Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Developing Digital Sisterhood Bonds in Haiti

Nathalie Tancrede, Deana Jirak, Willa Shalit, Sloane Berrent, Ananda, Juliana Um & Johnica Reed

Today is Digital Sisterhood Wednesday on Twitter.  That means the Digital Sisterhood Network is in full force  —

Ananda & Pascal Faublas, Jacmel Director for Fairwinds Trading

celebrating and promoting their digital sisters by tweeting about their businesses, wisdom, creativity, blogs, Facebook pages, causes, videos, and web sites.  I created #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays during the 2010 Blogalicious Weekend Conference and  launched the weekly Twitter celebration to  give women in social media a weekly opportunity to build and strengthen their communities. Each week women are encouraged to celebrate and promote their digital sisters by using the #FF (Friday Follow) format.  This weekly celebration gave birth to Digital Sisterhood Month and the Digital Sisterhood Network in December.  One of the lessons I learned during Digital Sisterhood Month was that Digital Sisterhood is more than a weekly or month-long celebration. It is a movement that has a life of its own.  It is living and breathing on and offline.

Heather Whaling, Sloane Berrent & Ananda

Did you know Digital Sisterhood traveled with me when I left Washington, DC and landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on February 25?   I had no idea she packed herself in my luggage with plans for developing digital sisterhood bonds with 11 amazing women I met through the Heart of Haiti campaign.  See the list of digital sisters below.  Click here to see more photos of the Heart of Haiti‘s Digital Sisterhood.

Heart of Haiti Digital Sisters

  • Sloane Berrent, Humanitarian, Kiva Fellow, and Founder of The Causemopolitan,
  • Laura Ciocia, Senior Digital Strategist at Everywhere,
  • Pascale Faubas, Jacmel Director, Fairwinds Trading
  • Deana Jirak, Designer and Photographer,
  • Danica Kombol, Managing and Founding Partner at Everywhere,
  • Johnica Reed, Travel Tastemaker, Writer, and Founder of leisureStrategy,
  • Willa Shalit, Artist, Author, Co-Founder of V-Day, CEO of Fairwinds Trading, and Founder of Touch Foundation,
  • Nathalie Tancrede, co-founder of Fondation d’Ayiti Soleil, a Haitian organization that helps educate Haitian girls and women, and the Haiti Country Director for Fairwinds Trading
  • Juliana Um, Creative Director, Fairwinds Trading
  • Heather Whaling, PR/Social Media Expert and President of Geben Communication.
Laura Ciocia, Deana Jirak, Sloane Berrent & Ananda
Johnica Reed, Ananda & Danica Kombol

I learned so much about these ladies in four days. We talked about many issues as we toured Port-au-Prince.  Stories, insights, reflections, and lessons learned danced in and out of our daily adventures.  Laughter, silent pauses, a reflection and prayer circle, yoga before sunrise, Reiki healing touch sessions, blogging and tweeting in the hotel restaurant, filming video interviews, taking photos everyplace we stopped, late night girl weekend conversations, dancing and eating plantains at Jacmel’s Carnival, and chit chatting at the cafe in Toussaint Louverture International Airport are just a few of the ways Digital Sisterhood created bonds between me and these women.

It’s hard for me to fully describe the Digital Sisterhood bond that happened in Haiti.   I guess I am still basking in the beauty and blessing of connecting with 11 dynamic women.   So I will leave you with two of my favorite Kreyol words and video interviews of Willa Shalit and Heather Whaling.  The Heart of Haiti Digital Sisterhood is “belle bagay” (a Kreyol word that means fabulous)!

Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Remembering KOFAVIV’s Young Haitian Women on International Women’s Day

Young Haitian women from KOFAVIV

Yesterday was International Women’s Day.  In an effort to honor the 100th anniversary of this powerful day, I took three moments of silence to remember and honor the young Haitian women I met while visiting KOFAVIV, an organization that supports women and girls who have experienced violence. I met these amazing creative young ladies during my Heart of Haiti blogger ambassador trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on February 26.  A very special digital sisterhood moment happened during my visit.  One of the young Haitian women and I really connected. We had some great conversations about her life and mine.  Before I left, she asked me for my email so we could stay in touch.  I promised her that I would stay in touch.  This week I am planning to write her a short email that includes the photos we took together.  Isn’t digital sisterhood great!

Happy New Year! My Heart Belongs to Haiti This Month!

Happy New Year All!

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted.  Why? Digital Sisterhood Month!  31 days of celebrating women online and the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. Visit the Digital Sisterhood Network web site to learn more.

This month my heart belongs to Haiti because I want to honor the resiliency of the Haitian people who experienced a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.  Last year I taught an online yoga class for Yoga Day USA that was dedicated to the people of Haiti. At the beginning of the class, I asked viewers to donate money to Doctors Without Borders to support their work in Haiti. Click here to watch the video.

This year I am serving as an ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign, a Macy’s partnership that was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January earthquake.  Read my November 29th post to learn more. Also, listen to the following December episodes of Digital Sisterhood Radio that mention my work with the Heart of Haiti campaign:

  • December 20th show featuring ‘Digital Native’ Lauren Thomas, founder of Digital Aftershock: I discussed how I met Lauren Thomas, former Digital Coordinator of Everywhere, at the Heart of Haiti booth during Blogalicious 2010 and had a powerful conversation that convinced me to sign up for the campaign.  I also shared how I interviewed Lauren about the Heart of Haiti campaign with my cell phone for my Cinchcast audio blog at Blogalicious.
Water Carriers by Dr. Lois Mailou Jones, Haiti 1985 - acrylic, 25 ¼ x 19 ¾ in.


I almost forgot to mention that I organized a Digital Sisterhood Month field trip for DC area  women in social media to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts on December 3 to see the “Lois Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” exhibit.  During her lifetime, Dr. Jones (born November 3, 1905 – died June 9, 1998), a Howard University art professor (one of my favorite artists), created a body of artwork that was inspired by Haiti and her marriage to Haitian artist Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noel.  One of my greatest treats was showing the women who attended the museum field trip some of my favorite Haitian-inspired paintings created by Dr. Jones.  Check out the amazing “Water Carriers” painting on the left side of the blog post.

What do you think?


Drop by my blog this week and next week for more posts about my passion for Haiti and work with the Heart of Haiti campaign!

Enjoy your day and week!

Ananda submitted her Ignite DC #6 Speaker Submission on Digital Sisterhood today!


039, originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

Have you heard of Ignite DC? Visit

Ignite DC is a fabulous five minute speaker event held several times a year in DC. During the event, 16 speakers take the stage to share their thoughts in five minutes with 20 slides. Speakers include artists, technologists, thinkers, and personalities. Their presentations spark new conversations and collaborations across cultures and disciplines.

I participated in Ignite DC #4 on June 16. My topic was “Who’s living inside of me?” and used excerpts from my book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009 –  Click here to watch a 5 minute video of my presentation.

Ignite DC #4 was a positively fantastic experience! I learned so much from my fellow speakers and enjoyed networking with audience members. It was so great that I decided to submit a topic proposal for Ignite DC #6 which will be held on February 3, 2011.

My Ignite DC #6 topic is “What is Digital Sisterhood” It utilizes my research and excerpts from my next book Digital Sisterhood (December 2011). See the summary below.

Ananda’s Ignite DC #6 Summary

What is Digital Sisterhood? (excerpt from Digital Sisterhood by Ananda Leeke, December 2011)

Copyright 2010 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All Rights Reserved.

What is Digital Sisterhood?

Did you know women represent 87.1 million of the total U.S. adult online population (163.8 million) in 2010? According to the BlogHer-iVillage 2010 Social Media Matters Study, co-sponsored by Ketchum and the Nielsen Company, there are 67.5 million women (18 to 76 years old) out of 126.9 million social media users in the U.S. Now that’s digital sisterhood!

Digital sisterhood is the feminine currency women use to create relationship wealth through the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. The relationship wealth of digital sisterhood is based on what women care about and their shared interests and experiences. How do women connect? What are their conversations? What communities do they build? What collaborative partnerships do they form? What types of commerce do they engage in?

The answers to these questions lead to one truth. Women are standing in their power and reclaiming themselves online and offline. They move with a power not seen before. It is rooted in women being fully,

P – Present when they

O – Own their lives as

W – Women who believe they have

E – Everything they need to live out their

R – Revolution of authenticity.

May all women know their investment in themselves and each other will yield a high return!

My Six-Word Memoirs about Digital Sisterhood & Digital Life

It’s Friday confession time.  One of my favorite past times is writing and sharing six-word memoirs on the Smith Magazine six-word memoir web site.  Today, I posted one that I wrote during a six-word memoir networking icebreaker held on Day #2 of the Blogalicious 2010 conference. After posting it, I rediscovered 30 (yes 30) six-word memoirs I posted.   See below. Some of them are gonna show up in my next book Digital Sisterhood: A Gen X-er Memoir on Life & the Internet.

Do you have a six-word memoir? Share it.

Go ahead and join the six-word memoir movement on Smith Magazine’s site: It’s a lot of fun!

My 31 Six-Word Memoirs About Digital Sisterhood & Digital Life:

Recap of some of October’s best Twitter definitions of #DigitalSisterhood

October has been a powerful month for #digitalsisterhood on Twitter!  Check out some of my favorite #digitalsisterhood Twitter definitions below.  Do you have any? Please share.  Thanks in advance.

Ananda’s New Book Title News – Digital Sisterhood: A Gen X-er Memoir of Life & the Internet

Blessings All,

So many wonderful things have happened since I started my 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 campaign, I had a goal to raise $500 by December 23. It was a conservative goal that I thought would help me taste the 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.

The third wonderful thing that happened was gaining clarity about my book title while attending the Blogalicious 2010 conference on October 8 to October 10 in Miami, Florida. While I was at Blogalicious, I co-moderated an open-mic luncheon and conducted audio interviews with women bloggers about digital sisterhood. My great takeaway from these experiences was the power of the phrase “digital sisterhood.”

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: Thank you in advance for your support!

Gratitude and Joy,

Ananda Leeke
Author of Digital Sisterhood: A Gen X-er Memoir of Life & the Internet (December 2011)

Get ready for digital sisterhood moments in the Be Blogalicious film! It’s coming later this fall!

Today, Tyler New Media released the trailer for the Be Blogalicious film. Check out the trailer video below.  I am so happy Rosa Alonso, founder of My Latino Voice, discussed digital sisterhood.  What a powerful film! Click on the link to pre-order the film (only $15 – I ordered mine today):

PS: Tyler New Media interviewed me for the film. So I may be in it! Stay tuned!

Ananda & Xina Eiland’s Digital Sisterhood & Moderator Roles During Blogalicious 2010’s Open Mic Lunch on October 8, 2010

Me and Xina Eiland moderating open-mic luncheon session @Blogalicious 2010 - Photo Credit: NYCityMama Carol Cain
Xina, Justice Ny, Justice Fergie, Justice Jonesie (Justices are co-founders of Blogalicious), and me @Blogalicious 2010 - Photo Credit: NYCityMama Carol Cain


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 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!

Xina and Ananda moderating the open-mic luncheon @Blogalicious 2010 - Photo Credit: Carol Cain
Open mic luncheon buffet - Photo Credit: Carol Cain
Blogalicious attendees at open-mic luncheon - Photo Credit: Carol Cain
Miss Lori sharing her blogging story @ open-mic luncheon - Photo Credit: Carol Cain
Professor Diva sharing her blogging story at open-mic luncheon - Photo Credit: Carol Cain

Luvvie sharing her blogging story @open-mic luncheon - Photo Credit: Carol Cain

Takeyah Young sharing her blogging story @ open-mic luncheon – Photo Credit: Carol Cain

Ananda’s Blogalicious 2010 Recap of Day #2 & Digital Sisterhood Audio Interviews with Women Bloggers – October 9, 2010

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.

Me and Xina Eiland before yoga on the beach at Blogalicious

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.

Me before yoga class at Blogalicious
Blogalicious ladies practicing yoga.
Takeya Young, founder of Core Connection Lifestyle, teaching yoga at Blogalicious
Shannon Nash and Xina Eiland

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)

FYI – My six-word memoir was published in Smith Magazine’s It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure: Go Green BoHo BAP. Urban Debutante. I also used six-word memoirs as chapter titles in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery. Click here to watch my creativity coaching video on  six-word memoirs.  My coaching and yoga clients will also testify to my use of six-word memoirs with them.  Can you tell I am a six-word memoir fan?

James Andrews, co-founder of Everywhere

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.

Danica Kombol. co-founder of Everywhere

Listen to interview with Danica Kombol.




Me and Lashanda Henry


Listen to interview with LaShanda Henry




Toni Staton-Harris and Deidre Mason


Listen to interview with Toni Staton-Harris and Deidre Mason




Ellen Seidman


Listen to interview with Ellen Seidman.




Jennifer James


Listen to interview with Jennifer James.




Jonnice Slaughter


Listen to interview with Jonnice Slaughter.




Me and Boni Candelario


Listen to interview with Boni Candelario.




Mary Ann Vangrin of the Wine Sisterhood and her fellow Wine Sisterhood colleague


Listen to the interview with Mary Ann Vangrin.





Me and Natalie McNeal


Listen to the interview with Natalie McNeal.




Me and Maura Hernandez


Listen to interview with Maura Hernandez.




Lauren Thomas


Listen to interview with Lauren Thomas.


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.


Me and Deidre Mason

Me and Boni Candelario



Rosemarie, Boni and Luvvie


Rosemarie and Boni


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!).


Me with my Afro-Cuban Barbie - Kara Magdalena (I named her Magdalena and gave her an Afro-Cuban identity)


As you can see Day #2 of Blogalicious was blog-tastic! Stop by later this weekend for Day#3 recap and other Blogalicious blogs.