Who we are:
The Policy Circle brings together women in the same community to learn from fact-based research and strengthen their voices in public policy dialogue. By coming together and deepening our understanding of the issues we face in our communities, our states, and our nation, we feel heard, validated and energized and can come up with ways to influence policy.
What we are:
The Policy Circle is a cultural, educational, non-political organization. It is non-profit and non-partisan but has a point of view – that public policy should foster creativity in a open economy and that government should spend our tax dollars responsibly. We call a truce on divisive social issues.
What we discuss:
Conversation topics are suggested in a “Year of Conversation” calendar on The Policy Circle website. National level topics include jobs and the economy, education, poverty, health care, foreign policy, immigration, and the exceptional features of the U.S. The briefs provide an overview on a particular topic and discussion guide for questions. We work with state-based think tanks to also offer relevant state and local information.
What is said in the Circle stays in the Circle: All meeting discussions are off the record – we want our circlemeetings to be a safe place for you to share your views.
When we meet:
Circles decide when they meet, they typically meet in person four to five times a year, in homes, office, co-working spaces, restaurants, to talk about policy in a roundtable discussion format. We are not speaker-led but rather focus on discussion among members. Policy briefs for each topic are provided ahead of time so everyone can come prepared to share their points of view. Meetings activities are managed using the member-only website, thepolicycircle.org.
How meetings are structured:
Our roundtable discussion format provides for an effective, balanced discussion so that everyone has a chance to share their views and no one is allowed to dominate.
- Experts can participate, but they are part of the conversation.
- Some use a “talking ring” to be held by the person speaking —it makes facilitation easier.
- Some members to assume roles during break-out group discussion such as:
A facilitator who uses the discussion guide to ask questions
A timekeeper who keeps the conversation on time.
A scribe who takes notes and posts a summary of the meeting and next steps on the website