Ananda Leeke will be joining us as a speaker in Portland from her home in Washington, DC. Published author, founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network, artist, yoga practitioner, social media professional…. Ananda’s accomplishments are so many and so varied that it was almost painful trying to to summarize them into a short blurb for our speaker’s list. Needless to say, we feel privileged that she’ll be part of the inaugural Press Publish this March.
One of the most enjoyable parts of organizing a conference like this is getting to know the speakers a little bit as you prepare for the event and flesh out their session ideas with them. Working with Ananda has been great fun, and hearing the story of how she has evolved personally and professionally since she began blogging 10 years ago is truly inspiring. She’ll be talking about this evolution, and how you can both create and find opportunities for yourself, so I don’t want to give away the session altogether, but here are some fun tidbits:
- She began blogging to try and cure writer’s block while working on a novel, and it worked. Ananda is a published author several times over in both fiction and memoir, including a memoir about her development of the concept of digital siterhood. (Ananda’s books on Amazon.com)
- She made connections and found professional opportunities through blogging conferences. One such opportunity led to her becoming a Blogger Ambassador for Macy’s, which ultimately led to her trip to Haiti.
- She campaigned for Obama with her dad, and blogged about it.
- She became a social media leader for the White House.
I can’t wait to meet her in person, and I know she’s really looking forward to meeting our attendees here in Portland (where I happen to live). She’s hosting a community conversation here on Press Publish this week about blogging burnout, so pop in and get to know her!
And it wouldn’t be a speaker spotlight without a little interview so you can hear Ananda in her own words.
Q. What made you start blogging?
A. When I started blogging, I treated it like a personal diary. It was a life jacket in my sea of writer’s block during my novel writing journey for “Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One” (Amazon). Each day I blogged, I was able to exercise my writing muscles. As they gained strength, my diary entries grew into character descriptions and dialogue I could experiment with before giving them a permanent home in my novel.
Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?
A. I love the power of storytelling through blogging, the capacity to share massive amounts of information (since I’m a lifelong information junkie), and the beauty of connecting and building community with people I would not otherwise. These aspects of blogging light up my creative spark.
Q. What’s your most popular post?
A. My most popular post is titled, “My Digital Citizenship Valentine: 4 Reasons to Love #WHSocial Events.” It discusses why I love serving as a White House social media leader. It is one of my favorite posts.
Q. What are some of your other favorite posts, and why?
A. My favorite posts include my blog series on traveling to Haiti as a Macy’s Heart of Haiti Blogger Ambassador in 2011 and serving as a social media for the White House and U.S. Department of State in 2014. They are my favorites because they demonstrate how powerful blogging can be in someone’s life and the magical and memorable opportunities that arise when one person shares her voice and passion with the desire to serve others. I think they also encourage bloggers to define and pursue their own definition of blogging success.
Q. How have readers responded to your writing?
A. Some readers have told me they were inspired to write and publish their own words in a blog or book. Others have thanked me for sharing my stories and passion for yoga, creativity, and all things Internet geek.
Q. What are you hoping to share with the Press Publish audience?
A. I am hoping to share inspiration and encouragement with the Press Publish audience. I hope my talk, panel discussion participation, and interactions with audience members inspire them to fully express their authentic voices online, embrace digital wellness moments in their blogging life that honor when their energy and interest levels in blogging fluctuate and/or disappear, define and follow their own definition of blogging success, and have fun telling and sharing their stories online.
Q. Is there anything you’re hoping to learn at Press Publish?
A. I want to learn how to transform my free WordPress blogs into fabulous and fierce web sites with WordPress templates and plugins. My sites need a facelift like yesterday!
Ananda will be speaking about blogging, opportunities, digital wellness, and whatever else comes up with the Portland audience.