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What it means to be a Circle Leader

While the role of a Circle Leader takes work, we constantly hear from leaders that it’s a deeply rewarding volunteer experience and helps them build their leadership skills.

Responsibilities of a Lean In Circle Leader:

  • Decide what will connect the women in your Circle
    Women in Circles typically have common identifying factors or shared experiences, allowing them to provide and receive peer-to-peer mentorship. It’s up to you as the Circle Leader to determine which specific identifying factors will unite the women in your Circle. For example:

    1. People who work in the same industry or function as you
    2. People who share the same identity group as you
    3. People who live in the same location as you
    4. People who have similar career goals to you
    5. People who are at a similar career or life stage as you
    It’s helpful to decide up front who your Circle is for, so you know who to invite and can include this in your Circle name (e.g., Black Women Leaders in Paris or LGBTQ+ Women in Marketing, NY).

Register your Circle on LeanIn.Org

  • Visit to register your Circle. It takes just a couple of minutes. You’ll be asked to give your Circle a name and share the location where you are based or your meetings will primarily take place.

Recruit members to join your Circle

  • We recommend recruiting 8-12 members to join your Circle (as this is the ideal number for everyone to be able to actively participate and share in each Circle meeting), but you can start small: invite 2-3 friends and build from there.
  • Who you invite to your Circle is up to you. Click here for tips on who you might invite to join your Circle and a sample invitation email

You are responsible for bringing the women in your Circle together each month. Some top tips for scheduling meetings are:

  • Utilize a tool like Doodle to find a time that’s convenient for most people to meet.
  • Schedule a series of meetings in advance to block the time on people’s calendars.
  • Consider choosing the same time and date each month to meet—e.g., the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m.—so it’s easy to remember.

Decide what topic your Circle will discuss each month

  • Use Lean In’s newest leadership training program—The Women at Work Collection—and select one of the playlists for 7-to-9 months of curated meeting content centered around specific topics.
  • Or, choose your own topic each month from our library of Circle resources depending on what is most top of mind for you and your Circle.

Facilitate monthly meetings

  • During the meeting, you are responsible for helping to facilitate the group discussion using the prompts provided by Lean In’s discussion guides.
  • Remember, you do not need to be an expert on the topic you are discussing. The expertise is built into our videos and discussion guides.
  • Click here for our top tips for facilitating a great Circle meeting.

Find a way for Circle members to connect between meetings

  • The most effective Lean In Circles not only meet once a month, but also stay in touch in between meetings to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and share personal updates.
  • During your first Circle meeting, we encourage you to choose which platform you and your members prefer to use to communicate with each other. Check out this article with an overview of the most popular options to help you decide what’s right for your Circle.

If you prefer to share the role of leading the Circle, consider trying one of these approaches:

  • A single leader runs meetings for a set period of time and then you rotate.
  • One person in the Circle plans meetings and another facilitates the meeting discussions.
  • You can also rotate the role of facilitator each month.

And, don’t forget that Circle Leaders are also participants in the Circle. You should get just as much out of the experience as you put into it.

Please note: Being a Lean In Circle Leader is a volunteer role—no one should make a profit from their Lean In Circle.