Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley,
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley,

Welcome to my world! My name is Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke. I am Michigan born. Maryland raised. Morgan State educated. Howard and Georgetown Law trained.

My legal training prepared me for career opportunities in commodities and securities regulation, public finance in the DC Government, investment banking, knowledge management in a data servicing startup, content development and intellectual property protection management in a financial software firm, business consulting, and program management and social media technical assistance in a nonprofit organization.

What a diverse career path! It led me to my current field of expertise as the Digital Communications Director for the D.C. Law Students in Court and a Digital Communications Consultant.

What does Digital Communications Consultant mean? It means I get to tap into my passion as an artist and creative writing skills as an author to help entrepreneurs and organizations design content and social media strategies that tell stories about their mission and work, transform the way they do business with effective use of social media tools, promote causes and events, and build and engage online communities.

While working with clients, I draw on my yoga training to provide stress-free project management. I also offer digital wellness training to support clients in using mindfulness and time management tools to maintain healthy work environments.

Visit my LinkedIn profile to learn more about me. Contact me {} to see how we can work together.

My Mantra…

My mantra is “Inspiring Creative Expression & Healthy Living.” It is rooted in the lessons my mother Theresa, a musician, choir director, and early childhood teacher, taught me about using imagination, eating and growing fruits and vegetables, playing in nature, and appreciating world art, culture, and travel. Today, they support me as I live as a Fierce Living Fifty-Something who practices self-care with healing arts tools (acupuncture, Ayurveda, mindfulness, Reiki, and yoga), feeds her creative soul with artist dates and world travel experiences, and enjoys using her gifts to serve others. You can learn more about me by reading my books: Love’s Troubadours (yoga-inspired novel), That Which Awakens Me (creativity memoir), and Digital Sisterhood (technology memoir).

My Service…

My commitment to serving others is deeply influenced by my Catholic upbringing, my mother’s civic and community involvement, my father’s personal mission of doing good work as a diversity change agent, the “Greater Service, Greater Progress” motto I learned while becoming a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority on Morgan’s campus in the early 1980s, and the wisdom of U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

My Blog & Social Media…

As a lover of the written word, I have used my blog and social media to share my thoughts and information on creativity, healthy living, the Internet, women in social media and technology, and yoga since 2005. In the past two years, I have organized my blogging and social media into five hashtags that guide what I post Monday through Friday: #YogaMonday, #InternetGeek Tuesday, #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday, #CreativityThursday, and #FierceLiving Friday. Thanks to my digital wellness practice, I unplug and take breaks from my online life!

My Honors…

Black Enterprise named me as one of the Black Women in Tech You Should Follow on Twitter in 2011. The Hot Mommas Project, a women’s leadership research venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business, chose me as an author for its 2012-2013 case study library. BlogHer invited me to serve as a veteran blogger and mentor to new bloggers at their tenth annual conference in 2014.


1. The White House recognized me as a thought leader.


The White House recognized me as a #socialcivics thought leader, invited me to meet one-on-one with the first-ever Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman about digital engagement strategies and online communities, and selected me to serve as a social media correspondent for the State of the Union, French Arrival Ceremony for French President Francois Hollande, Tumblr Q&A session on education and college affordability, Spring Garden Tour Social, and Conference on Aging. The U.S. Department of State invited me to participate in a similar capacity during the International Women of Courage Award Ceremony. My White House experiences inspired me to launch the Digital Citizenship Project, Digital Citizenship Month (July), and My #DigCitizen Supports Campaign.

2. I am passionate about women in social media and technology.

State of the Union Social 2014
State of the Union Social 2014

My passion for women’s issues, building community, and the Internet inspired me to create the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN), a media channel that celebrates women in social media and technology through leadership, lifestyle, and living well initiatives in 2010. Through DSN, I produce Digital Sisterhood Month, an annual event series that is held in December.

3. I am a nationally recognized speaker.

Automattic/WordPress Press Publish Conference, Photo Credit: Christine Hanolsy ‎
Automattic/WordPress Press Publish Conference, Photo Credit: Christine Hanolsy ‎

My training in public speaking began in my junior year at Elizabeth Seton High School when a nun strongly urged me to take a public speaking course offered by Junior Achievement (JA), the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

That course opened the door to my membership in two local chapters of JA. During my senior year, I earned first prize in several local and regional public speaking competitions. My successful efforts were rewarded with an all-expense paid trip to the national competition.

Throughout college, I utilized my speaking skills in my leadership roles in student government and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. These experiences prepared me for greater opportunities when I was elected to serve as a regional and national sorority leader. I was able to use what I learned as a speaker during moot court in law school and the early stages of my career.

Nowadays, I love to speak about a variety of topics including blogging, career reinvention, digital citizenship, digital wellness, nonprofit digital storytelling, social media, social media leadership, and women in social media and technology at conferences and events sponsored by AT&T, Automattic/WordPress, Black Bloggers Connect, BlogHer, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Executive Women International, Howard University, Serve DC, Spelman College, and the YWCA USA.

4. I work as an artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Working as an artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Working as an artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

I started training to become an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in 2001. I spent two years undergoing training before I began working at Howard University Hospital. During my seven-year tenure at Howard, I worked primarily with cancer patients of color and their families and people of color living with HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health challenges, and other long-term illnesses. In 2010, I began working with military staff, patients, and families at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

I use an inter-disciplinary approach in my work that includes collage, office yoga, painting, poetry, Reiki, storytelling, wire sculpture, and writing as I work alongside patients, families, and hospital staff.

5. My artwork encourages people to invite art into their lives as a gateway for self discovery and healing.

My artwork explores the healing power and presence of ancestors, archetypes, goddesses, spiritual practices, and sacred spaces in the lives of people of color and women. It marries language in the form of poetry, six-word memoirs, prayers, and reflections.

“Kreative Grooviness” painting by Ananda Leeke

My mixed media collages, wire sculptures, and paintings have been exhibited in the DC metropolitan area, New York City, North Carolina, and Kentucky. My artwork was featured in Heart and Soul in 2001. In 2002, I created and donated “Our Womanist Spirit” and “I am my sista’s keeper wire” sculpture collections to The Women’s Collective, an HIV/AIDS direct services organization.

6. I am a VIDA designer of a scarf collection that brings ART TO LIFE!


VIDA, a woman-owned fashion e-commerce platform that collaborates with artists around the world to create original and inspiring apparel and accessories, invited me to become a designer. Together, we transformed my artwork into a scarf collection that brings ART TO LIFE! It offers four different designs that help you create signature style, express social responsibility, and tell stories that celebrate the power of creativity, self-discovery, self-love, and women in social media and technology.


Each scarf costs $40, measures 80 inches to 26 inches, and is made out of 100% MicroModial. The designs are inspired by artwork that appears on the cover of my books, That Which Awakens Me, Digital Sisterhood, and Love’s Troubadours (available on Amazon).

7. I tapped into my creative storytelling gifts as a poet which opened the door to my life as an author.

almweb-author1withdsbookI started writing poetry when I was in elementary school. My favorite thing to do was to make greeting cards and write poems inside of them for family members. My love of poetry blossomed while I was a student at Seton High School. Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, and ntozake shange were three of the first poets I read and came to adore.

After I completed law school, I began writing poetry to cope with the stress of taking the bar exam and finding employment. With the encouragement of my sorority sisters, I published my first book of chap poetry, My Soul Speaks and began participating in the DC arts movement in 1992. My poetry appeared in Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century (2002). I penned Love’s Troubadours ( a yoga-inspired novel, 2007), That Which Awakens Me (creativity memoir, 2009), and Digital Sisterhood (technology memoir, 2013). My six-word memoir was published in It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure (2010). I am currently working on an e-book series.

8. I help my creativity coaching clients achieve their goals.

Xina Eiland and Ananda at Blogger Week Unconference, May 2015
Xina Eiland and Ananda at Blogger Week Unconference, May 2015

Here’s an example. My client XIna Eiland, President of X+PR, wanted to increase her visibility as a PR expert and speaker. Through my coaching support, I helped Xina prepare for her participation in the White House Black History event, “Celebrating Women of the Movement” and speaking engagement at the Blogger Week Unconference.

9. I practice yoga every day!

wpid-almweb-yoga2.jpgI started practicing yoga in my home after I attended my first yoga class during an African-American studies trip to Egypt in 1995. When I returned from my trip, I hired a private yoga teacher to guide me through the asanas (poses). Her name was Gloria. She was a kind, firm, loving, and knowledgeable woman I met in a monthly meditation group. She showed me how to embrace yoga as my own healing balm for anxiety, stress relief, and tight hips, hamstrings, and legs that needed stretching after my long runs.

Ten years after I began practicing yoga, I signed up for a teacher training program at Flow Yoga Center and completed it in 2006. I currently teach kind and gentle yoga and encourage my clients to practice yoga every day in their every day clothing and surroundings (like my photo illustrates with me taking a yoga moment in my jeans).

10. I love selfies, usies, and photobombing.

White House French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 - Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch
White House French Arrival Ceremony, February 2014 – Photo Credit: Dave McCulloch

My favorite selfie was taken during the White House Arrival Ceremony for French President Hollande in 2014. Dave McCulloch took a picture of me taking my selfie.

Usie with White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, May 2015
Usie with White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman, May 2015

My most recent usie was taken with White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman after our meeting to discuss digital engagement strategies and online communities on May 6, 2015.

wpid-img_20140610_1856291 (2)

My favorite photobomb moments were with President Barack Obama during the Tumblr Q&A on college affordability in 2014 and the Conference on Aging in 2015.


Photo Credits: Xina Eiland, Christine Hanolsy, Dave McCulloch, Leigh Mosley, and Teresa Dowell-Vest


  1. Hi Ananda,
    You may be interested in my blog. Sisterhood Across Continents. I am now following you so hopefully we can connect further on this wonderful thing called Sisterhood.

  2. I’ve been following you on IG since I discovered you via a Prevention challenge. And today…hello, forgive me I’m a little slow. I see you have a fabulous blog. I got curious because some of your posts you seem to be speaking at/for wordpress. I would so love to come hear you speak on blogging if you are ever in Southern California. Now I’m following you. It’s about time.

    1. Wow! I’m so glad you connected with me via Instagram and now my blog. I love Prevention Magazine! Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and read my blog. I am totally open to speaking in Southern California.

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