ENCOURAGEMENT is #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 5. Yesterday, my accountability partner Nia and I decided to go walking and talking in Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland (since it was cold outside and ABC Scandal was on hiatus!). During our hour-long walk, we laughed, shared, window shopped, danced in the aisles at DSW and the Guess Jeans store, smelled candles and tried lotions at Bed Bath & Beyond, drank the passion mint sample tea at the Teavana store (yummy), and talked about how we support each other. Our conversation reminded me of the power we each have to encourage ourselves and each other.
That’s why I took some time today to text several family members and friends encouraging messages by author Panache Desai that I like to read on Facebook. How do you encourage yourself and others?
On June 10, I attended the White House Social (#WHSocial) featuring President Barack Obama’s first-ever Tumblr Q&A session on education, college affordability, and student loan debt reduction. I had a front row seat in the State Dining Room. Being able to see President Obama, one of my #FierceLiving heros, in action was a HUGE life moment for me. Click here to read about my favorite #WHSocial moments. Watch my Vine video too.
After the event, I was able to snap a selfie with the President, say hello, and shake his hand. What a lucky woman I am!
Check out photos from my #WHSocial adventures below.
Today I have been reflecting on the words of the late South African President Nelson Mandela (see above) and President Barack Obama (see below).
“You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.”
Their wise words remind me how grateful I am to my parents and my ancestors for blessing me with the opportunity to receive as much education as I desired. The education I received as a student at Kenmoor Elementary School, Kenmoor Junior High School, Elizabeth Seton High School, Morgan State University, Howard University School of Law, and Georgetown University Law Center became my gateway for pursuing a diverse career path as a lawyer, investment banker, knowledge manager, business consultant, artist, author, nonprofit senior program officer, yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner, and digital communications professional. My education was a gateway to #FierceLiving … being too bold for boundaries.
I was truly blessed to receive financial support from my parents for my primary, high school, college, and law school education. I used a student loan to pay for my graduate law degree at Georgetown and spent several years paying off the debt. Those were lean years for me. Nowadays students are faced with enormous debt. College affordability is a huge challenge. These two factors create barriers for people to obtain a higher education.
Education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt are three areas I am passionate about supporting online and offline. My passion is rooted in who I am as a daughter of two educators and an aunt to a niece in college with student loan debt and nephews in elementary school who will most likely face student loan debt. They are the reasons I applied to participate in the White House (#WHSocial) Tumblr Social on June 10 where President Obama will engage with Tumblr followers in his first-ever Tumblr Question and Answer session on education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt. Tumblr CEO David Karp will moderate the session.
Guess what happened this afternoon?
The White House selected me to participate as social media leader in the #WHSocial. So be sure to follow me on my Tumblr blog and as @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter next Tuesday starting at 3:30 p.m.
On May 28, I successfully completed my Prevention Magazine 28-Day Challenge. During the #28fitdays Challenge, I used social media on a daily basis to share photos of my healthy living journey.
Sharing my journey via social media strengthened my healthy living commitment, created community with other women who participated in the Challenge, provided a cheerleading choir made up of my social media friends and followers, and offered greater accountability especially on days when I felt like skipping my fitness routine. The end result is a deeper healthy living practice on my road to #FierceLiving at 50.
So what’s next for me?
I’m starting a 21-day fitness challenge called Body Reboot on June 1 to sculpt my core and increase my weekly running. I’m also planning to attend Mint Condition Day sponsored by my gym on June 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Marie Reed Elementary Soccer Field, 2200 Champlain Street, NW, Washington, DC. If you are in DC, click here to register for the free event. See you there!
My #FierceLiving Fashion starts with bright colors. I love wearing bright colors when I facilitate workshops, moderate panel discussions, give talks about my books, and attend conferences. Ann Taylor Loft, Dress Barn, Forever 21, H&M, Lettie Gooch Boutique, Macy’s, Marshall’s, Target, and Violet Boutique are some of my favorite places to shop for these events.
This week, I facilitated a nonprofit digital storytelling workshop for my client, Serve DC’s National Service Program Director Institute. I wore bright colors: purple Ann Taylor Loft pants and white t-shirt, blue Dress Barn blazer, H&M gold necklace, Forever 21 gold bangles and ring, and Anne Klein black peek-a-boo wedge shoes. My vegan black bowling bag from Violet Boutique kept me company.
I am very much like my mother. We are both lifelong learners. I call my lifelong learning experiences #FierceLiving learning opportunities. They help me dream, imagine, create, and grow.
What helps you dream, imagine, create, and grow?
My day started with a series of #FierceLiving learning opportunities at the DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit held at the University of District of Columbia’s David E. Clarke School of Law.
Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea, gave a keynote on “Scaling an Authentic Brand While Keeping it Honest.”
The first session I attended focused on “Social Entrepreneurship and Social Value Creation.” It was facilitated by Sara Herald of the Center for Social Value Creation at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Alex Simon, Executive Director of Compass Partners, conducted the second session I attended on “Breaking Into the Scene: The Who,/What/How of the DC Social Enterprise Landscape.”
My greatest takeaway from these #FierceLiving learning opportunities was clarity around how I describe the work I do and services I offer through my company, AnandaLeeke.com. I was able to share my new and improved company elevator speech during several conversations with fellow participants. Here’s what I shared: AnandaLeeke,com is a digital social enterprise company that creates value through Digital Citizenship, Digital Communications, Digital Sisterhood, and Digital Wellness.
Listen to today’s podcast that features my reflections on my evolving definition of Fierce Living. I shared it during my conversation with Dr. Ayoka Chenzira, founder of Digital Moving Image Salon at Spelman College yesterday. We had an opportunity to explore it and other topics including Digital Sisterhood and social media with an audience of college students from Spelman, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta College (see photo collage above). Click on the link to hear the podcast. http://soundcloud.com/ananda-leeke/happy-fierceliving-friday
Today’s podcast features reflections on the power of #FierceLiving people and places in my life. It also includes two invitations for people living in Atlanta who are available to meet me on:
April 9 for the Digital Sisterhood Meet Up: Cocktails & Conversation on Creativity from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Proof and Provision at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, Georgia. Click here to register on Eventbrite.
April 10 for Spelman College’s “Conversation with Ananda Leeke: Fierce Living Online” at 4:00 p.m. at the NASA Auditorium in the Science Center on Spelman’s campus, 350 Spelman Lane, SW, Atlanta, Georgia.