Davar Ardalan

Tell us your story.

I have found that social storytelling is one of the most vibrant ways to engage live with new audiences and together with NPR’s Michel Martin we’ve done that successfully many times including our #NPRWIT (Women in Tech) and #NPRBlacksinTech series where we asked diverse digital innovators to share a day in their life on Twitter. As a Senior Producer and Social Media Strategist, I have also moderated dozens of live Twitter chats and produced Google+ Hangouts on Air, connecting influencers and engaging local and global communities. As an eBook author, I am experimenting with new distribution models for Indie authors. Since 2013, I have been updating my digital book using iBooks Author software and recently published a Kindle version using pressbooks.com. As such, it’s pretty liberating to have my own content management system. The Persian Square, is an eBook that culls together over 30 media files including audio and video, weaving a modern, multimedia tapestry of Iranian-American history over the centuries. In May 2014, I was the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for individual achievement and for promoting cultural unity.

What advice to you have to share with other women and young girls?

Digital tools can help amplify the voices of women. In 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, hundreds of disenfranchised women strategized around their common goal of equality, in all areas of American life, and harnessed their voices into a vote. Today, we can meet and mentor around hashtags and use the digital space to give power to our voices. I continue to emphasize that African American and Latina women across America, have tossed out the megaphone in favor of digital media platforms. In Spring 2012, top Latina Bloggers held a retreat in Washington D.C. that included a briefing at the White House, where administration officials discussed the top issues that affect the Hispanic community: education, health and jobs. The retreat underscored that minorities should step into the intersection of technology, social media and entrepreneurship to empower their communities.

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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