Meet the Presidential Innovation Fellows — Medium

Did you know POTUS Obama issued an Executive Order making the Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program a permanent part of the Federal government yesterday? Read the White House’sMedium blog:

#InternetGeek Tuesday: #InternetGeekat50 Lesson 7 PASSION


Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!

PASSION is #InternetGeekat50 Lesson 7. Nearly 30 years ago, I entered the digital world as a first year student at Howard University School of Law and fell head over heels in love with information from articles, books, case law, journals, and magazines included in the LexisNexis database. My passion for online information gave birth to a bigger passion that now includes a digital communications career and several projects that focus on building and celebrating community, creating and curating content, and inspiring others to use their online presence to express their digital citizenship. Thanks to the White House Office of Digital Strategy, I’ll be able to express my digital citizenship and passion for all things POTUS and FLOTUS Obama during the Spring Garden Tour Social on April 25. Be sure to follow my adventures on Saturday, April 25 via Instagram and Twitter

How do you express your passion in the digital world?

#InternetGeek Tuesday: #InternetGeekat50 Lesson 4 B.L.O.G.

Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!

Speaking at Press Publish - Photo Credit: Christine Holsey
Speaking at Press Publish – Photo Credit: Christine Holsey

#InternetGeekat50 Lesson 4 is B.L.O.G. Last weekend, I attended the WordPress Press Publish Portland Conference. I shared my B.L.O.G. mantra and how I began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House during my “Blogging for Obama” session. Here’s what B.L.O.G. stands for:

B – Be yourself in your blogging process

L – Love the stories you tell on your blog.

O – Open yourself to new ideas and opportunities.

G – Give back.

I have included a more detailed description that I used in my session presentation below.

Photo Credit: Jerry Mahoney
Photo Credit: Jerry Mahoney

B – Be yourself in your blogging process. Give yourself space to manage the fluctuation of your energy, focus, and passion with digital wellness. I define digital wellness as a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, and using time management tools (HootSuite, TweetDeck, and an editorial calendar) to schedule your blog and social media posts (excerpt from my book Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

I started blogging as a result of a writing block in my novel-writing process for Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One in 2005. My book editor urged me to blog to create a daily writing practice. Guess what? He was right. It worked because I wrote for myself. I didn’t think about attracting or pleasing an audience. I just wrote to express my thoughts about my book and its characters.
Photo Credit: Marcia Johnston
Photo Credit: Marcia Johnston

My blogging helped me connect with a diverse group of bloggers and social media influencers who discussed topics relevant to my novel and its characters. It also created an audience for my book before it was published. When my book was published, I started telling stories about my writing journey, the lessons I learned during the publishing process, background information about the novel’s characters, book readings, and radio and television interviews. These efforts led me to share stories about my life as an artist and yoga teacher. I ended up creating two different blogs and blog space on numerous online communities and social networking sites. That’s when trouble began. Blogger burnout. In 2008, I was overwhelmed by my self-made digital footprint. Following the advice of my life coach, I took a leave of absence from my blog. Stepping away from the blogging process helped me recharge. I also realized that I was in control of how much I blogged and it was okay to take breaks. So when blogger burnout happened again in 2011, I didn’t hesitate in taking a break. That same year, I decided to institute a monthly unplugging practice that turned into the Digital Sisterhood Unplugged Weekend.


yogameL – Love the stories you are telling on your blog. Tap into what you are most passionate about. I tapped into my passion for yoga, creativity, and being an Internet geek as a guide in what I share on my blog. I also maintain three other blogs that reflect my passion for women in social media (Digital Sisterhood Network), digital citizenship, and my DC life and love for all things POTUS, FLOTUS, and the White House. I don’t maintain a regular editorial calendar for these blogs. I post when I feel called to or have a project I am working on that calls for blogging.

O – Open yourself to new ideas and opportunities. I opened myself up to new ideas and opportunities when I started going to blogging conferences and local social media and tech events including Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, Blogalicious, BlissDom, Feminism 2.0, Latinos in Social Media, She’s Geeky DC, Social Justice Camp DC, Social Media Club DC, Social Media Week DC, and DC Digital Capital Week. These experiences helped me establish relationships and build community with a diverse group of people. My connections and interactions exposed me to new ideas and opportunities to express and share my passion for:
jleeke-obamacampaignoffice ananda-obamaphonebank2
My greatest opportunities have occurred as a result of my passion for President Barack Obama. In 2008, I used my digital presence and yoga teaching skills to support his first Presidential campaign. During President Obama’s second campaign in 2012, my father and I volunteered in the Prince George’s County, Maryland campaign office. We also used our blogs and social media platforms to discuss the Obama campaign. After the election, I searched for ways to increase my support and began applying to participate in the White House Social events. Last year, I was selected by the White House to serve as a social media leader for the State of the Union, French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande, and the Tumblr Q&A session on education. The U.S. Department of State invited me to serve in a similar capacity during the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony.
French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 - Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 – Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
International Women of Courage Award Ceremony, February 2014 - Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State
International Women of Courage Award Ceremony, February 2014 – Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State
G – Give back. Use your blogging and social media skills to give back to causes, communities, and organizations you care about. I have used my blogging and social media skills to serve as a technology volunteer for Blogalicious Meetups in 2009-2012, CrisisCampDC and Chilean Earthquake in 2010, Andy Shallal’s DC Mayoral Campaign in 2013-14, and BlogHer’s Veteran Blogger Mentor Program in 2014. I have also given back through the Digital Citizenship Project and Digital Citizenship Month.
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
Photo Credit: Badge designed by Dariela Cruz
Many thanks to Automattic WordPress developer and designer Michelle Langston for working with me to redesign Like many people, I had an older website in addition to my blog. During her session “A Tale of Two Sites: A Case Study,” Michelle discussed how we worked together to combine my two sites into one that would truly express my personality and meet my online goals. I participated by sharing the web content challenges I faced and how I overcame my fears with her support.
Michelle and me at Press Publish
Michelle and me at Press Publish

TRANSFORMATIVE is the best word to describe my Press Publish experience. I invite you to read my #Storify blogs which feature social media highlights including tweets and photos that I hope will give you an idea as to why the conference was so transformative for me.

Click here to learn more about Press Publish and the upcoming April 18th conference in Phoenix, Arizona. REGISTER NOW so you can have a TRANSFORMATIVE experience too.

Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday: 7 Social Media Secrets of Nonprofit Digital Storytelling

Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!

Today’s blog is all about social media and nonprofit digital storytelling.


What is social media?

Social media is a means of communication that builds and enhances relationships online and offline. Social media relies on content. Content includes ideas and information. Social media tools help communicate ideas and share information. Social media allows you to have a conversation with others about ideas and information. The conversations you have through social media create connections. When you cultivate the connections you have established through social media, you build community. The connections you make and communities you build through social media lay the foundation for your audience in digital storytelling.

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Photo Credit:

Did you know there are seven social media secrets of nonprofit digital storytelling?

I recently gave a workshop presentation for my client, Serve DC that introduced the seven social media secrets of nonprofit digital storytelling to AmeriCorps agencies in Washington, DC. See my presentation below or click here to view it on SlideShare.

Just in case you need more information about the seven social media secrets, I have included my talking points, a how to guide on creating a social media strategy plan that I use with my clients, and several nonprofit resources.

Ananda Leeke at Serve DC Workshop, May 21, 2014
Ananda Leeke at Serve DC Workshop, May 21, 2014

If you would like me to facilitate a workshop or give a talk for your agency, business, community, group, or organization, please contact me on 202.607.3509.


7 Social Media Secrets of Nonprofit Digital Storytelling

Secret #1: Define your social media goals (why does your organization want to use social media to tell stories?)

Secret #2: Know your audience (clients, donors, staff, Board members, funders, interns, volunteers, community and corporate partners, local citizens and organizations with shared interests, businesses, and other local stakeholders).

Secret #3: Know where your audience lives online.

Secret #4: Become your audience’s digital neighbor (maintain an active digital presence on the same social media sties that your audience belongs to).

Secret #5: Know what types of digital stories appeal to your audience.

Secret #6: Develop a plan to tell your digital stories (that includes an editorial calendar, time management tools like HootSuite to help you schedule your social media efforts in advance, any special campaigns/events/advocacy efforts, technology tools needed to create digital stories and use social media, budget and funding for technology tools, identifying staff duties for managing social media and digital storytelling efforts, social media/digital storytelling training for staff, and/or recruitment for interns and volunteers with digital communications and public relations experience).

Secret #7: Evaluate your digital storytelling efforts weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually (document lessons learned and best practices and study what other nonprofit organizations are doing and learn from their efforts).


Creating A Social Media Strategy Plan

When I help an organization create a social media strategy plan, I use a series of questions to guide its development and execution. They are organized into six categories: goals, target audience, content, social media budget and team, social media and technology tools, and evaluating social media efforts. See below.


  • What are your organization’s quarterly and annual goals?
  • How will social media support the goals (examples: create/curate/distribute content, engagement, network building, and promotion)?
  • What calls to action, campaigns, events, program initiatives, and services will be used to accomplish the goals?
  • What is your timeline for accomplishing the goals with social media support?


  • Who is your target audience for each call to action, campaign, event, product, program initiative, and/or service?
  • Where does your target audience reside online?


  • What type of content (articles, blogs, photos, podcasts, social media messaging, surveys, webinars, and videos) appeals to your target audience?
  • What are the sources of content?
  • Who will develop the content?
  • What are the content requirements for your editorial calendar on a daily, weekly, quarterly, and/or annual basis?


  • What is your social media budget?
  • Who will manage, execute, and support your social media efforts (primary lead person, team members, interns, online community members, and brand/blogger ambassadors)?
  • What are your social media team’s skills?
  • What type of resources and training does your social media team need to stay updated on current and emerging social media best practices, tools, and trends?
  • How much time does your social media team have to commit on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis to the management and execution of social media efforts?


  • What are the best social media tools to communicate with your target audience?
  • What type of technology tools (digital/web cameras, laptops, microphones, printers, smartphones, software, tablets, and time management tools) do you have and/or need to manage and execute your social media efforts?


  • Who will review your social media efforts (executive officers, social media staff, communications staff, media/public relations staff, development staff, membership staff, information technology staff, and/or online community members)?
  • What tools will you use to analyze your social media efforts?
  • How often will you analyze, modify, and review your social media efforts?
  • What lessons have you learned?
  • What best practices have you developed?


Nonprofit Resources



  • Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine
  • Social Media Engagement for Dummies by Aliza Sherman and Danielle Elliott Smith
  • Social Media for Social Good by Heather Mansfield
  • Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits by Melanie Mathos and Chad Norman

Local Conference and Facebook Group

Pinterest Board

Audio & Visual Social Media Storytelling Tools


#InternetGeek Tuesday News: Preparing for Serve DC 5/21 7 Social Media Secrets of Nonprofit Digital Storytelling Workshop

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Greetings All,

I’ve got some great #InternetGeek Tuesday news!

This week I am using my #InternetGeek skills to prepare for my “Seven Social Media Secrets of Nonprofit Digital Storytelling” workshop that will be held on May 21 at the Serve DC Program Director Institute. As a former nonprofit program officer for an AmeriCorps civic engagement program with over 18 years of digital communications experience, I have a special passion for AmeriCorps organizations and programs. That’s why I am really excited to share digital storytelling resources, strategies, tips, and tools with the Serve DC organizations. Look for an update about my workshop next week.

PS: For more information about my digital communications experience, click here.  I’m available for consultation, speaking engagements, and workshops. Contact me on and 202.607.3509.

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: #DigCitizen Profile of #WHSocial Alum Danyell Taylor

Photo Credit: Danyell Taylor
Photo Credit: Danyell Taylor

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

Today I am sharing a Digital Citizenship (#DigCitizen) Project profile featuring Danyell Taylor, a social media leader, I met while attending the White House Social (#WHSocial) for the French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande in February.

Meet Danyell Taylor

1) Tell us who you are.

I am a Communications Specialist at the Council of the Great City Schools, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education legislation. I’m from Plano, Texas, and currently live in Washington, DC. To stay updated on my social media adventures, follow me on Twitter: @IDreamInChanel.

2) Why did you apply to participate in the #WHSocial?

I love all things Parisian and volunteer with Alliance Francaise. I saw the #WHSocial as an opportunity to expand my cultural knowledge and social media influence.

3) Share the key moments you experienced while participating in the #WHSocial.

My key moments included:

  • Seeing school-age children vying to get a look at President Barack Obama.
  • Watching the 21-gun salute.
  • Being close enough to hear and see President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Attending the #WHSocial Meetup Happy Hour at the Old Ebbitt Grill and discussing our stroll down digital memory lane.

4) What social media tools did you use to support your participation in the #WHSocial?

Instagram and Twitter

5) Did you learn any lessons while participating in the #WHSocial?

Anything is possible. I can expand my digital knowledge both personally and professionally.

6) What does digital citizenship mean to you?

Digital citizenship is learning and using online tools to explain and comprehend American and global culture, norms, and politics.

7) How are you planning to stay engaged as a digital citizen?

I plan to stay engaged through mainstream newspapers and their digital presence.

8) Share several ways Americans can use their digital presence and online network to engage civically on a local, state, and/or national level.

  • Share your concerns, questions, revelations, and insights with your network.
  • Grow in your knowledge and don’t except the status quo in life, religion or politics.
  • Be curious about the world outside of your block, city, state, and country of origin.


Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: My Digital Resources for President Obama’s State of the Union Address


Happy Internet Geek Tuesday and 2014 State of the Union Address (in the United States)!

Today, I am headed to the White House to participate in the State of the Union Social (#SOTUSocial) with a talented group of social media influencers, leaders, and professionals. We will watch President Obama’s State of the Union (#SOTU) address together and live tweet our comments. After the President’s address, we’ll attend a panel discussion featuring White House officials. During the panel, we will be able to ask questions. So please send me your questions via Twitter @anandaleeke.

To prepare for the State of the Union, I created three digital resources.

  • Pinterest State of the Union Social Board featuring articles, blogs, photos, videos, and other information related to President Obama’s 2014 #SOTU address
  • State of the Union Social Twitter List featuring my fellow #SOTUSocial attendees
  • White House State of the Union Twitter List featuring newspapers, political news sources, journalists, organizations that serve women and people of color, and Congressional representatives that I admire and respect


Are you preparing for the #SOTU?


What digital resources are you using?

PS: Be sure to follow my #SOTUSocial adventures on Instagram!

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: Headed to Atlanta to Speak at Women Interactive on November 9.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday,

This week, I am headed to Atlanta to speak at the second annual Women Interactive Creative Technology Conference that will be held at Spelman College on November 9. I am giving a tech talk on “Digital Sisters + Digital Citizens = Social Media Leaders.” My talk is rooted in one word: SERVE. It is an acronym that I call my secret ingredient for being an authentic Digital Sister, Digital Citizen, and Social Media Leader. Check it out below.

•S – SEE yourself as a social media leader. If you have at least one person who follows and/or interacts with you through your blog, web site, and/or social media sites, you have a platform of influence. Your influence impacts people in your online network. That makes you a leader. The moment that you see yourself as a social media leader, you begin to own your identity. Once you own your identity as a social media leader, you are faced with some important choices in how you interact online and offline in your relationships.

•E – EMBRACE digital civility practices in your online and offline interactions and relationships. Digital civility includes being respectful of others, especially in the midst of any disagreements. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
•R – REMEMBER to UNPLUG from your digital life and practice SELF CARE by creating and following a digital wellness plan. Take breaks from your digital life. It will give you an opportunity to recharge and rest.
•V – VISIT and participate in a diverse group of online and offline communities to broaden your knowledge base and network.
•E – EXPRESS generosity in all you think, say, and do. Give back to others. Your generosity creates social capital in your online and offline relationships. Social capital is that warm, fuzzy feeling or positive impression you create about yourself in people’s hearts and minds. It paves the wave for unexpected blessings that manifest as collaborations, invitations to events, learning opportunities, partnerships, relationships with key people in your local/national/international networks, revenue generating streams, speaking engagements, and other forms of blessings.
My new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online discusses my SERVE secret ingredient in great detail. Click here to purchase a copy on
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If you are in Atlanta on November 7, join me for a Digital Sisterhood book reading from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. sponsored by my digital sisters at Everywhere, an amazing social media marketing firm headed by Danica Kombol. Click here to register for the event.
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Photo Credit:


Women Interactive is a two-day interactive technology festival for women who produce and share digital content with a special emphasis on women of color. It’s one of my favorite learning opportunities. I attended the festival last year and learned so much. If you are in Atlanta, join me at the event. Click here to register.

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday: Getting Ready for 10/30 Episode of Digital Sisterhood Radio

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Happy #InternetGeek Tuesday!

Today, I am getting ready for a powerful episode of Digital Sisterhood Radio which will air on October 30 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET.


Here’s why it’s a powerful episode: I’ll be chatting with some of the 2012 Digital Sisterhood 100 members  a/k/a Digital Sisters of the Year including Veronica Arreola (@veronicaeye), Lauren Brown Jarvis (@heyheylbj), Christine Johnson (@christinecelise), Veronica Woods (mysalonscoop), and Amy Vernon (@amyvernon) about their “Digital Sisterhood” experiences. Each of these women has played a major role in my digital life. They’ll be asking me questions about my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. Click here to listen to the show. Feel free to participate in the show’s chat room where you can ask questions and share your thoughts.

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Photo Credit:

You can also ask questions on Twitter during the show. Be sure to follow @digitalsisterhd and the hashtag #DigitalSisterhood.

Happy InternetGeek Tuesday: Using My Digital Presence for Social Good & Zuri Works

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Photo Credit:

Happy Internet Tuesday!

Today’s blog discusses how I use my digital presence for social good and to support Zuri Works for Women’s Health, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that creates national beauty, arts, and health programs that enhance the quality of life, improve their survivorship rates, and increase the health knowledge of women of color impacted by cancer.  Click here to listen to my audio blog which includes a short excerpt from my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon).

Zuri Works founder Andrene Taylor (in pink shirt) and her Zuri Works team; Photo Credit:
Zuri Works founder Andrene Taylor (in pink shirt) and her Zuri Works team; Photo Credit:

Through its founder Andrene Taylor, a three-time cancer survivor and “THRIVER, Zuri Works does four things:

  • Empower women to prioritize their self care.
  • Collaborate, share knowledge, and partner with individuals, communities, and organizations committed to finding solutions to address cancer’s impact on the vulnerable populations we serve.
  • Develop creative, new ideas that address common and unique problems  of women in order to increase their use of screening, reduce their delays in treatment, and improve their cancer survival rates.
  • Use evidence-based solutions to engage women about their health and address health care disparities in their communities.
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My Connection to Cancer and Why I Love and Support Zuri Works

I love the meaning of Zuri. It is a Swahili word that means beautiful. It reminds me of my beautiful, bold, and brilliant grandmothers, Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (“Nanan”) and Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke (“Freddie). They both lived with breast cancer. A few years after my grandmother Freddie died of breast cancer, I searched for ways to honor her memory through my wire sculpture artwork. In 2001, I discovered the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a DC-based nonprofit health, education, and arts organization that develops and promotes healing practices that explore physical, emotional, and mental resources that lead to life-affirming changes for people affected by cancer. I started working as a Smith Center artist-in-residence in 2002.

Howard University Hospital
Howard University Hospital
Ananda working at HU Hospital in 2009
Ananda working at HU Hospital in 2009

My first artist-in-residency was at Howard University (HU) Hospital from 2003 to 2009.  During that time, I shared my gifts as an artist, poet, writer, Reiki practitioner, and yoga teacher with patients living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses.  I also conducted staff workshops with the HU Hospital nurses. Click here to read my Flickr blog and see photos of my work.

Interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Wall Collage at Walter Reed, 2012
Interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Wall Collage at Walter Reed, 2012

After my contract with HU Hospital ended, I began working with wounded warriors, their family and friends, patients, and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. For the past two years, I have created interactive Breast Cancer Awareness Month wall collages (see 2012 collage above) for the Walter Reed staff to pay tribute to their family and friends impacted by breast cancer. Staff use the collage to write their thoughts about breast cancer and their loved ones.

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In addition to my Smith Center artist-in-residence work, I have also taught yoga classes as a volunteer and used my digital presence to support social good campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, I was introduced to Zuri Works by Xina Eiland, my digital sister, PR coach, and publicist. I immediately fell in love with the organization’s mission and work right after I watched Andrene’s video about her cancer journey which began at 25 when she was a second year graduate student. Her story inspired me. Her cancer advocacy work that marries two of passions — health & art — moved me to donate a few hours of my coaching time to help Xina develop crowdfunding strategies for Zuri Work’s Indiegogo campaign.

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The Indiegogo campaign will support The Exposures Project, a photo education exhibit shot by cancer survivors and THRIVERS which depicts survival stories of women that would otherwise go untold. Watch the powerful campaign video to learn more. I know you will be inspired like I was to give a financial donation. Click here today and make a donation before the campaign ends on October 24. Tell your family and friends to donate too!

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This week, I get to show my love for Zuri Works in person at its Big Chop to Stop Cancer Anniversary Benefit. It will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1200 in DC. If you are in DC, join me for an absolutely fabulous event. Register here.

What’s Next for Me & Zuri Works

In a few weeks, I will launch my fundraising campaign for Zuri Works. It will invite my family, friends, Digital Sisterhood Network, clients, colleagues, and social media network to make a donation in honor of my December 18th birthday. Click here to learn how you can create a similar campaign.