Lately, I’ve been discouraged by all the negativity on the internet. It feels like every social-media post comes with a barrage of cruel responses. Why do we feel so comfortable being combative online? It can be simple to write a nasty comment on a post, but it’s often difficult for some folks to remember that there are real people with real feelings behind that post. Today, if you come across an online tidbit you disagree with, simply move on without fanfare. And when you do encounter something you like, comment positively with a thumbs-up.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2018
One awesome organization leading the way in the realm of positivity and safety online is the Girl Scouts. In 2018, the Girl Scouts of the USA will roll out its cybersecurity-badge initiative, enabling girls as young as 5 years old to earn as many as 18 different cybersecurity badges. The initiative aims to cultivate a valuable 21st century skill set in girls while also removing the barriers that may keep girls from moving into the cybersecurity industry for work, in addition to giving girls the tools they need to stay safe while surfing online. And that’s an accomplishment way more satisfying than even Thin Mints!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Alaina Shearer, Founder and Executive Director of Women in Digital
One woman doing her part to advance the role of women in the digital world is Alaina Shearer, an experienced professional communicator, staunch supporter of female-focused communities, self-described digital nerd and the fearless leader and founder of Women in Digital, an empowering national network of women working in all aspects of the digital industry.
Nearly a decade ago, Alaina quit her day job to pursue her own thing: digital marketing. She launched renowned agency Cement Marketing, growing her business to a team of more than a dozen, landing big-time clients like National Public Radio and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and bringing in annual sales topping $1 million.
After spending years as her own boss, Alaina started Women in Digital as a way to connect career gals, share knowledge, inspire each other and become empowered by that strength. The organization does so by connecting women working in digital careers through educational events and giving them the tools and confidence to embrace their power.
Being a woman in this line of work often involves dealing with a lot of sexism. Tech startups and corporations frequently foster cultural sexism without realizing it. Pretty much every female digital marketer you meet these days has a story about how shocked clients were when they find out a woman was responsible for their business skyrocketing. It’s definitely a story Alaina knows all about, but she also knows empowering a sisterhood of women in the digital world can only work to effect positive change.
Women in Digital now draws thousands of women to its events, and has more than 300 founding members and chapters in 15 cities. In late October 2017, a group of amazing speakers and more than 800 women working in the digital field will gather again to connect and commiserate at the annual Women in Digital Conference, a testament to the remarkable power behind Alaina’s organization.
The internet isn’t going anywhere and living the digital life certainly has its challenges. But Alaina is a wonderful example that when armed with a positive and knowledgeable support system, ladies, your career can take off. As one Women in Digital Conference sign notes, “When we have each other, we have everything!”
QUITE THE QUOTE
I hope Alaina Shearer’s story has inspired you to grab your favorite e-device and get started on your next big idea. As Jess Lee, co-founder of social-commerce website Polyvore, said:
“Just because you don’t fit the classic mold doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
Head shot by Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch