Six Months In

Have a seat.Lean In Together: South England has been growing and changing in exciting ways over the last six months, but I’ve been fairly quiet about it on this site. The simple reason is that our resource is limited (you can add to it by joining our team!) – and has been spent on making those changes happen. Changes like these two:

Becoming a Regional Leader

Our relationship to LeanIn.org has deepened as I (Elizabeth) am now participating in their pilot Regional Leaders programme, which means I’ve signed up to reach certain targets in terms of circle and membership growth in exchange for some additional access to resources. This status-change has been borne out of – but also led to – connections with truly inspirational Lean In chapters and chapter leaders around the world. These chapters and their teams have become our mentors and our guides as we look to expand our network and deepen our impact.

For example, I attended this amazing Lean In event in Dublin, in which circle leaders from around Ireland and Northern Ireland came together at Facebook HQ to launch a new partnership. There, I witnessed how experts design events and I met the team responsible for taking Lean In Belfast from a group of 4 to an 1800-strong community with regular events held at partner businesses and events posted online for the wider community to experience.

There were a number of ideas to take away in terms of how we run Lean In Together South England and, for me, the top 3 things I went home with (from a Lean In perspective) were:

  1. Larger things are possible: be bold about where we’re going.
  2. Focus on building a team: we need to ask for help to reach our goals.
  3. Cultivate relationships: strategic connections – and ‘networking’ – can get us to where we want to go in much quicker time-frames than we initially thought possible.

Collaborations and Partnerships

For me, these learnings have led to a sense of strategic focus: in order to grow our reach and deepen our impact, Lean In Together South England is focusing on partnering with organisations (e.g. corporates – but not limited to them) and networks for mutual benefits and I have spent a lot of the last several months leveraging my own and, increasingly, others’ networks to do exactly that.

For example, on the 16th of May we launch a collaboration with Hants Digital Women that is open for all and sponsored by Ordnance Survey in Southampton. Our network will grow, increasing our potential to tangibly affect change. Ordnance Survey will benefit too: our activities will directly benefit the employees that choose to attend – both from a leadership development point of view, but also by building their personal networks and broadening their horizons for innovative ideas & collaborative working. From there, we are planning to partner on further workshops that will support employees’ needs.

Do you know of an organisation, network, or circle who may wish to partner with us? Email LeanInSouthUK@gmail.com

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I’ve also taken a lot of personal inspiration from the work to set up Lean In Together South England. I very much intend to share some of that with you. That said, it is an ever-changing story at the moment.

By the time our event on the 16th is done, however, I should have reached a milestone that lets me draw a line under that narrative and tell something of a story. I’ll leave it at that for now – except to say that I’ll be speaking at the event on the 16th, so if you’re drawn in by my secrecy please do come along!

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