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#DigitalSisterhood Wednesday: #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 6 VOICE

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!

VOICE is #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 6. I was reminded of the power of women’s voices online two times today. The first happened while reading reading a Medium blog written by the new White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman about what he has learned from #socialcivics.

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I was excited to see Goldman had included several women’s voices in his post. Three women are connected to me through the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN): Janet Johnson, Patricia Patton, and yours truly. FYI DSN named Johnson and Patton as Digital Sisters of the Year. A few weeks ago, we used our blogs and digital presence to give voice to our #socialcivics ideas. Speaking up is something we can all do when we honor our voices.

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This afternoon, I watched Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder, SheKnows Chief Community Officer, and Digital Sister of the Year, give voice to women’s issues while moderating the #ObamaTownHall with President Barack Obama. As I watched the event on WhiteHouse.gov, live tweeted, and read the tweets of other women, I witnessed firsthand what happens when women believe they have something to say — they give voice to their concerns with passion, encourage other women to speak up, and spark important conversations that can inform and influence society.

How are you using your voice?

Photo Credit: http://instagram.com/sheknows

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BlogHer & I Celebrate 10 Years at #BlogHer14

 

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Guess where I’m headed this week?

BlogHer’s 10th annual conference in San Jose, California.

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Guess what I’m going to do at #BlogHer14?

I’ll be serving as a veteran blogger/mentor to newbie bloggers and an event producer for the second annual Multi Culti Party on July 25 from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Hilton San Jose, Suite 926. Be sure to check out the #MultiCulti Pinterest board which features 2013 and 2014 blogs, photos, and videos.

 

Multi Culti Party event producers: Ananda, Dwana and Pauline
Multi Culti Party event producers: Ananda, Dwana and Pauline

 

Join me and my co-event producers, Pauline Campos and Dwana De La Cerna for an evening of celebration. We are gathering to  celebrate the beauty, boldness, and brilliance of BlogHer’s diversity.   

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Why am I geeked about celebrating 10 years with BlogHer?

It’s hard to believe BlogHer is celebrating its 10th year. So am I as a blogger. That’s right 10 years of blogging that started on February 1, 2005, on the Blogger.com platform. When I started blogging, I had one objective: to meet the daily writing requirement of my book editor, Wayne P. Henry, for my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours: Karma – Book One. I discovered BlogHer in 2006. Since then, the conference and community have made a major impact on my life and career as an author, digital communications innovator, public speaker, and yoga teacher. Check out the excerpt from the BlogHer chapter in my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online, below. If you come to the Multi Culti Party, you may win an autographed copy of the book and/or a Digital Sisterhood mug (one book and two mugs).

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Chapter Twelve: BlogHer Conferences Rocked My Digital World

“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.

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.

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!

I also wrote a blog post to thank everyone connected to the conference. It included an acronym that offered my understanding of the BlogHer community, conference, and economy.

  • B – Building community through meaningful and mindful connections, conversations, collaborative partnerships and projects, and commerce that generates revenue and valued added exchanges for myself and others.
  • L – Learning and sharing information that helps me and others grow to our fullest potential.
  • O – Opening my heart to be inspired and energized by the stories I hear from fellow bloggers, keynote speakers, and representatives from brands, companies, organizations, and marketing/PR firms.
  • G – Giving back to others by sharing what I know and affirming and supporting others’ efforts.  
  • H – Having fun and celebrating digital sisterhood and digital brotherhood bonds with new and old blogging friends.  
  • E – Embracing and valuing the power, presence, and passion of my own voice, creativity, expertise, thought leadership, entrepreneurial efforts, social good causes and campaigns, and definition of success. 
  • R – Remembering that my return on investment (ROI) from my BlogHer community and conference participation is rooted in my attitude, intentions, choices, personal responsibility, and actions.

I ended the post with these words: “Together, we are a movement of passionate and powerful people. May we each recognize, affirm, value, and express our contributions in ways that support our highest and greatest good as individuals, communities, businesses, brands, companies, and organizations!” That says it all until the next BlogHer conference. Hope to see you there!

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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: BlogHer Call for Ideas Due by December 2

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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

BlogHer is one of my favorite blogging conferences to attend because it offers a variety of sessions that quench my learning thirst, networking opportunities, great keynotes, the Voices of the Year featuring incredible bloggers who read their amazing blog posts, fun parties, yummy vegan and vegetarian food (especially in Chicago and San Diego), and a fashion show featuring bloggers of every shape, size, and color.

Photo Credit - Photo Collage from the session, "What Kind of Social Media Leader Are You?" held on July 26.
Photo Credit – Photo Collage from the session, “What Kind of Social Media Leader Are You?” held on July 26.

I started attending the annual conference in 2009 and have been fortunate to serve as a speaker in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Speaking at BlogHer has allowed me to share my expertise in blogger wellness, peer-to-peer mentoring, podcasting, and social media leadership through the lens of Digital Sisterhood Leadership Archetypes. It has increased my confidence as a thought leader and exposure as a speaker. In addition, it has inspired me to share more of my thought leadership at other conferences and events.

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In 2014, BlogHer will celebrate its 10th year anniversary conference. I will be celebrating my 10th year as a blogger. I plan to attend the conference. In preparation, I am working on my conference speaking proposals this week and next week.

BlogHer is always looking to feature new and diverse speakers. So I encourage you to submit your original ideas. Click here to learn more about the BlogHer Call for Ideas. The deadline is December 2.

Hope to see you at BlogHer 2014!

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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday! – #BlogHer13 Recap #4 – Celebrating the Beauty & Power of BlogHer’s Multi-Culti Community

Ananda, Dwana, and Pauline -- Photo Credit: BlogHer
Ananda, Dwana, and Pauline — Photo Credit: BlogHer

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

While I was co-hosting the BlogHer Multi Culti party with my digital sisters Pauline Campos and Dwana De La Cerna on July 26 at the Sheraton Chicago, I had so many wonderful conversations with the dynamic members of the BlogHer community. The conversations reminded me how diverse we are as bloggers with different ethnic backgrounds, family histories, gifts, life experiences, opinions, perspectives, and talents. Check out some of the event photos below. All photos are from BlogHer.com. Click here to see the entire collection.

Did you attend the Multi Culti Party? If so, what were some of your favorite moments?

Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com

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Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
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Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com
Photo Credit: BlogHer.com

The conversations I had also reminded me of author, blogger, and photographer Karen Walrond’s book, The Beauty of Different.

Photo Credit: Copyright by Karen Walrond
Photo Credit: Copyright by Karen Walrond

Walrond’s book celebrates the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful — and may even be the source of our superpowers. Her book personifies how I feel about the BlogHer community.

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Our differences make BlogHer more beautiful and powerful. Together, we are able to tap into our superpowers as bloggers and give voice to what so many others may not have the access, courage, or right to say online and offline. And for that I am truly grateful!

What makes the BlogHer community beautiful and powerful to you?

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Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday – #BlogHer13 Recap #2: Amazing Women Owning Their Beauty

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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

This month, I am using my Internet Geek Tuesday blog posts to share my BlogHer 13 conference recaps. Just in case you didn’t know BlogHer is the Web’s largest community, conference, and leading guide to the hottest news and trends among women in social media. It is also one of my favorite online communities and conferences!

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Today’s blog post features my reflections on the second annual BlogHer Fashion Show (one of my favorite conference events). The theme was “Half Woman. Half Amazing.” I think it should have been “Amazing Women Owning Their Beauty” because the women who walked the runway gave the audience the gift of seeing what happens when a group of sixteen sassy, soulful, and stunning stars shine their beauty from the inside out as they strut what the universe gave them in fabulous clothing and make up.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn

They reminded me of actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn’s beauty wisdom: “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”  Check out some of their photos below.

Disclaimer: All photos are from BlogHer.com.

Afrobella, co-hostess of the BlogHer fashion show (photo from Blogher.com)
Afrobella, co-hostess of the BlogHer fashion show (photo from Blogher.com)
Luvvie Ajayi, co-hostess of the BlogHer fashion show (photo from Blogher.com)
Luvvie Ajayi, co-hostess of the BlogHer fashion show (photo from Blogher.com)
Grace Hwang Lynch (photo from Blogher.com)
Grace Hwang Lynch (photo from Blogher.com)
Vikki Reich (photo from Blogher.com)
Vikki Reich (photo from Blogher.com)
Isra Hasmi  (photo from Blogher.com)
Isra Hasmi (photo from Blogher.com)
Lianne Farbes (BlogHer.com photo)
Lianne Farbes (BlogHer.com photo)
Meseidy Rivera (photo from Blogher.com)
Meseidy Rivera (photo from Blogher.com)
Katherine Stone (photo from Blogher.com)
Katherine Stone (photo from Blogher.com)
Kareisha Questel (photo from Blogher.com)
Kareisha Questel (photo from Blogher.com)
Natasha Taylor Nicholes (photo from Blogher.com)
Natasha Taylor Nicholes (photo from Blogher.com)

Aren’t these women owing their beauty? To learn more about them, see the list below.

Photo Credit: Louise Carey  http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Be-Your-Own-Kind-of-Beautiful-Posters_i8424072_.htm
Photo Credit: Louise Carey
http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Be-Your-Own-Kind-of-Beautiful-Posters_i8424072_.htm

My greatest takeaway from the fashion show is that all women have the power and right to define and express what beautiful means to them. And that’s exactly what I did after  the show when I asked my dear digital brother Tyrone Farley, founder of TrueFashionistaNow.com to style me. With one small touch of moving my hair to one side, I got a new summer look that truly reflected how I felt: simply beautiful and grateful for a wonderful BlogHer conference experience!

Photo Credit: TrueFashionistaNow.com
Photo Credit: TrueFashionistaNow.com

PS: Check out TrueFashionistaNow.com’s blog post featuring some of BlogHer 13’s best fashion conference moments.

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My #BlogHer13 Conference Recap #1 – My “Lean In” Moment

Connecting with new friends Pauline Campos and Sherri Good at the BlogHer 13 Expo Hall on July 25 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL
Connecting with new friends Pauline Campos and Sherri Good at the BlogHer 13 Expo Hall on July 25 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL

Happy August! Happy Friday!

Last week, I attended the 9th Annual BlogHer Conference held at the McCormick Place and Sheraton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. What a time I had! It was intense, inspiring, and informative. That’s why I decided to write several blog recaps.

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Today’s blog recap is about my “Lean In Moment.” The theme is based on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and the impact of her BlogHer Conference interview with Lisa Stone, BlogHer Co-Founder and COO, on July 27. For more information, watch part one and part two of Tracy Baim’s video of the interview.

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I read Sandberg’s book earlier this year. It took me a full weekend to inhale her words and wisdom. Her book was filled with many golden nuggets I have used in my life and shared with other women. It also inspired me to write and submit a case study entitled “Lean In and Listen to Yourself” for the Hot Mommas Project. As a result, I was recently named a 2012-2013 author for the Hot Mommas Project case study library.

Sheryl Sandberg and Lisa Stone
Sheryl Sandberg and Lisa Stone

When I learned Sandberg would be a BlogHer keynote, I was thrilled! Here are the key takeaways I received from her interview with Stone.

  • 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 her interview, she 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. I loved the challenge. Check out the statements I wrote below.

My "Lean In" Statement
My “Lean In” Statement

Writing these statements helped me get clearer on what I really want to do with my passion, gifts, energy, and time. My next step is to lean in and publish my Digital Sisterhood book (you know the one I have been writing since 2009 — what a journey!), create space in my life to write more books and create art, and plan when I will cut my locs and grow my Angela Davis afro (will probably happen during my 50th year on earth which is fast approaching in 2014 — maybe even 2015).

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What are you leaning into?

UPDATE: BlogHer posted a full video of Sheryl Sandberg’s interview. Click here to watch it. Also, check out a video of BlogHer’s Lean In Circles session held at the 2013 conference. Enjoy!

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Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

BlogHer.com
BlogHer.com

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

I am getting ready for my social media leadership talk on July 26 and July 27 at the 9th Annual BlogHer Conference in Chicago. Here’s a sneak peek!

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“What Kind of Social Media Leader Are You?” is the official title of my talk. It’s based on a section of my upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

Photo Credit: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-yes-yes-yes/
Photo Credit: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-yes-yes-yes/

If you answer yes to one or more of the six questions listed below, my talk will be of interest to you.

  • Do you have a blog with more than one blog reader?
  • Do you use social media and have more than one follower or friend?
  • Do you use social media to build community and connect with others?
  • Do you use social media to share information and resources?
  • Do you use social media to advocate for causes or social good campaigns?
  • Do you use social media to promote your business, personal brand, products, or services?

A “yes” answer to these questions opens the door to what my talk is all about: showing BlogHer attendees that they are social media leaders because they possess Digital Power and a Digital Platform of Influence.

Digital Power consists of your digital footprint (blog, online business, web site, and social media), communities, and efforts.

A Digital Platform of Influence is derived from the impact you have on your blog readers and social media followers and friends when you:

  • Advocate causes.
  • Build communities.
  • Create mobile applications, art, books, businesses, products, publications, services, tools, and webisodes.
  • Curate content.
  • Educate and inform.
  • Give voice to your thoughts as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and brand ambassadors.
  • Share information and experiences.
  • Explore and experiment with new technologies as early adopters and trendsetters.
  • Participate in social good campaigns.
  • Inspire and motivate.
  • Mentor.
  • Network.
  • Tell your personal stories.
  • Promote and celebrate the expertise, gifts, and talents of others.

As you engage in these activities, your blog readers and social media followers and friends are watching what you say and do online. They are learning from your example. Whether you know it or not, you are leading them. That makes you a social media leader. Yes, I said it. You are a social media leader!

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My BlogHer talk will help conference attendees define the type of leadership they want to bring to their readers and social media followers and friends. During the talk, I will introduce the 12 key leadership roles I have witnessed social media leaders play in my work with the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project. They include the roles of advocate, community builder, creator, curator, educator, influencer, mentor, motivator, promoter, social do gooder, storyteller, and thought leader. I will also share how I have used these roles to create the profiles of seven Digital Sisterhood Leadership Archetypes that can be used to develop leadership styles in blogging and social media: Creativista, Empirista, Empowerista, Enchantista, Evangelista, Flowista, and Lifestylista. To learn more about these archetypes, click here to visit my #BlogHer13 Social Media Leadership Talk Pinterest Board. I have pinned photos and a short blog post for each archetype. Happy reading!

If you are seeking additional leadership resources, check out the links below.

Hope to see you at #BlogHer13 in Chicago!

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#BlogHer13 Social Media Leadership – Meet Enchantista

BlogHer.com
BlogHer.com

Calling all BlogHer 13 attendees! Be sure to check out my 30 minute talk on “What Type of Social Media Leader Are You? on July 26 and 27. During my talk, I will introduce the seven Digital Sisterhood Leadership archetypes that have helped me understand the leadership roles women play in social media. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Enchantista, one of the Digital Sisterhood Leadership archetypes.

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

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.

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During Digital Sisterhood Month 2012, the women listed below were named Digital Sisters of the Year – Enchantistas. Recognize any familiar names?

Enchantista Manifesto Collage by Ananda Leeke
Enchantista Manifesto Collage by Ananda Leeke

While writing my upcoming Digital Sisterhood book, I created manifesto collages to better understand each leadership archetype. Check out the Enchantista’s key phrases.

Do any of the words resonate with you?

Are you an Enchantista?