Lovely Tiffany Crawford, founder of a business and technology network for teen girls, is Zemanta's first Resident Blogger. I talked to Tin Dizdarevic, Head of Marketing at Zemanta, and to Tiffany to find out what Resident Blogger program is and especially who Tiffany is.
“When Zemanta moved into our own office in NYC, we were finally able to share our office with friends who needed a space for a day or two,” says Tin Dizdarevic, Head of Marketing at Zemanta. He continues, “In that same light, we decided to share the space more permanently with a blogger who is doing something interesting and particularly something good. So this month we are launching our resident blogger program. Every three months, we will bring in a new exciting blogger and let him/her use our office space so that they focus on creating awesome content.”
Who can apply for the program? Tin says that in order to be selected, the bloggers need to have a non-profit slant, either helping out a greater cause or spending their time covering and/or creating arts and documenting that in a blog.
Tiffany Crawford is happy to be the first ever Zemanta resident blogger. Tin explains how she came to Zemanta, “Tiffany was our neighbor in our previous office and we followed her progress with Venus Meets Isis program. It seemed a natural fit to invite her to be our inaugural resident blogger.”
Tiffany Crawford describes herself: “I am passionate. I am driven, committed, focused. I can be charming at times. I am a Dancer. I am highly Intuitive and very sensitive.” No wonder she’s Zemanta’s first resident blogger; she cares deeply about people, social issues, and has a deep gratitude for life.
“I am reading Deepak Chopra’s book The Soul of Leadership, which I’m basing our student leadership curricula off of. The beginning has a life purpose exercise and I got clear that my purpose is to ignite,” she says.
Tiffany, you were quite successful in your twenties already. How did you cope with business success at such a young age?
I didn’t think much about it. I’ve always felt rushed. To where? I don’t know, but I felt this pressure to achieve a lot in my twenties. So I never saw it as a lot of success, just as more to achieve.
I did have a lot of fun. I travelled a lot, and did pretty much whatever I wanted to. It was fun, a tad reckless in terms of building for my future. I chose not to buy a house, and in hindsight I probably could’ve made some great investments had I planned differently.
Can you tell us more about your background in engineering? How did you get drawn to it?
Hmm, engineering. Yes I did (EE) Electrical Engineering undergrad and then EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) in grad school. My emphasis was Digital Signal Processing; I was interested, and still am, in the mind-heart connection. When applying, I figured the body is an electrochemical signaling system and was interested in researching the connection. Specifically how the research could help humans leverage our ‘vibration’ to create more joy, focus when desired, and decreased fear and worry. HeartMath stuff.
It was fun, hard, and created great opportunities. I’m happy I did it. Sometimes I think of finishing my Ph.D.
Let’s move from strictly business to your Corporate Goddess blog. I’m glad I’ve been introduced to it. This may be such a male question, but why do you think women still need mags and blogs that address “their” issues?
I don’t necessarily think women “need magazines or blogs about “their” issues”. I think we benefit from community, reminders, and others to relate to. Women, we love community and we love collaboration. Inside of that I’m committed to creating a community of women and men that have a sense of grounding, connection, and inner knowing in everything we do. I think this is sometimes lost in a busy world with lots of distractions.
I just want to be the reminder to say hey, “I know you have that proposal or that presentation. Know that you’re always taken care of; bring that into all you do and that will have you flourish.”
Do you remember what made you start this blog?
Yes, I was jogging one day, a few months after I did the LA marathon. I was working on a project with a client that was stressful. I thought about how I personally at times cut off my knowing, grounded-ness, and inner connection when in certain environments. I wanted to be able to bring this to the table and not shut down, especially the trusting, knowing part of me, when in environments that have traditionally been stressful and competitive. I wondered how could I bring that to these situations and have that inner peace, even then.
How did you come up with the name?
It just came to me. It was somewhat of a dichotomy, the corporate tending to be very masculine, and the goddess being the divine feminine. It represented seemingly competing concepts that actually serve each other. I was curious as to what it looked like, as women, to leverage our femininity in traditionally masculine environments.
I mean collaboration instead of competition, trust instead of angst, intuition and creativity coupled with strategy and planning. It was a thought that stuck and never went away. It has been pervasive since, with refinements of course. It’s definitely been an evolution.
What goals did you achieve with the blog? What’s in the future for this blog?
This year I hope to grow the community in size and level of connection. I want it to arrive at a place where women are connecting online and offline in real time. I want it to become a space women come to for inspiration and grounding in moments of stress or worry. A reminder to stay grounded in their inner power not a forced, draining one.
In terms of the future, I’m actually excited about what’s on the horizon. I’m interested in ways to leverage mobile as a media outlet that offers unique capabilities.
Why do you like blogging so much?
Interesting. I don’t see it solely as blogging as much as I see it as sharing and creating a community. I guess when you look at it, that’s what blogging is. It’s an opportunity to share you and be a source of other people sharing themselves and creating community.
That’s why I love it. The opportunity to connect with others in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise, and to foster the connections of others.
Do you ever sleep?! I mean, blogging alone can be tiring: planning, creating, writing, communicating… How do you find energy and strength for everything?
That’s a great question. It will be a topic of a blog series I am planning this year.
I’ll give you a tip I learned it grad school. As an EECS major especially in DSP (digital signal processing) there were always problem sets, and one could easily take 10+ hours. This was in addition to research, meetings, coding (for research), being the events coordinator for Berkeley’s Graduate Assembly, leading an after-school project for 8th graders, and any fun on the side.
I was overwhelmed and flustered, and often pulled all nighters. Then a senior student in my lab told me, “You know your mind is always thinking about things and processing things even when you are not actively working on it. You should leverage it. That’s the only way I get things done.” I will never forget that moment, we were on a bus going up Hearst towards Cory Hall.
I leverage the power of the subconscious and essentially the Universe on a spiritual tip. I review things, I pose questions, then walk away from it; the answer, the right person, or situation then comes.
And passion truly drives it. With passion and commitment to a purpose, the energy and strength are always present. It’s like you’re carried.
Venus Meets Isis – it is a really awesome project. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Venus Meets Isis (VXI) is something I dream about all of the time. It’s constantly growing and evolving. The mission is to create a pipeline of women (and people of color, though we’re currently focused on girls), who have a stake in media and technology. Two fields which are closely intertwined.
The core belief of VXI is that if girls are provided the access to technology in an empowering and relatable context, with the right mentors, it will ignite their inherent contribution and involvement in industries where they are underrepresented and often misrepresented.
Can you reveal any inspiring stories related to VXI?
We piloted our program last August. It’s been amazing seeing our young ladies blossom. I would say the most inspiring story for me was seeing 12 young ladies from three different boroughs and 8 different schools become a family over the course of one month.
By the end when I asked for highlights they loved everything they learned, and one young lady put it best. “We’ve created something special. It’s like we’ve become a family.”
It’s been amazing the way they have supported and encouraged each other, sharing tips and tools. Eleven of our twelve girls are seniors this year, and have been busy applying to college. Just before Christmas, one who just confirmed admission and a full scholarship to her top choice sent me an email saying, “My next order of business includes the fact that we need a winter trip with the girls. Whether that is to a museum again, skating, or even to a dance class…”
One mom shared with me, “Ashley really found herself in her class. Even her teachers have commented. She’s more outspoken and speaks her mind. Before she didn’t know what she wanted to do, she would jump around. Now she’s so clear and I think she’s found her niche.”
So, you’re at Zemanta now? How did you get here?
That’s a good question. Well I’ve been a fan of Zemanta for some time. I loved the concept of suggesting related articles and pics. It was something I spent lots of time doing; searching for pics especially. It instantly became one of my favorite tech tools and I wanted to meet you all.
Then, a couple of months later I noticed the Zemanta office was the floor above mine at We Work on Grand. A few months after that, I changed offices to We Work Labs on Varick. They were in there too. I decided to introduce myself and share some user feedback. I met Bostjan, Greg, and Tin that day. Then, through being in the space I met Kris and Patrick, as well.
When they moved to the new space over by Union Square, I came to a meet-up to say hi and learn the cool tips and tricks they always share. Tin and I started chatting about how Zemanta could be involved with Venus Meets Isis, we had a meeting, and here I am. I guess it was in the making for some time. First I was a floor below, then down the hall, now in the office
What do you expect from this experience?
I think you guys are super smart, innovative, and so far I love the company culture. It seems like a community environment is supported here. I love how everyone claps when they make a sale. A transparent, supportive, and encouraging environment is apparent. Even down to some of the quotes and sayings on the walls and the fact that the office listens to music that everyone chooses collectively on the main speaker.
In saying yes to Tin, in accepting the Blogger in Residence post, I was saying yes to being in the environment of a successful start up with funding, active users, and a great community. It’s something that I am creating and intend to lead myself, one day soon. I intend to soak it up and learn as much as I can.
In that case, my intention is not necessarily expectation, it is to learn as much as I can and make new friends.
What can Zemanta learn from you?
That’s funny because after sitting in here for a little over a month, I have some thoughts and comments. The way you do things is great, I just see opportunity. My business mind is always on, so from a strategy perspective I always see possibility. I may share with Greg at some point.
Beyond that, on a simpler level, which I think you guys may know; a bit of diversity in the office would bring great perspective and value to the company culture, various stakeholders, and sales.
If you are interested in helping Tiffany with mentoring the girls in the program, please reach out to her.