Today is the perfect day to share photos from the Blogalicious12 Weekend Conference that I attended on September 28-30 at the Red Rock Spa in Las Vegas. The entire conference was filled with Digital Sisterhood moments galore! I have included photos of some of my favorite moments and links to my Flickr photo sets. Enjoy!
Tomorrow is September 1. That date means many things to many people. For me it represents the official Blogalicious Weekend Conference countdown. Yep, I am excited. Why? Well, how much time do you have?
Blogalicious Weekend is one of my favorite social media conferences. I’ve been attending it since the first one that was held in Atlanta in 2009. That weekend will always be memorable because of the many women I met like Veronica Arreola, Boni Candelario, Xina Eiland, Terri Holley, Thien Kim, and Aliza Sherman. I also reconnected with Corynne Corbett and Natalie McNeal, two of my BlogHer 09 hanging buddies. The lessons I learned from sessions featuring Shameeka Ayers, Leticia Baar, Angela Benton, Jessica Carter, Shannon Nash, Corvida Raven, and Karen Walrond were key to my making smarter moves as a blogger, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer. I was also able to teach a kind and gentle yoga class for social media users and interview one of my digital sheros, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, founder of NiaOnline. Those were HUGE moments!!!!!
Confession: The 2010 conference was my favorite. It was held at the Ritz Carleton on Miami Beach (loved the location)! I roomed with my digital sister Xina. We co-hosted an open-mic luncheon sponsored by McDonalds.
I also learned about the Heart of Haiti campaign and became a blogger ambassador with the help of Lauren Thomas, met Danica Kombol of Everywhere and Willa Shalit of Fairwinds Trading, and sipped the Middle Sister wine in the Wine Sisterhood suite with my digital sister Boni. I took time to lay out in the sun and drink a few cocktails.
Taking Takeyah Young’s morning yoga class on the beach with Veronica, Xina, Shirelle Kirkland-Andrews, and a bunch of other digital sisters was yogalicious! Some of the best moments happened when I used my smartphone to interview several digital sisters and brothers for my Cinchcast podcast. I screamed when I met my Twitter digital sister Dr. Goddess in person! That was a huge moment because we traded so many tweets! Having a lot of time to chat with my Latinos in Social Media digital sisters Kety Esquivel and Julie Diaz Asper was fabulous. I sat in the audience and enjoyed hearing CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien share her thoughts about life and technology via Skype. At the end of the conference, I was inspired me to launch #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays. What fun we had!
The 2011 conference was held closer to home at the Gaylord National Hotel in Maryland (about 30 minutes from my home in Washington, D.C.). During that conference, I served as a Blogalicious Ambassador and mentored the Digital Sisterhood Network’s Blogger-in-Residence Kamaria Richmond. Thanks to Kamaria’s fundraising efforts, I was able to stay in her room as a guest. She knows how to raise money for a conference! My dad Dr. John F. Leeke also attended the conference. That was a lot of fun to see him connect with bloggers and brands. He soaked it all up and became a Blogalicious fan for life.
I cried so much during the American Cancer Society’s presentation featuring one of my digital sheroes, Susan Niebur. That moment is etched into my heart forever. I hung out with Danica and Britton Edwards from Everywhere, chatted with Corynne and LaShanda Henry, interviewed a group of bloggers including Issa Mas for my Cinchcast podcast, and had a great “brinner” chat with Dr. Goddess and Kiratiana Freelon. My favorite session featured Aliza Sherman who talked about apps and other techie tools. She dropped some serious science on me. The Susan B. Komen for the Cure pajama party and the Wine Sisterhood suite were my favorite places to hang out and connect with other bloggers. One of the best chats I had was with Barbara Jones and Julie. These ladies gave me a lot of food for thought!
Earlier this month, I reconnected with my Blogalicious family during Brunchilious at the BlogHer 12 conference in New York City. During the brunch, I shared my Blogalicious experiences and the power of the community. What an honor!
And so now I am looking forward to learning, growing, connecting, laughing, sharing, and making more memories in a few weeks at Blogalicious 12. It will be my first time visiting Las Vegas. So I’ll definitely have to take photos of the strip. I am rooming with Xina. So we are gonna have a great time. She’s working the conference as the official Blogalicious publicist (a job she does so well!). I am serving as a media sponsor via the Digital Sisterhood Network and as a speaker for the Blog Community Jam Session on September 28 at 2:00 p.m. I am speaking with an amazing group of folks. See below.
Melanie Edwards, owner of Ella Media
Ana Flores, founder of Latina Bloggers Connect
Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers Club
Jyl Johnson, founder of Mom It Forward
Manny Ruiz, founder of Hispancize
Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer
So here’s what you can do.
Register for the conference so you don’t miss out on the great Blogalicious experience of a lifetime!
So many wonderful things have happened since I started my Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign in September. The first wonderful thing that happened was online and offline support for my fundraising effort. So many people used Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, blogs, email, web sites, other social media tools, the telephone, and word of mouth to spread the news about my efforts. I am so grateful for everyone’s support! Many thanks!
The second wonderful thing that happened was receiving $547 in pledges from 17 generous people in less than a month. Gratitude and deep humility are the best words to express my thanks to these special people.
When I started my Kickstarter.com campaign, I had a goal to raise $500 by December 23. It was a conservative goal that I thought would help me taste the Kickstarter.com fundraising process. Well, as you can see, I have been blessed abundantly. So I decided to relaunch my fundraising campaign today with an additional goal of $1,053 to meet my overall goal of $1,600 by December 23. This money will be used to cover the cost of my self-publishing and mailing fees.
After I returned home from Blogalicious, I began hosting a weekly event called #STB10 #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday where women in social media are encouraged to celebrate, promote, and tweet about their favorite digital sisters on Twitter. The Twitterstream from the October 13th and October 20th events produced an “aha” moment for me about moving forward on changing the title of my book project. So today, I am proud to announce the new name of my next book: Digital Sisterhood: A Gen X-er Memoir of Life & the Internet. Let me know what you think about the title. I am open to your feedback!
As a side note, I have reserved “digital sisterhood” as a web site, Twitter account, and WordPress blog:
Look for more news about these digital properties going live in 2011.
One last thing … Join me in getting the word out about my fundraising efforts online and offline. Please make a donation too! Click on the link to donate $1-$25: http://kck.st/avHVlu. Thank you in advance for your support!
Gratitude and Joy,
Author of Digital Sisterhood: A Gen X-er Memoir of Life & the Internet (December 2011) www.anandaleeke.com
Side Note: I met Julie and Kety Esquivel at She’s Geeky DC held at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in November 2009. They convinced me to attend and teach yoga for social media users at the LATISM DC conference in December 2009. While at LATISM DC, I met LATISM’s co-founder Ana Roca Castro, Elianne, and so many other members of the Latino social media community.
Aurelia Flores: “Doing what I have done has actually not only underscored, but made very clear to me that every woman has a story… and an amazing story. And it is really really important that we listen to each other and tell those stories. And so for me online is a medium to do that.”
Veronica Arreola: “Be patient. Don’t jump at every opportunity. You need to be responsible… Our blogs, our social media platforms are very powerful… We are very powerful women using powerful tools. And we need to be responsible with that.”
Maura Hernandez: “Find your own niche and own it. It is so important to focus. If you find your niche, people will begin to know you as an expert.”
DeAnne Cuellar: “If you start using a specific tool or begin an account with a specific network, and it doesn’t work, move on. It’s okay if you don’t want to tweet…Find what works for you.”
Watch the video (1 hour 10 minutes – totally worth watching!) below.
Blogalicious 2010 was filled with many special moments. One of my special moments was meeting Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League on October 10 after his keynote address. I had a chance to thank him for all of the work he is doing. I also told him about how much my father supports his work. That made him smile! My dad got a kick out of hearing that story too!
To learn more about Morial’s keynote address at Blogalicious, watch the video (17 minutes) below. It is powerful!
Last year Xina Eiland and I met during the Blogalicious 2009 opening night reception in Atlanta. While sipping cocktails and recording video interviews, we learned we were both born in Michigan and currently reside in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Throughout the conference, we reconnected with each other and other women like“WhimsiGal,” founder of Whimsicard, LLC from the DC area. When we returned home, we used social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in touch. We also discussed our Blogalicious experiences on my TalkShow.com program called Sisterhood the Blog Radio.
And then it happened. We reached out by telephone and agreed to meet in person. Our first meeting occurred on a Sunday afternoon at the U Street Café in DC. Xina, “WhimsiGal,” and I sat at a table for a few hours discussing our lives, 2010 goals, ways we could support each other, and ideas for a local Blogalicious meet up. That one conversation paved the way for our Blogalicious DC community building efforts.
Together, we were able to help Blogalicious founders Stacey Ferguson, Nadia Jones, and Nyasha Smith organize two meet ups in February and April for DC area women. Xina played a major role in securing space and media coverage, promoting the events on Facebook and Twitter, identifying speakers and sponsors, developing the agenda, and obtaining in-kind donations for both events. I served as panel moderator for the April meet up.
In addition to supporting the Blogalicious DC community, we also made a professional commitment to support each other and our 2010 business goals. We launched our commitment with a face-to-face breakfast meeting at Busboys and Poets, a popular DC hangout, on January 2. Seated on comfy chairs with herbal tea and delicious breakfast items to keep us company, we shared our expertise. Xina became my public relations coach and convinced me to follow her instructions on how to better package myself, books, art, yoga practice, and coaching services. I became her creativity coach and helped her develop a social media plan to support her intention to blog and learn more about social media tools. Since then, we have met monthly to assess our progress and seek feedback. We also attended several DC social media meet ups, participated in the Blogging While Brown’s White House Visit and weekend conference, hung out at the Red Pump Project and Blogalicious’ Say RED: Cocktails and Conversations event, and live blogged with the Blogalicious DC B-Link members during President Obama’s education reform speech at the National Urban League’s Centennial Conference.
What a year we are having! And it’s not even over yet! I think the greatest blessing has come from the way we constantly encourage each other to step up our game and pursue new opportunities. We also share information, insights, and introductions to people in our network that can support our efforts. We laugh, learn, and listen to each other when we achieve and struggle. Our Blogalicious bond has created a digital sisterhood that exists in real time!
Digital sisterhood is one of the many gifts you will receive when you attend a Blogalicious conference or event. It’s contagious. Some say it’s magical. And it happens without you even knowing it. That’s the beauty of Blogalicious. Through the celebration of Blogalicious’ diversity, women own who they are through the content, connections, communities, and commerce they create as they share experiences, insights, opinions, humor, creativity, expertise, and information. Our Blogalicious digital sisterhood lays the foundation for building local digital sisterhood communities.
Xina and I were initially scheduled to host a community dinner discussion on digital sisterhood at Blogalicious 2010. There was a change of events that opened the door to an even greater blessing. I love how the universe works. It always gets better. So here’s what happened! The Blogalicious founders Justices Ny, Fergie, and Jonesie offered us an opportunity to moderate the open-mic luncheon sponsored by McDonalds on October 8. What an honor!
Xina and I had an amazing time moderating the soulful discussion. We witnessed the power of digital sisterhood in the stories told by women who were Blogalicious newbies and alumni. They opened their hearts and spoke with such passion, clarity, candor, and humor. It was a beautiful experience filled with wisdom, laughter, lessons learned, and a plethora of blogging experiences that revealed how women discovered their authentic selves online and offline. Check out the photos taken by NYCityMama Carol Cain below. FYI – Carol is the official Blogalicious photographer. She did an amazing job documenting Blogalicious 2009 and 2010! Thanks Carol for your gift of digital sisterhood photography and love!
It’s hard to believe that Blogalicious 2010 was last week. I am still on my Blogalicious and digital sisterhood high! So I thought I would share a recap of what happened during Day #2. See below.
I started Day#2 of Blogalicious with yoga on the beach. My sistalove Takeyah Young, founder of Core Connection Lifestyle, taught a juicy class on Miami Beach. Xina and I had a great time. Check out the photos from the class below.
Before the morning sessions began, I chatted with Shannon Nash, a Blogalicious 2010 speaker, and Xina. I met Shannon last year at Blogalicious 2009. She is an amazing woman and speaker! The morning sessions included a great six-word memoir networking exercise. I love love love six-word memoirs. I created two.
personal six-word memoir to describe myself – Michigan. DC. Esq. Author. Artist. Yogini.
Blogalicious six-word memoir – digital sisterhood. community. connection. collaboration. commerce. (will blog about this one later this weekend)
I was inspired by James Andrews’ keynote presentation on the relationship between social media and television. Check out the video of his presentation below (33 min – worth it!). James’ presentation convinced me to launch #STB10 #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays on Twitter this week. Click here to read the blog post and watch video.
I also used Cinchcast to interview James later in the afternoon. Click here to listen to the interview. He is a very powerful brothalove who loves the same kind of music as me – Eric Roberson and Omar Sosa!
I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon interviewing women in social media about digital sisterhood on Cinchcast (see the audio blog interview links below)! Doing the interviews helped me connect with so many dynamic women in social media. See photos below.
My afternoon also included a visit to the Wine Sisterhood‘s Sassy Suite. What a place to visit! Why? They had a fabulous wine tasting for their Middle Sister wines. FYI – The Wine Sisterhood is one of my favorite social networking sites for women. They have such great information about women and wine! I hung out in the suite with my friends Boni, Rosemarie, Luvvie, Adria, Danica, Toni, and Deidre. I also did a video interview for the Wine Sisterhood. See some of the photos below.
My hermana de alma Julie Diaz-Asper took me and our other hermana de alma Kety Esquivel to dinner with her family at Yuca, an amazing Cuban restaurant on Lincoln Road. After dinner, we walked back to the Ritz with Julie and her daughters to attend the Blogalicious Beauty Bash. We had so much with So In Style Barbie and dancing to the music of DJ James Andrews (yes he is a DJ too!).
As you can see Day #2 of Blogalicious was blog-tastic! Stop by later this weekend for Day#3 recap and other Blogalicious blogs.
On the last day of Blogalicious 2010, I recorded a video about my 10/13 Twitter launch of #STB10 #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays. Click on the link to watch the video: http://vimeo.com/15741180.
#STB10 #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays will give women in social media a weekly opportunity to build and strengthen their communities. Each week women will be encouraged to celebrate and promote their digital sisters by using the #FF (Friday Follow) format to list their digital sisters’ Twitter IDs. Women will also be encouraged to tweet about their digital sisters’ businesses, wisdom, creativity, blogs, Facebook pages, causes, videos, web sites, etc.
#STB10 is a hashtag that refers to Sisterhood the Blog 2010. I developed it to track my Twitter conversations, DC-based focus groups, and online radio shows about her Sisterhood the Blog book project. Sisterhood the Blog is a memoir about my Internet experiences from 1986 to 2011. I include how women on the Internet have influenced and inspired my life. I am using the information collected on Twitter as research for my book project. Click here to learn about the book project and Kickstarter fundraiser: kck.st/avHVlu.
Remember to use the #STB10 and #DigitalSisterhood hashtags on October 13 and every Wednesday thereafter.