HBS Alumnae Circles video
 

WHAT ARE HBS ALUMNAE CIRCLES?

Simply put, Circles are small groups of women who to get together and talk about life on a regular basis. These 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 consist of 6-10 women and are diverse across age range, industry, job status, marital status, ethnicity, etc., to bring as many perspectives as possible to conversations while trying to prevent anyone from feeling alone in a Circle - as the oldest, the youngest, the only woman with young children, etc.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Groups meet monthly, usually in one of the members’ homes, to talk about their lives in an atmosphere of intimacy and trust. Meeting structure and topics of discussion vary greatly from group to group, but they can include any issues facing us these days as women, such as:

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Relationships
  • Children
  • Aging Parents
  • Community Involvement
  • Health
  • Professional Challenges or Opportunities
  • Self-Care
  • Goals and Aspirations

A gentle reminder: While we welcome discussion about professional endeavors, challenges and opportunities, this is not a forum for self-promotion or soliciting business, so we ask that members be mindful of that distinction.

The program is free and all we ask is that you come into your group with an open mind and commit to actively participate in your Circle for a full year. This commitment will help strengthen the group’s relationships and enhance the sense of support members give to one another.

FACILITATORS

Each Circle has one to two volunteer facilitators who help coordinate meeting logistics, guide the discussion, and create a safe space for the members to connect. Facilitators receive in-person training from members of the Harvard Business School Career and Professional Development team on confidentiality, conflict resolution, and group dynamics and participate in regular check-in calls with the other facilitators in the region to discuss issues and share ideas.

The facilitators are full members of the Circle and, aside from their special responsibilities, they engage in the conversation as peers and not leaders. Rather, facilitators are gentle guides for discussion, time management, group norms, etc. Our most successful facilitators set a warm tone, model vulnerability and are welcoming to all.

In the first meeting, the facilitators play a big role in helping to set the tone and structure of the group. They engage the group in conversation around what members want to get out of the experience and how they want meetings to be structured. In subsequent meetings, the facilitator role in the conversation is more subtle, jumping in if tough situations or topics arise.

REGIONAL LEADERSHIP

HBS Circles are “HBS enabled; alumnae owned,” meaning that while we have a small administrative team of HBS staff members who assist in management of the program, the growth and success of Circles would not be possible without our incredible alumnae leaders.

Within each Region, there are four volunteer Regional Committee positions that help manage the program. The Regional Chair, Event Lead, Facilitator Lead, and Member Lead work together to launch the program in new cities and keep things running smoothly throughout the year by troubleshooting logistical issues, assisting members, planning events, and leading monthly facilitator calls.

Together, the Regional Committee Members from each Region form the Circles Leadership Council which works with the HBS administrative team on strategic decisions, program growth and region-specific initiatives.

COMMITMENT

We cannot overstate the importance of commitment. We ask that you make every effort to attend group gatherings and commit to participate in Circles for a full 12-month period to allow time to foster trust and personal bonds. We know that everyone is incredibly busy and you might occasionally have to miss a meeting, but that commitment truly is the magic that makes Circles work.

If you anticipate needing to miss a number of Circles meetings throughout the year, we would suggest holding off on joining until your schedule allows for consistent attendance. While, of course, life happens and members must miss meetings from time to time, the Circle dynamic can be negatively affected by members who don’t make their best efforts to show up.

JOIN A CIRCLE

Circles are currently active in Austin, Boston, London, New York, Northern CA and Washington DC.  Our goal is to scale the program to additional cities each year. If you’d like to help launch Circles in your city, please email circles@hbs.edu.

The Enrollment period for Circles 2019 has closed. If you are interested in being in a Circle, please read below and follow the link to the enrollment survey for your city. Please fill out the survey with as much information as possible. You will notice there are questions about your age, industry, employment status, marital status, children, ethnicity, etc. We use this information to compose Circles with as much diversity as possible while addressing any concerns you may have. Your name will be added to the wait list, and we will only contact you if there is an opening in a current Circle that matches your availability and preferences. Enrollment for new members will begin again in late summer/early fall 2019. 

ENROLLMENT SURVEYS

Circles Bulletin Board

From interesting podcasts to conferences focusing on career re-entry, the HBS Alumnae Circle’s community is full of rich resources. If you have an event, conference, resource or job posting that you feel is particularly relevant to Circles members, please update the attached Google Document. Please note, you must be logged in to update and view the document.

Circles Bulletin Board

Below are additional career resources that exist at the school.
Career Coaching: In one-on-one consultations, discuss all aspects of the career development process from job search strategies to evaluating offers.
Flexible Work Opportunities & Career Re-Entry: Whether you are looking to scale back or considering re-entering the workforce, there are many reasons alumni seek flexible work opportunities. 
Job Postings: Browses job postings geared towards HBS alumni and upload your resumes to get noticed by recruiters
Career Webinars: Learn from career experts and fellow alumni on how to develop your leadership potential, build your professional brand, and advance your career.


QUESTIONS?


Send inquiries to circles@hbs.edu for more information.