Lee Odden

25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2011

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Social Media

social mediaLast year I created a list of 25 Women That Rock Social Media for 2010 which was well received and appreciated. Most of the women listed I’ve come to know through involvement in the Public Relations and Search Marketing industries and also through blogging.

Social Media

For 2011 I decided to create a similar list based almost entirely on recommendations from the 2010 participants. 18 of the original 25 responded, providing over 60 recommendations. Filtering and sorting that list of 60+ down to 25 was excruciating.  Those with multiple nominations took priority and other social participation factors and social media work were considered.  I also made it a requirement that each nominator would have at least one person they recommended included in this final list of 25.

Is this a list of all women who rock social media? Of course not. It’s an extension of the initial list I made a year ago and hopefully brings attention to some the many talented people doing great work in the social space.

Thank you to all the ladies who provided recommendations to make this list possible. As a result, I was introduced to some very smart thinkers and doers in the social media space and I hope you have the same experience.  Enjoy!

Alexandra Samuel
Alexandra Samuel – Armed with a Harvard University Ph.D. in Political Science, Alex is a social media blogger for Oprah.com & Harvard Business Review, Director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, and a principal at Social Signal, a Vancouver-based social media agency. She also maintains her own blog.  Nominated by: @conversationage

Alisa Leonard
Alisa Leonard – When she’s not modeling for the GAP, NYC based Alisa works as VP Strategy & Planning within iCrossing’s SPAR group, where she’s helped develop the social media service line and integrate with the digital strategy group.  She’s also the Communications Chair for the Dataportability Project and self-professed all-around web geek. I’ve known of Alisa via online channels for several years, meeting only once IRL at SXSWi in 2009. She has contributed her expertise on content and community as it impacts social, mobile and search for a variety of industry pubs ranging from ClickZ to Mashable. Alisa blogs at The Web is SocialNominated by: @juliaroy

Ann Handley
Ann Handley – Smart, funny and very social – that’s how I’d describe my friend Ann, who is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, co-author of the excellent Content Rules book and past co-founder of ClickZ.  With nearly 100k followers on Twitter and just under 200k Google search results for her name, Ann is someone that “walks the talk” when it comes to content creation and social web participation. But the rubber hits the road with numbers like this: MarketingProfs has over 300K subscribers, the largest Marketing Community of it’s kind on the web. You can get a good dose of Ann’s smarts on MarketingProfs or the numerous pubs she contributes to including Mashable & AMEX OPEN Forum. She maintains a personal blog called AnnarchyNominated by: @kodakCB

Danah Boyd
Danah Boyd – The credentials for Boston based Danah are formidable: PhD from the School of Information at UC-Berkeley, Senior Researcher at Microsoft (past researcher at Google & Yahoo), Research Director at New Media Consortium, Associate Fellow at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society, Fellow at Harvard Berkman Center. Danah’s research focuses on social media, youth practices, tensions between public and private, social network sites, and other intersections between technology and society. A prolific writer (400k+ Google name SERPs), she publishes a blog at apophenia and is a fan of all things fuzzyNominated by: @conversationage

Deborah Ng
Deborah Ng – With substantial credits in professional blogging and social media consulting,  Deb sold her network of blogs last year and now works as Conference Director for BlogWorld NY and LA conferences. That’s like herding cats AND dogs. She’s also the Author of Online Community Management for Dummies which is due out later this year.  Deb publishes a blog at KommeinNominated by: @dbreakenridge

Francine Hardaway
Francine Hardaway – Helping entrepreneurs succeed as co-founder of Stealthmode Partners is one of many of the super connected Francine’s passions.  Based in Phoenix, where she helped get the local Social Media Club up and running, Francine has helped over 400 CEOs and founders with technology and social media and has worked with companies ranging from Intel to Flowtown. She’s an accomplished consultant, speaker and writer with substantial connections in Silicon Valley and Arizona. Francine publishes a blog at Stealthmode Blog.  Nominated by: @charleneli & @whatsnext

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich – This smart and snarky CEO of  Chicago based Arment Dietrich is an accomplished, author, speaker and communicator through her work developing social media strategies and consulting, social media training and speaking. With 77 recommendations on LinkedIn, she’s making quite an impression. Besides being very active on the social web, there’s a rumor that she’s an avid cyclist, foodie, lover of shoes & wine but not necessarily in that order. Gini’s famous blog, SpinSucks, is known web-wide (and also has a pro version).  Nominated by: @shonali@BethHarte

Jenn Van Grove
Jennifer Van Grove – As a startups reporter on Mashable, Jenn’s stories are often syndicated to CNN, Forbes, USA Today and Yahoo News. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jenn’s a social media starter, having helped develop social media reporting for the NBC San Diego newsroom, organized the San Diego tweetup and consulted with companies on social media strategy. Jenn publishes a blog on Posterous and a social hubNominated by: @prsarahevans

Jill Foster
Jill Foster – This D.C. based founder of LiveYourTalk is also founding editor of WomenGrowBusiness.com a social media and marketing blog for women hosted by Network Solutions. Jill has been cited in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Guardian UK, Washingtonian Magazine and others. Her work as a speaker coach for techies (and numerous social media types) has produced an impressive list of testimonials.  An Executive Board member of DC Web Women and social tech enthusiast, Jill co-founded DC Media Makers, a peer learning community that teaches digital technology. Nominated by: @kamichat

Kellye Crane
Kellye Crane – As a PR / Social Media consultant (Principal at Crane Communications), speaker and blogger, Kellye Crane has offered strategic planning, social media, press/influencer relations, technical writing and marketing communications services to some of the world’s largest companies, including: ADP, BellSouth, The Coca-Cola Company, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. She’s the founder of #solopr chat and publishes  Solo PR Pro blog. Nominated by: @kamichat & @BethHarte

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines – It’s entirely possible you’re familiar with the name Kikolani and the blogging / social media enthusiast behind that excellent resource: Kristi Hines.  Kristi is a web strategist and freelance writer with credits at Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Journal and her employer, Vertical Measures. She’s active on the social web (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube) as a social media marketing practitioner, but also as a user sharing her passions for photography, ballroom dancing and writing. Kristi is also a great curator of useful content with her Fetching Fridays feature on her blogNominated by: @ShannonPaul &  @MariSmith

Kristie Wells
Kristie Wells – The person I’ve known the longest on this year’s list is President + C0-Founder of  Social Media Club, Kristie Wells. Social Media Club has a global presence in 200+ cities and reaches in excess of 200,000 people across six continents – a truly impressive impact. Kristi is a long time Social Media and Community Advocate. She’s a active on Twitter, Facebook and many other places on and offline. Kristi blogs her thoughts, rants and sense of humor at Kiki’s Korner.  Nominated by: @sallyfalkow

Lisa Grimm
Lisa Grimm – Who’s bringing a whole lot of Social Media to Minnesota based Mall of America? It’s Lisa Grimm, Digital Public Relations / Social Media Specialist. Wise beyond her twenty something years, Lisa is highly networked in the social media and PR world, writes a very smart blog and speaks at conferences like BlogWorld and PRSA events. Lisa publishes the Communications Passionista blog. Nominated by: @ShannonPaul

Lisa Stone
Lisa Stone – As the BlogHer Co-founder and CEO, Lisa has had extensive influence and impact to create opportunities for women who blog to gain additional community, exposure, education and economic empowerment. The BlogHer network counts over 2,500 blogs. She’s launched blog networks and interactive programming for brands ranging from E! Television/Online to HBO’s Sex and the City and has been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2010. Lisa blogs on the BlogHer siteNominated by: @charleneli

Liz Strauss
Liz Strauss
– When Liz asked me if I was a SOB a few years back, I had no idea what she was talking about. I found out pretty quickly. 🙂 As Founder and CEO of SOBCon, an annual event “think tank of the social web”, founder of Inside-Out Thinking, author of Successful-Blog.com, a prolific writer and speaker – Liz has made a big impact on the blogging and social media world, helping numerous businesses, organizations and individuals. Liz blogs at several websites, but I’ll point you to Succesful-Blog. Nominated by Lee.

Marcia Hansen
Marcia Hansen – Working at Intel in Digital Marketing as a Social Media Marketing Manager responsible for corporate and consumer social media projects, gives Marcia a great opportunity to show the social media savvy she gained pioneering the use of social media at her previous employer, Allstate Insurance. Marcia blogs about digital content strategy, social media marketing and SEO. Nominated by: @JessicaNow

Missy Ward
Missy Ward
– Managing an affiliate business, several publications, a hugely popular conference, breast cancer awareness AND social media consulting is the dynamo that describes entrepreneur, Missy Ward. Missy co-founded Affiliate Summit and FeedFront magazine, is co-publisher of Revenews and also runs Suze Orman’s social networking site, Money Minded Moms.  You can find more about all that Missy does on her websiteNominated by: @ShannonPaul

Rashmi Sinha
Rashmi Sinha – Probably the smartest Entrepreneur (PhD in Cognitive NeuroPsychology from Brown University) ever to appear in Playboy (Top list of CEOs), CEO & Cofounder of SlideShare, Rashmi Sinha has made an impact in more ways than one. Besides running Slideshare, “The YouTube of PowerPoint”, she speaks frequently and is founder of Uzanto Consulting working with companies like eBay and AAA. Active on Facebook and Twitter, she also publishes Rashmi’s Blog. Nominated by: @charleneli

Shauna Causey
Shauna Causey – Seattle has a lot to be thankful for with Shauna as VP of Seattle Social Media Club, cofounder of Tech Mavens and Social Media Manager for Nordstrom after previously working in a similar role with Comcast. She’s also active helping non-profits with social media and PR through board memberships and efforts like Voluntweetup. Nominated by: @ShannonPaul

Shira Lazar
Shira Lazar – This media personality and journalist is creator and host of @whatstrending on @CBSNews- live Tues 10am PT.  She’s also a host on MSN and video host at Live Earth and has worked with a variety of traditional TV shows. She speaks about new media at events ranging from Mashable Media Summit to SXSW.  Active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Shira manages a social hub where you can see all of her online activity. Nominated by: @prsarahevans

Stephanie Agresta
Stephanie Agresta – A real influenced in the social media space, EVP and Managing Director of Social Media at Weber Shandwick, Stephanie Agresta has indeed rocked the social web. She’s an author, speaker, co-founder of Techset and has been instrumental in developing digital strategies for major brands such as Microsoft, Windows Phone, PepsiCo, HP and P&G. Stephanie is a frequent speaker on social media topics at BlogWorld, SXSW and BlogHer. You can find her blog and even more credentials at StephanieAgresta.comNominated by: @dbreakenridge

Tara Hunt
Tara Hunt – Now here’s some serious social media firepower: CEO of Buyosphere.com, Author (The Whuffie Factor), Speaker (100+ events) and one of the most influential women in technology (Fast Company Magazine): Tara Hunt. She has extensive experience with online marketing, community marketing and is very active on the social web. Tara blogs at the famous horse pig cow blog. Nominated by: @tamar & @pistachio

Viveka von Rosen
Viveka von Rosen – If you’re in need of a LinkedIn Expert, Viveka brings serious expertise. She’s also a social media enthusiast, speaker & trainer. On top of that, she hosts #LinkedInChat & is the author of Linked Into Business. You can find out a lot more about Viveka at Smart Blonde Media which is a resource on social media for women by women.  Nominated by: @MariSmith

Yvonne DiVita
Yvonne DiVita – A very long time blogger with a specific focus on marketing to women online, Yvonne DiVita is an author, Co-Founder at BlogPaws and President at Windsor Media Enterprises. You can often find Yvonne at the famous Lip-Sticking BlogNominated by: @TobyDiva

Zena Weist
Zena Weist – Previously a Director of Social Media at H&R Block where she earned national acclaim for integrated online marketing communication programs, Zena is now VP @EdelmanDigital (congrats!). She has long time agency and client side online marketing experience (16 years) and is always full of energy. Zena is a founding member of the Kansas City Chapter of the Social Media Club and blogs at Nothin’ but SocNETNominated by: Lee

As with all lists, not everyone will agree with it and I’m fine with that. Make sure you connect and network with this year’s honorees so you’ll have a chance of being recommended next year and better yet, you may learn a thing or two.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Smart and snarky?! LOL!! Oh I wish I could turn that off. I really do. I can’t help myself. HUGE thanks to Beth and Shonali for the nomination…and to you, Lee, for the great list of 24 women who truly do rock!

  2. Avatar Ann Handley says

    Honored to be mentioned alongside so many of my friends here… and other rockin’ women! (also: Sandwiched between Alisa and danah? #dreamcometrue) Thank you!

    As an aside, I could easily write a version of this, “25 Reasons @TopRank Rocks!” (Also: I get to see you this week in Baltimore, too! BONUS.) Thanks sooo much again.

  3. Awesome list.. I know and follow Kristi and Liz and I agree both are great.

    The rest are new to me.. following them all now.

    Congrats to all the ladies on the list.

  4. What a great list. How to winnow it all down to 25…I’d think it would be easy to make this list 250!

  5. It’s great that this list covers such a broad spectrum — many names are completely new to me, and I love seeing which of the amazing women from last year nominated each person. I’m truly humbled to be included, and I look forward to getting to know the new faces in the coming year!

    • That’s what I enjoyed about the process too Kellye – learning about people and the good work they’re doing that I might otherwise might not have known. 

  6. Avatar Lara Kulpa says

    I love these ladies, and it’s great to see lists like this. Great job, Lee!

  7. This is truly an honor – to be included with these amazing women. I have to send a giant thank you to Toby Bloomberg, who should be at the TOP of this list. She is one reason I am here – not because she nominated me, though she did, but because she has taught me so much about social media. And, she’s my BFF!

  8. This is an incredible honor. Thank you!

  9. Valeria at http://www.conversationagent.com/ is pretty good too..

  10. Lee – Thank you for continuing Women Who Rock Social Media list. Not only is it a great resource but I think I can speak for All of the women who work in our biz that we appreciate your support. 

  11. Great list but only one woman of color?  I know we can make list (as well as others I see floating around) a little more diverse.

  12. Avatar Michele Price says

    Love hearing how one distills down the fabulousness fo women in Social Media to 25.

    Thanks for creating the conversation.

  13. Lee; Thanks for taking the time to put this list together. A few on here who I didn’t, but would of completely nominated, were Ann Handley, Gini Dietrich, Liz Strauss (duh), Kritie Wells, Lisa Stone, and Zena Weist. Some of the others that I don’t know as well sound truly amazing. Adding them to my Google Reader!

  14. Awesome list.
    There are some very talented woman on here.
    It’s great that you took the time to recognize others on your blog!

  15. Who’s Danah Boyd? She may not recognize her name as she keeps everything lowercased…

  16. Lee, thank you for including me on this list and a big shout out to Sally for recommending me as well. This list is full of smart, funny, and creative women and I am honored to be included among them. A couple of recommendations for your next list: Serena Ehrlich (@serena), Kat Mandelstein (@katmandelstein), Roxanne Darling (@roxannedarling), and Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer).  These ladies should all be on your radar as they rock the startup, small business and Fortune 500 worlds.

    • Thanks Kristie, I’ll be looking for those recommendations for next year’s list. And hopefully even more involvement with alumni in nominees and final selections. 🙂

  17. Nice List!  I have heard of some but not othes.  Will be checking them all out!! Thanks!

  18. Wow, what an amazing resource, Lee! I loved your first “25 Women Who Rock Social Media 2010” list and am glad to see your tradition continue. Thank you for nominating me to be a part of this year’s fantastic group of women. I’m thrilled!

  19. Great list! These women are true thought leaders and paving the way!

  20. With gratitude and a gigantic hi-5, thanks for this chance to celebrate these women. Thank you very much Lee and @twitter-471963:disqus  to be humbly included. This list is like a conversational launching pad it seems — for celebrating the vibrant arc-of-awesome which women in social media have inspired overall.  Group ‘Holla!’

  21. Avatar Sam Beamond says

    Great list, a few recognizable faces here. Surprised not to see Mari Smith on the list (or is that a given)!

  22. Thank you, Lee, for putting this together. Bravo to the ladies who made the list too.

    I picked up two I wasn’t already following, and I’m grateful.

  23. What a great list, Lee.  Last year’s “25 Women Who
    Rock Social Media” list was great and I’m honored that you included me in this year’s.  Thanks to Shannon Paul for nominating me, too.  I’m thrilled to be included with such fantastic women.

  24. Avatar Sonia Simone says

    Awesome list! What a great group. 🙂

  25. Avatar Adam Green says

    I would have to add @maggiefox:twitter and @flackadelic:twitter to that list.  Two amazing women leading the charge in social media up here in Canada.  

  26. Great stuff. I know @lisagrimm IRL, she is a wonderful person.

  27. There are many women who are great in social media and truly awesome writers too. Many of the blogs I already read were written by women and I can say that the content is always organized and has complete thought. Congratulations to the top 25 women. Cheers!

  28. Lee – Thank you so much for putting this together! I love the approach of peer nominations. It’s really nice to see women standing up for other women. Doesn’t happen nearly enough – in a legitimate way anyway. Thank you for the forum. I hope to be in the position to nominate some awesome women down the road:-) 

  29. Excellent list!  Thanks for doing it again!  I’m pumped to meet some new faces and think its way cool some are folks I already know…. Awesome list!

  30. Avatar Anonymous says

    I loved reading this post. Very inspiring! It’s great to know that
    so many women made it so big, it’s stories like these that motivate people to
    do so much better in life and gives a lesson to never give up. Thank you so
    much for sharing this! And hats off to all these great women.

  31. Where’s Ben Parr?? 😉

  32. Props to all the ladies but, I gotta give a shout out to two I have met in person, who walk the walk, and are seriously smart cookies in the sphere – Tara and Zena.  CONGRATS ladies!  This is good company you keep.  🙂

  33. Avatar Lucretia M Pruitt says

    It’s a great list Lee. Some of these women transcend lists though – they’ve become the benchmark by which all new lists should be measured.

  34. Carri Bugbee deserves to be on this list.

  35. I’ve found it interesting that the most of ‘rockstar’ social media stars are men, shadowing the trends in senior leadership in business. Social media pillars of community building, flexibility, creativity, and communication are all classically female ‘gendered’ qualities. Perhaps women view social media as ‘technology,’ which is classically ‘gendered male. Let’s continue to find ways to promote women in social media leadership.

  36. Haha! I like the Liz Strauss beginning line. Great line-up here. Quite a few I am familiar with and agree they rock social media…and a few I look forward to checking out and getting to know. 😉

  37. Avatar Geoff Kirkwood says

    And where is Penny Power, founder of the original e-networking site Ecademy in 1998. It now has in excess of 500,000 members, she is a published author and sought after speaker as well as an advisor to the UK Government on Social Media.

  38. Avatar SMO Webdhoom says

    Its great list.Thanks for sharing with us.

  39. I loved reading this post. Very inspiring! It’s great to know that
    so many women made it so big, it’s stories like these that motivate people to
    do so much better in life and gives a lesson to never give up. Thank you so
    much for sharing this! And hats off to all these great women.

  40. We’re missing Starr Hall from this list 

  41. Women empowerment is very visible. Do you have the same list for 2012? I wonder who make it on the list this year.

  42. Wondering if you are tracking these women on a twitter list, g+ or elsewhere. I know many but looking forward to meeting the rest.

  43. Nice to see their contribution and learn a lesson from their efforts that never give up and try to be a milestone or role model for others in your whole life.