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Lean In RUC

Lean In RUC Campus Kick Off

November 3, 2013, Lean In RUC held our Kickoff Event at Circle Café at the Renmin University of China.

Over 40 young ladies joined us in this wonderful event, aiming to share the Lean In attitude with more female students, create that firm support from closely connected Circles, encourage other female students to think positively, and empower them to take action by getting them out of their comfort zones.

Before the kickoff started, we asked our attendees to answer the question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” similar to what the Lean In community had launched online before. We received a lot of inspiring answers, like “I would try sky diving,” “I would travel around the world alone,” and “I would conduct a venture project.”

We randomly assigned attendees into circles of 6-8 people. Just like speed dating, we designed an ice breaker to let the participants get to know each other quickly and create a comfortable sharing atmosphere. Lean In RUC organizing team members moderated each circle’s discussion. We also invited some team members from Lean In Beijing to join the circle sharing about personal goals, long-term career choices, and relationship problems. During the circle meeting, the students now not only were able to experience empathy from hearing and sharing with their peers, but also gained new insight from Lean In Beijing members with professional working experience.

The last part of the kickoff event was public sharing. Some rejoiced that they made new like-minded friends; some gained courage to be open-minded, receiving positive feedback and support. Some found a new way of thinking about the world through communicating with different people, and some found themselves more confident and ambitious through this kickoff event.

As a Lean In RUC organizing team member, I found a lot of power and energy from these students. Something Virginia, a Lean In Beijing member from Singapore, said stuck with me, “You don’t ask, you don’t get.” We do need to empower ourselves to achieve our goals and ambitions.

After the event, there were still many students looking to share and exchange their inspiring thoughts with each other. After the event, I found lots of support from comments on the participants’ social networks, including “Lean In! Girls do need such group support from a circle,” and “Lean In gives me lots of inspiration, and it feels really awesome. Looking forward to the next gathering with amazing ladies!”

By bringing the circle culture to Renmin University of China, we made our first step as a Lean In team reaching out to other female students. It amazed us that by sharing, discussing, and questioning honestly, we found that we all had a connected experience and common questions with which to encourage and support each other.

This is what “leaning in” is about–with peer support and mentorship, together we are better! We hope through our efforts, it will be more than just a slogan.

By Carrie Hwang




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