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Why you should start a Lean In Circle (and how to get started)

A Lean In Circle is a small group of (usually) 8–12 women and men who meet regularly to support one another and learn new skills. It’s a place where women can be unapologetically ambitious. 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:

  • Members meet about once a month to support each other and learn new skills.
  • Circles can meet anywhere: over coffee at home, in a lunch series at work, or in a virtual meet-up with people who share similar interests.
  • 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 shows initiative and leadership skills.
    “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:

  • Start small — To get the most out of your Circle experience, we recommend recruiting 8–12 members who are at a similar stage in their careers—because peers are more likely to have shared experiences. But don’t be afraid to start small. Invite 2–3 friends and build from there.
  • Use our library of meeting materials — When you’re ready to host your first meeting, review our first meeting checklist. It includes tips for scheduling and recommended meeting guides to help the conversation flow smoothly. After your first meeting, you can select from dozens of meeting materials that cover everything from negotiating to building confidence—just choose whatever feels most relevant to your Circle.
  • Connect with other leaders — Join our private Facebook group for Circle leaders, where you can share your story, ask questions, and get input from other leaders.

Learn more about Circles.


  1. LeanIn.Org survey of Circle members, 2017, and Women in the Workplace 2017.