My #BlogHer13 Conference Recap #1 – My “Lean In” Moment

Connecting with new friends Pauline Campos and Sherri Good at the BlogHer 13 Expo Hall on July 25 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL
Connecting with new friends Pauline Campos and Sherri Good at the BlogHer 13 Expo Hall on July 25 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL

Happy August! Happy Friday!

Last week, I attended the 9th Annual BlogHer Conference held at the McCormick Place and Sheraton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. What a time I had! It was intense, inspiring, and informative. That’s why I decided to write several blog recaps.


Today’s blog recap is about my “Lean In Moment.” The theme is based on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and the impact of her BlogHer Conference interview with Lisa Stone, BlogHer Co-Founder and COO, on July 27. For more information, watch part one and part two of Tracy Baim’s video of the interview.


I read Sandberg’s book earlier this year. It took me a full weekend to inhale her words and wisdom. Her book was filled with many golden nuggets I have used in my life and shared with other women. It also inspired me to write and submit a case study entitled “Lean In and Listen to Yourself” for the Hot Mommas Project. As a result, I was recently named a 2012-2013 author for the Hot Mommas Project case study library.

Sheryl Sandberg and Lisa Stone
Sheryl Sandberg and Lisa Stone

When I learned Sandberg would be a BlogHer keynote, I was thrilled! Here are the key takeaways I received from her interview with Stone.

  • Believe in yourself.
  • I am unapologetically a feminist (inspired by Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments and one of my virtual mentors from the 1990s).
  • Reach for any ambition.
  • Ask yourself what would you do if you weren’t afraid, and then reach for those ambitions.

At the end of her interview, she challenged audience members to write what they would do if they weren’t afraid on paper signs her provided, take photos with the signs, and tweet and post the photos on Tumblr. I loved the challenge. Check out the statements I wrote below.

My "Lean In" Statement
My “Lean In” Statement

Writing these statements helped me get clearer on what I really want to do with my passion, gifts, energy, and time. My next step is to lean in and publish my Digital Sisterhood book (you know the one I have been writing since 2009 — what a journey!), create space in my life to write more books and create art, and plan when I will cut my locs and grow my Angela Davis afro (will probably happen during my 50th year on earth which is fast approaching in 2014 — maybe even 2015).

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What are you leaning into?

UPDATE: BlogHer posted a full video of Sheryl Sandberg’s interview. Click here to watch it. Also, check out a video of BlogHer’s Lean In Circles session held at the 2013 conference. Enjoy!

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday! 2/26

Happy Internet Geek Tuesday!

Today, I am reflecting on digitalundivided’s FOCUS100 Symposium that was held on October 6, 2012, at Oglivy & Mather’s World headquarters in New York City.

digitalundivided is a social enterprise that builds forward thinking initiatives that fundamentally change the digital space by increasing the number of Black and Latino women digital entrepreneurs. It was established by Kathryn Finney, Editor-At-Large at BlogHer, Inc and CEO of TBF Group, LLC, parent company of The Budget Fashionista brand, in 2012.

I served as a FOCUS100 advisory board member. My Digital Sisterhood Network was a media partner for the event.

Me at Focus100
Me at Focus100

My digital sister and PR coach Xina Eiland attended the event with me. Some of my key moments included:

1) Reconnecting with my digital sisters, Luvvie Ajayi, Cheryl Contee, Dr. Goddess, Elisa Camahort Page, Susan Getgood, Shireen Mitchell, and Felicia Pride.

2) Meeting some of my favorite digital sisters such as Dupe Ajayi, Marcia Wade Talbert, Majora Carter, Elayne Fluker, and Sian Morson for the first time in real life (gotta love IRL).

Ananda and Majora Carter at FOCUS100
Ananda and Majora Carter at FOCUS100
Elayne Fluker, Xina Eiland, and Ananda at FOCUS100
Elayne Fluker, Xina Eiland, and Ananda at FOCUS100

3) Connecting with some of my favorite digital brothers such as Mike Street and  “ILUVBlackWomen” Martin Johnson Pratt for the first time in real life.

4) Feeling Majora Carter’s gratitude as she shared how powerful it was to be in the room with so many amazing Black women during her morning keynote.

5) Gathering wisdom from Mayor Cory A. Booker’s afternoon keynote.

Kathryn Finney and Mayor Cory Booker at FOCUS100
Kathryn Finney and Mayor Cory Booker at FOCUS100

6) Hugging #FOCUS100 team members Nichelle Stephens and Alisha Miranda.

7) Chatting with Kailei Richardson, a Chicago-based entrepreneur, about her lifestyle site,

8) Gaining pearls of wisdom during panel discussions featuring Monif Clarke, founder of Monif C Plus Sizes; Ella Gorgla, founder of I-ELLA; Heather Hines, founder of Pathbrite; Kelly Hoey, co-founder of Women Innovate Mobile; Deborah Jackson, co-founder of Women Innovate Mobile; Jess Moore, co-founder of StyleBook;  and Zuhairah Scott-Washington, founder of Kahnoodle (Focus100 Ptichcamp winner).

9) Sitting next to Rachel Brooks and learning about her Chicago-based tech company, CitizenMade.

10) Talking with Marcia Cole, founder of Ivy Digital, about meeting each other at Heart and Soul magazine in 2001 (Heart and Soul published an article about my life as an artist).

11) Having a deep sista-to-sista chat with Lena West, CEO of Influence Expansion,  in the break room (powerful and deep).

12) Listening to digitalundivided founder Kathryn Finney’s presentation of key trends, statistics, and emerging patterns regarding Black women’s engagement across a variety of technology sectors (amazing slides!).

Kathryn Finney's presentation slides at FOCUS100
Kathryn Finney’s presentation slides at FOCUS100
Kathryn Finney's presentation slides at FOCUS100
Kathryn Finney’s presentation slides at FOCUS100

13) Networking with several DC-based women entrepreneurs such as Ama Marfo, founder of Airfordable, a travel app (still in development). They reminded me that DC women entrepreneurs rock!

14) Chatting about popsicles and the Miami tech scene with Felecia Hatcher, founder of Black Tech Miami.

To learn more about the 2012 FOCUS100 events, check out digitialundividvided’s recap and read Marcia Wade Talbert’s article on Click here to read the FOCUS100 speaker and mentor bios.