jasmin Singer, two amazing women who rock the web with their Internet radio and podcasting skills. Click here for more details.

Check out the Podcasting 101 Pinterest Board for resources.