WHAT ARE HBS ALUMNAE CIRCLES?

HBS Alumnae Circles are small groups of HBS alumnae who get together monthly to discuss myriad issues. Circles are designed to foster genuine relationships between alumnae, and give women the opportunity to learn from, support, and inspire one another—both personally and professionally.

Each group of 6-10 women is composed with diversity in mind across a range of identity elements—life stage, industries, work status, relationship status, children, etc. This spectrum of perspectives strengthens the group’s relationships, and enhances the sense of support members give to one another.

Each group ideally has two peer facilitators who have been trained by members of the HBS Career and Professional Development team and HBS faculty on group facilitation and guidance on confidentiality and group dynamics. HBS Circles are "HBS enabled; alumnae owned," meaning that this program would not be possible without the help of alumnae volunteers. To learn more about volunteering for Circles, click here.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

HBS alumnae are invited to attend an open house event to learn more about the program. Following the event, a survey is distributed to all HBS alumnae in the region with more information about the program, and the option to join a Circle. This survey asks for information about each participant, that HBS staff and Circles alumnae regional leads and program leads use to compose Circles with diversity across age, industry, employment status, marital status, children, ethnicity, etc. Alumnae do not need to attend the Open House to participate.

Alumnae are asked to commit to a year of participation to give the group time to foster trust and personal bonds. Once the Circles are formed, trained alumnae facilitators schedule the first meeting. Circles then meet approximately every 4-6 weeks. See our FAQs for more details and specifics around meetings.

Circles is currently being piloted in Boston, New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Currently, over 550 alumnae are participating in the program. The long term goal of Circles is to scale the program to multiple cities. This will not be possible without the participation of HBS alumnae volunteers. If you are interested in Circles launching in your city, email HBSCircles@gmail.com.

NOTE FROM HBS ALUMNAE CIRCLES TEAM

In recent conversations with HBS alumnae, it sounds like many of us feel that we could use some support in thinking about issues facing us these days as women, from family demands, to professional challenges, to community involvement, aging parents, and more. As we talked about what we kept hearing, we realized there is an opportunity for HBS women to get together and help one another figure out how to manage real life in the real world. 

We invite you to take part in our HBS Alumnae Circles pilot, for HBS alumnae to get together and talk about life on a regular basis. These HBS Alumnae Circles are designed to foster genuine relationships between us as alumnae and give us the opportunity to learn from, support, and inspire one another—both personally and professionally.

Circles are diverse across age range, industry, job status, marital status, ethnicity, etc., to bring as many perspectives as possible to conversations. Additionally, the HBS Circles team strives to prevent anyone from feeling alone in a Circle - as the oldest, the youngest, the only woman with young children, etc. 

We have learned from our pilot Circles that individual commitment to attending meetings is vital to the success of a Circle. We know that schedules are busy and carving out time for a program like this can feel impossible. We have heard from participants that the commitment is manageable, the collective experience of each Circle is rewarding, and the value is immeasurable. We hope you will feel the same. 

Jill Fink, MBA 2005
Laurie Matthews, MBA 1983
Kristen Fitzpatrick, MBA 2003


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