- Setting up your circle
Why start a circle?
Why you should start a Lean In Circle (and how to get started)
Lean In Circles are small groups who come together regularly for peer-to-peer mentorship, to give and get support, and to build new skills together. We know Circles are making a difference: 85% of members credit their Circle with a positive change in their life and almost two-thirds of women in Circles have taken on a new challenge.
Here's how Circles work:
- Circles typically consist of 8-12 members who share similar interests—whether that’s a shared identity or people who live in the same area, work in the same industry, or are at a similar life or career stage.
- Members usually meet once a month for peer-to-peer mentorship, skill building, and connection. Monthly Circle meetings are typically 60-90 minutes long.
- Circles can meet anywhere: over coffee at someone’s home, in a public library or community space, as part of a lunch series at work, or in a virtual meet-up. During the pandemic, many Lean In Circles moved to virtual meetings and continue to meet virtually to this day.
- Circles can run indefinitely. Some Lean In Circles have been running for more than 10 years! On average, we hear from Circle members that they experience the most benefit from their Circle when they meet for six months or more.
- Circle members tell us that they get the most out of their Circle experience when they connect with their fellow Circle members in between meetings via email, text, or other social messaging platforms. These moments of connection can center around celebrating each other’s accomplishments, checking in with one another, and sharing resources and other personal updates. This is how your Circle can become an even more powerful support network.
- Circles have full access to Lean In’s library of monthly meeting guides and other resources.
You’ll gain a lot from leading a Circle:
- New opportunities — According to our research, women in Circles are more likely to receive promotions and raises. Circles can also help you forge broad, deep networks that lead to new opportunities.
“When one of our members was struggling to find a job … our Circle jumped in to help with interview prep and to make introductions.” — Nuala Murphy, Circle leader, Lean In Belfast
- A stronger résumé — Leading a Circle is a valuable addition to your résumé. It’s a self-made leadership opportunity that demonstrates initiative.
“The Lean In brand is so powerful. Almost every woman I know in a Circle has used it successfully on her résumé.” — Mary Dove, Circle leader, Lean In New York
- Deep connections — Longstanding Circle leaders tell us that some of their closest friendships are within their Circles.
“As Circle leader, I've gotten new sisters. I don’t know if I'd be where I am without them. I’m more confident to go for challenges.” — Gina Richards, Circle leader, Procter & Gamble
- Confidence and leadership skills — Women in Circles are more confident and ambitious. They’re more likely to aspire to be a top executive and more confident they will become one.1
“I’m such an introvert, but being a Circle moderator has made things totally different for me. It has definitely helped my confidence. Now I can actually say that I’m a leader. I wasn’t convinced of that before.” — Julene Allen, Circle leader, Lean In Ohio
We'll help you get started:
- Visit www.leanin.org/circles to register your Circle.
- Attend one of our free Circle Leader Trainings. You’ll learn how to get your Circle up and running, from deciding on your Circle’s purpose, to recruiting members, right up to hosting your first meeting. You’ll also have a chance to connect with other Circle Leaders from around the world for inspiration and support.
- For more tips, check out our getting started checklist here.