Speaker Spotlight: Mananya Soobhawan, Digital Supervisor @ Weber Shandwick


Mananya Soobhawan, Digital Supervisor at Weber Shandwick, has seven years of experience in integrated marketing communications in developing programs that encompasses both traditional and emerging media for consumer clients. Her expertise includes general advertising, social media, blogger engagement, community management, brand positioning and development. Mananya has a strong knowledge and love for strategizing, planning, and executing genuine social media programs to help brands connect and build long lasting relationships with consumers and influencers. Read Mananya's blog MananyaCooks.com and follow her on Twitter @Mananya.

Mananya is a featured speaker at Blogging While Brown in Philadelphia, June 1-2, 2012 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, on "Blogs & Brands" panel.

Speaker Spotlight: Wayne Bennett, The Field Negro

Wayne Bennett is an attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He acts as a magistrate for the first Judicial District’s Domestic Relations Division and has his own private criminal defense practice. He is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania. Wayne Bennett has written articles on child support and the state of urban families, and is involved with various civic charities, community organizations, and various boards in the Philadelphia area. He is the founder and publisher of the Field Negro which has received numerous awards, honours and has been featured in publications such as GQ Magazine, Essence, the New York Times; and the Los Angeles Times. Wayne Bennett has appeared on NPR’s News & Notes, the Eric Dyson Show, The Walter Olney Show, and various other news programs. Wayne is married and resides in Northeast, Philadelphia. Follow Wayne on Twitter@fieldnegro.

Wayne is a featured speaker at Blogging While Brown in Philadelphia, June 1-2, 2012 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, on "The Brothers of Blogging: Making it in a Woman's World" panel.

Research indicates that women are more active on social media than men.  The social media age

Speaker Spotlight: Kathryn Finney, The Budget Fashionista

When Kathryn Finney started her wildly successful site The Budget Fashionista  in the summer of 2003, she had no idea she was creating the “Budget Fashion” movement.

Kathryn’s frank advice and Midwestern charm turned a small site about looking fabulous on a budget into one of the top fashion sites on the Internet, with over 10 million unique visitors a year. In 2010, Kathryn joined Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Warren on AOL’s list of the Top Ten Women in Money.

The release of her Amazon best-selling book

Speaker Spotlight: Lamar Tyler of Black & Married with Kids

Lamar Tyler has been called a New Media Strategist, Consultant, Blogger and Filmmaker but basically he just creates good content.

Lamar¹s strategic approach of using social media to promote his independent film projects has resulted in a huge following, including a fan base of over 80,000 on Facebook. Lamar has leveraged that fan base to build relationships, and develop a grass roots distribution network across the country. Along with his wife Ronnie, Lamar runs the award-winning blog
Black and Married With Kids and has been featured in The Washington Post, Parenting Magazine, Essence Magazine on CNN¹s Headline News, NPR, Sirius\XM and many other print, broadcast and online media outlets.

After spending 15 years in the IT industry Lamar currently focuses much of his time coaching professionals and major brands spanning several industries, on how to leverage audiences by using strategic social networking techniques. Follow Lamar on Twitter @blackandmarried and @lamartyler.

Lamar is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown June 1-2, 2012 in Philadelphia. His "Managing an Online Community" panel will discuss strategies to increase reader engagement, the art of storytelling to help build a brand, resources available to bloggers to help leverage the power of Facebook to build a brand, push traffic to their blogs, market events and sell products.

Register for Blogging While Brown today!

Speaker Spotlight: Jennifer Polk, VP @ Edelman Digital

Jennifer is a Vice President with Edelman Digital. In this role, she provides digital thought leadership, strategic counsel, client service and account leadership to corporate clients and consumer brands.  Jennifer’s areas of expertise include strategic planning, development and execution of integrated marketing and communication strategies leading to improved audience engagement.  Jennifer also has experience leading online conversation monitoring and reporting, influencer outreach and engagement, community management, as well issues management, which has helped Edelman clients identify and address issues facing their business and brands. 

Previously, Jennifer was Director of Social Media Strategy for Sears Holdings Corporation (SHC) and a member of their Senior Leadership Program. In this role, Jennifer  led an in-house social media agency, provided strategic counsel and developed digital marketing programs for Sears and Kmart, their e-commerce websites and various business units. Prior to this, Jennifer served as Chief of Staff to the Chief Information Officer of SHC, re-launching the internal IT web portal and managing communication on behalf of the CIO. Jennifer also held the position of Brand Manager for Kenmore, leading  the multi-billion Cooking category and brand re-launch for the category.

Before joining SHC, Jennifer worked for JPMorgan Chase where she held several positions and was most recently a  Commercial Banker. During this time, Jennifer earned a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in strategic management from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Jennifer also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Jennifer is a Chicago native who currently lives in the Western Suburbs with her husband and two daughters. When she is not at work, Jennifer enjoys using social media, blogging, reading, shopping, cooking and watching movies. Follow Jennifer on twitter @JenPolk1.

Jennifer is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown June 1-2, 2012 in Philadelphia. Her panel "Blogs & Brands" will be featured on Friday during our Business of Blogging Symposium. This panel will discuss how bloggers can effectively work with brands and what brands look for when selecting bloggers for campaigns.

Register for Blogging While Brown today!


Speaker Spotlight: Luvvie Ajayi aka Awesomely Luvvie


Lovette “Luvvie” Ajayi* is a writer, social media strategist and trainer. She’s also an experienced blogger who’s been at it for 9 years, 5 of which are at her humor blog, AwesomelyLuvvie. Luvvie's background is in Marketing, Communications and New Media, and she’s presented at several conferences over the years on these topics. The conferences include: The Nonprofit Technology Conference, BlogHer, Blogging While Brown, Chicago Social Media Summit, Blogalicious Weekend, NeighborWorks Symposium.


Luvvie’s also passionate about social justice and she's addicted to shoes. She combined these loves and founded The Red Pump Project with Karyn Watkins. Red Pump is a national nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Their work has earned them a Congressional Record from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as Resolution adopted in their name by the City Council of Chicago.

Luvvie is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown June 1-2, 2012 in Philadelphia. Her opening keynote panel
"Your Personal Brand: It actually IS all about you!" will discuss how not to just create, but craft and maintain a strong personal brand online. Accompanied by fellow panelists Adria Richards and Scott Hanselman, the three will talk about how they developed three very different, very distinct, but demonstrably effective personal brands online.

Register for Blogging While Brown today!

Speaker Spotlight: Slim Jackson of Single Black Male

Slim Jackson is the Executive Editor for Single Black Male, the 2011 recipient of the Black Weblog Awards Best Blog Design and Best Blog Post Series awards. Single Black Male has also been listed in Ebony Magazine's Power 100 list, in addition to being mentioned on both Essence and Clutch Magazine's websites.

Outside of his efforts at SBM, Slim maintains a personal development blog. He's also been a guest on the Michael Baisden show and various online radio productions. You can also find Slim writing for other online venues including Uptown Magazine. Slim resides in Harlem, where he maintains a day job as an HR professional.

Slim is a featured panelists at Blogging While Brown 2012. His panel The Brothers of Blogging: Making it in a Woman’s World, will discuss the challenges and triumphs of being Black men who blog in a women dominated blogosphere.

Follow Slim on Twitter @slimjackson.

Speaker Spotlight: Anslem Samuel Rocque, Senior Producer of Interactive Media @ BlackEnterprise.com

Anslem Samuel Rocque has been a culture critic/journalist for over 12 years. After a four-year stint as Culture Editor at The Source, the New York native became the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Ave, an independent quarterly publication that combined entertainment, social issues and politics. From there, he served as the Senior Editor for XXL magazine for three years before moving up the ranks to Digital Content Director for XXLMag.com. Currently, he serves as the Senior Producer of Interactive Media at BlackEnterprise.com.

Over the course of his career, Anslem has written for a wide array of publications, including   EssenceBlender,   Penthouse,   Complex Vibe,   King  and  Rides.  His work has also appeared on AOL's BlackVoices.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Ebony.com and MadameNoire.com, among other media publications. In 2008, Anslem started penning his own personal tales about the pursuit of life, love and understanding the opposite sex on his hilarious and insightful daily blog, Naked With Socks On [NWSO.net], which earned a Best Blog Series nod in the 2009 Black Weblog Awards. Extending his personal brand even further, Anslem broke into online radio with the Naked Radio Show, where he moderates frank discussions on sex, relationships and current events every Tuesday night from 10pm-12am EST on PNCRadio.fm.

Anslem is a featured panelists at Blogging While Brown 2012, June 1-2 in Philadelphia at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His panel, "Social Media & Technology: What’s Next?" will discuss current trends in social media & technology and how Black Bloggers can position themselves to be more influential in the future.

Register today for Blogging While Brown 2012.

Speaker Spotlight: Dawn-Marie Gray, CVS Senior Marketing Manager

Dawn-Marie Gray is veteran brand strategist with nearly 20 years of integrated marketing communications experience, Dawn-Marie Gray joined CVS/pharmacy in January 2010 as a Senior Marketing Manager focused on multicultural consumers. In this role, Dawn-Marie collaborates with key stakeholders across the enterprise to influence national media campaigns and prioritize investments; achieve greater resonance with diverse audiences through support of brand relevant community initiatives; and drive revenue by growing share of wallet from Asian, Black and Hispanic consumers. 

 In addition to developing business strategies for both Front Store and Pharmacy marketing programs targeting multicultural consumers, Dawn-Marie manages the CVS/pharmacy To Your Health community program which is designed to address health disparities and access to care issues that negatively impact communities of color by offering free preventive services including health screenings for adults 18 years and older. In 2011, the program operates in 8 key US markets and Puerto Rico. 

Prior to joining CVS/pharmacy, Dawn-Marie served as Director of Marketing for the ad*itive – a full service multicultural marketing and communications firm – with a mission to improve, strengthen or positively alter the state of client business. As brand steward for several global organizations including Volkswagen, Colgate, KFC, Ultra Sheen, Coca-Cola and Timberland, she created and activated dynamic experiential marketing programs enabling the brands to successfully intersect with the right consumers, at the right time and in the right places.  

A native of Washington, DC, Dawn-Marie received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University’s School of Communications. Currently residing in Providence, RI, she is an avid reader who enjoys exercising, watching movies, relaxing with family and friends and attending professional sporting events.

Dawn-Marie is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown 2012 in Philadelphia, PA June 1-2 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Her panel "Urgent Issues Affecting People of Color from HIV to Hazing" is sponsored by Uniworld Multi-Cultural Marketing Group. 

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends today. Don't miss out on our 5th annual conference. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Adria Richards, Business Tech Consultant

Adria Richards is a Business Technology Consultant who solves business problems with technology solutions. An industry veteran, Adria’s passion for cutting-edge technologies has led her to partner with some of the largest companies in the business including Dell, Motorola, John Deere and Zendesk. Since launching her consulting firm in 2006, Adria has been recognized as a trusted voice in her field and has been called on by several media outlets including The Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, Computerworld, The Associate Press, Inc.com, Black Enterprise and The Pioneer Press.

Adria’s mission — to make technology accessible —has kept her in demand as a speaker at blogging and technology conferences across the country including O'Reilly's Web 2.0, SXSW, Blogher, Blogging While Brown, Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, Blogworld, Wordcamp and private speaking engagements with companies and organizations.

A great feature on Adria's blog, ButYoureAGirl.com, is the monthly list of Upcoming Tech Events around the country. You can follow Adria on twitter @adriarichards

Adria is a featured speaker at Blogging While Brown 2012, June 1-2 in Philadelphia at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She will be joined by Luvvie Ajayi and Scott Hanselman for a thought the thought provoking panel "Your Personal Brand: It actually IS all about you!" The trio will discuss how they developed three very different, very distinct, but demonstrably effective personal brands online.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown 2012 ends May 7th. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Afrobella

Patrice Grell Yursik is a Trinidadian writer who currently lives in downtown Chicago. In August 2006, she created Afrobella.com, a blog to fill a void that existed in print and online media - a continual celebration of natural hair and women all shades of beautiful. Afrobella readers are enlightening and entertaining, intelligent and glamorous, friendly, fabulous and fun. If you love the skin that you're in and the beautiful natural texture of your hair, if you enjoy learning about different cultures and listening to eclectic music, if you have an obsession with makeup and fashion and all things fabulous -- then this is the blog for you.

Afrobella has been featured in Essence, Ebony, Glamour, People Style Watch, Allure.com, the Trinidad Guardian, Trinidad Newsday and Fast Company. 

Patrice Yursik has contributed writing to Essence, Newsweek.com, Jane.com and Ebony.com, and was one of the initial contributors to Italian Vogue’s Vogue Black. 

She has been featured in full page print advertising campaigns for hair care brand Crème of Nature – these ads have run in every major African American magazine from Essence and Ebony to Sister to Sister and Hype Hair. She has participated in online advertising campaigns for cosmetics brands Urban Decay and Lancôme, and hosted events for brands including the Huetiful hair steamer, Design Essentials and Carol's Daughter. 

In 2011 Afrobella partnered with MAC Cosmetics to create her own custom lipgloss called "All Of My Purple Life," part of the Bloggers' Obsession collection (which debuted on June 21, 2011). Her lipgloss sold out in a week was re-released, and then sold out again in another week. To promote the lipgloss, she created a Tumblr blog where fans of All Of My Purple Life could submit their photos.  Currently there is a fan-created petition calling for the color’s return.

Afrobella is currently on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list, alongside the likes of Jay-Z, Oprah and the Obamas. Afrobella.com is one of few blogs in the Black Weblog Awards Hall of Fame, and to date Afrobella has won more than ten online awards, ranging from Glam’s Best in Beauty Award to Best Writing in a Blog from the Black Weblog Awards. 

Afrobella is on The Root’s list of 20 Black Bloggers You Should Know, Black Enterprise’s list of 20 of the Blogosphere’s Best, For Harriet’s list of 45 must follow Tumblr blogs, and on Mike Street’s list of top 10 African Americans to follow on Pinterest. Afrobella is on the Signature 99 list of top beauty and fashion bloggers in the world.

Afrobella is a featured panelists at Blogging While Brown 2012, June 1-2 in Philadelphia at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Her panel, Next Level Sister Bloggers sponsored by BlogHer, will discuss how bloggers can become entrepreneurs by building a solid brand on and offline.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown 2012 ends May 7th. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Jimmy Hammock, International President of Phi Beta Sigma

Jimmy Hammock of Morristown, Tennessee, was elected International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. July 9, 2009, during the 95th International Conclave in New Orleans, LA. Prior to being elected to the organization’s top post, Hammock served in various leadership capacities including, Southeastern Regional Director, International Treasurer, and International First Vice President.

The Hammock administration’s goal is to make Phi Beta Sigma synonymous with community service under the theme “Changing Lives Through Service.” “I’m a living witness that we can make a great impact in the lives of communities and individuals because my life was changed dramatically because of the committed service of one person,” shares Hammock.

Hammock, a native of Fordyce, Arkansas, retired from ArvinMeritor, formerly Rockwell International, as Materials Manager after 29 years of service. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) with a degree in Business Administration. Prior to attending UAPB, he attended J.E. Wallace High School in Fordyce, and received a full four-year academic scholarship to UAPB.

Hammock is married to Vicki Hammock, former educator and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and they have a son, Andre, who is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

President Hammock is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown 2012 in Philadelphia, PA June 1-2 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His panel "Urgent Issues Affecting People of Color from HIV to Hazing" is sponsored by Uniworld Multi-Cultural Marketing Group. 

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends May 7th. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas

Pittsburgh native Damon Young is the co-author of "Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm at Night" and the co-founder of the award-winning blog VerySmartBrothas.com. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Root, Essence Magazine, The Huffington Post, NPR News, Black Enterprise, The Good Men Project, Jet Magazine, Clutch Magazine and Madame Noire. Recently, his blog was named to Ebony Magazine's Power 100, an annual list that celebrates “innovators, movers and shakers…who are shaping the world in new and different ways.” Young currently serves as an contributing editor for Ebony.com.

Young is a featured panelist at Blogging While Brown 2012, June 1-2 in Philadelphia, PA at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His panel "Love is a Battlefield: Navigating from the Trenches" will discuss the ins and outs of dating and relationship blogging.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends May 7th. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Demetria L. Lucas aka A Belle in Brookyln

Affectionately known as "Belle”, Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-To Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria); the creator of the award-winning personal blog ABelleInBrooklyn.com; and the founder of Coached By Belle, a boutique life-coaching service, where Demetria helps clients solve their dating dilemmas and build healthy long-term relationships. Demetria is also a contributing editor for The Root, where she pens a weekly dating and relationship advice column, "Ask Demetria”, and is a contributing writer for the websites of Essence, Clutch, Vibe Vixen and Uptown.

Demetria was named one of “the Blogosphere’s Best” by Black Enterprise Magazine, selected among "30 Black Bloggers You Should Know" by The Root, picked as one of Essence.com's “40 Fierce & Fab Under 40”, and featured as "The Best of Brooklyn" by Brooklyn News 12. Additionally her debut book, A Belle in Brooklyn, was nominated for “Best Self Help” at the 2011 African-American Literary Awards, and her blog was awarded Best Personal Blog in the 2010 Black Weblog Awards.

Since being dubbed “the Black Carrie Bradshaw” in a Washington Post profile, Demetria has become a sought after media personality and speaker. She’s appeared on The Today Show, The Anderson Cooper Show, Access Hollywood, Good Day New York, Issues with Jane Velez on Headline News, and the Oprah Radio Show. She’s also been a guest speaker at Harvard, Princeton, Howard, NYU, and Spelman College. For more information about Demetria, visit her site: www.abelleinbrooklyn.com

Follow Belle on Twitter @abelleinbk.

Demetria is a featured panelists at Blogging While Brown 2012, June 1-2 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Her panel "From Blog to Book" will discuss how bloggers can extend their brands beyond the blog and become successful published authors.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown 2012 ends May 7th. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Aymar J. Christian, New Media & TV Researcher

Aymar Jean Christian researches new media and television at the University of Pennsylvania. He edits two blogs, his personal site, Televisual and Hacktivision which is supported by Quinnipiac University. Aymar has been published in mainstream outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek and blogs including Racialicious, Tubefilter and AfterElton. 

Aymar is a featured speaker at Blogging While Brown June 1-2, 2012 in Philadelphia. He and fellow presenter Erin J. Bailey, will present “More than Words: the Power of Images & Video” This breakout session is part of our monetization track sponsored by BlogHer.

“More than Words: the Power of Images & Video” will focus on the next wave of web monetization, video.

“Increasingly, filmmakers are creating original, episodic video for the web, bypassing traditional film and television. Yet most of these series are not monetizing their content. This presentation will be an overview of some of the revenue-generating strategies for Black content online, including: sponsorship, product placement/branded entertainment, ad networks, crowdfunding and subscription. Particular attention will be paid to utilizing Black blogs, social networks and channels (Hulu-style video networks as well as You Tube) for increasing content scale,” says Aymar.

Follow Aymar on Twitter @aymarjchristian.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends May 7, 2012. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Tyrha M. Lindsey of L.A.I. Communications

Tyrha M. Lindsey is the Managing Director for L.A.I. Communications. She has over 14 years experience in public relations with a highly diverse communications background that covers multicultural and mainstream public relations, promotion, entertainment and targeted marketing disciplines.  

Prior to joining UniWorld Tyrha ran her family’s retail and communications agency, L.A.I. Communications.  Specializing in promoting women’s empowerment and health issues, Tyrha created strategic public relations solutions for a number of non-for-profit and corporate institutions. She has worked closely with the National Speaking of Women’s Health Foundation, which was funded by Procter & Gamble.  Based on a P&G Fund grant, Tyrha developed “Universal Sisters,” a national multicultural diabetes awareness initiative.  This program was supported by its Women’s Health brands (i.e. Olay, Secret, Tampax, Crest and Actonel) and Wal-Mart partnered with P&G in the overall program.  Her clients  have included Colgate, CVS, Ford, Western Union and the US Marine Corps. 

You can meet Tyrha at Blogging While Brown 2012 in Philadelphia. She is a featured panelist during our Business of Blogging Symposium on Friday, June 1st on the “Blogs and Brands” panel. Speakers will discuss, and answer your questions, about how bloggers can partner with brands and what brands look for when collaborating with bloggers. 

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends May 7, 2012. Register today!

Speaker Spotlight: Ashley Hicks of Black Girls Run

Ashley Hicks, co-founder of Black Girls Run was a featured panelist on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show on Saturday. Ashley along with ESPN columnist Jemele Hill and author Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, discussed the impact of Title IX on women athletes.

Ashley was named as one of the best black bloggers by TheRoot.com and recognized as one of the best health and fitness bloggers by Shape magazine. She was also featured in Ebony magazine's 2011 Power 100 list. She is currently working on a Master of Science in Communication at Columbia University in New York. Ashley is a lover of all things creative and outdoors. From the hours of nine to five she spends her time producing and editing documentaries. When she isn’t working, you can find her scouring the shelves of Home Depot for new home improvement projects, experimenting in the kitchen or brewing her own beer, Hicks Lite.

You can meet Ashley and her partner Toni Carey at Blogging While Brown 2012 in Philadelphia June 1-2, 2012 when they present Blogging without Bounds: Taking Your Blog Offline into Local Communities. This thought provoking presentation will discuss what to consider when implementing an offline component to your blog, how to integrate a grassroots movement into your blog, how do you gain buy-in from existing readers, how to create blog loyalist and how do you further extend your blog brand offline.

Follow Ashley and Toni on Twitter @blackgirlsrun and to get involved in a Black Girls Run Group near you visit www.BlackGirlsRun.com.

Regular registration for Blogging While Brown ends May 7, 2012. Register today!

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