Moderator Resources

How do I kick off a Circle?

Use the Lean In Kickoff Guide as a resource. The kickoff meeting is focused on getting to know each other better and laying the groundwork for a successful Circle. You’ll discuss and agree on a set of values and shared goals for your Circle and decide on how you will run the Circle logistics (when, where, etc.).

Lean In Education Library

Lean provides a valuable library of expert talks, discussion guides, and resources to help your Circle members connect with each other and build new skills together.


Connection CardS

A deck of cards with personal questions used to build trust within your Circle as you quickly dive deep into a series of engaging conversations.


Your Childhood Self

An activity where you share childhood photos with your Circle to connect with your younger self and one another.


Lean In Bingo

A fun icebreaker designed to help you get to know your Circle members better



Centered Leadership

An expert video series that offers a practical road map for taking on the challenges of leadership.


Power & Influence

An expert video about the body language of power and how to use it to increase your influence.

What Works for Women at Work

Our expert video series will help you spot the four patterns of gender bias at work and discover strategies that successful women use to navigate subtle bias.


“The Confidence Gap”

An article that explores why confidence matters as much as competence—and how women can become more self-assured in every area of their lives.


This expert video series teaches you how to negotiate effectively for what you want—and get what you deserve.

Relevant Articles

This series of New York Times op-eds by LeanIn.Org founder Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton professor Adam Grant are great conversation starters:

“The Myth of the Catty Woman”

We’ve all heard the myth that women don’t support each other. But here’s the catch: research shows it isn’t true. Women do support each other, and we go further faster when we do.

“Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee”

Women do the lion’s share of the office housework—administrative tasks that help but don’t pay off. Just as we need to rebalance housework at home, we also need to equalize office housework. The first step? Acknowledging the imbalance.


“Speaking While Female”

When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as “too aggressive.” Learn more about the traps of speaking while female and how to counter them.


“When Talking About Bias Backfires”

Most people assume that pointing out biases helps us overcome them. But new research suggests that if we’re not careful, making people aware of bias can backfire. Here’s how to talk about bias in a way that leads to positive change.

TED Talks

These TED Talks introduce valuable ideas and skills, and the transcripts and subtitles can be translated into more than 45 languages.

“Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders”

In the TED Talk that inspired Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg explores why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions—and offers three key pieces of advice to women in leadership.

“The Power of Introverts”

Many people think you have to be an extrovert to be a leader. Susan Cain busts this myth.


“How to Make Stress Your Friend”

Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains why stress isn’t the enemy. Learn how to reframe the stress you feel and build personal resilience.


“My Year of Saying Yes to Everything”

Award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer Shonda Rhimes shares the power of saying yes—and how it helped her to rediscover joy in her life.

Challenging Scenarios

Keep in mind that every Circle is unique. Your Circle will be made up of diverse members with a variety of personalities and perspectives. Your role as a moderator is to create an environment where everyone can share in a positive and constructive environment. This is no easy task, but your Circle will be stronger as a result. Check out common challenging scenarios that your Circle could encounter and learn approaches to address them as they arise.

Scenario: Member is not Leaning In

Your Circle has been meeting for some time. One member has asked for help with a career situation and the Circle has encouraged her to take action, helping her work through her options and decide what she wants to do. After several more months, it becomes clear that the member has not taken the steps she said she would and the situation is the same. The group is frustrated with her lack of action and is tired of hearing the same story (or a version of it) over and over.  What you can do…

Scenario: It’s Getting Hot in Here!

During a Circle discussion, the conversation turns from productive to divisive. One Circle member feels strongly about feminism and believes that if members don’t identify as feminists, they shouldn’t call themselves a Lean In member. What you can do…

Scenario: One is the Loneliest Number

Your new Circle has been formed, and early on you realize that most members have a lot in common and one member that is different. What you can do…

Scenario: To Drink or Not to Drink?

Some of your Circle members like to drink alcohol and some don’t. Some people feel a glass of wine helps them relax after a long workday and helps them share more openly. Others don’t feel comfortable in an environment where drinking is part of the culture. What you can do…

Scenario: Chatty Cathy

Your Circle includes a member that weighs in on everything each member says and talks for a long time. While the commentary is not unhelpful, it’s preventing other members from having an equal share of time to contribute. What you can do…

Scenario: Out of our league

During a discussion, one of your Circle members shares some sensitive information regarding an unsafe situation they are in (for example, domestic violence, alcoholic/addict partner, family member with mental health issues, etc.). It is clear they are in distress and Circle members would like to assist, but are not sure how to help. What you can do…

Scenario: Workplace grumbling

You have created a Lean In Circle at work and are starting to build momentum after you’ve held a few meetings. You’re noticing the conversation often shifts to complaining instead of supporting one another in achieving goals. During the last meeting, you noted that 45 minutes of the scheduled hour was spent discussing how the management team doesn’t appear to be open to promoting women. What you can do…

Still have questions?

We have Circle experts standing by to help you navigate your Circle experience. Send us a note at and we’ll help to move you and your Circle forward.