03 August 2009

Female Role Models, Part II

So I've figured out when to publish another installment of my informal series highlighting female role models - women who are using social media effectively to both further their careers and set an example for others.

It's whenever someone prominent takes a pathetic cheap shot at an ambitious and successful woman - more specifically, when she's described as having an "abrasive" or "cold" personality, or whenever someone trots out the b-word. You know, just as a joke or something.

So thank you, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, for our most recent edition. Here's how I defined the criteria I'm using in my first post on the topic:
Someone an online mom can show her daughter and say, "See her? See what she's doing? See how she's living in the same world you are, with the same challenges you have, and see how she succeeds? THAT is how you do this. THAT is what I stand for. I want you to be like HER."
So here goes:

Alanna Shaikh. She's a public health professional currently in Tajikistan, managing the ZdravPlus tuberculosis infection control project for Abt Associates. She's already had a very impressive career in public service, non-profit advocacy, and in global health, having worked for the Dept of State, the UN Population Fund, and Project HOPE. She has a masters degree in public health from Boston University, in addition to a bachelors from Georgetown. She writes a kickass blog on international development, and isn't afraid to criticize bad behavior in the development sector when she sees it. She also contributes to Change.org. She even writes a recipe blog she calls - and I love this - Food You Can Cook Anywhere.

Maria Surma Manka. Yes, PR folks can be role models too. But unlike most of the social media PR women I know who spend most of their time in the mom-o-sphere, Maria is a committed environmentalist. I've mentioned her before, and you can read her stuff at Maria Energia or her company's green blog, Ecologic. Maria is a role model because she stays true to herself in her public communication. Let's face it: companies don't hire PR firms because they just need help selling sunshine and puppies and spreading the love. Companies hire PR firms because they have PR challenges, and they don't always want people in those firms to share their own opinions on issues relevant to them. Maria shares her thoughts while remaining focused on the positive - the latest innovation, the newest information, things like that. It's a difficult balance but she pulls it off.

Kelly Wickham. She's an assistant principal in a Chicago-area high school, but she's known in social media as Mocha Momma. She's also leading a very important discussion about marketing to people of color in the blogosphere. I met her at BlogHer in 2007 where this issue came up briefly in the "State of the Mom-O-Sphere" panel discussion, and I wrote about it as well. But Kelly kept at it, and what was a side discussion became a panel of its own at BlogHer 2009, and got people talking more directly about the issue - and NOT just the semi-regular collection of the usual suspects in the PR and marketing industry, paying lip service to the topic at a pre-scheduled event. This was one of those rare times where the consumers led the discussion, and Kelly (along with some noteworthy others) was leading the leaders. That's a role model in my book.

OK, that's it for now. So stay classy and keep dropping the b-word, fellas. You're saying a lot more about yourselves than anyone else.


PunditMom said...

I love how you've decided to relate your posts to what Milbank (and others) do when talking about women -- especially high profile, successful women. Every little bit anyone can do to combat things like Washington Post reporters thinking it's OK to refer to the Secretary of State as the 'b' word that rhymes with witch, is something we should all support.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

Not only do I love seeing women I recognize in these posts of yours, I think I'm even happier to learn about other women whom I want to get to know. Thanks David - you're a gentleman (and I don't mean of the southern variety).

Maria Surma Manka said...

I'm so honored to be included David! And excited to get to know the fabulous women on your lists. Thank you for doing this!

Mocha said...

David! I am blown away by your honoring me. You also honor me in keeping up with important conversations. So wish you could have been at BlogHer Con last month. You were missed.

(p.s. I'm not at a Chicago-area school unless you count Springfield as a suburb. Which most people don't. Because it's south of I-80 and everyone thinks that's the south. No worries!)

David said...

DOH! Sorry about that, Kelly. I hear Illinois and I think "Chicago."

Alanna said...

I am so honored to be on this list, and so glad lists like this exist. Girls need every encouragement we can give them to go after their dreams.