COO Facebook Sheryl Sandberg’s 2010 TEDTalk inspired women around the world to share their own stories of struggle and success. This led to the creation of Leanin.org, the umbrella organisation for more than 43,000 Lean In circles in over 170 countries.
Lean in Poland, founded in December 2015, started as a circle of local female entrepreneurs. Situated in the Pomorskie region of the country, activities take place in the cities of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot.
A Lean In circle is a small group of between 8 and 12 women who meet regularly to support one another and learn new skills. Some 85% of members credit their Circle with a positive change in their lives.
Learning from each other
By bringing together diverse groups of women, Lean In circles provide the opportunity to share experiences and best practices. For example, Lean In Poland has held workshops on how to use social media and organised meetings with major regional exporters.
In addition, Lean in Poland will represent Polish women, for the second time, during the Regional Leaders Conference in San Francisco, where they will have the chance to meet Sheryl Sandberg. 75 leaders from all over the world are invited at the event and Lean in Poland is proud to be the only organisation from Central and Eastern Europe.
It’s not all hard work though; the circle has also organised dance lessons. Networking also creates opportunities for female entrepreneurs to help each other with any challenges they might face, and find possible ways of working together.
Taking social responsibility seriously
Social responsibility forms an important part of the circle’s ethos. Lean In Poland is actively engaged in charity work, and was recently involved in an initiative to collect over 1,000 women’s bags. The bags contained items like cosmetics, tights and books, which were then given to women in vulnerable situations, such as the homeless and mothers with disabilities.
Circle members have also mentored young entrepreneurs to help them put together business plans, and held numerous meetings with students to discuss inequality and fighting discrimination. The circle also participates every year in Global Entrepreneur Week (GEW), working closely with high school students. A special mentoring programme for young female entrepreneurs is also in the pipeline.