AARP Decide.Create.Share Campaign Interview with Digital Sister Sylvia Wong Lewis


Photo Credit: Sylvia Wong Lewis

Photo Credit: Sylvia Wong Lewis

Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) recently had a chance to conduct a “Live Your Best” interview with Sylvia Wong Lewis (SWL), CEO and Founder of Narrative Network, a boutique PR business in New York City. Lewis serves as a Commissioner for the New York State Department of State and the New York Ethnic Community Examiner for Examiner.com. Her Narrative Network blog discuss art, culture, food, genealogy, gardening, lifestyle, music, and New York City neighborhoods. Her beautiful photography illustrates many of her blogs and posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. This year, the proud Smith College alumna received a Telly Bronze Award for creative excellence for her documentary production of “From Shanghai to Harlem,” an American migration and immigration story that portrays her mixed Chinese and Black family by exploring slavery, freedom, music, love, identity, and diversity. She also received the AVA Digital Award’s Gold Award for creativity and video editing in documentary production.

DSN’s interview features a discussion about Lewis’ participation in AARP’s Decide. Create. Share. Initiative’s 40 Day Pledge campaign. The Initiative is designed to help women do three things: 1) Decide what kind of future they want for themselves. 2) Create a long-term plan that will help them address their health, financial, legal, and home issues and achieve their goals. 3) Share their long-term plan with the important people in their lives. The 40 Day Pledge offers women an opportunity to make a commitment to complete a Living Longer, Living Smarter plan for their future. It covers four critical areas of women’s lives— home and community, health, finances, and wishes. For more information, follow AARP Decide.Create.Share. on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Sylvia Lewis

Photo Credit: Sylvia Lewis

DSN: What does living your best life mean to you?

SWL: Safeguarding my mind-body-soul connections. Also, it means focusing on five elements: 1) emotional health; 2) social health and friendships; 3) physical health – exercise; 4) career – doing/discovering fulfilling creative work; and 5) financial – managing investments and generating income. These elements are connected to “My Soul-Caribbean Rules” (Ways to Live Your Best Life).

  • Be self-sufficient: Be healthy, exercise, and get fresh air and sunshine. Know how to cook rice and beans. Know how to fish, catch, and prepare a chicken. Be able to entertain yourself — play a musical instrument, sing, write poetry, tell stories, dance, or act. Keep a survival kit including a jug of water, cash, flashlight, matches etc. Be prepared for a blackout, flood, or earthquake. Don’t run out of food—it’s bad luck. Be spiritual and inspired—which means in-spirit.
  • Hone People Skills: Don’t look at or answer your cell phone during meetings or with friends. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Be neat. Develop conversation skills, small talk, eye contact, and body language. Don’t gossip or tattle. Don’t say anything if it’s not nice. Save personal questions for later. Always be early—never late for appointments.
  • Keep Your Wits About Yourself (environment/location, sense of direction): Get the lay of the land, so you don’t get lost! Be happy and have fun. Laugh out loud. Cry. Be passionate.
  • Finances: Don’t go on welfare or be a welfare witch! Be thrifty. Do without until you can afford it. Never borrow or loan money to your relatives. If you can spare money, give it freely. Don’t hire your friends or relatives or rent to them either. Be kind. Be generous. Practice hospitality. If you can put up someone or provide a warm meal, do it.  Always have three jobs or multiple sources of income — journalist, consultant, chef, gardener, tour guide and executive assistant—are among my jobs. Always keep a money stash that no one knows about! Surround yourself with people who are smarter, more successful than you; and be with people who share the same or similar values.

DSN: How did you give yourself permission to live your best life?

SWL: When something bad happens, then we realize that we need to re-focus. I believe that happened to me at key points in my life (career changes, death of parents and a sibling, child’s illness, divorce, homelessness, domestic violence, job changes, working too many jobs, getting a raise/promotions, moving to five different cities, fame. and fortune, etc.).

At 60 plus years old, I have re-calibrated my life many times–my relationships, my health regimen, and lifestyle, how I spend my free time, and finances. But change was not easy. I was not always ready to listen or act on my inner voice’s urgings or intuition. I experienced everything–much joy and happiness and heartaches and disappointments too in my life. I resisted my inner voice in regard to safeguarding my mind, body, and soul connection for years. Then one day, I stopped! Maybe that’s the Pisces in me—capable of extremes!!!

Once I uncluttered my life, I was able to tap into my own true wisdom, talents, values, and culture. I began to reclaim my voice and find my way to living my best life—the life that everyone is destined and entitled to live. Self,care was my first priority. Several years ago, I knew that I had been neglecting myself especially emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. I was on speed-dial, automatic pilot and a treadmill.

Clarity came to me aboard an airplane. The flight attendant demonstrated how to put the oxygen on myself first, and then to attend to others. Then Suze Orman and Oprah segments re-played in my head: “No, don’t take your hard-earned money to buy that family member another car…Don’t allow that person to talk to you like that or mistreat you like that anymore.”

Reality checks: I realized that some of my so-called loved ones and beloved colleagues did not have my best interest at heart—only their own self-interest! I had to own up to being an enabler in some cases, causing my own problems in other cases and even sabotaging myself.

So remember, if anyone calls you selfish or tries to make you feel bad about your self-care practices, pulling yourself out of debt, getting your health checked, eating health food, dancing, singing, or chanting – DELETE them, immediately!

I went back and forth inside my head for years before making changes that I knew I should make. Actually, when I decided to change my life, my timing and circumstance were totally wrong. But, I was finally ready. Among the best things I did for myself was seek counseling about changing my life. My college roommate, Karen, who is a therapist, advised me to do just that. At first, I was resistant: “Black people don’t do therapy,” I thought to myself. But, I trusted my friend’s judgment. I lucked up and found a feminist therapist who combined grief and empowerment therapy.

I had a lot to do: manage my deceased parent’s affairs, finalize a divorce, arrange custody and visitation for my special needs child, find a new job, and a place to live. I was starting a new life all over again. It was an exciting and scary time. I made these changes and many more when I was about 40 years old. So, if you are near 40—watch out!

Almost immediately, my life became better and happier in every way possible. My new uncluttered life attracted positive people, activities, and opportunities. I started a new business, a new job, and purchased a new home. I was beginning to live my best life. I found my new husband when and where I least expected. By then, I was on my road to recovery—recovering my life back!

Today, I find happiness in very simple ways like sharing a cup of tea with a new friend, sitting in the sunshine, the aroma of freshly cut grass, hearing laughter, eating a peach, looking at art, or walking in the rain. Checking my small garden and cooking a family recipe has its own moments of joy.

So, my advice about living one’s best life has to do with safeguarding your mind, body, and soul; honoring your cultural traditions; and listening to your inner voice. If you take care of those areas, you will notice a new level of satisfaction. Your affairs will simply fall into place with ease.

DSN: What inspired you to do the AARP 40-day pledge?

SWL: I was interested in AARP’s Decide. Create. Share initiative because I wanted to see if I had all of my bases covered. Together with my husband, we completed all of the checklists. We still must work on the ”Last Wishes” item. But, we were pleased to learn that we have taken all the steps plus some, to plan our future.

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Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s Decide. Create. Share. Initiative.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Christy Little Jones


Photo Credit: Christy Little Jones

Photo Credit: Christy Little Jones

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Christy Little Jones, M.S., is the Head Coach of My Relationship Revolution, a coaching and resource center that inspires more intentional interactions within the key relationships that impact your life. Christy is featured in the March issue of Real Simple magazine. Her story about forgiving her husband is AMAZING. Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine and read it! She and her husband will be chatting about relationships at the “What’s Love Got To Do WIth It!” event on Sunday, February 17 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, Virginia. Click here to register for the event.

 

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I launched my business in November 2011 and used social media to build a following and connect with my tribe.

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

It has given me the platform to inspire action and influence change in the lives of men and women around the world. Essentially, it’s helping me to make a difference in the world.

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?

Social media has helped me to share my strengths and experience to women who need it most. In particular, relationships. The most important relationships that we hold as women – in marriage, friendships and as mothers.

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?

Supporter, accountability partner, coach, and encourager

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

I help remind women of their God-given strength, power and influence. I am the leader who affirms, supports and lovingly pushes women to step into their magnificence with confidence and authenticity. I am a coach and a cheerleader, helping women to become fearless!

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

It’s mandatory to be authentic as you build your tribe as well as consistent.  Your followers need to be able to trust you.

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

I would like to expand my leadership role by bringing awareness to digital space about my global platform – Child Sex Trafficking. Together we can bring about change, but not without knowledge and commitment to the cause first.

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

Some of my favorite social media women leaders include Ananda Leeke and Fabienne Frederickson. Ananda encourages and include other women entrepreneurs in her success. She also creates a sisterhood among women. I love Fabienne’s strength, passion, and commitment to making your business thrive.

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

Women can use social media to define and express their personal leadership brand through video, developing relationships via Facebook and Twitter, and publishing an e-zine or newsletter.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kathryn Buford


Photo Credit: Kathryn Buford

Photo Credit: Kathryn Buford

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kathryn Buford, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Live Unchained. Kathryn is also a writer, digital media consultant, and sociology Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using Twitter at the recommendation of my friend Michelle, Facebook (after a long hiatus) at the recommendation of my friend Ciara, and created a blog at the recommendation of my friend Abadeu. My friends were active on these outlets and they recommend I joined to promote my organization, my baby, Live Unchained.

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

Wow, I don’t think this is enough space 🙂 Personally, I have built some great relationships with artists, activists and experts across the country and world. Here, I’d like to give shout-outs to my friends Kristen Nicole (Texas) and Lucia Asue (Equatorial Guinea) who have been so supportive. And, our offline relationships first began with requests to feature them on Live Unchained. It’s help me realize that my organization can be everything I want it to be and more because I get to meet talented people from around the world who have great ideas to share. From a business perspective, it helps me to establish Live Unchained as a taste maker and international platform for women’s creative works across Africa and the diaspora. Also, Twitter, especially, helps me appreciate the beauty in brevity and not overthinking things.

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?

Well, actually, it has taught me that sometimes being a leader means letting other people lead. Thanks to the persistent advice of one of my advisors, I learned to accept that I am not superwoman and cannot be on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and writing regular phenomenal blog posts 24/7. So, I’ve decided to take on interns to help out with our social media presence. And, as I lead them, I plan to play to their strengths and encourage them to share their own ideas. I want our collective internship experience to be an exercise in communal leadership.

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 think that’s a great list and I think what I’m about to say is reflected in those roles. To that I would add that women lead through demonstrations of humanity. By that I mean, I’ve seen a lot of women share vulnerable emotional sides of them through their blog posts and social media that they normally wouldn’t share otherwise. And, these aren’t melodramatic women that just want some attention. I respect that and it has encouraged me to be bolder about what I reveal in the hopes that it will resonate with other women as well. One of my greatest inspirations concerning this kind of leadership is Minna Salami of www.msafropolitan.com.

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

As a doctoral student, I think I’m leading by example, showing how scholars can use social media to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and engage people outside of academia.

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

Well, I’ve published so many of these lessons as Twitter and Facebook posts, so I’ll quote my own self here.  I’ve learned: You can’t wait for other people to “get” what you’re doing before you start doing it. Just because you’re not getting the results you want, when you want, doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything right. You’re unchained when uncertainty stops stopping you. Three things an artist must protect are their time, energy and emotional well-being. Have fun, but never surf without protection

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

Yes. But, they’re still in the oven, so I’m not really to pull them out yet 🙂

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

Ananda Leeke, Jessica Solomon (@jesssolomon), Lulu Kitololo (@afrilove), Minna Salami (@msafropolitan), Kristen Nicole (@kristennicole2), Laverne Wyatt (@lavernewyatt), Daisy Giles (@daisygiles), Kesha Bruce (@keshabruce) and Ciara Calbert (@blogofciarac) are some of my favorite social media women leaders. What I love about these women is that they write from a place of sincerity and take themselves seriously as entrepreneurs.

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

As far as expressing your personal leadership brand, I’d say it’s important to not overhink it. Recognize what’s important to you and let a theme emerge. If you look back over your life, you’ll see a theme in terms of your recurring interests. When it comes to defining your personal brand, I’d say note your personal core values like honest, creativity and freedom. Then ask yourself what colors and symbols reflect those core values. These colors and symbols can be combined to help create a simple clear logo and color scheme for your online presence.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj


Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

Photo Credit: Melissa Bugaj

 

Photo Credit: NightLightStories.net

Photo Credit: NightLightStories.net

 

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Melissa Bugaj, co-founder of NightLifeStories.net 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!

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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.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Jana Baldwin


Photo Credit: Jana Baldwin

Photo Credit: Jana Baldwin

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Jana Baldwin, founder of Northwest to Southeast blog.

 

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using Facebook in 2005.

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

Social media has helped me connect with friends, gain employment, gain a graduate degree, communicate with community, and develop relationships with nonprofit organizations.

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?

At this point I am hoping to make a career utilizing social media.

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?

Provide relevant, specific information during emergencies.

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

Public Safety Chair in my neighborhood and Public Health Communications and Marketing expert.

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

Networking and writing.

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

My plans include improving my  website and building mobile apps.

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

One of my favorite social media women leaders is Tracey Webb, founder of BlackGivesBack.com. We have built a relationship by meeting online. As a result, I became a part of Tracey’s Black Benefactors organization. She has given me motivation and strength in a community that I need.

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

Women can share their expertise, opinions, and emergency information to define and express their personal leadership brand.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kristin Glasbergen


Photo Credit: Kristin Glasbergen

Photo Credit: Kristin Glasbergen

 

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kristin Glasbergen, co-founder of HomemadeFrontier.com and founder of Kristin’s Glas.

Fun Facts: Kristin and Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke met during the BlogHer 2011 Conference held in San Diego, California. They had some great conversations during the BlogHer breakfast and recorded an impromptu Cinchcast interview with Ananda’s smartphone. Since then, they reconnected at the BlogHer 2012 Conference in New York City and have followed each other on social media.

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using Facebook in 2008 to keep in touch with friends in other parts of the country. I started using Twitter in 2009 to keep up with celebrities. I don’t follow many celebrities anymore.

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

It’s allowed me to build a network of friends that I don’t have in my area.  It’s also allowed me to learn and grow, as a person, as a writer and as a crafter.

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?

Social media has given me a voice and the opportunity to share topics that I am passionate about. A space to share that without judgement, which I don’t often have in my ‘real’ life.

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 think Ananda covered it all.

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

I’m not sure I play a leadership role in social media. If I do I’m not actively doing so.

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

I’ve learned to think twice before I publish. I’ve learned to unfollow or unfriend anyone who is overly negative, social media is part of my life and I don’t want to invite negativity into my life. I’ve learned to turn my negative emotions into something that is constructive before sharing online.  I’ve learned to apologize and take responsibility when I put my foot in my mouth.

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

I would like to continue to build my presence.

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

I admire women who are at ease online, it doesn’t matter how many followers they have. I like quick wit and interact.

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

  • Support others doing similar things.
  • Listen and interact with people trying to do what you are.
  • Be yourself.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kristina Doss


Photo Credit: Camille O. Martin-Jones

Photo Credit: Camille O. Martin-Jones

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Kristina Doss, founder of My Traveling Troop blog, a U.S. Navy wife, mom, and journalist. Kristina’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review, Inside U.S. Trade and The Washington Times.

Fun Facts: Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) founder Ananda Leeke and Kristina met during the BlogHer Conference held in San Diego, California in 2011. Ananda interviewed Kristina on her Cinchcast podcast about her BlogHer experiences. They also discussed Kristina’s experience as a military wife and mom. Since then, they have supported each other online.

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I started using social media about six years ago when I finally signed up to use Facebook to connect with family and friends scattered around the globe. Eventually, I decided to keep them informed about my military family’s journey moving, living, and traveling around the world through the blog My Traveling Troop.

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

When I finally took the plunge and launched my blog, I got to write about topics I was passionate about — moving, living and traveling around the world. Not only do I write about these issues on the blog, but for other websites and publications as well. The best gift social media has given me, however, is the opportunity to help other military families who also face the ups and downs of life on the go.

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?

For the first time in my life, I am my own boss and that feels wonderful! I determine the topics that I write about and how often I write. If I need to focus on being a mom and wife, I have the flexibility to do so. Also, the blog has given me an opportunity to see what it’s like being a business woman. I alone interact with companies looking to advertise on the blog and publications seeking to hire me for work.

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 think women in social media have played the role of ground breaker. I’ve seen a number of websites and related projects, for example, that offer services no one else does because the women saw and understood the need for them. Or, they write about topics that no one else was brave enough to share before.

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

I think my leadership role falls under the categories of educator and community builder. Through my writing, I try to share the experiences and lessons my military family learns by moving, living and traveling around the world. I also gather and feature other military families who have similar experiences as well. Together, we’re helping members of our community get through and even enjoy life on the move.

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

I learned how to use my social-media savvy to help and guide people.

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

Since moving to Singapore, I realized that there are people outside of the military community who also move, live and travel around the world. Some move because of jobs, while others move because they want to experience different cultures. Or, perhaps they are still looking for a place to call “home.” While there are differences in what brings us to a destination, I think we can all benefit from hearing each other’s experiences and tips. I wouldn’t be surprised if My Traveling Troop eventually expands to include all of these voices.

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

There are so many! I truly admire military wives. First of all, they are the true leaders of the household. They are the ones holding down the fort while their loved ones are away. And it’s amazing that many take the time to chronicle their journey online. By sharing their stories, they help others realize that they are not alone regardless of where they are in the world. Some chronicle love and loss. Others share what it’s like raising kids — sometimes by themselves. And others write about pursuing their dreams and passions despite the constant moving. They are truly inspiring.

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

  • Stay true to who you are and you will never stray from your “personal leadership brand.”
  • Find ways to help people in your online community.
  • Get off of the computer and meet people you are trying to help. You will learn a lot that way about them, yourself and how to focus your online efforts.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Monica A. Coleman


Photo Credit: Monica A. Coleman

Photo Credit: Monica A. Coleman

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Monica A. Coleman, author, founder of Beautiful Mind blog, minister, and professor. Monica was named 2012 Digital Sister of the Year – Enchantista.

Fun Facts: Monica and Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke were introduced via Facebook by their mutual friend, Professor Shayne Lee. Once Ananda started following Monica on Twitter and reading her blog, she became an instant fan. Monica was featured as a guest on Digital Sisterhood Radio’s Feminism Online Project series in 2011.

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview:

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I think I joined Facebook in 2007 and it went from there . . .

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

Personally, it allows me to keep in contact with family and friends across the years and miles. I’ve moved a lot and it helps me to feel connected with people I care about. Professionally, I’ve been able to connect with people I may never meet in person even as we have shared interests. We can share information; I learn a lot from the people I follow on Twitter. When I have marketing decisions to make for my business, I’ll ask my tweeps and Facebook fans and get really great responses. Also, social media spreads the work and writing I do into arenas I would not ordinarily be a part of. The work in social media has not only helped recruit students to my institution (where I teach), but has directly increased my consulting work, writing, features in other media, and speaking engagements. People will literally say, “I read your blog/ follow you on twitter/ watched video on your website . . . and thought you would be great for X or Y.”

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?

My blog on faith and depression has been a real blessing for me and a ministry. I’ve received emails from people in India and Haiti who read my blog and say that particular entries really encouraged them – even in a context so different from my own. My most recent book was titled from an email I received from someone in an inpatient care center who read my blog and said that it helped her to feel like she is not alone. The book is entitled Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression. As I’ve pushed myself to share more of my experiences and struggles, I’ve found many people – men and women (but it seems to be primarily women) who relate, but have not heard their experiences given voice as they should be.

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?

The 12 roles listed here seem fairly thorough.

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

Advocate and educator

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

Social media breaks down barriers that I find in face-to-face encounters such that I connect with people I might meet or choose to befriend in other settings. Thus I’d say that social media activity can really broaden our worlds. Some topics are easier to talk about and learn about online – with a level of anonymity. My work is in sexual and domestic violence and mental health advocacy. There are still stigmas in these areas and being online often gives people spaces to learn about and grow and express in ways that are more comfortable for sensitive topics.

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

My plans include publicizing my recent book primarily online – through Twitter and Facebook campaigns, a virtual book tour, and a book trailer video. I hope to do more classes online – marketed almost completely through social media.

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

  • Melissa Harris-Perry is just a media maven for her website,Twitter, Facebook, and MSNBC.
  • The Crunk Feminist Collective  work together as a collective, and are bold, passionate and vulnerable about a variety of topics related to black feminism.
  • Najeeba Syeed-Miller is committed to interreligious dialogue and brings a lot of insight to her tweets and Facebook status updates.
  • Thema Bryant-Davis has this great Twitter therapy with insightful and pithy truisms that are real inspiration. She also has an online radio program that advocates women’s health.

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

  • Blogging about their commitments – thereby serving as advocates who educate.
  • Twitter is great for growing a circle of friends and followers – expanding one’s market.
  • Through webinars, teleconferences, online classes, blogs, online radio etc. women can establish themselves as experts in their fields and gain a global following that is simply not possible in person.

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Jewel Figueras


Photo Credit: Jewel Figueras

Photo Credit: Jewel Figueras

Meet Digital Sisterhood Leader Jewel Figueras. Jewel was named 2012 Digital Sister of the Year – Lifestylista.

Fun Facts: Jewel and Digital Sisterhood Network founder Ananda Leeke met for the first time during the Blogalicious Weekend Conference in Miami Beach, Florida in 2010. After one conversation, Ananda became a fan of Jewel’s kindness, generosity, humor, joie de vivre, and fabulous style. They reconnected during a Digital Sisterhood Radio interview about Blogalicious and while Jewel was visiting her family in the Washington, D.C. area. 

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Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project (#DSLead) Interview:

1) How can people find you online?

2) Why did you start using social media?

I’ve used social media since the early 90s, because I was curious about the “new” World Wide Web. I quickly found America Online and then other services like Prodigy, Eudora, etc.

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

Social media has afforded me a lifestyle that I never dreamed of–complete with entrepreneurship, travel, exposure, and meeting tons of great people.

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?

Social media has helped me become an on-air “Social Media Expert” for a local news station. I’ve also been named to the Advisory Board of Hispanicize. I’ve spoken at numerous events and have become a leader in the South Florida Social Media community.

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 agree with all of these roles.

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

I’ve learned to trust myself and intuition. I’ve learned that there is value in the knowledge that I have. I’ve learned that anyone can become a leader in the digital space. It’s the great equalizer.

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

I have learned to not make plans in the digital space but rather to simply walk the path–letting it lead me.

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

My favorite social media leaders include Jennifer James because of her work in both the profit and nonprofit worlds.

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

Women can express their brand by always speaking and writing in their authentic voice. They can use their social media platforms to address their personal passions.

#DSMonth Guest Blog Post by Pen of The NetworkFAM


Happy Day 26 of #DigitalSisterhood Month! Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday! Happy First Day of Kwanzaa – Umoja (Unity)!

Today, Digital Sisterhood Network is celebrating the voices of our community by sharing a guest blog post written by Pen, the co-founder of The NetworkFAM. Check out what Pen has to say about the #DSMonth 2012 theme “Creativity + Great Health = Fierce Living Women” and what it means to her and her business. To learn more about Pen and her business, visit www.thenetworkfam.com. Follow her on Twitter: @loudpen.

Guest Blog Post by Pen, Co-Founder of The NetworkFam

Photo by Cacha

Photo by Cacha

I first came across the Digital Sisterhood Network via Twitter during their weekly #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday celebration and was immediately intrigued. I was interested in learning more about The Digital Sisterhood Network because I live and breathe all things digital both personally and professionally, not to mention, I am all about networking with other digital savvy women. Recently, the fabulous founder of The Digital Sisterhood Network, Ananda Leeke invited me to write this post about what this month’s theme “Creativity + Great Health = Fierce Living Women” means to me and my business.

My company is called The NetworkFAM and it encompasses several different businesses that all work together to promote diversity in fashion, art, & music. Through Cacha` Management and Pen PR, we provide models, stylists, make-up artists, and designers with management, public relations, social media marketing, event and photo shoot production. Our publishing company, 158TH & BROADWAY produces our blogs de la Pen, Cacha`, and The Blogging PR Girl. 158TH & BROADWAY also includes our digital publication, Flavor Magazine NYC and our web series “The Chronicles of Cacha` and Pen”; both of those projects will be released in 2013.

“Creativity + Great Health = Fierce Living Women” is essentially an equation that gives one the recipe for success in life. In essence, this month’s Digital Sisterhood theme is a life lesson to me. As you can see, my business does many things because my business partner, Cacha` and I wanted a company that would allow us to be as creative, independent, and successful as possible.

We are all about being creative, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and being fierce living women. Therefore, I feel that we embody this month’s Digital Sisterhood theme and it is a mantra that we also live by. As female entrepreneurs in the digital realm, we constantly have to be creative when approaching prospective clients, the media, or sponsors and partners. When we have to pitch to these various entities, each pitch has to be tailored and targeted to its audience or else the pitch will be ignored.

We also seek to stay healthy because if we are under the weather then we can’t work which leads to missed opportunities that are crucial to a start-up like ours. As far as being “fierce living women” Cacha` and I want to be more than just successful, we want to be icons. Therefore, we are always seeking to be innovative, informed, and on the pulse of “what’s next”. So be on the look out for The NetworkFAM because we believe that “Creativity + Great Health = Fierce Living Women!”