You’ve probably heard Elianne Ramos’ name before. She’s an active volunteer at Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), where she writes the organization’s blog, leads the weekly Twitter chats and helped coordinate this May’s first top Latina blogger retreat in Washington, D.C.
She’s also prolific on Twitter, where she goes by the handle @ergeekgoddess (in the almost four years she’s had her account, she’s tweeted more than 95,000 times and gained nearly 30,000 followers). She has alternate Twitter handles in the event that she gets sent to “Twitter jail” during LATISM Twitter parties. In a space where professional users go by their real names, Ramos has hung onto a nickname she earned years ago when she was first starting her career: Geek Goddess.
A GEEK IS BORN
Ramos, who was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States in her teens, says she was always a geek growing up, striving to be No. 1 in her class and experimenting with technology. She wasn’t very stylish, she recalls, so a group of her coworkers decided to give her a makeover.
“I wasn’t a ‘geek’ after that anymore, but the name kind of stuck,” Ramos says. “I liked it—it shows two sides of me. I do like to dress up and show my feminine side, (but) in my heart, I’m happiest when I’m writing or reading a book.”
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The Baltimore-based Ramos has come a long way since she started out in the advertising business 16 years ago. Now she’s the CEO of her own company, Speak Hispanic, a public relations and marketing consultancy firm, and she’s a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices and NBC Latino.
But Ramos didn’t always know exactly what she wanted to be. In college she was enrolled in architecture school before she took a course on communications and media.
“I discovered a whole other world,” she said of the course, which helped her realize she could blend her love of writing and being creative in advertising. “I liked that aspect of communicating with people and never looked back.”
GIVING BACK TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY
Ramos says working in advertising was not always personally rewarding. “You ask yourself, ‘Am I promoting things I truly believe in?’” she recalls—so she started to become more involved in working with the Latino community. That’s the path she’s followed at LATISM and one she’s been incorporating into her own business.
She’s in the process of re-launching Speak Hispanic to be solely marketing-focused and will take on more clients and projects with an “aspect of social meaning.”
“It’s become more and more evident that I cannot enjoy what I’m doing unless I’m passionate and unless I know that it’s working toward something larger,” Ramos said. “I see so many great causes out there where the organizations don’t have the resources to bring them to fruition, but with the right kind of marketing or PR they’d really be able to make an impact.”
Ramos says she hopes to use her social media savvy and knowledge of grassroots techniques to work more with the Latino community at her company. But even with all that social media know-how, Ramos says she’s still learning how to do one thing on Twitter. And that’s to turn it off.
“Your family life can suffer a lot when you’re online so much, especially with the kind of work that I do,” Ramos said. “I have become a lot more [aware of the need] to sit down and talk to my daughter, have a family dinner, take an hour out to read a book. I try to find these little pockets of quiet [time] during the day.” She’s also started using her 40-minute commute time on the train to Washington, D.C. to read, instead of tweet.
Ramos says she’s got a passion project in the works that’s more internationally focused and that she can’t talk about quite yet, but it has to do with public service—a path she hopes to continue down as she expands the scope of her work.
“As you grow older, it matters more to you how you walk your path and how you measure your days,” she says. “If you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for anything.”