BlogHer '11: Pathfinder Day Speakers


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Rollover images for a quick look at the speaker's bio, or click the speaker's name to be taken directly to their profile.
Carleen Brice

Carleen Brice is author of ORANGE MINT AND HONEY, an Essence “Recommended Read” and a Target “Bookmarked Breakout Book,” and the best-selling CHILDREN OF THE WATERS. In February 2010, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network as SINS OF THE MOTHER, starring Jill Scott. It was the second-highest rated original movie in LMN’s history and received two 2011 NAACP Image Awards. Brice is the recipient of the 2009 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the 2008 Break Out Author Award at the African American Literary Awards Show. She was recently named one of the 25 most influential black fiction writers on Twitter.

Speaking Events:
Colleen Lindsay

Colleen Lindsay is an unrepentant nerd and digital native who spent most of her formative years hiding beneath the blankets with a flashlight and a book. Her obsession with reading was a hard habit to break; as a result, she’s worked in the book industry since 1984. Her first job in publishing was in Northern California as a mass merchandise sales assistant for Ballantine Books.

For five years she served as Director of Publicity for Del Rey Books, a division of the Random House Publishing Group, specializing in the creative publicity and marketing of science fiction, fantasy, pop culture, YA fantasy, graphic novels, manga and third-party licensed media. Some of the authors whose publicity campaigns Colleen had the privilege to manage at Del Rey include Terry Brooks, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Moon, China Mieville, Richard K. Morgan, Minister Faust, Matthew Stover, R.A. Salvatore, and Harvey Pekar.

Colleen has also worked freelance as a book marketing/publicity/online/social media publishing consultant for several major trade publishers, as well as working on major non-fiction projects such as MOTHER TERESA: COME BE MY LIGHT and A COMPLAINT FREE WORLD. She spent twelve years working as floor manager, backlist buyer and events manager at several San Francisco Bay Area independent bookstores and was a book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle under the inimitable Pat Holt. Most recently, Colleen worked as a literary agent at FinePrint Literary Management, where she discovered great genre and YA writers like Kelly Gay, Allison Pang, Ruth Long, Karen Rivers, and Scott Tracey.

Currently Colleen works in the business development department at Penguin Group (USA), and is the community manager for Book Country, an online writing and reading community for genre-fiction writers. You can usually find her on Twitter giving advice to writers, discussing the future of the publishing industry and waxing poetic about her cat Stinkyboy's addiction to Greenies.

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Debbie Bookstaber

Debbie is the co-founder of and one of the bloggers behind empowers bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. Through their annual and monthly awards, recognizes bloggers who effectively use social media for social good. Debbie is a partner at Element Associates, where she leads online marketing, affiliate marketing and social media initiatives for their clients. She also is the Social Media Director at Child's Play Communications. An active volunteer and mom to two young boys, Debbie serves on several charitable boards and was elected to a position on her local school board in 2007. Debbie graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University with a Bachelors and Masters in History.

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Gina McCauley

Called “the Dean of Black Bloggers” and “a woman who's on the cutting edge of the internet and social media," Gina McCauley is one of the most influential African American digital media content creators in the world. In 2007, she was named to ESSENCE magazine's list of the 25 Most Influential African Americans. She has written for ESSENCE magazine and, The Guardian, and The Observer.

In 2007 she launched What About Our Daughters?, a blog dedicated to combating negative portrayals of African-American women in popular culture. The blog's mission is to be uncompromising, unapologetic, and unbowed in defense of Black women. The blog is most well known for its fight to combat negative portrayals of African American women in popular culture and violence against Black women and children, but has evolved into an influential platform, sitting perched at the intersection of pop culture, Politics, and current affairs. Her blog readers have successfully lobbied large advertisers such as State Farm, Home Depot, McDonald's, New Balance, Disney, and Yum Brands to pull their advertising from content that demeans and degrades Black women and girls. However, her greatest achievement is using the platform that she built to battle irresponsible corporate media as a platform to highlight underreported cases of horrific violence against Black women such as the Dunbar Village case, Romona Moore, and DorothyDixon.

In 2008, she launched Michelle Obama Watch, a blog dedicated to monitoring the good, the bad, and the ugly media coverage of  Michelle Obama.  Within hours after its soft launch, was linked to by and the Huffington Post. She has since been
interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and quoted in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune,Newsweek, The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, the Norwegian Business Daily and others about her work on Michelle
Obama Watch.  Her blog posts have been quoted or mentioned on CNN,
Entertainment Tonight, and the CBS Morning Show.  She appeared on PBS
and NDTV, India's largest private producer of  news, to speak about
Michelle Obama. She has been interviewed regarding my blog on several
NPR shows, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, RTE Radio 1 in Ireland, and XM
Her blog posts  for the Guardian about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike
were licensed to Cenage Learning and appear in the textbook  Current
Controversies: Disaster Response (vol. 1). In November 2009,  Pacifica
Radio launched her first syndicated radio segment on the show Woman,
Body and Soul.

She is the managing member of the McCauley Communications Group, LLC
and in 2008, in response to a lack of diversity at large social media
and networking conferences, she founded Blogging While Brown, the
first international conference for bloggers of color.  In addition to
designing and implementing the curriculum for digital literacy
training, she is a sought after speaker at some of the largest social
media conferences in the world, including South by Southwest Interactive, Netroots Nation, Blogher and Blog World Expo.


Speaking Events:
Gwen Bell

Gwen Bell is a Digital Liberator. She looks you in the eye when she talks to you. She expects the same of you (and helps you learn to put down the damn iPhone).

Gwen's work is at the intersection of humanity and technology. She has practiced and taught yoga in Mexico, Japan and around the States. When not practicing on the mat or the cushion, find her writing Letters or drinking finely crafted beers.

She currently lives in Seattle, Washington. (Though she could be anywhere next week.)

Speaking Events:
Jess Weiner

Considered this generation’s “Go to Girl” for self-esteem, Jess Weiner inspires audiences worldwide with her authentic take on living a confident life.


She is the founder and Chief Creative Officer ofTalk to Jess, LLCand theActionist® Network, a global online community that recognizes and connects individuals and organizations who are making a difference in the lives of others.

She is also the author of two best-selling books, "A Very Hungry Girl" and "Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds From Now".  


As a leader within the confidence community for over 17 years, Jess is best known for bringing public attention to the negative effects media images have on the self-esteem of women and girls.

She currently serves as theGlobal Ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Fundand travels the world speaking and hosting workshops on self-confidence.

Countless media outlets including Oprah, The Washington Post and The New York Times have featured her work. She haswritten columns for MSN.comand currently serves as a Contributing Editor for Seventeen Magazine, having created the popular column“Body Peace."

Jess is a frequent contributor to The Today Show and CNN Showbiz Tonight she was recently named by as one of the14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter.

You can become a member of the Actionist® Network by signing up at:

Speaking Events:
Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond is a writer, photographer and the creative mind behind the award-winning blog Chookooloonks. A seasoned speaker on topics as varied as social media, parenthood and women in leadership, she has appeared on both local and national radio and television shows, including an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  She is a regular cast member of the online video show, and has contributed words and images to several national publications.  In addition, she is the author of the upcoming book, The Beauty of Different, to be published by Bright Sky Press, Fall 2010.

Speaking Events:
Katherine Stone

Katherine Stone is the founder and publisher of Postpartum Progress, the world’s leading blog on postpartum depression and new moms’ emotional health. Katherine is also the founder of Postpartum Progress Inc., a national nonprofit focused on vastly improving support for women with maternal mental illness.

In 2014, she won the Iris Award for her philanthropic work in the parent blogging arena. In 2012, Katherine was named one of the fiercest women in America as part of More magazine’s annual Fierce List. She also was listed among the most influential mom bloggers in 2011 and 2012 by Babble, and has been selected as a Health Hero by WebMD. AND, she's been a question on Jeopardy.

Katherine has been featured by CNN, the Huffington Post, Yahoo, AOL, PBS, The Today Show, HLN, ABC News and the Washington Post among others. She often speaks publicly at such events as SXSW, BlogHer, the Mom 2.0 Summit, and many women’s health events. Prior to joining the world of posters and tweeters, she spent seven years in marketing at The Coca-Cola Company. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.

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Kathryn Finney

Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise that finds, supports, and trains urban tech entrepreneurs. DID runs the highly successful FOCUS Fellow program, a 16 week accelerator/incubator program for black women founders/co-founders of tech enabled companies. Focus Fellows have raised over 10 Million Dollars in Angel and/or Venture funding for their companies. 10% of FOCUS Fellows have raised over $1MM in funding.

digitalundivided also leads a number of other important initiatives including #ProjectDiane, a project that disrupts pattern-matching in tech by identifying black women founders of tech enabled companies., and START, a program in partnership with the United Negro College Fund that teaches startup basics to students at Historically Black Colleges.

In 2013, Kathryn received the Champion of Change Award from the White House for her work increasing inclusion in the tech industry. She’s also received the New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, SXSW Black Innovator Award, The Grio 100, Ebony Power 100 List of the Most Influential African Americans, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, and Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy”.

On February 26, 2015, Kathryn was honored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day”.

From 2012-2014, she’s served as Editor-At-Large at BlogHer, INC (sold to SheKnows Media). She was also one of the first lifestyle bloggers and the CEO of TBF Group, LLC, parent company of the highly influential The Budget Fashionista Brand (sold to Speak Media), which reached a global audience of 13 million+ unique visitors a year. Kathryn and TBF were featured in more than 1000 media outlets, including the TODAY show, and the New York Times, The success of the TBF has led to the book: How to be a Budget Fashionista (Random House) and partnerships with major brands such as Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and TJ Maxx.

Kathryn is an honors graduate of Yale University where she received numerous awards including the Courtland Van Creed Award and Rutgers University, where she was a member of the USA Today All Academic Team and was voted by her class of 2500 to received her Class Award for scholarship and service. .

Kathryn is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences such as Velocity NYC, South by Southwest (SXSW), New York Women in Communications, Columbia School of Business, and other leading organizations. She is also a columnist for Inc.

She lives in Harlem with her husband, a Software Engineer. Contact her via twitter or at Kathryn @

Speaking Events:
Melissa Ford

Melissa Ford is the author of the award-winning website, Stirrup Queens (, as well as three books; Measure of Love (Bell Bridge, 2013) and Life from Scratch (Bell Bridge, 2010), two novels about a blogger finding her voice after a divorce and continuing to blog through new love, and Navigating the Land of If (Seal Press, 2009), a guide to infertility and pregnancy loss. Stirrup Queens was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten motherhood blogs. She is also the Blogging & Social Media section editor at BlogHer. Melissa completed her MFA at the University of Massachusetts. Ford lives in Washington, D.C. with her writer husband, Joshua, and their twins. You can find her on Facebook ( and Twitter (

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Morgan Shanahan

Morgan Shanahan is a founding Parenting Editor at BuzzFeed who used to sell screenplays and write national commercial campaigns. She lives in LA with her family and far too many dogs.

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Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond is a writer, photographer, ranch wife, homeschooler, and the creator of the blog The Pioneer Woman, which she started in 1996 in her pajamas. Named Weblog of the Year at the 2011, 2010 and 2009 Bloggie™ Awards, has been the launching pad for a multi-media career that includes a hit Food Network television show of the same name and four The New York Times Best Sellers across three genres. Her next book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays — 135 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations will be released in October, 2013. Ree lives on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her husband "Marlboro Man" and their four children.

Speaking Events:
Sandra Miley

Sandra Miley, vice president of corporate marketing at Vocera, has an accomplished track record of developing compelling brands and driving sales growth for numerous successful high-tech companies. Over the course of 20 years, Sandra has demonstrated her ability to recognize early market trends and latent customer needs, as well as make complex technologies easy to understand. As a result Sandra has fueled global expansion and accelerated growth of recognized brands, including Juniper Networks, Adobe, Brocade, Cisco, and Nokia.

Prior to joining Vocera, Sandra blended traditional and social marketing strategies at Juniper Networks, developed the overarching brand integration strategy to support the full spectrum of companies acquired by Cisco, and rebranded Redback prior to becoming one of the top 10 IPOs of 1998. In addition to her experience, Sandra brings to Vocera a long-standing interest in health and the convergence of technology and healthcare.

Sandra received her B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley where she was also pre-med.

Speaking Events:
Sara Hawkins
Sara Hawkins is a blogger, lawyer, homeschooler, and all around jane of many trades. She began blogging while in law school back when dial-up was all the rage. Sara has been a lawyer for 15 years and has worked in a large law firm, as in-house counsel, and is now a solo practitioner. She provides legal guidance to businesses of all sizes regarding a variety of topics, including social media, digital rights and ethics, and is passionate about the law and making it understandable, accessible and fun. She blogs about her life and fulfilling all her hope and dreams at Saving For Someday. Sara also has a series of posts about Digital Rights and Blog Law 101 where she discusses blogging and the law.
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