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Find out more about Lean In in Ireland
I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely Jennifer Maher of BeGeal Training & Coaching recently. The focus of our chat was to speak about the Lean In Circle that she facilitates and to learn more about the Lean In movement that has taken the world by force over the past number of years. If you’ve read my blog on a few of my must read recommendations, you’ll know that Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book is right up there!
Jennifer’s Story – Redundancy
In order to get perspective on what Jennifer’s role is in the Lean In movement, I started out by asking her to tell me a little bit about her own journey and career path. She had worked for many years in the banking sector and as she says, she dodged the voluntary redundancy bullet a few times, until she reaslised she needed to make a change in her life. The next time that redundancy offer came around, she jumped (rather than be pushed!). Why? Well, she was now a Mum to two young kids and the work life balance needed to be readdressed.
The Next Chapter
Jennifer took some time out to become an accredited coach, trainer and facilitator and if you look at her Linkedin profile, you’ll see why. She was always in a nurturing and development role with teams. She had a flair for identifying potential and positive attributes in her team members and had a talent for bringing out the best in them.
BeGeal Training & Coaching
In 2019 Jennifer established BeGeal Training and Coaching with the purpose of helping women find their buzz. As someone who experienced first hand the sense of identity crisis, post redundancy, she wanted to help other ladies in this predicament. Her focus is to speak with women who are in a rut, who need an exit strategy, who need clarity of purpose and who want to grow their confidence so that they can lead a more fulfilled life. ‘Geal’ is the Irish word for bright. So in essence she enacts her passion for people by helping them find their inner brightness.
Lean In Wicklow is Born
This journey led Jennifer to enter the Lean In community. She had been invited by Breda McCague to join a Lean In meeting in April 2018. Daunted but determined, she entered the room not knowing anyone but Breda. She left with new friends and more than a dollop of inspiration and enlightenment. She felt uplifted and was amazed at the wisdom, the openness to sharing, the willingness to help and support each other from this vibrant community of ladies.
Jennifer did a little investigation to find out what local Lean In Circles were available and accessible to her and when she realised that there was nothing local, she decided to start her own network in Wicklow after her a-ha moment of ‘why don’t I do this myself’. So with some trepidation, she set herself a goal of two months to make it happen. She tapped some people on the shoulder and by 18th January 2019, she had her first group up and running with 9 like-minded women. Jennifer did add that men are most welcome, and I know this is a common question by men when they hear of women only networks. Men are always welcome.
The practical info:
At a practical level and to share some other key information, there is no cost to attendance and it’s a not for profit organisation. Circles meet every two months, and in our pandemic period, they are running online. The requirement is for members to commit to their attendance, to bring an open mindset to learning and indeed to sharing. If we think about it, we’re all going to know women and men who are:
- facing challenges in their job because of their gender
- need to learn how to help one another
- willing to share experiences
- open to motivating and spurring others on to succeed
- feeling imposter syndrome
- feeling a lack of confidence
- struggling with work life balance
The format of a Circle can change from session to session. Sometimes it’s a gathering and general discussion around a theme, set by Jennifer. Other times, a guest speaker is brought in to share an experience, a journey, their story with a view to engaging and inspiring the ladies around the table. I’m a big believer, that by listening and engaging, you’ll always take away a nugget from a meeting such as this…but the key is being open and receptive.
Who should attend?
If you’ve just been made redundant. If you are facing an identity crisis and need to soundboard. If you are feeling imposter syndrome. For any of these reasons and more, such as you are looking to start networking and grow your confidence, then I highly recommend joining a Lean In Circle. You’ve be welcomed by a warm, inspiring, varied, encouraging, open, non-judgemental group of people who want to share their experiences and help others flourish. As Jennifer aptly put it: we are more alike than we are different. There’s a warmth and comfort in knowing this. You aren’t alone.
If you’d like to learn more about the Lean In Wicklow network, you can contact Jennifer directly. She’ll definitely help you #findyourbuzz. You can also wing your way over to her social channels and follow her as she buzzes around on Instagram & Facebook!