Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke discovered mindfulness when her career as a young lawyer and investment banker did not produce the level of success she expected. Ananda defines mindfulness as “a human birthright and practice. Each of us is born with the ABILITY TO BE AWARE of what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body, and surroundings. Mindfulness is also a practice that we can CHOOSE to PAY ATTENTION to what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body and surroundings ON PURPOSE in the PRESENT MOMENT and WITHOUT JUDGMENT. We can use the power of our breath to practice mindfulness. Taking a deep breath intentionally brings us into the present moment where we can access awareness, balance, and calm with loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. When we practice mindfulness, it becomes the gateway to who we truly are.”
Over the past 26 years, mindfulness has helped her overcome panic attacks, release her career expectations, develop self-care practices, and pursue her calling as an artist, author, Reiki master practitioner, speaker, and mindfulness and yoga teacher. Today, she makes a difference in the world by helping people and organizations outsmart stress, tap into creativity, and have a healthy relationship with technology as the Chief Mindfulness Officer of Ananda Leeke Consulting, a firm that provides coaching and training in mindful living, creativity, and technology. She hosts the #ThrivingMindfully Podcast and Meetup Group’s Mindful Monday Meditation series. Also, she leads the social media program as the Chief Social Media Officer at the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council.
Her digital communications career was born during her tenure at the Hamilton Securities Group, Inc., a mission-driven investment bank and financial software firm that represented the Federal Housing Administration and launched a data servicing startup in public housing in Washington, DC. While at Hamilton, she spearheaded the design and implementation of the firm’s intellectual property protection and contracts administration programs for Internet products and services. Her expertise in these areas allowed her to serve as a team member on community venture capital transactions in underserved communities. She also built, maintained, and conducted team trainings on intellectual property, Internet promotions, and privacy.
In addition, she worked as the Knowledge Manager for e.villages, Hamilton’s data servicing startup in public housing. In this role, she created, curated, and maintained content for an intranet which housed information, resources, tools, and best practices on community development, economic self-sufficiency, employment, financial literacy, housing, life skills management, micro-enterprises, and welfare reform.
Her Hamilton experience launched her career as a business consultant who conducted trademark searches, prepared copyright registration and domain reservation applications, and provided legal disclaimer language for web sites, products, and services. It laid the foundation for her work as an online columnist for the women’s channel on NetNoir.com, a multimedia services company and website that focused on African American culture and lifestyle. She later tapped into her content creation skills to create blogs, podcasts, social media marketing strategies, and videos to market her art, books, coaching practice, and reiki and yoga services.
As a result, she was able to utilize her expertise to launch and manage two tech inclusion initiatives: Digital Sisterhood Network, a women’s media channel and online community, and Digital Citizenship Project. Also, she designed and managed the first-ever social media technical assistance and training program for over 25 affiliate agencies at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). After leaving USCRI, she worked as a digital communications consultant, volunteered with the Obama White House and was recognized as a social media thought leader, and launched the first-ever social media and workplace mindfulness programs as the Digital Communications Director at Law Students in Court.
From 2001 to 2018, she served as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital (2003-2009) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (2010-2018). Her mixed media collages, wire sculptures, and paintings have been exhibited in the Washington DC metropolitan area, New York City, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
Several of her paintings decorate the covers of her books, Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel, and That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir. Both books and her mindful technology memoir, Digital Sisterhood are available on Amazon. She is currently writing Lighthouse: A Memoir of Thriving Mindfully.
She speaks at conferences and events sponsored by the Association of Wedding Professionals, AT&T, Automattic, BlogHer, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Executive Women International, Howard University, Institute for Medicaid Innovation, Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media, Nonprofit Technology Network, Sisterhued, Spelman College, Unity of Washington, DC, Washington National Cathedral, and Web of Change. In addition, she regularly shares her meditation, mindfulness, and social media on WHUR 96.3 FM.
She is a proud alumna of Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation, 1991), Howard University School of Law (J.D, 1989), Morgan State University (B.A. in French, 1986), and Elizabeth Seton High School (1982). She earned the following certifications: 300-hour mindfulness teacher certification from the Engaged Mindfulness Institute (2018), Reiki master certification from the Reiki Lotus Healing Center (2008), and 200-hour registered yoga teacher certification from Flow Yoga Center(2006). She is a member of Unity of Washington, DC and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She lives in Washington, DC. Learn more at AnandaLeeke.com.