How To Start A Circle

Are you ready to move beyond the headlines to have meaningful discussions, not heated debates? Start a Policy Circle in your community.  

The Policy Circle is a unique platform designed to inform, inspire, and build civic leaders. Empowering women through meaningful conversation is a pillar of all The Policy Circle meetings. Supported by in-depth policy briefs, Circle members learn, connect and strengthen their voices on some of the biggest challenges we face. The Policy Circle makes it easy to bring women from your community together for meaningful conversation about policy. Your community maybe your neighborhood, your networking groups, your association. You decide who to start a circle with. You don’t need to be a policy expert or politically active; you just need a mind of your own and a desire to develop your views.  Gather a small group of women to read a Policy Circle Brief and discuss to find commonality, to define priorities and identify how to be impactful.  The Policy Circle website provides all tools you need.

Who is in a Policy Circle?  Women who…..
  • Value open dialogue and enjoy learning from others;
  • Believe that fostering entrepreneurial values, creativity, and competition unleashes the best opportunities for all to pursue their dreams and improve their lives;
  • Know every woman has the potential to learn about and influence policy.

When you and two co-leaders organize a Circle, you will have access to Policy Circle Briefs for your discussions and a website to personalize, start, manage and grow your Circle.  Are You In?

How do Circles work?

To form a Circle, you and two co-leaders bring together a group of about 8 to 12 women to:

Read a Policy Brief, available from the Policy Circle member-only portal, that summarizes the work of leading scholars in policy areas such as economic growth, healthcare and education among others (we agree to a truce on divisive and distracting social issues).

Gather in a home, a conference room, a coffee shop or any convenient location where you can come together and engage in conversation.   The location can rotate among Circle members or be consistent.  It’s up to you!

Discuss the brief you’ve read, using discussion guides and a proven meeting format that ensures every women has a chance to speak and be heard.  Learning and growth happens because talking engages our minds and hearts.  Women learn from one another through dialogue and sharing experiences — you will be amazed at the rich level of conversation.  Everyone has something to offer.

What do Circle Leaders do?

Circle Leaders assemble their group, choose the topics they would like to discuss and host five discussions per year.  (Some Circles choose to meet monthly –  it’s up to you!)  

Through its website, The Policy Circle provides helpful tools, checklists, templates and topics available to Circle Leaders to make it easy, interactive and educational.   For example, you can send event invitations, find tips and tricks for hosting a discussion and post discussion a summary for members all from the website.

What is available to assist me in leading my circle?

The Policy Circle website features many helpful and useful tools such as:

  • A Circle website page so you and Circle members can communicate through posts and emails
  • Suggested curriculum to follow for the first set of conversations and beyond
  • Discussion planning tools and templates
  • Webinars to share best practices and questions with other Circle Leaders

The Policy Circle also hosts an annual conference where Circle Leaders can network, learn, and exchange experiences.  The Policy Circle also has relationships with a network of state-level policy organizations so you can learn about state specific issues and information.

Why become a Circle Leader?

Because you want to speak up —  not be silent — and encourage others to do the same.  You want to engage in civilized discussion not heated debate.  You want to make a ripple in your pond. You want to expand your knowledge to find commonality with others, collaborate effectively, and inform how you are engaging.

Here is what one Policy Circle member said after attending her first meeting:

“Thank you for hosting us last night. More importantly, thank you for having the vision to organize this group.  I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to have an outlet for intelligent, constructive and educational conversation about the serious issues we all face today. For so long, I have silently worried about where our state and country is headed and, as an individual, the problem seems overwhelmingly impossible to tackle. With others, there is strength and power – both in ideas and actions – and, suddenly, the potential for change seems very possible. I look forward to exploring issues and identifying ways we can all pitch in to make a difference.Lisa, Chicago Based Circle Member

Have additional questions?   Read our FAQs.