Ananda – 48 – Author, Artist, Coach, Innerpreneur, and Yoga Teacher – Washington, DC

Bio

Yoga + Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke. Leeke is a lawyer turned “Jill of many trades”: innerpreneur, author, artist, coach, and yoga teacher. She is also the founder of the Digital Sisterhood Network. Her mission is “Empowering U2BU through creativity coaching, Reiki, self-care, social media, volunteerism, and yoga.” She uses her blog to express her mission through weekly posts on #YogaMondays, #InternetGeek Tuesdays, and #CreativityThursdays. She penned That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009) and Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One, a novel (2007). She is currently writing Digital Sisterhood (2013), a memoir. Since 1995, her mixed media collages, wire sculptures, and paintings have been exhibited in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, New York City, North Carolina, and Kentucky. She has worked as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital (2003-2009), and is currently serving wounded warriors at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She serves as a Blogger Ambassador for AARP, MaidenNation, and the Heart of Haiti Campaign. In February 2011, she traveled to Haiti as a Heart of Haiti Blogger Ambassador. Black Enterprise named her as one of the Black Women in Tech You Should Follow on Twitter in July 2011. She has been featured as a speaker at several conferences and events sponsored by BlissDom, Blogalicious, BlogHer, The Feminist Majority, Holy Cross Hospital, Howard University, Ignite DC, Latinos in Social Media, She’s Geeky, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Spelman College, Society for the Arts and Healthcare, Vision Quest Retreats, Washington Hospital Center, Washington National Cathedral’s Sacred Circles Conferences, WOMANIFESTING, Women in Film & Television Atlanta, and the YWCA.

Favorites (hover / click to see name)

  • music

    • Alice Coltrane
    • Indie Arie
    • Amel Larrieux
    • Deva Premal
    • John Coltrane
  • publications

    • Fast Company
    • May I Be Happy by Cyndi Lee
    • Yoga Journal
    • Yoga International
    • Science of Mind
  • movies

    • Middle of Nowhere by Ava DuVernay
    • Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash
    • Sex and the City Movie (2008)
    • Pariah
    • Love Jones
  • I am BlerdNation because...

    I am BlerdNation because I have been an Internet Geek since 1986, the year I discovered LexisNexis as a first year law student at Howard University School of Law. LexisNexis helped me overcome my technology fears and opened the door to unlimited information. When I worked as an investment banker, knowledge manager, and intellectual property protection manager at Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. in 1996 and 1997, my passion for the Internet and technology grew tremendously. My work required that I read and stay updated on technology. As a result, I dived deep into the web. When I started blogging to overcome writer's block at the request of my book editor in 2005, I jumped into the world of social media. After my novel, Love's Troubadours - Karma: Book One was published in 2007, I fell head over heels in love with social media.

  • Who is your blerd role model? Why?

    One of my Blerd role models is Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, founder of NiaOnline, the first African American woman-owned online community. It was established in 2000. Watching McKissack build her online community convinced me I could create my own web site which was launched in 2000 to support my work as an artist and author. Her Nia online community inspired me to create Digital Sisterhood Network. McKissack is also CEO of NiaEnterprises, LLC, Chief Operating Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, and President of Johnson Publishing Company's digital business unit which houses properties including the EBONY Collection, EBONY.com and JET.com. Shireen Mitchell, founder of Digital Sisters, an organization she founded to provide young girls early exposure to technology, is another Blerd role model. Mitchell encouraged me to get my first home computer in the 1990s. She also has given me many pep talks and inspired me to step up my game as a speaker at conferences. Lynne Johnson, Director of Digital & Social Strategy, Brand Strategy & Marketing at Waggener Edstrom, is another Blerd role model. When Johnson served as the Senior Editor/Community Director for FastCompany.com, I would read her blog posts. I also read her personal blog which was launched in July 2001. Her work inspired me to dream bigger.

  • How do you stay connected to other blerds?

    I stay connected to other Blerds by participating in online chats, Internet radio shows, social networking sites, and webinars. I also go to conferences and events in my local DC community and other parts of the United States of America. I like to read magazines and books about Blerds too. I also enjoy meeting Blerds for coffee or tea when I have free time in DC or am traveling to other cities.

  • What’s your most awkward blerd moment?

    My most awkward Blerd moment was realizing how much I adore and need a regular fix of webisodes especially roomieloverfriends that airs on Issa Rae's YouTube channel. I was watching the trailer for season two on April 1 and realized how hungry I was for the show. When I saw that the show would not return until mid May, I was blown away. I mean why does it take so long? What am I supposed to do? I need to know what's happening with Tamiko and Jay. Can't you tell I am addicted?

  • What’s your favorite word/phrase?

    Right now my favorite "geeky" word is appifying. I use it a lot to describe how dependent I have become on the apps that I use for my smartphone.

  • What are your goals/passions?

    My mission statement summarizes my passions and goals: “Empowering U2BU through creativity coaching, Reiki, self-care, social media, volunteerism, and yoga.”

  • What are you listening to, watching, or reading that impacts you or that is giving you a different perspective?

    Right now I am listening to a lot of music by Snatam Kaur Khalsa, an American singer, songwriter, and yoga teacher who performs Indian devotional music, kirtan, and tours the world as a peace activist. Her music helps me focus and still my thoughts. It slows me down and allows me to lean in and listen to my intuition. My intuition is my GPS for making healthy choices in how I use my time online and offline. It is the foundation for my digital wellness plan which includes daily, weekly, and monthly periods of unplugging from my digital life and electronic devices. I am reading May I Be Happy by Cyndi Lee, a yoga teacher and writer. Lee's book is a great reminder of the power of yoga in my life. Each month, I read several magazines that keep me grounded such as Science of Mind, Yoga International, and Yoga Journal. I also read Wired and Fast Company to stay updated on tech related information. I watch several webisodes for creative inspiration and entertainment. Some of my current favorites include most of the shows that air on the Wigs YouTube channel, roomieloverfriends, Dear Jesus, The Number, The Couple, The Slutty Years, The Downtown Girls, and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

  • Are there any famous, or not-so-famous, people that you think would be a great addition to BlerdNation?

    Check out the following Blerds who were named 2012 Digital Sister of the Year.

    1) Stacey Ferguson - http://justicefergie.com and http://beblogalicious.com

    2) Allissa Richardson, Director of Mobile Learning, MOJO Mediaworks, LLC - www.allissarichardson.com

    3) Ayoka Chenzira, digital media artist, filmmaker, founder of OrdinaryDayActs.com and Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon, and professor

    4) Arielle Loren, founder of Corset Magazine

    5) Felicia Pride, author and founder of The Create Daily and Pride Collective

    6) Issa Rae, founder of “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” webisode series

    7) Jessica Solomon, founder of Art In Praxis: Theory+Practice/Art=New Worlds blog and The Saartjie Project

    8) Kimberly Bryant, engineer and founder of BlackGirlsCode.com

    9) Majora Carter, founder of Startup Box: South Bronx

    10) Ella Gorgla, founder of I-ELLA

    11) LaShanda Henry, author and founder of Black Business Women Online and Multiple Shades of You Online

    12) Sian Morson, founder of Kollective Mobile

    13) Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author, founder of Broken Beautiful Press blog, professor, and writer

    14) Kristal High, founder of Politic365

    15) Lauren Brown Jarvis, founder of DigitalDoyennes.com, National Communications Director for the New Leaders Council, and writer for Examiner.com and The Huffington Post

    16) Yalanda Lattimore, founder of DryerBuzz.com

    17) Tinu Abayomi-Paul, editor of WomenGrowBusiness.com

    18) Marcia Wade Talbert, Tech Editor and Multimedia Content Producer at Black Enterprise

    19) Ericka Tinsley, founder of The Swarthy Suite, Fro-Fi Collective, and Chocolate Chat Atlanta

    20) Ronnie Tyler, co-founder of BlackandMarriedwithKids.com and Tyler New Media

    21) Ebony Utley, author, founder of TheUtleyExperience.com, Ms. Magazine blogger, and professor

    22) Gloria Ware, founder of Black and Into Green blog

    23) Veronica Woods, founder of BookYourChairSolid.com and MySalonScoop.com

    24) Monica Coleman, author, founder of Beautiful Mind blog, minister, and professor

    25) Faith Hunter, founder of Faith Hunter Yoga and Embrace Yoga, podcaster, and writer

    26) Zawadi Nyong’o, founder of ZerobyZawadi.com

    27) Akilah Richards, author and founder of Execumama.com, The Lightcaster’s Project and The Life Design Agency

    28) Luvvie Ajayi, co-founder of The Red Pump Project, founder of Awesomely Luvvie blog, and social media strategist and trainer

    29) Tracey Friley, founder of OneBrownGirl.com and The Passport Party Project

    30) Nicole McLean, breast cancer activist and founder of My Fabulous Boobies blog

    31) Karyn Watkins, co-founder of The Red Pump Project and founder of TheFabulousGiver.com

    32) Monica Byrd, founder of BabyBlashandBling.com and TheCharmChat.com

    33) Julia Coney, founder of AllAboutThePretty.net and yoga teacher

    34) Jewel Figueras, founder of JewelsFabLife.com

    35) Kiratiana Freelon, author and founder of KiratianaTravels.com

    36) Latoicha Givens, founder of LuxeTips.com

    37) Mattie James, founder of Atlanta Style Bloggers, Mattieologie.com, and Style Bloggers of Color

    38) Marie Denee Leggette, author and founder of The Curvy Fashionista blog

    39) Jacqueline Shaw, author and founder of AfricaFashionGuide.com

  • What advice would you give to other blerds?

    Be sure to take time each day to slow down and listen to yourself. Unplug from your digital life and electronic devices from time to time. Connect with people face to face in your local community. Give generously to people in your community. Have fun with what you are doing!

  • What's next for you?

    I am wrapping a long writing and publishing journey for my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. This book has taken four years to write and publish. It's been an interesting journey filled with many lessons learned. I am looking forward to finally publishing and sharing it with folks.

  • What are you planning to do in 2014?

    I am planning to learn more about yoga, meditation, coding, app development, and digital films.

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