How It Works

So what is a Policy Circle and how does it work?   What is a Circle discussion like?   What do you talk about?

Click below for a two-minute video and take a look:

 

 

Or check out these FAQs below about how Circles work.

A Policy Circle is a group of 5-10 women living in the same community who come together every other month to discuss policy issues. 

You’ll read a Policy Brief ahead of time and then gather to learn with other women through discussion about issues affecting you, your  family and community.

You don’t have to be a policy expert or politically engaged to be a part of The Policy Circle and we are not a speaker-led group.  We are women who read the news and are concerned about the issues, yet sometimes feel powerless to influence policy-making.   The Policy Circle’s unique approach empowers you to learn and grow through open dialogue with other women and gain the confidence to make a difference.

A Policy Circle is formed by two or three women who believe in the power of free-markets and share an interest in better understanding policy.

Circles then grow organically by inviting other women from the neighborhood to join.  The Circle size is up to the group and its leaders.

Meetings follow a structured format of a roundtable discussion of Policy Briefs covering  a variety of issues, including Economic Growth, Healthcare, Education, Poverty, Taxation, Immigration and other policy topics.  Members read the brief ahead of time and come ready to discuss.  The roundtable format makes it easy for all to participate.   All meeting materials are available to members via The Policy Circle website and are regularly updated.  We also collaborate with state-based policy organizations to provide state-level information wherever possible.

Circle Leaders are not policy experts or even politically engaged, but rather act as respectful facilitators of conversation among the women participating at the Circle meeting.

Do you value connecting and engaging with women on issues?  Would you like a place to  discuss policy?

Establish a Policy Circle and start a  conversation!

The learning comes from the lively discussions about the issues at Circle meetings.  Each member brings her perspective, knowledge and individual experience that enriches the dialogue and learning.  The power of sharing is invaluable.

To support the discussions, members of The Policy Circle have access to a members-only site where they can find a library of Policy Briefs on key issues such as K12-Education, Healthcare, Higher Education, Taxation, Fiscal Responsibility, Economic Growth, and Foreign Policy. Policy Briefs are researched by policy experts and are designed to give an overview of a policy issue, featuring links to videos and more extensive resources if someone wants to “go deep” on a particular issue.

Click to access a sample Policy Brief.

Briefs are constantly updated and are available at any time for reading, either before a meeting or if a certain topic piques your interest.

In many cases, state-based policy organizations  provide state-specific information to local Circles.

Between meetings, members can communicate with each other via the website by posting articles and events to their Circle page as well as others Circles in their states.  Good articles, townhall meetings with a local representative, a book signing or speaker visiting — all can be shared using The Policy Circle website.

The Policy Circle’s Year of Conversation schedule outlines topics by month and can be used as a guide for an entire year.

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Some Circles choose to go deep on a specific issues such as Economics or Education; others might focus on the situation of their state using state-specific information from think tanks.  You and your group decide on the timing and topics to  use from the website.

We agree to a truce on divisive social issues and instead choose to focus on policy areas where women can unite.

Each meeting features a policy topic with corresponding Policy Brief to be read ahead of the meeting.

The evening starts with a bit of social time, then the host makes a brief introduction and divides the group if necessary into smaller discussion groups of 10 or 12 to discuss the brief.  For about 45 minutes, women are led by a facilitator using a discussion guide to talk in the roundtable format.  After that, the small groups reconvene as a larger group to report back on their discussions and identify what can be done to influence the issue as well as plan the next meeting.

Everyone has a role…

To keep things running smoothly, each small discussion group has a:

  • A Respectful Facilitator of the discussion group who ensures the meeting stays on track
  • A Timekeeper who is mindful of the time and ensures that everyone has a chance to speak
  • A Scribe who takes notes on the discussion for the meeting summary
  • Reporter who reports back on behalf of the smaller group to the bigger group.  They can use the scribe’s notes or take their own.

The roundtable format enables time for each to express her views on the issue and manage the discussion.  Everyone — from the passionate talkers to the more quiet, thoughtful types —  participates in a validating, energizing dialogue. By speaking up you will become more comfortable engaging with others on important issues and perhaps discover your voice on issues you can use when discussing with friends or in a public forum.

Have a look and find out what it is like to be part of a circle.

 

We built a members-only website that enables you to share ideas, resources and thoughts and plan events with your Circle.  The site is private and only available to Policy Circle members.  You can post articles and organize events for members of your circle only or connect with other circles in your state or across the country.  Posts and events can also be tagged by issue so you can keep up with all posts and events made on an issue that interests you.   Here’s a demo of how the site works.

Every other Sunday we send you a personalized newsletter that summarizes the posts made to your Circle or issues that you follow.  Our team also publishes periodic posts summarizing what other circles are discussing, key issues, and events of interest to all Circles.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.30.00 AMYou’ll find being part of a Policy Circle is validating, empowering and transformational as you learn from other women to articulate your position on public policy.  As your confidence grows, you will find yourself engaging in policy conversations with lunch ladies, cab and Uber drivers, moms, friends, and your own family. You realize that you are part of a tight network of women who are paying attention and learning to become influencers.

Start a Circle and start a conversation to change the conversation.

 

 

What do members say about The Policy Circle?  Click here.

More questions?  See these additional FAQs.

Still have questions?  Contact us?  We’d love help.