Ananda speaks about Digital Sisterhood at Howard University’s New Media Symposium on April 6

HU New Media 074, originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

Ananda Leeke, Kari Fulton, and Dr. Alla Tovares served as panelists for Howard University’s New Media Symposium at Founders Library on April 6, 2011. Fulton is the National Campus Climate Challenge Coordinator for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. Dr. Alla Tovares is a Howard University Professor and author of How to Write about the Media Today. Angela Adrar, an International Strategy and Communications Consultant, served as the moderator.

Dr. Ada Vilageliu Diaz, a Howard University professor, organized the symposium for freshman students as part of her writing-intensive composition course on new media entitled: New Media Writing and Race. The symposium’s goal was to have students learn from new media/social media experts and to further understand the possibilities of new media to support social causes and to enhance leadership possibilities.

Click here to see event photos

Watch videos from the Symposium below (filmed by Dr. Ada Diaz).

1) Angela Adrar and Dr. Alla Tovares

2) Dr. Alla Tovares

3) Kari Fulton

4) Group Discussion with Kari Fulton, Angela Adrar, Ananda Leeke, and Michele Roberts

Ananda is speaking on 3/19 @ WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION in DC and will share lessons learned from Heart of Haiti trip.

Photo Credit: Womanifesting's Logo -
Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke - Tracy Chiles McGhee at DC women in social media focus group in October 2010

Have you heard of Womanifesting a/k/a WOMA? WOMA is a DC-based non-profit organization established by attorney Tracy Chiles McGhee to develop and support  programs that foster self-empowerment, sisterhood, and service in the lives of women and girls.  Tracy and I met two years ago during a writers’ workshop and realized we shared similar interests – law, writing, women’s creativity and empowerment, social justice, and service.

Last fall, I invited Tracy to participate in a focus group that discussed how social justice and nonprofit women leaders use social media. She stepped up to the plate and shined her wisdom and insights during the focus group.  She also supported my Digital Sisterhood Network and Kickstarter book fundraising project.  Her commitment and support to women and girls is above and beyond the call of duty. That’s why it was so easy for me to accept her invitation to participate as a panelist for WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION: How Local Women Leaders Make A Difference Through Community Building, Collaboration and Social Activism on March 19 from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St., NW, Room A-5, Washington, DC. During the discussion, I will share some lessons learned from my recent trip to Haiti as a Heart of Haiti blogger ambassador and work with the Digital Sisterhood Network.

Check out the dynamic women who will be speaking at the event below.

Discussion Moderators:

  • Marita Golden, Acclaimed Author, Master Literary Teacher and Co-Founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation
  • Nikita Mitchell, Gen Y Writer/Blogger,  who was recently named one of the Top 10 Nonprofit Bloggers to Watch in 2011

Keynote Speaker:

  • Yasmine Arrington, a DC high school student who started a college scholarship fund for aspiring college students with incarcerated parents

Program Participants:

  • DC Councilwoman Muriel Bowser
  • Patricia Nalls, Founder & Executive Director, The Women’s Collective, 2010 Washingtonian of the Year
  • Carrie L. Ellis, Director of Project Management, KaBOOM! & Board Chair, Teaching for Change
  • Shannon and Chai, Co-Founders  of Holla Back DC
  • Marielle Mariano, East Coast Coordinator, Chalk4Peace
  • Jessica T. Solomon, Founder, The Saartjie Project & Chief Visionary Officer, Spark Creativity

Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Sending Haitians Positive Energy on Their March 20th Presidential Election


Yesterday I listened to a discussion about former Haitian President Jean-Betrand Aristide’s plans to return to Haiti after a seven-year exile in South Africa on NPR’s Tell Me More. Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Jacqueline Charles, the Caribbean correspondent for the Miami Herald, engaged in a lively discussion about the impact of Aristide’s return on Haiti’s presidential run-off election on March 20. Click here to listen to the show.  Former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and pop singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly are the presidential candidates.

Martin and Charles’ discussion reminded me of the many presidential candidate posters I saw on houses and buildings during my recent trip to Haiti as a Heart of Haiti blogger ambassador in February.  Sweet Micky”s posters appeared to dominate Port-au-Prince, Croix-des-Bouqets, and Jacmel. No matter who wins the election, I hope and pray Haiti’s next president will help stabilize, heal, and rebuild Haiti and the lives, families, and businesses of her daughters and sons.

Watch Video of #HeartofHaiti Blogger Ambassador Ananda Leeke @ Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

February 26, my second day in Haiti, began with a visit to the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince.  As the van pulled up in front of the Palace, I heard the sound of a marching band.  Men dressed in matching band uniforms played beautiful music as I surveyed the earthquake damage.  I looked across the street and saw the tent camps in Champ de Mars plaza and wondered how could music be made in the midst of heartbreaking devastation.  The answer came in the form of a six-word memoir equation as I noticed Haitian people moving through their morning with grace and dignity.  Faith + Hope + Determination + Resiliency + Creativity = HAITI.

Watch a video of my visit to the Presidential Palace and Champ de Mars Plaza, the location of the largest tent camp in Port-au-Prince.  See below.  Listen to my audio blog about the visit. Check out photos from my visit below.

The Heart of Haiti campaign is a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores. The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.  Everywhere, a social media firm that represents Macy’s, sponsored my trip to Haiti.  Click here to read about my trip’s details.

Photos from Visit to Presidential Palace and Champ de Mar Plaza

Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Largest tent city housing Haitian people after January 2010 earthquake in Champ de Mars plaza in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Largest tent city housing Haitian people after January 2010 earthquake in Champ de Mars plaza in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Tap Tap Bus in front of Champ de Mars plaza, largest tent city in Port-au-Prince

Great News! included me in their first class of 2011 influencers

Photo Credit:

Yesterday I learned included me in their first class of 2011 influencers.  See the press release below. Click here to read my bio. What a honor! I am truly humbled to be in the company of many of the people I admire and learn from. Many thanks to Mike Street and Dupé Ajayi, founders of Influential 1’s web site.


Photo Credit:



NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2011 – ( as a means to pay tribute to the many un-recognized influencers in the urban space.

Social media is driven by influencers, no matter what the tool is: Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare – their success is dependent on user buy-in. User buy-in is determined by early adapters: The Influential 1’s.

The Starting Class:

  1. Clarence Wooten – CEO of
  2. Ananda Leeke – Author
  3. Louis Pagan – Managing Partner for Hispanicize
  4. Lynne d Johnson – Senior Digital Strategist for R/GA
  5. Baratune Thurson – Director of Digital for The Onion
  6. Dawton Thomas – Editor-in-Chief for Global Grind, Inc.
  7. Farai Chideya – Managing Editor of Pop and Politics
  8. John Andrews – VP of Development for Rethink Impact
  9. Jocelyn Harmon – Director of Business Development at Care2
  10. Kevin Powell – Activist, Writer, and Public Speaker
  11. Jeff Johnson – Journalist, Social Activist, and Political Commentator

“We are paying homage to the influencers who are shaping the urban/digital industry,” said Mike Street co-founder of “In 1903 W.E.B. DuBois released his essay called ”The Talented Tenth.” DuBois was an influencer and he knew the importance of highlighting the best of the best. So 1/11/2011 marks a historic date for us as we pay tribute to the influential one’s who will carry on the tradition of being exceptional men and women and moving the urban community forward in erasing the digital divide.”

The list highlights the urban cultural influencers who made waves 2010 and will undoubtedly impact their core discipline areas in 2011.  Dupe Ajayi, co-creator, commented, “Social media plays host to a wealth of valuable information. How can anyone decipher it all to yield that which is most relevant to them? These 11 have risen to the top with doing just that; filtering the noise so that people get what is most important to them in the most succinct way while peppering in dashing of their distinct personalities. They are ‘Heroes of the Web’.”

About Influential 1’s was created to pay tribute all year long to the people that are positively affecting our culture. The site will be updated on a regular basis and serve as a resource, directory, and hub for acknowledging the urban influencers who are shaping the culture, starting trends, launching businesses, and beyond. The site was launched on 1/11/2011 and is owned by Mike Street (@streetforce1) and Dupe Ajayi (@theajayieffect). For inquiries, contact

Saluting A Heart of Social Good: Pamela Pressley, Founder/Editor of The COTILLION

Photo Credit: Pamela Pressley's Facebook Photo Collection

As a Heart of Haiti ambassador, I was asked to blog about a fellow blogger who has a “Heart of Social Good.”  Pamela Pressley, founder and publisher of The COTILLION has an overflowing “Heart of Social Good!”  Pamela established The COTILLION to serve as a news resource and membership organization dedicated to highlighting and promoting philanthropic and cultural enrichment activities in the Washington, DC area and other metropolitan cities. In November 2010, she organized the National Philanthropy Day with The COTILLION, an event that gave Washington DC professionals and area philanthropist an opportunity to discuss their causes or missions.

Pamela and I met at my book signing in December 2009.  I will always remember the way she shined her smile as she talked about her work with The COTILLION.  Her positive energy, passion, and commitment to tell the stories of people and organizations who are involved in social good efforts was IMPRESSIVE and INSPIRING!  In the midst of telling these stories, I have watched her personally serve organizations and causes. She has a generous spirit and shares what she knows with anyone who asks.  That’s what makes Pamela a precious diamond diva with a Heart of Social Good who gives back and encourages others to do the same!

Are you planning to share your “Heart of Social Good” with an organization or cause in 2011? How? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

PS: Remember to follow the Heart of Haiti campaign on Twitter to stay updated about January 2011 events.

Re-Cap of DC Digital Sisterhood Focus Group on 12/12: How Women in Social Media Discuss Beauty, Fashion, Hair & Lifestyles


Photo of Digital Sisterhood Focus Group Panel on 12/12/10

Day #12 of Digital Sisterhood Month was a special digital diva day for me because I moderated the Digital Sisterhood Focus Group on how women in social media discuss fashion, beauty, hair, and lifestyles at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. The dynamic digital sister panelists included:

1. LaWanda Amaker, Founder of L.A. Beaute Beat and Media Mingle;

2. Monica Byrd, Founder of Fashionista Flea Market, Pregginista, and Charm Chat, and DC Women’s Style Examiner;

3. Kelly Collis, Founder of City Shop Girl;

4. Glory Edim, Founder of I Hate My 9 to 5 blog;

5. Sheena D. Franklin, Founder/CEO of Bella Bush;

6. Aisha Massac, Esthetician, Makeup Artist, and Founder of I.C. Faces;

7. Courtney Powell, founder of;

8. Laquita Thomas-Banks, Founder of All Naptural blog and DC Natural Hair Examiner; and

9. Dana Williams-Johnson, Founder of The Art of Accessories.

Many thanks to Xina Eiland for serving as the event videographer, Sharon Malachi for serving as the event photographer, and Glory Edim’s mother Ms. Henrietta for making “Digital Sisterhood” cupcakes (they were yummy) for the ladies!

  • Click here to see photos from the event.
  • Click here to listen to my audio blog recap of the event.
  • Click here to watch a video (21 minutes) that introduces the panelists and their blogging passions.

Sisterhood the Blog Radio on October 4: Nonprofit and Social Justice Women Who Use Social Media

It’s been a busy and juicy week for me. My focus has been on women in social media.  Monday night was fantastic because I hosted Sisterhood the Blog Radio’s show on how women marry their social justice, social entrepreneurial, and/or nonprofit work with social media. I was joined by a powerful group of nonprofit and social justice digital divas.  They included:

Click here to listen to the show (1 hour):  Be sure to look for the October 4th audio recording in the Past Episodes archives.

Sisterhood the Blog 10/3/10 Focus Group on How Women Marry Their Social Justice, Social Entrepreneurial & Nonprofit Work with Social Media

007, originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

My October started with a blast of women in social media events. On October 3, I moderated Sisterhood the Blog’s focus group on how women marry their social justice, social entrepreneurial, and/or nonprofit work to do good with social media on October 3, 2010, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. Guest panelists included:

•Maaden Eshete, Co-founder of Divas, MPH –;

•Regina Holliday, Medical advocacy muralist –;

•Shannon Lynberg, Co-founder of Hollaback DC! –;

•Tracy Chiles McGhee, Founder of Womanifesting, Inc. –;

•Megan Pagado, Marketing and events manager for the Arts and Humanities County of Montgomery County, arts advocate, and graphic design “dabbler” – and;

•Pamela Pressley, Founder and publisher of The Cotillion Online –;

•Chai Shenoy, Co-founder of Hollaback DC! and gender-based activist –;

•Tracey Webb, Founder of Black Gives Back and Black Benefactors – and

We had a great time chatting about so many aspects of our work! I learned so many things from these dynamic digital divas. Look for video clips from the focus group in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out the Flickr photos:

Check out Ananda’s May, June & July Events – Yoga Classes, Book Readings, Social Media Workshops, Radio Interviews & Creativity Coaching Sessions

1) Start National Women’s Health Week by participating in Ananda’s kind and gentle yoga class on May 9 at 11:00 am EST in Malcolm X Park in DC.  Click on the link for more information:

2) Take Ananda’s online yoga class on May 10 at 7:00 am EST to honor National Women’s Check Up Day. Click on the link to watch the class:

3) Participate in Ananda’s FREE four-part social media workshop series  on Ananda Leeke Live! on the dates below:

  • May 15 at 8:00 am EST – What is social media?
  • May 16 at 8:00 am EST – How to develop a social media plan
  • May 22 at 8:00 am EST – How Ananda uses social media as an author, artist, coach & yoga teacher
  • May 23 at 8:00 am EST – Ananda’s social media lessons learned since 2005

4) Watch Ananda’s kg yoga life practices class on Mom TV on May 19 at 8:00 pm EST. Click on the link to see the show:

5) Tune into Sisterhood the Blog Radio on May 24 at 8:00 pm EST for the launch of the Women in Social Media series (May – December 2010).  The first show will feature Ananda’s interview with Lynne D. Johnson,  Senior Vice President, Social Media for the Advertising Research Foundation.  Click here to listen to show: .  Parts of the Women in Social Media radio interviews will be included in Ananda’s next book Sisterhood, the Blog: Soundbytes from the 21st Century Women’s Online Revolution (December 2011).

6) Join Ananda for a creativity coaching session on how to identify your inner critic on May 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST on Ananda Leeke Live! The session will include exercises from Ananda’s new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery.

1) Celebrate DC Digital Capital Week with Ananda by taking her yoga and stress relief class for computers users on June 12 at 10:00 am in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park in DC.  The class will be taught in front of the reflecting pool and waterfall located near the entrance facing 16th Street and Florida Avenue, NW. U Street/Cardozo subway station is located near the Park.

2) Attend Ananda’s book reading for her new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery on June 12 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Washingtoniana Division, 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC (located at Metro Center subway station).

3) Register for the Blogging While Brown conference in DC (click here to register) and take Ananda’s yoga class for social media users on June 19 from 8:15 am to 8:30 am at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place Northwest, Washington, DC (located at Mt Vernon/Convention Center subway station).

4) Watch Ananda’s kg yoga life practices class on Mom TV on June 16 at 8:00 pm EST.  Click on the link to watch the show:

1) Spend an afternoon with Ananda at a book reading for her new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir on July 10 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Flow Yoga Center (Shakti Studio Room), 1450 P Street, NW, Washington, DC (located several blocks from Dupont Circle subway station).

2) Watch Ananda’s kg yoga life practices class on Mom TV on July 21 at 8:00 pm EST. Click on the link to watch the show: