Morning Fundamentals Workshop: My Blog as Change Agent

Liveblog

Deanna Zandt
Cheryl Contee

Cheryl: So welcome everyone, we're so excited. So excited. Are you excited?

Deanna: Are you excited?

Cheryl: Yes! Yeah! Woohoo!

Deanna: I'm on four hours of sleep, I shouldn't drink caffeine and I do anyways, so we're going today. It's gonna be awesome!

Cheryl: Yeah, it's totally happening. So welcome! Welcome, welcome to the breakout session. This is the morning session. We're also going to have a PM session after the lunch keynote, so you've got us all day. Enjoy!

So this is the Pathfinder that is all about my blog as a change agent. And really your blog, from my perspective, it's just a manifestation of yourself. This is really about you, as a change agent. Hence, the subtitle, Leadership Bitches. Right? Yeah!

So you can see that Deanna is very helpfully putting our Twitter handles there, if you want to tweet while you are here in the session that is also a way in which, you know this -- there was a waiting list to be in here today. You ladies are very lucky, you were on it, you were early, nice work. But there are a lot of people who would love to be here, and you can help be a change agent by tweeting some of what you are listening, hearing here, and some of the things, inspiration that you are receiving, any epiphanies. And that will, there is someone out there, I promise you, for whom that will be very meaningful. So please do. You can do that by using the hashtag #BH12Pathfinder. And for those of you who don't know, the wifi is “life well said.”

Yeah.

Alright, so who are we? Who are we? Who are you Deanna?

I'd like to introduce Deanna's aunt who is my co-convener. Now I know that there is a lot of leadership already in this room full of bitches (laughter), uh so we see ourselves as conveners and guides along the path. You know, but I know there are people in this room who could lead this session, as well, so we're honored to help point the direction, but we hope and expect that you will bring your own talents today.

So, introducing Deanna Zandt.

She is a media technologist and the author of Share This: How You Will Change The World with Social Networking. She is a consultant to key progressive media and advocacy organizations. Her clients have included The Ford Foundation and others.

(Audio lost.)

Write down what your intention for today is. What's your holy purpose? For being here? And at the end of the day, how do you want to feel? Just interpret that for yourselves. What's your intention? What's your vision for how you will grow today, and what you'll do after today.

(Silence/working.)

Deanna: Stare at us when you are done. That's how we'll know. With intention. Because if keep sitting there tweeting and checking the live feed, we'll think you're still working on your holy purpose and it's going to be like two o clock.

Cheryl: This is an intention stare. It looks like folks are done, so we're going to start our next activity which is to share. Does anyone feel, some of you might want to keep your intentions private. Totally understand and respect that. Is there anyone who wants to share what their intention might be for today?

Deanna: I'm going to play Donahue.

Audience Member: My intention is to discover new ways to advocate for social good and multicultural understanding of my website, to my blog. And to also network with my peers. I'm actually here to meet all you guys and who are all interested in social good, so I hope I get meet you all today.

Cheryl: Great, right on! Who else? Who else is sharing? So we'll go here and then here. Anybody else? Right now, okay, we'll go over here.

Audience: I am coming out of the recession retirement period, although I am 65 and I am just here to find, I'm coming out of the 2008 forced retirement period and with some money from an inheritance and wanted to see what was going. What the lingo is, what people are doing. It's just information gathering and getting ideas for my blog. I have one already about retirement on low income, so that might work. And, I just want do that for today, just information gathering.

Audience: So since I'm a newbie, I'm trying to find my voice online. My goal is to be of service to the community at large, to receive the right information, to my advantage, and to my community's advantage, and to know what is my next move. Because face to face, you ask me a question, I can answer it. What do we do online, what is that?

Cheryl: Thank you. Who else wants to share?

Audience Member: Sorry, I can't recall your name. Sheldon. My focus is similar to yours. I am a newbie and I have such a passion for what I am doing as I am sure everyone else here does. But again, I am here to find out what I need to focus on first. There are so many things I want to do, so sort of just take the right path, so how do I get sort of focus, instead of sort of trying to do everything right off the bat.

Audience Member: I was taking notes. So I have a day job which is working for the government, which is great, but it's not my passion. Is there anyone working for the government here? (laughter from crowd)

Cheryl: I'm looking for a developer, so we can talk after. Totally.

Audience Member: They're not very progressive where I work, so. No, no real social media. Anyway! I want to work at how to take one day off from my day job, maybe a fortnight to start, and work on my passion which is blogging and becoming, growing my blog as a change agent. I'm sorry, I'm rambling on a bit. I've just spent three weeks in London where one of my things that I do was speak at a conference about appearance. And I want to work on doing some more appearance activism, and doing that. I also want to meet with all of you lovely women because you are so amazing, and multicultural. And I want to find a knee rug and a scarf because I'm cold.

(laughter)

Cheryl: Maybe one more.

Audience Member: Part of my reason for taking this sequence was I managed to Twitter fairly regularly, but I feel like blogging some opportunity to find my voice and I just haven't figured out how to make the same commitment that I make to Twitter.

Cheryl: Thank you for sharing your intention. We're going to share our intentions with you. My intention and vision for today is to help inspire, you to be the best you that you can be. We're not going to finish all of that today, you've got the rest of your life to become the best you, you can be. But hopefully this is one stone in the path towards that goal.

Deanna: Yep. My intention today is my general, and part of my general life purpose, number one more than anything is just to be useful and to be of service to the rest of the world. So however I can best be useful and of service to you and learn from you as well that's one of things I love about facilitation is the opportunity to have the breadth of my experience banded by all the amazing things you bring to the table. Those are my intentions. Expand me and use me. That's what we're really going here.

Cheryl: So let's go from the individual to the groups. Since we've gathered here today as a group to work together, blessing. It would be awesome if you can help write down as we talk together, why are you now in this room and what do you hope to achieve now, today from us and each other? Anybody?

LOSS OF AUDIO

Cheryl: Great. We did stay in touch with each other.

LOSS OF AUDIO

Cheryl: Your buddy system, and that is totally going to happen. You're like already on it. Next? Anybody else? What do you want to achieve today?

Deanna: What's the thing, when you were looking at what you could choose for Pathfinder Day, what made you say, "This is what I want to do?"

LOSS OF AUDIO

Cheryl: It doesn't get any better, ya'll, just sayin'. (laughter)

Anybody else? No, alright. So now we're going to move into the part where Deanna and I are going to tell our stories. And hopefully there is something within our stories that resonates with you. Either where you have been in your journey or where you are going in your journey. And of course part of your work today is going to be sharing your stories with each other, so without further adieu...

Deanna: I'm just setting it up...

Cheryl: I better do it from here though because I don't have a clicker.

Deanna: I'm actually a nerd, I'm really good at that.

Pause.

Cheryl: So....

Deanna: I'm going to try to monitor the twitter feed and our replies and stuff, so if there are things you are feeling shy about and don't want to like yell out in the room, or some comments that you have or questions that you have, you can also feel free to use Twitter. Not that's it's any less public, but you know, whatever. But we will be checking it, just so you know.

Cheryl: Yes. It is available.

Deanna: That's for the individual tracks though, because all the tracks are using the same hashtag.

Cheryl: Right, if you want to share there is stuff going on over there. I'm sure, like me, "If only I could be in that session," this is a way we can share with each other what's going on.

Deanna: Someone did use #leadershipbitches as a hashtag, so if I want to add that, we'll also check that.

Cheryl: So, without further adieu... if I don't hold it, can you still hear me? Oh, they are recording this, never mind.

Right. So as it says on the screen, this is my story. So, next slide. So, today people might know me as an innovative technologist and blogger who creates award winning web sites, and digital campaigns that drive social change, who also likes to you know, be the been in the bonnet of people who are in power.

Next.

So here's a photo of me with Mark Zuckerburg and some friends at a party at Southwest. Yeah, no, that totally happened. (Laughter) So, that is a real, there's like a whole other picture of me and Mark.

They saved up and they bought us a personal computer in 1982, which which a T1 9A94A... Yeah, that's right, going deep! And, so part of that, it came with one game, and we played that game and we figured it out. And my brother and I were like, "What do we do now?" We learned to program, so that was how we entertained ourselves, by learning to code because we are giant nerds. I have visual proof of this. Slide. That's me, I'm 14. That's right.

Deanna: Note the double floppy drive.

Cheryl: Yeah, this 1987ish, 88. Somewhere in there. My parents started saving up for this computer, and my mom cut, actually, a really good deal through work- she worked as a receptionist at an insurance company. So they splurged and got the double floppy drive in 1988, because that was some badass shit right there. And that's me nerding out. And, it was sort of inevitable that I was going to end up doing something like this. But that's actually the kind interesting trajectory, how did I go from this, to that.

That's me Skyping from Berlin with one of co-conspirators, Sonnal Banes * took this screen shot of me, you know, anyway. How do you go from that to that, and what sort of happens in between.

The in between looks like this, and this is the story I am going to tell you. And there is a point of why it looks so crazy like this. And that's kind of what I want to share with you today is there is no one clear path, there is no one right thing, and in the sets of things we're going to be working on, especially this afternoon, it's matter, and I think a lot of you have started to pick up on this already, it's a matter of synthesizing what your passions are together to lead you to the next thing. Because the one thing I have learned from leading a life that looks like this, is a quote from a place that I used to work over the door, and actually just closed last week a little theatre called the Barry Poetry Club, is everything is subject to change. And being open to that, is incredibly difficult when you are a super compulsive person like me. But I will show you how I have done it so far.

So we start out, me I went to University of Albany and I study linguistics, specifically feminist linguistics. And I was an over-acheiever, hardcore. They didn't have an honors program for linguistics, so I asked them to start one, so they did. They were like, "Wow, nobody ever asked one before, so we can do one I guess". So I graduated with honors, and intending to go to Berkley to go to grad school, and be super high-powered academic, because most of identity my whole life was based on academic and total nerdery. I was a theatre nerd, I was a band nerd, a math nerd, a computer nerd, like every kind of nerd, rolled up into one. At the end of this, right when I was supposed to move to California, I completely freaked out. I don't know what happened, but I just had this moment of panic. I was 22-years-old, and I was like, "Oh no, I don't know if I want to go and be an academic, and I don't know if I can keep doing everything I have been doing." That was the first time I felt unsure about what my paths looked like. I had so clearly and compulsively planned everything. I was the kid that was looking at college when I was 11. Because that was going to be my way out my little small town in upstate New York. So to be 22 and not know was terrifying.

I had a boyfriend at the time, who really romantically said to me, "Uhhh, you can like move to New York, if you want".

Alright, so that's what I did. So my plan was, I'll just get a job there and I'll stay there for two year, and I'll decide what I am going to do, and I'll move elsewhere. 14 years later, I'm still in New York. That's the only constant in this entire path.

So I started working for a German telecommunications company in their finance department because I had computer skills. They were like, that was literally what they said to me. I had a temp job when I started with them, and their finance guy came to me and he had this very thick New York accent, and he was like very New York, and he says, "I heard you were good with a computer," and I was like, he says "We need somebody." And so I learned how to be a bookkeeper and I learned a lot of finance skills, and I was really, really good at it. Which I will talk about a little later on. But it was my passion to be a part of the dot com boom. This is what was happening, it was 97-98, in that period and I really wanted to be part of this crazy internet thing that was happening. When I was in college, 1994, I got online and I had a text only vacs account, and it was, you'd, that was how you'd type out, there was things gopher and veronica, and there was the world wide web, and it was all text based.

Mosiac, the first graphical web browser came out, and a friend of mine took me over to the other lab and he was like, "You've gotta see this", and he sits me down in front of it. And I'm like sitting there, "fonts" and "Ohhh, oh my god, that's a picture!" And he was, and literally, I will never forget this, I literally started hitting him on the shoulder, and he was a a nerd so he was like, "Owww." And I was like, "Oh my god, this changes everything. This changes everything!" So I wanted to be a part of that.

I ended up getting a job first as a code monkey, as I called myself. at a little ad agency downtown called Toolbox. Me, as a social justice person, who like super kind of, marxist feminist, anarchist, communist, going to work in advertising, also could have been a sitcom, but they were really cool people. Suddenly, the person I worked for left, and at 25 they made their director of Interactive Services. Which was, completely indicative of the dot com, right? That was like the craziest thing you could possibly do, is tell a 25 year old run this section of our business. And it was a really good time. I learned so much in that experience. this how capitalism really works, and this is how the world works. And these are the things are I don't really want to be a part of, and these are the things I do.

And I was really frustrated at the time, during the dot com boom, because everything suddenly went from what I knew the internet to be, and talking usenet about anxiety and OCD and feminism, and poetry to let's sell it. Let's sell everything we can, it turned from this connective experience that made me feel magical like a fairy, like we living in this magical moment to let's sell things. And, then it all collapsed and it started to go downhill. By early summer 2001, I broke up with aforementioned boyfriend, moved downtown, was pretty convinced I was going to lose my job, but I kinda started to figure that I didn't want to be a part of this world, and I wanted to do something different. I wanted with art, with social justice.

And then 9/11, which is that big long year of, this was pretty critical moment. I was 25-26. I thankfully didn't lose anyone close to me, and the period of time, who else lived in New York, right after 9/11? A couple of people. And maybe, I don't know if you had similar experiences, there was a period of time, maybe two years, maybe 2001-2003, where everything became slightly unreal. Kind of everything mattered and nothing mattered. And maybe other people had a similar experience living in other parts of the world too. So I actually went back to the first company, to the German Telecommunications company, instead of following what I wanted to, which was go travel around the country, drive around in a car and write poetry, I became the Manager of Information Systems, for the North American Network. That seems like it makes total sense.

I had a lot of growing up working class, I had a lot of, not so much sociological pressure from my parents, or family, but psychological pressure to always have a good job, a solid good job with health insurance. And you can not do that in the world, as I was taught.

Throughout that two year period of everything and nothing mattered, all of a sudden I found myself crying every day in the bathroom, like clockwork at 2 o clock in the afternoon. Something would come over me and I wouldn't be able to take it anymore. And I walk, I would go into the little stall, and I would sit down, and I would be like, "Argggh." And I still smoked a lot so I would go down stairs and smoke cigarettes. I was just, you know, I realized that my brain was collapsing on itself, the dissidence I felt with caring about what as happening in the world, which turned really shitty by 2003, wars were going on, Bush was in power. People were starting to agitate an activator on that, and it was all happening, and it felt like away from me. And it was going to continue without me. I couldn't kind of take that.

So I waited to get my bonus that year and I quit in early 2004. I had lined up, kind of lined up 2 gigs but I really had no idea what I was doing. I had $4000 from this bonus and Savings which to me seemed like the most money anyone would ever need. I had never seen that kind of money in my life, so I was like, "This is amazing! I can live forever!" It lasted like a month, because I had no idea about money, and I still have a lot issues, a lot of issues around money. I just don't know how it works!

Deanna:...The whole high terror operation assurance and I was getting paid no money at my other job and all this other stuff. The first thing that the guy that I worked for, Phillip Fraser, said to me, with his Australian accent, that I hopefully, well no, I'm not going to do it, and he just goes, "Jesus Christ, I'll give you health insurance." You know. That's the kind of operation, that doesn't happen in the press world, so I still worked for them. Through them, I met an organization the media consortion, which at that time was being run by a guy named Steve Pats, who is now the publisher of Mother Jones. It's about a group of 50-60 independent, progressive media organizations. I'd always been super interested in media as an activism and advocacy tool. So it's people like The Nation, Alternate, HiTower, Mother Jones, as well as Carlines. I mean, just incredible, incredible groups and pockets of people, trying to figure out a way to work together. They started in 2005.

Around that time, social tools really began to explode. I had been blogging since 2001 and saw how blogging communities could start to change and shift consciousness. And then all these other tools, Flickr started to happen, Delicious happened. All these initial tools began to pop up and I was like, "Oh my god this is like, this is it. This is Marxist techno dream here. These tools are allowing us to bypass hierarchies and connect with one another. Bypass those gatekeepers that wanted to keep us separate and silent from one another. We can do this now, we talk to each other. At the very least we can talk to each other.

So I started evangelizing around this and the media consortion brought me into do a talk and a training for their membership. Probably at the time, this single-handed -- I had performed, I had done all sorts of crazy stuff, but this talking to a room full of a 100 people who would be in my mind the only 100 people might ever hire me for something in my consulting practice, and telling them what they should be doing online. You know, it's scary.

I did it. And one of the people in that room, you might notice a theme here, how this works. One of the people in that room, was a small a publisher named Barrett Coller, and the woman who was in charge of their editorial and digital in 2005. Yes, in 2005 a publisher had a digital division, because they are really, really smart. Said to me, "Can I ask you a couple of questions before lunch?" We took over an hour, and she was like, "What about this? What about this? What about this?" And she said, "You should come to San Francisco and do this presentation for my company. I want my whole staff to know, and understand. I have been trying to tell them about this stuff." So I said, "Okay".

And then I did. They said, "It was really good, you should make a book out of that!" And I was like, "You're crazy! I've seen people write books and they go insane! And I'm not going to do that." You know what I'm talking about, right? (Laughter)

Deanna: So, we stayed friends, and I continued to consult because what was beautiful about this moment of, this right in here, 2006, 7, 8 was when MySpace was happening. Facebook had just started, Twitter was launching and becoming a little bit more mainstream. All these things started happening, and it was like pieces of my world were coming together.

I felt something larger had to happen, so I didn't go back to tech work, and started doing this kind of consulting, helping people figure this stuff out. The publisher friend now, just kept chipping away at me, and in 2009 they offered a book contract. I didn't even have to do, I had to write the proposal. I didn't have to do the agent, and hope for the best kind of thing, because I already had this great relationship. They offered me the contract. I started writing in May 2000. Sorry, I started writing in June 2009. They don't offer advances, so I crowd funded my advances, and I raised $6000 in cash, HiTower gave me an almost sabbatical.

Basically paid me for the summer, but allowed me to do very, very minimal work. I got three months in free pizza from Two Boots Pizza. An eye exam and free glasses, and a night in a bed and breakfast upstate. All from this community of people that I had started building relationships with when I left my last job, and even people from those previous jobs, believing in me and supporting me and saying, "I want to be a part of what you are part because we're all going to do it together".

Book came out, probably after school. I tell people that writing a book is kind of like going to grad school, because you get really, really broke, you have to pay a lot of money, and at the end you have a piece of paper that says someone somewhere thinks you are smart. (Laughter) It seriously, and we'll talk more about this, this afternoon, but writing a book is a...will change people's perceptions of you. Absolutely, 200% from giving the occasional call to go on some radio station somewhere, to the minute they change my profile on the speaker database that I belong to, to say Author Of. I started to get calls to go on CNN and to go on Fox, and it's not to say that I didn't have to work at it in some way. But just that switch from being a random consultant/freelancer, to Author Of, was pretty dramatic. It also leveled me out in my career. In that, kind of like, kind of like going to law school, like you're paying like all this money and then like, you charge boatloads of money when you get out, and you have your own practice or whatever so you can pay off all that crazy debt. It actually allowed me to do that. Actually people took me aside after, clients that I had, took me aside after I wrote my book and said, "You are not charging enough money. Charge more."

Alright, so I did. Once you valuing yourself to higher and higher degrees, no one has ever called me out on what I thought were the most extravagant rates, ever. I was like, "Nooo. 100 dollars an hour?! Are you kidding me?!" And no one has ever balled to the rates since, but what happens, is kind of like it, again, back to my lawyer friends in the room. Who is the best lawyer in society's mind? The dude the charges $50 an hour or the dude that charges $400 an hour. There must be a reason he's $400 an hour, right? That's sort of what happened, so I started to be able to take bigger and bigger clients. More high profile clients, working with Ford, the Woman in The World Foundation which is the Newsweek, Daily Beast connection, advising Feministing on a bunch of stuff. I mean, just really wonderful people. In turn, again, those relationships that I've developed there. Then most recently, leveled me up again, in that Forbes approached me about doing a blog there, which was really weird. It's like, "You guys know that I am trying to take down capitalism, right? Like, you guys get that right?" ANd they were like, "Oh no, don't worry, we're not worried. Go ahead."

Alright.

NPR approached our friend about doing a social media advice segment for all things considered. And he said, "Sure" and they said, "Pick someone to do it with you" and he said, "Deanna Zandt."

The theme, what all of those green arrows are, are relationships. Relationships are the best possible thing you can work on and especially the way that we as non-dudes are cultured. You know because I want to include not just how about women, how about all kinds of women, sis women, trans women, everybody is in this room together. And the way we're socialized, we're socialized really, really good at relationships and that's actually working to our advantage, finally, in a business sense, because everything that has ever happened to me is because I knew someone, and made contact and stayed in contact and felt good about the work we provide to one another. So if there is one takeaway from this, there is no path, there is no path, because it's a network, and that's what we have to bring to each other today.

Yeah!

Cheryl: Thank you!!

(Applause)

Cheryl: Thank you Deanna, that was super inspiring! One we showed you in the beginning, this is a time when Deanna and I briefly interview each other, but then we also, want to- You know, instead of interviewing each other, should we have people ask questions?

Deanna: Yeah.

Cheryl: Why don't we ask questions for five minutes and then we have a partner exercise that I want to make sure we get to.

Deanna: Yeah, how much time do we have left? Before lunch?

Cheryl: Like 30ish, not much.

Deanna: Great. So any questions? For either of us?

Cheryl: I'll briefly intro, and then we'll move to the partner exercise. Alright, questions, yeah! Comments or questions.

Audience Member: I've done that sit in my office or go into the bathroom stall and just cry at my job. I wound up quitting as well, an so to hear your story, and to see how you did that, and you're on a different path, that's inspiring. I feel like, "It's not just me! I'm not alone!"

Cheryl: Nooo, you are not alone.

Deanna: You are definitely not. That's the other thing that was so magical to me about social media and social justice and advocacy work, was, those of you especially around identity issues and seems like that was, it was like, what we're doing is the digital version of consciousness raising. You know, of feminism, of the late sixties and early seventies, is sharing our experiences and realizing that is what I experienced in the world is not an isolated thing. It's systemic, and it needs changing. And, oh my god, I'm not fucking crazy, oh my god. That has been has been the single biggest thing for me growing up at a very isolated region of New York. Realizing, when I got exposed to the internet, realizing that I'm not alone. So yeah.

Audience Member: I felt so, when I wanted to quit, that everyone was looking down on me. Like, "Nooo, you can't be a quitter!" I just learned something recently, where they said, every time you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else. So that's what I try to think about now.

Deanna: Yes.

Cheryl: Yes, and part of this is really is about trusting yourself. There is going to be haters, and people who see you on the threshold, and they're frightened. They are frightened for you and for themselves. My own mother, I wrote my blog under a pseudonym for awhile, and when I finally told my mother and brother what I was doing. They were then one of five, two of five in the world, they urged me, they called me. They tried to have an intervention, you have to stop doing it because they are going to kill you. You know, outspoken black people in America get shot out, you know, they were afraid for me, but they were also...people are afraid for you, but also that your choices will make them question their own choices. So it's important to look, to hear, you know sort of. I responded compassionately to my mother and brother, that I understood that they were afraid, but that this was something I had to do. And that I would die if I didn't. Either I would died getting shot, or I would die inside for not doing it. And now, they, my mother brags about me all the time, at the grocery store, and at the dry cleaners. That's at least for me, finding the courage in myself, and your family will be inspired, and your friends, by your example. And hopefully by seeing the success you have in making another choice, it will encourage them to make other choices.

Deanna: Yeah. In that moment, too, of deciding to pursue what it is that you are passionate about, the kind of world changing you want to do. It really is crazy how much other people's fear comes down on top of you. When I similarly had the feeling of, I will die, I don't think I have ever. It wasn't even about world changing, it was just that I can't continue to live the way everyone else is living. I can't actually go to a job every day. I'm not actually built for this, and my brain didn't...we could get into all the crazy stuff.

Cheryl: Yeah, more questions or comments. Did anything resonate for you?

Audience: I had a question, you talked about how writing will change your profile, and I know now there is a lot of e-books. How do you feel about that? Does that have the same impact you think?

Deanna: Versus a physical book?

Audience Member: Yeah.

Deanna: Oh yeah. I mean, Kindles, Kindle books, e-books sell more than hardcovers now. The statistics just came out recently. There's soft publishing and all that stuff, but I do think that it does matter to get an authentic publisher. Even though I worked with a small community orientated publisher in San Francisco. It made a difference in people's minds, because people thought at that time, because when that book came out in 2010 and I was talking about changing the world with social networking, this is pre-hour of spring, and pre-everything else. People, literally, the first thing they would say to me, in this really condescending way, "Oh where can I get it?" And I'm like, "Fucking Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any..." But there was this insinuation that it couldn't be a real thing, but once people had like, no I was like, there are people in an office in San Francisco who worked on my book, it's a published book. I unfortunately think that having that credentialling, unfortunately still matter, but doing it e-book or print books, or whatever. E-books are the, yeah, the way to go.

Cheryl: Why don't we take one more question? Then we'll introduce the partner exercise. Right here in the front, yeah.

Audience Member: Cheryl, you said that, um, you knew that the people who believed in you, didn't feel sorry for you because you are a minority, and that really resonated with me. Yeah, that's something that was really good, so thank you for saying that. For me, a lot of people tell me, that I only got somewhere because someone has felt sorry for me, and in particularly in my own community with my skin condition were jealous. I'm really quite tired of people saying I am lucky or being jealous of me because this is hard work. People assume that if you are in a minority, and you are successful, people have felt sorry for you to place you where you are. So thank you for talking about that.

Deanna: Especially women get just punched down for that all the time.

Audience women: But other women, too!

Deanna: Yeah, you're too loud, you're too this, you're...I mean, if you're not, you're too quiet, too demure, you don't ask for enough. You can't do it, so just fucking do it. Whatever.

Cheryl: That's a great segue into our partner exercise, so in our remaining minutes in session, so we're going to go to 12:15. If anyone needs to use the Ladies that's okay. But in this partner exercise, because we're sitting, before, don't do it now, we can get up, mill about the room, find a partner, lock eyes, and sit down with them. Talk to them but we talked about sort of our stories, but I think both Deanna and I were vulnerable and I, where we've struggled. We both up to a lot, we battled burnout all the time. Sometimes we fail. I fail at something everyday, and what does feel like, and how do you learn from the daily failure. There have been things that have been hard, there have been things that haven't worked, there are things I wish I'd known. You know when I first started, that if I known, what I know what I knew then, how would I have done things differently. You know, so those are some confessions from the struggle. What I would like you to talk about, and this is going to prep us for the PM session. You know, what's challenging as a change agent? Every person in this room is either a change agent in your life, or that's the direction in which you want to take your path. What's challenging from that, about that? And how do you overcome? What are your solutions? What would you like that can help overcome those challenges? So. Everybody stand up. Start walking, start walking.

Deanna: Your intention takes you to your partner, you will know. See?? It's already happening!

Humming Jeopardy Tune.

Who still needs a partner? I see people talking. Mill about.

Cheryl: Green shirt? Come around here, oh, you have a partner? Alright, now get to work.

(Chatter in the background)

Cheryl: Okay, so we'll come back in about 10 minutes, and we'll report out. So talk about your challenges as a change agent, and how you would like to overcome those challenges or how you have overcome them in the past.

(Chatter in the background)

Alright, thank you. Ladies, ladies, you've had a chance hopefully, to share your challenges as change agents, and to talk about some solutions and strategies for overcoming. Those strategies, so why don't we talk together as a group. What did you learn from your partner? What resonated with you about their challenges, and what solution did you come up with? Who wants to start? Right here.

Audience Member: One of the things, a few things that we were talking about that we got from your presentations is about authenticity and voice. And really being able to figure out the balance of finding your voice, speaking your truth, being authentic. Not only in what you say, what you do, but also being honest with yourself about like, what are my goals and what is it that really moves me? What motivates me? So being able to balance that authenticity with your business life and your personal life, and figuring out how to walk that line when you are bringing them together. And it's a challenge because sometimes you have, you have those fears of like, oh my career might suffer if I say this, or if I do this. Or you know, I'm afraid to blog about X, Y and Z, I'm afraid I'll lose my job. Hearing your stories was about some of those moments where it's like, "Oh my god, this could like totally screw me up" turned out to be the biggest blessings and greatest game changers. So I think that was really inspiring and that's what we were talking about, being able to really take that with us as we go forward and just be really cognizant in that honest assessment of ourselves and what's our passion. And being more fearless, and courageous about bringing that forward.

Cheryl: Fantastic, thank you. What else were groups talking about? What resonated with you? What did you learn? Anita?

Anita: I just wanted to add one great thing that Janet was talking about. She was saying how her organization how they hadn't necessarily bought into the idea of social media and getting on Facebook. I really appreciated that she had to figure that out, and how do you negotiate that. That's a real skill in itself that you could put on a resume. That your advocated for an organization to use a new tool and were able to show them why it's important, why it's valuable. And that's a beautiful thing you could take to so many different areas. This advocacy about why this important and how to use our voices.

Cheryl: Perfect. Who else would like to share from your partner's experience? Over here, yes.

Audience Member: Overcoming that other idea, that people like me don't. Or people that, or that's other people, that's not somebody like me. That I have a place in the world and I, you know, coming from a low income native American family and being told in school, that people like me, don't go to college, and take you out of your concert choir, and I ended up graduating with the highest honors ever from the University of Oregon and going to Berkley for my Masters.

Both: Yeaaaah!

Audience Member: It's like, bite me, North Salem. But you know, talking about how to get over that "people" thing, because people are fed that their whole life. And how to get over that, there is no limit to what you can do, you limit what you can do. Being able to own that and believe it.

Cheryl: There is no limit to what you can do, believe it and own it. I love it. Who else? Who would like to share their partner? Over here in the beautiful yellow.

Audience Member: You know what I love? When you said stand up, look and match eyes. It reminds me, Liz and I had this great discussion about prayer and relationships. And for me, it was the piece I was looking for, about research that I have been doing, that's she's already done, so I don't have to do it. It's a good thing. Also, if you trust that instinct, that's when the magic comes. You know, it's just right there, it's not about us, it's about letting the magic to work.

Cheryl: Absolutely, love it. Who else? Who else would like to share?

Audience Member: NO AUDIO

Cheryl: Things that we definitely need to cover for you this afternoon, you are welcome to share those right now, that we haven't already talked about. Yeah, alright, go ahead.

Audience: We have desperate obstacles, but I found that when we were talking we had similar solutions. But I'll let her tell you, and what her obstacle is. For me, it's perception. I happen to be very liberal, very progressive, a feminist but people look at me, and they make up their minds about what I am already. Or, they will look at what my identity is, and make up their mind about that. Or they will say I'm a liberal and they'll make their minds up about that. So I am constantly trying to teach people that it's not really an effective way to make connections, so that's my obstacle. You go ahead.

Audience Member: I think we have the same challenge about breaking through, and going through. I always talk about how I started out as someone who liked politics, and was an organizer on the campaign, and then was like, "I'm going to blog." I had never wrote or considered myself a writer, so how do you breakthrough into a space where there are people trained writers that go to journalism school and actually want this as their career, and I was like, "Oh I think I'm going to write things about politics because I like it." So I think the challenge was trusting that I have enough know how to do something that I am not necessarily trained to do, and also feeling like people should respect my point of view. I know that sounds like...

Cheryl: Hell yeah they do.

Audience Member: That sounds like "Oh I am so awesome." I just think having that self- ...what is that, not having self-doubt is a big thing for me. But also the solution we came up with, but it's not necessarily a solution but more of a working solution. It's just working tirelessly. A specific obstacle for me is how to be sustainable in this arena, because I am a law student. There is the one path where I could graduate and be a lawyer, and there is another path where I can follow the passion and all the ground work I have laid to this point, and just learning how to I guess, how she was saying earlier about mixing the skill and passion together. For me the arrow, wasn't too, I guess like, for her, what was the joy. It wasn't really bliss, it was sustained, not broke. You know?

Deanna: There's a friend of mine who has an agency called Thrivable, thrivable.net, she goes by nurturegirl on Twitter, and her whole point of calling her agency and work that she is doing about thrivablity because actually sustainability is not enough. Think about your love partnerships, or your love relationship, do you want that partnership to sustain or thrive, so we need to kick it up a notch and talk about thrive in this world without burning out. Because this kind of stuff, the working tirelessly, scares the crap of me.

Cheryl: I just want to say thank you to Liz for being very modest, she's also a Fox News contributor, for example, fighting the good fight.

Cheryl: Yeah, that's true, just to clarify, she's a liberal. That is a really good segue into what we'll be talking about in the afternoon. I've had it up on the screen, it is about sustainability for love and money. You've gotta make a living, even as you are changing the world. You've gotta eat, you've gotta put a roof over your head, and buy clothes for the kids. So, you know, what does that balance look like? Both for yourself, you know, how do you maintain yourself and not completely collapse from overwork, but also how do you survive and thrive? So we'll get into more of that this afternoon.

Deanna: Before we let you go to lunch, I actually just know, I'm most certainly not, and she is exactly right about breaking through and persistence. I came to know about her, because she showed up everywhere. Not just that she was in there, talking at people, but I kept seeing her, or refer to her blog posts. Who is this women, because everyone else, you know, you encounter millions of smart people, but it was again it was that relationship because she expanded her network out, and that's the entirely the reason I know her, because she was able to use both skill and voice as well as, persistence, and relationship management. You don't even need to be in this room, you'll be fine. I'm just kidding.

Lunch?

Cheryl: Yeah, it's time for lunch, so we'll be back here at 2 for another 2 hour session, which will be a little more interactive, so it's going to be great. The Keynote is with Lindy Johnson, so we'll see back then. Nice work everyone today!

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.