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.
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