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15 min

Warm up, catch up, and get going!

Step 1: Icebreaker

Group activity

5 minutes or less

An icebreaker is a powerful tool to help us become present with one another and ourselves.

Use this icebreaker to see how your Circle members feel about being authentic at work. Read out the statements below and have members raise their hand if they relate to the experience.
Raise your hand if...

  • You’ve ever felt you had to hold back from revealing your true self at work
  • You’ve ever revealed something about your authentic self at work and felt that you were taking a risk

Step 2: Member Updates

Group activity

1 min (or less) per member

Once you’re warmed up, go around your Circle and share personal updates. As a general rule, personal updates should be brief and focus on big changes and important decisions in your life. (It’s OK not to have one every month!)

If you have a One Action update, share that with your Circle at the same time. (A One Action is one concrete action you committed to take at your last meeting; the goal of a One Action is to step outside your comfort zone or practice a new skill.)

For example, a member update might go like this: “Since our last meeting, I asked my boss for a big assignment and got it. I’m thrilled but a little nervous [personal update]. For my One Action, I asked that coworker I’ve been struggling with out for lunch. She immediately said yes, and I was surprised by how easily we got along. I can see it helping in the office, and we’re going out for lunch again next week—her invite! [One Action update].”

Education Activities

Group activity

60 min

Learn from experts and one another.

Activity 1: Discuss your reactions to the talk

Group activity

Approx. 15 minutes

Discuss the following questions as a group:

  1. What most surprised you about Stacy’s talk?
  2. Did any of the experiences she describes really resonate with you? What were those experiences, and how do they relate to your life?
  3. Have you ever revealed something about yourself at work and had it go better than you expected?
  4. What’s one key takeaway from her talk that you’d like to share with someone else? With whom would you share it?

Activity 2: How to be authentic at work

Group activity

Approx. 20 minutes

Stacy gives examples of how she started bringing her whole self to work. For instance, she wore her hair naturally, talked about foods she liked, and expressed her reaction to news stories about Black people who were killed by the police.

She also explains why it’s a good idea to bring your whole self to work: it makes for a happier, more productive, more inclusive workplace.

These exercises are designed to help you think about how you might bring your whole self to work and feel comfortable doing so.

Before you begin, remind the group that your Circle is a place of confidentiality. Trust is critical, so what happens in your Circle should stay in your Circle.

Step 1: Share with your Circle

  • Individually, take a few minutes to write down three things that are important to you that you've never talked about with your Circle.
  • Then, go around the room and have everyone share one thing from their list with the entire Circle.

Step 2: Brainstorm one thing to share with your colleagues

  • Think about the colleagues you work with every day. Is there anything you’d like them to know about you that they don’t already know?
  • Write down at least three things.
  • Pick one and share it with your Circle.

Step 3: Plan a space for sharing at work

  • Stacy talks about the value of creating safe spaces at work—such as Lean In Circles—where people can be their whole selves.
  • Write down a few ideas that could work for you. Examples: Give a lunchtime talk about a favorite leisure activity, create a group chat for colleagues focused on a hobby like cooking or rock climbing, start a book club
  • Share one of your ideas with your Circle.

One Action

Group activity

5 min

The little push you need to go for it

We recommend you close every meeting by committing to a “One Action”—one concrete thing you’re going to do before your next Circle meeting to step outside your comfort zone or practice a new skill.

This time, you might commit to engaging men in conversations about bias.

Share your One Action with your Circle
One by one, go around your Circle and complete the following statement:

  • Over the next month, I commit to sharing _________ with my coworkers, OR
  • Over the next month, I commit to creating a ____________ [lunchtime talk/group chat/regular coffee meet-up] for coworkers interested in _____________.

Move quickly from member to member, and consider cheering one another on as you go.


Group activity

Approx. 15 minutes

What’s next and a few final words

Step 1: Finalize logistics of your next meeting

Group activity

Approx. 10 minutes

Before you break, make sure you have the basics covered for your next meeting, including day and time, location, and food and drink responsibilities. Decide what you’re going to do when you get together or who is going to send out ideas. You may also want to talk through what worked—and what didn’t—in today’s meeting so you can brainstorm improvements going forward.

Step 2: Close on an energetic and inspirational note

Group activity

5 minutes or less

Think of one small moment of joy you can plan for this week. Go around your Circle one by one and share what you’ll do.