The Annual Circle Leadership Summit

Become a Circle Leader today and join us September 6-7 for the our annual Circle Leadership Summit in Chicago.

What’s your 2016 ornament?

By Sylvie Legere

Each year my friend Molly gives her son an ornament to represent an important accomplishment of his. In that same spirit, Molly gave our Policy Circle team members a Statue of Liberty ornament symbolizing our belief in the principles that make up the fabric of this great country.

It made me think, what should my 2016 ornament be? My daughter suggested either a laptop because I’m always at my computer, or a circle of chairs for The Policy Circle….  My other daughter offered a numbered ornament because I always say “What gets measured gets done.” like our goal of 1,000 members…  But I would like my 2016 ornament to be a little more personal.

Last year, inspired by Chris Brogan, I shared my 3 words of focus for 2016: Courage, Attention, and Laughter.

Summoning courage I stepped outside my comfort zone and co-wrote a letter to the editor.  Together with Nancy Brinker and Julie Geier: Women and the Election.  With courage, I realized that I could not do it all and empowered The Policy Circle team to lead our growth into 17 states.  

Paying Attention led me to focus on fewer goals, and observe what was happening around me, in my community, with my friends.  To notice when someone needed a call or a gesture of support. Paying attention to my children’s needs meant choosing an appropriate school that would best allow them to flourish, and reminded me how empowering choosing a child’s school is to a family. I admire Campbell Brown’s fight for charter schools in NYC,  Robert Enlow’s work at EdChoice, and organizations like the74million. I’m thrilled that Betsy DeVos has been nominated for Secretary of Education.


This summer, I attended the Global Leadership Summit where Melinda Gates shared with the audience that she starts each day with 15 minutes of quiet time before her family gets up. She inspired me!  I downloaded the Calm App and started meditating in the morning. Meditating lead to laughing more: with my kids, through challenging circumstances and unknown outcomes.  

So what will be my 3 words for 2017?

Play, Lead and Big Rocks.

Play – play board games with my kids, organize play time with our team, just be mindful and enjoy playtime however small, however simple, because that’s how relationships and memories are built.

Lead –  My entire career I’ve been focused on how best to turn ideas into action and results, with a particular focus on execution.  The GLS challenged me to think about how I can be a leader that empowers others around me to take charge.  Whether it is planning a trip with friends or expanding our Policy Circle team so we can reach our goal of 10 circles in each state, and 2,000 members, I realize I can’t do everything — and shouldn’t.  I need to lead more and trust my team. I need to lead and adapt to focus on the outcomes not the steps to get there.

Big Rocks – Remember Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Habit 3 was Put First Things First.  Covey asks us to identify the big rocks that are the priorities in our life and where we allocate our time.  My Big Rocks are my family, my health, The Policy Circle,  women in public service, and my community.   Our brief on Civic Engagement made me appreciate how problems in our society are not solved by putting on bandaids. Problems are solved by addressing the root causes. We need to proactively engage our representatives in conversations about these root causes.  Matthew Tully from the Indy Star says it best in his article If you care about Pre-School Speakup: “If there’s anything I could change about politics, it would be to find a way to get more middle-of-the-road citizens excited about the idea of reaching out to their representatives, particularly at the state level. Without such involvement, it is the special interest groups, partisan activists and those on the far edges of every debate who will continue to be heard most often.”

So my words for 2017 will be Play, Lead and Big rocks.

And this January 1st, I will have completed 160 meditation sessions.  So I think that I will get a camera ornament, because being mindful this year I have seen things around me that I previously may have only noticed in photographs.

What ornament are you getting to sum up 2016?  And what are your 3 words for 2017?  Share them with us!
Wishing you a happy new year!

Sylvie and The Policy Circle Team