Headliner: Leticia Barr (Q&A)

A Q&A with Leticia Barr

The Sisters’ Hood first got to know Leticia In Miami when she was working with a client, and distributing cupcakes. She was the most loved person at that conference, but with the standing ovation in Pasadena, CA a few weeks back, it is clear that the love for her in this community has only grown.

We just had the pleasure of seeing you on stage being awarded an IRIS at Mom 2.0 – recognition from your peers on a job well done. First thought you had when you heard your name?

Thanks so much! Honestly, I was in disbelief! My first thought was to not trip walking up to accept the award and then I hoped I would find the right words to say in order to sound gracious. I also wrote a very honest post about what I learned about being vulnerable from Brené Brown, the Iris Awards, and Mom 2.0 Summit that I have shared.

So when life isn’t all dress up and receiving awards, tell us how your day starts:
First thing you do when you wake up? 

I could tell you about our family’s morning routine but it’s probably not much different from everyone else’s out there! The first thing I do after the kids are up and out the door is to go for a run. This December I’ll run my third St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend race as a St. Jude Hero (I fundraise, train, and run to raise money to support St. Jude kids and families) so I like to get out the door as soon as they’re gone and get my run done before sitting down to start my work day.

What was your goal when you wrote your first post on Tech Savvy Mama?

I started Tech Savvy Mama back in 2008 when our now 14 year old was 4! At the time, we were about to get a hand-me-down iMac from my mother-in-law and while the teacher in me knew of the incredible learning potential, I had some real concerns about where in our house to put it so it wouldn’t curb my daughter’s imaginative play, how to select software that was just right for her, and ways to manage screen time. My husband and I had some real concerns and I figured that if we had questions given our backgrounds in technology, that other parents would too. I started writing about what I knew from being in the classroom and integrating technology into instruction, sharing what I knew. I quickly became a resource in the space and the rest is history! To provide some perspective, ten years ago there were no smartphones or apps, and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy and now I feel like I have job security for life!

When did you realise your vision had evolved into building a space so empowering to women?

I’ve been blogging for ten years now and I’m always amazed when someone tells me that they’re a fan of my work! I work at home with our 10 year old Yellow Lab at my feet most of the day. I’m silo-ed in my home office and with the exception of Skype conversations with groups of key individuals, my day to day interactions with others is limited. I put my words out there for people to read but other than metrics telling me that people are reading my work, I don’t get to see the day to day impact that they have unless someone leaves a comment on a blog post or Facebook posts, sends me a DM or a Tweet, or shares a post with their social circles, or asks me to “please write a post about Haiti/the right age for a cell phone//should my child have Instagram” so they can share it with their friends.

We already think you are a superhero, but in an age of Marvel movies – if you woke up to be a superhero – who would you be? 

I’ve never dreamed of being a superhero from the movies or comic books but I were to wake up with some amazing superpower, I’d want it to be the ability to rid the world of cancer because each of us knows someone who has been affected by it. I greatly admire doctors like those at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who work to advance cures and ways of preventing catastrophic childhood cancers. They’re my heroes!

If you could be someone else for the day?

I’d say Jose Andrés but I wouldn’t want to be him because the world needs him but I’d love to shadow him for a day somewhere in the world where he is using his passion food to fix the world. If you’re not familiar with Jose Andrés, he’s a local Michelin star chef known for his amazing restaurants here in the DC area and throughout the country/world but he’s also a humanitarian. He founded World Central Kitchen after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and now his organization  trains chefs in the hospitality industry, create meaningful jobs, and provides equipment, education, and sustainable employment as a way of addressing hunger and poverty. World Central Kitchen and his ThinkFoodGroup restaurant group also mobilized the food industry and local volunteers to provide 3 million warm meals in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Could you share some of your favorite moments, when you knew you were right where you were meant to be?

Oh my goodness! There have definitely been personal and professional milestones! I love that my kids get to see me doing a job that I love and I can structure my schedule to work like crazy when they’re at school and then be present for them when they get home. It’s amazing that as our kids get older, they need us even more than they did when they were little so the ability to unplug, be present, and have conversations with them about what is going on with them in their lives has been a true reward. It’s also great when parents tell me that I’ve inspired them to think differently about what the world of work looks like. I took my background in teaching, technology leadership, and school administration and forged my own path to educate parents in the online space.
My presence in the online space has resulted in many “pinch me” moments but my favorite so far was getting to play with Sunny and Bo at the White House while waiting to interview Michelle Obama! Sitting down with her was an absolute dream. She was just as nice as you’d expect her to be and she not only complimented my necklace, she said she needed to start reading my blog for advice for her own family! You can read about what it was like to interview Mrs. Obama here: http://techsavvymama.com/2016/10/interviewing-michelle-obama-at-the-white-house.html

How do you find working with brands has changed in recent years? Bloggers became influencers – and the voice of blogging shifted, what do you miss?

I love that there are so many different ways to tell a story about a brand through the platforms that were just in their infancy when I started blogging 10 years ago. As a former teacher, I know that kids need to hear something at least 7 times and we – as consumers – are the same way. Sharing brand content through a blog post, Instagram photo, series of Instagram stories, YouTube video, or even a Tweet lets people access content through their favorite platform. Everyone has a different learning style that causes them to gravitate towards a different channel. Visual learners might gravitate towards Instagram while a Facebook post might resonate with someone who likes recommendations from a trusted friend. As a content creator, I never know where someone might find content that resonates with them and the variety of channels lets me be creative in telling a story about a brand and product I love in even more authentic ways.

What advice would you give #thesistershood when it comes to self-promotion, and sharing their stories online to be a virtual shoulder?

One of the best lessons I’ve learned in this space over the past 10 years is to write about the things that I’m passionate about and to not be afraid of sharing my stories online. Hitting the publish button on my first post was absolutely terrifying but through the years, I’ve found that the questions and concerns I have about technology, parenting, and education are the same ones that others are grappling with in their homes.  I never knew back then that writing about digital parenting topics, STEM education, and encouraging kids to give back through social good such as my philanthropic work in Haiti and for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital would be so inspiring to others. I’m glad that I have a space in the digital world to share my voice with fellow parents.

In a world that needs so much, how do you motivate your kids to be involved, and do you have a parenting motto?

Seize the teachable moment!” As parents, we’re always working to raise the best human beings we can. As a former teacher, I believe there are many teachable moments that occur in life where we should pause and use the opportunity to impart a little lesson. These moments could occur on the playground when there’s a need to issue a reminder to be kind, reminders about manners at the dinner table, or even via a DM when you see something not quite right on their social channels. Teachable moments can pop up anywhere and at any time but don’t let them pass by. Make sure they’re part of the conversation you’re having with your kids to impart live lessons we hope they’ll always remember, even when they’re not with us.

Nicole Morgan
Nicole Morgan

Mom, Homeschooler, Marketer, Writer, Wine drinker, Friend. Saved by Social Good, the grace of God … and Blogging.