By Mary Dove
"My Circle helps women make their mark and find their place in one of the busiest cities in the world," says Lean In NYC leader Mary Dove.
For many women, navigating life and work in New York City is a lot like trying to hail a cab at rush hour: everyone is trying to get somewhere and there don't seem to be enough rides. The NYC Lean In Circle grew organically out of a collective recognition that we're more likely to get where we're headed if we go together.
From the group of 40 women who initially responded to a single LinkedIn post, we grew to 115 women and 10 localized circles at our first meeting. And we're still growing. The NYC Lean In Circle is somewhat unusual because it's a larger umbrella group that focuses on educational impact, and it's a meeting place for smaller exploration circles that we helped to initiate. In the larger meetings, we work on community building and honing concrete skills like negotiating and using storytelling as a tool. In between those meetings, the smaller geographically based circles meet to offer each other an even tighter-knit level of support.
In the same way that a mass of women almost spontaneously collected around the idea of group support and sharing, a small team of dedicated people sprung up, ready to hold everything together.
I'm so inspired to witness women who were strangers a few short months ago sharing their lives as if they were old friends. I truly believe that Lean In Circles contain the seeds for women to learn how to advocate for themselves and create better and more meaningful lives. That message keeps ringing true with more and more people and reverberating back to us. Women from all around the world who want to start a circle in their own town have contacted us. We run a monthly newsletter that goes out to hundreds of women. We've formed a partnership with NYU; Columbia and Penn State have both reached out wanting to work with us. And we were honored to have Sheryl Sandberg as our guest speaker at one of our meetings.
My hope is that these circles will continue to provide a space where women support each other's attempts to lean in, both professionally and personally. It's such a thrilling feeling to be a part of a living community that is changing the world one woman at a time.
Who We Are: More than 100 women and men in New York City
Circle Fuel: The amazing and infectious enthusiasm of the circle members. In every meeting, there's at least one moment that engages you on a deep, human level.
Circle Goals: Our goal is to provide exciting educational events and resources for our members to build strong bonds with each other. We encourage all of our members to lean in by contributing their voices as guest speakers at our events, in our newsletter, and on our social media.
Impact of the Circle: Changing the world, one woman at a time.