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November 12, 2013

Inside a Lean In Circle

My guest blogger today is Erin Knight, Market President Miami-Dade, Stonegate Bank. Erin is a true go-getter, a working mom in a high powered job. She says she saw a need for women like her to talk through their daily work life issues and get reinforcement. So, Erin launched a Lean In Circle. I hope many of you will follow her lead.

By Erin Knight

Erin KnightEvery once in a while I read a book or magazine article that compels me to take the words beyond the context and implement them in my own life. With this notion, I recently launched a Lean In Circle in Miami with my friend, Eris Thomas, CEO and President of Coral Gables Executive Physicians, based on Sheryl Sandberg’s best seller, Lean In.

Eris and I both read the book, and immediately desired to find a way to help support each other and other women. Our first Lean In Circle was held in September at Books & Books in Coral Gables, where we hosted 30 female friends and colleagues. Understanding that each woman faces their own obstacles, we strived for the Lean In Circle to take shape based on our members’ interests and needs.

It was an honor that Dr. Andrew Wenger, a private practice psychologist and University of Miami professor, joined us to lead the discussion on raising children, particularly when juggling a thriving career. Members engaged in an open exchange of questions and comments, and many were intrigued by Dr. Wenger’s approach, technique and suggestions. He even provided us with scientific research that proves the positive attributes of raising children as a working mother and how it often instills confidence and drive for success in our children’s upbringing.

We were eager to share our experiences through an open conversation about the challenges of careers, family and all other aspects of life. Many members also discussed personal stories about the obstacles they face in work-life balance. It was truly humbling.

Our Lean In Circle plans to meet with its members 10 times each year. It will not be a networking event, but purely a way to encourage each other to “lean in” to our ambitions. We plan to accomplish this by hosting speakers with expertise in areas such as the art of negotiating, navigating politics at work, excelling with a flexible work schedule, work life balance and more. Eris and I were inspired by numerous other women throughout the country who have formed their own Lean In Circles in hopes of providing a platform for women to join together and share the message of Lean In. 

If you haven’t read the book, I recommend that you take the first step to understanding the concept of “leaning in.” All monies raised from the sale of the book go directly to supporting the cause through the non-profit organization founded by Sandberg, Lean In.org. You can learn more about the Lean In movement and how to launch or join a Circle in your community by visiting www.LeanIn.org.