The Business of Being Ananda Leeke – Rebranding and working on AnandaLeeke.com

Graphic design by Ananda Leeke & Gwonghung Ng

Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday, I had a branding and marketing conversation with my literary mentor and brothalove Ethelbert Miller.  Ethelbert is a native New Yorker who dances through life as a man of many talents:  husband, father, poet, literacy activist, and founder of the Afro-American Resource Center at Howard University. Like me, he is also a Howardite!  I affectionately call him E-bert!

I spent most of the time listening to E-bert share his insights on ways to define, expand, and market my “Ananda Leeke” brand. Parts of the conversation were uncomfortable. Why? Well, E-bert was telling me the TRUTH … I didn’t want to hear it because it meant I would have to do MORE WORK!  I resisted a lot of what he had to say, but managed to remain somewhat open.  E-bert gave me a lot to think about. He also reminded me I would find my way using my spiritual path.  His words “using my spiritual path” stuck with me. They followed me into my evening yoga and meditation practice. The end result was a clearing… an opening to E-bert’s questions and insights.

This morning I sat in meditation and focused on strengthening my inner foundation with deep breathing, mantra chanting, and a mudra practice focused on the root chakra.  Guess what happened?  I was able to be still and hear my inner voice repeat a short and sweet phrase: Yoga + Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke.  BOO–YAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! I knew the phrase was a rebranding gift from the universe! What a blessing!

So the Ananda Leeke official marketing brand is now: Yoga + Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke.

What do you think?

As E-bert says, “my marketing brand is my gimmick!”  You know the thing that will get folks’ attention.

I also have a new and improved short bio: Yoga + Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke. Leeke is a lawyer turned “Jill of many trades”: innerpreneur, author, artist, coach, and yoga teacher. Her mission is “Empowering U2BU through creativity coaching, Reiki, self-care, social media, volunteerism, and yoga.”

Any thoughts?

Visit www.anandaleeke.com to see more of my new changes. Check out my bio too.  I still have to add a lot of content to the site in April and May.  For now, I am satisfied with the blessings.  And I know there are more to come.  So get ready for new surprises on AnandaLeeke.com!

Oh yeah, here is a great article I read about rebranding yourself on Times Online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/body_and_soul/article3416498.ece.

Also, Pink, one of my favorite web sites for women, posted a great blog post about “3 Quick and Easy Ways to Build an Online Presence” that might interest you. Be sure to check out Pink for the following rebranding blog posts:

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude for E-bert, yoga, meditation, and being still to hear my inner voice,



Ananda’s April Events

1) Ananda is launching “30 Days of Poetry, Jazz,  & Earth Day Awareness,” an online campaign that promotes National Poetry Month, National Jazz Appreciation Month, and the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.  From April 1 to April 30, she will use social media and six-word memoirs to share jazz inspirations, poetry, and reflections about Earth Day and green living.   Some of Ananda’s audio blogs, YouTube videos, written blogs, Twitter tweets, Flickr photos, and Facebook posts will include:

Be sure to visit Ananda on the social media sites listed below.

2) Begin April by listening to Ananda share her favorite poems about jazz, poetry, springtime, Cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, green living, and Mother Earth (in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day) on April 1 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke.

3) Join Ananda for an author talk about poetry as a natural medicine for the soul on April 8 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST on Ananda Leeke Live! UStream.tv.  During the talk, Ananda will share how she uses poetry in her work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.

4) Participate in Ananda’s free kind and gentle yoga Meetup class on April 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park in DC (16th Street and Florida Avenue, NW – in front of the waterfall).  If it rains, the group will not meet.  The class will be dedicated to National Poetry Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. BRING YOUR OWN MAT. Mats are NOT provided. Click on the link for more details: http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

5) Join Ananda for a creativity coaching session on how to identify your inner critic on April 29 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST on Ananda Leeke Live! UStream.tv. The session will include exercises from Ananda’s new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.


What I am doing this weekend: Teaching yoga on 3/28@11:30am & hosting Sisterhood the Blog Radio with Boni Candelario on 3/28@7pm EST

Greetings All,

This weekend I am teaching a kind and gentle yoga class in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park (weather permitting) on March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Click here for more details.  If it rains, the class will NOT be held.

Boni Candelario

I am also hosting Sisterhood, the Blog Radio with Boni Candelario on March 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST on Talkshoe.com.  The March 28th show will launch Sisterhood, the Blog Radio’s Business of Being You (BizBU) four-part series on “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs in 2010 with Coach’m Up Boni.”  The series will air on April 11, May 23, and June 27 at 7:00 p.m. EST on Talkshoe.com.  See the list of show topics below.

  • March 28th Show: Confidence building for women job seekers
  • April 11th Show: Resume 2.0: Giving your resume a facelift by finding the treasure in your life experience
  • May 23rd Show: How to talk about your experience so it creates buzz and attention
  • June 27th Show: How women can use social media to identify job lead

Boni Candelario, a career strategist and empowerment coach,  helps women in career transition, re-enter the workforce, climb the corporate ladder, and start their own businesses.  You can learn more about Boni and her fabulous business by visiting her sites below.

What are your plans for the weekend!


Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude,



Ananda’s Artist Date – Afternoon Talk by Sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp at the National Museum of African Art in DC

Sokari Douglas Camp


Greetings All,

In honor of Women”s History Month, I attended an afternoon talk at the National Museum of African Art featuring  one of my favorite sculptors Sokari Douglas Camp.  She is originally from Nigeria and currently lives in London with her family.  The first time I saw Sokari’s work was in 1999 when her Church Ede, A Tribute to Her Father, was on exhibit at the National Museum of African Art .  Listen to my Cinchcast audio blog below to learn more about my artist visit.

Have you taken yourself on an artist date lately?

What museums have you visited this year?

Have you discovered any new artists?

Enjoy your Friday!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for inspirational artists like Sokari,



What I am reading now…. Buppies, B-boys, Baps, And Bohos: Notes On Post-soul Black Culture by Nelson George — Research for my new novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two

Greetings All,

Yesterday, I started reading Nelson George’s Buppies, B-boys, Baps, and Bohos: Notes on Post-soul Black Culture (2001).  I am using George’s book as research for my new novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two.  Like my main character Symon Allure, George was born and bred in Brooklyn.  Symon also represents a buppy, b-boy, and boho.

Do you know what a buppy, b-boy, bap, and boho stand for?

Check out Publisher’s Weekly description of George’s book (from Amazon.com) below.

Village Voice columnist George has already established his scholarly depth and his gift for stylish, finger-on-the-pulse reporting on black music with his The Death of Rhythm & Blues and Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise & Fall of the Motown Sound . This collection of articles, nearly all of them reprinted from the Village Voice , marks him also as a knowledgeable, entertaining critic of African American popular culture generally and its pervasive influence on American life. Beginning with an astute, comprehensive, polemical time line, “A Chronicle of Post-Soul Black Culture,” George traces black mass culture from the 1970s “blaxploitation” films through Alex Haley’s Roots saga and comic Richard Pryor’s sociopolitical humor up to the explosive popularity of hip-hop. His observations on the origins of rap in New York City black neighborhoods are valuable, and two probing essays–on the fatal 1985 shooting by a white Manhattan police officer of black Phillips Exeter Academy student Edmund Perry, and on the near-cosmic importance of basketball among black teens–vividly illustrate George’s sensitivity to the social complexities of African American life.

What are you reading this Spring?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Great Books,



Having a Nina Simone “Feeling Good” Day After President Barack Obama Signed Healthcare Legislation!

President Obama's signature on 2010 healthcare legislation - Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov

Greetings All,

This morning I woke up with so much inspiration and energy.  Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” was playing on my inner iPod!

I felt like I did when I woke up on November 5, 2009, the day after we elected President Barack H. Obama to serve as the leader of the United States of America. What a great feeling! America is making history once again by ensuring all Americans have access to good healthcare.  To learn more about what’s in the healthcare legislation, visit Whitehouse.gov’s blog:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/23/whats-health-care-bill.

Last night I watched the Whitehouse.gov video of my President signing the healthcare legislation.  What a historical moment! It was huge! Click here to watch the video and read my President’s remarks. See an excerpt of my favorite part of his remarks below.

“Our presence here today is remarkable and improbable.  With all the punditry, all of the lobbying, all of the game-playing that passes for governing in Washington, it’s been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing; to wonder if there are limits to what we, as a people, can still achieve.  It’s easy to succumb to the sense of cynicism about what’s possible in this country.

But today, we are affirming that essential truth -– a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself –- that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations.  (Applause.)  We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust.  We don’t fall prey to fear.  We are not a nation that does what’s easy.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not how we got here.

We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities.  We are a nation that does what is hard.  What is necessary.  What is right.  Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny.  That is what we do.  That is who we are.  That is what makes us the United States of America.

And we have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.   And it is an extraordinary achievement that has happened because of all of you and all the advocates all across the country.”

I know  the healthcare legislation is not perfect. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure universal coverage for everyone and funding for women to have access to federally-funded abortions.  We still have to overcome challenges and kinks that come with new legislation. More change is sure to come. However, we are much better off than we were without healthcare reform. We have something to work with. We have a foundation to move forward. And I am fired up and ready to go! Are you?

What do you think about the healthcare reform legislation?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Healthcare Reform and President Obama,


PS: My new book That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon.com) includes a chapter that discusses my reflections on President Obama’s campaign and election.  Here is an excerpt from the chapter.  Enjoy!

The Night Barack Was Elected

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Inspired by E. Ethelbert Miller’s City as Memory: Lyrical
City Writing Workshop held at Busboys and Poets on May
3, 2009.

Election night was unseasonably warm in D.C.
Rain sprinkled the pavement as I walked down U Street with
a group of friends.
We wanted to go to Busboys and Poets, but the line was too
long to get in.
So we walked up to 12th Street and parked ourselves around a
table at The Islander, a Caribbean restaurant.
It was filled with Obama supporters.
Everyone was excited.
You could feel the need for great change in the air.
Before the waitress took our group’s order, she gave us Barack
buttons her daughter made.
They were designed with a small picture of his face surrounded
by Caribbean flags.
It was one-of-a-kind election memorabilia.
After we placed our orders, we began monitoring the election
results posted on the television screen.
By the time our dinner entrees arrived, my stomach was filled
with tension.
It made it difficult to enjoy my plantains, spicy fish, cabbage,
and peas and rice.
Flashbacks from the 2000 Presidential election kept popping
up in my mind.
It was post-traumatic Bush stress order.
When dinner was over, I decided I couldn’t take watching the
results as they poured in each hour.
So I said my goodbyes and walked home.
I made a pit stop at Love Café and purchased a cupcake to
celebrate Barack’s win.
It was my way of positively affirming America had changed.
I also wanted to kick the post-traumatic Bush stress order out
of my brain.
During the first couple of hours I was home, I practiced yoga,
meditated, and watched “Young and the Restless” online.
After the show ended, I decided to check CNN.com for
election results.
That’s when I started to get excited.
Barack was leading the race.
Then it happened.
He won, but I didn’t trust the results.
So I called my mother to confirm the news.
When I heard her say that Barack was headed to Grant Park to
give his acceptance speech, I knew the news was true.
I screamed so loud, “Yes We Can,” into the phone.
My excitement continued to build as I ate my Love Café
election cupcake, watched CNN.com for news updates,
and listened to the crowd of people celebrate outside of my
apartment on U Street.
I knew I had to join the party.
So I got dressed and walked out into the biggest celebration I
had ever seen.
Folks of all ages and ethnicities were smiling, crying, singing,
and dancing together.
It was surreal.
We had become the United States of America and made new


Watch Ananda’s Free Creativity Coaching Session for Women on UStream.tv on 3/25@9pm EST

Happy Tuesday,

Calling all creative women! Join me for a free creative coaching session on March 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST that explores the nine blocks to women’s creativity. I will use creative coaching exercises in my new book That Which Awaken’s Me to guide the session. Click here to watch the live show.  If you miss it, don’t fret. You can watch a video recording.  Just visit the web site for Ananda Leeke Live! on UStream.tv

If you are in DC this weekend, consider taking my free kind and gentle yoga class on March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park.  Click here for more details. The class will be dedicated to National Women’s History Month, National Women and Girls HIV/AID Day, and National Nutrition Month.  I will also share an excerpt from That Which Awakens Me during the meditation part of the class. 

Please share these events with your network!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude,


PS: Check out my new memoir That Which Awakens Me and debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Amazon.com.  They are great for spring and summer reading!  They also make great gifts for Mother’s Day, graduations, birthdays, etc.


Great News! Ananda featured in 3/22 Examiner.com article: “Novelist gives book marketing tips for fiction writers using social media”

Greeting All,

Great News! Nordette Adams, the African-American Books Examiner for Examiner.com, wrote an amazing article about yours truly today: “Novelist gives book marketing tips for fiction writers using social media.”

Nordette also interviewed me on the March 20th episode of We Got Word on BlogTalkRadio.  Click here to listen to the interview. We had a great time talking about healing fiction, my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, and social media tips for authors and bloggers.  I also discussed my new writing project Sisterhood, the Blog: Soundbytes from the 21st Century Women’s Online Revolution.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude,



Listen to Ananda read a poem that celebrates creative women who inspire her.

Happy Monday!

This morning I went walking in my neighborhood.  During my walk, I thought about creative women who inspire me.  So I recorded an audio blog when I returned home that includes my poem “21 Drops of Inspiration in My Creative Bucket.”  It celebrates creative women such as Toni Blackman, Tanekeya Word, Sonya Clark, Jade Andwele, and Amber Robles-Gordon.  The poem is featured in my new book That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon.com). Click on the Cinchcast below to hear the poem. Enjoy!

Many blessings,

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for creative women who inspire me,



The Business of Being Ananda Leeke: Applying for Speaking Engagements at IgniteDC and BlogHer

Greetings All,

Last week I applied to speak at IgniteDC which will be held on June 16.  “Who lives inside of me?” is the topic of my five-minute presentation. Click here to read my short proposal: http://www.ignite-dc.com/speakers/369.  My sistalove Jessica Solomon, founder of Spark Creativity and The Saartjie Project and also applied. Check out her proposal on “Perceived Weirdness Index”: http://www.ignite-dc.com/speakers/359.  It is a fabulous concept!  I know IgniteDC will select it!

I also submitted a proposal for the BlogHer 2010 Community Keynote which will be held in August in New York City.  Click here to read why I submitted the proposal:  http://www.blogher.com/who-lives-inside-me.   Here’s the link to the blog post:  http://authoranandaleeke.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/who-lives-inside-of-me.

What do you think about my proposals?

I am using them to prepare short and medium size talks based on excerpts from my new poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me.  I am also going to create a PowerPoint presentation that will be posted on SlideShare in a week or two.  More good stuff is coming!!!!

Have a great week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for speaking ideas,