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Dining out & Leaning In!

Updated: Apr 21, 2018

On Thursday 16th November, I attended a Lean In Supper Circle for the first time. Since I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, I had been meaning to check out one of the Lean In Circles in London who have the same open mindset. Women sharing stories, careers and experiences over supper; it is no wonder this is one of the most successful Lean In Circles in London and Europe!

The origins of this Circle are exactly what Sheryl Sandberg would love and endorse – two women who wanted to meet other women over great food, wine and most of all good company! Emma Roberts and Lucie Dessarts took a gamble last year and put down a £250 deposit on a restaurant and now have 500 members in the supper club.

“The format is familiar yet more intimate than other networking events”

There is a reason why the monthly supper club is so successful – there is something delightfully unexpected about having “supper” while meeting other ambitious women. There are no business cards being flashed – all your bios and photos are in a printed brochure and emailed in advance.

The connection in common is that all the women want to meet other like-minded women, have meaningful conversations and be inspired. There is no need to let the girl bosses description put you off, the average woman was 30ish, and there were also some women pre and post that. (including myself, well post 30!).

We were 28 in total and a mix of women that had been previously and newbies. It starts off with an hour of networking drinks. My advice is to get there at the time it starts so that you enjoy meeting more women. We then heard from a Miranda Dini from Axon Communications who shared her story and learnings from her transatlantic career. The restaurant was private to us so it was relaxed with great service over the three-course dinner. The din rose over the evening as conversations flowed fun and random conversations.

“If you are similar to me and the term networking does not warm your heart this group is great”

I shared the evening and table with women from across industries and functions. This included a freelance digital strategist, a marketing manager for a large FMGC, M&A acquisition manager and Project Director. There was a familiar vein in the conversations, I wanted someplace to come and talk to women outside my workplace and industry.

Of course we talked about mentoring (no surprise given my passion!) and the experiences or lack of it. I spoke to one women who in the last week had a woman say to her, “I believe in you, you can do whatever you want”. Such a powerful statement and exactly why I started Back Yourself Mentoring.

Lean In Supper Club is now run by Lauren Dunn, as Emma and Lucie have been offered new roles – Emma directly with the Lean In organisation. The Supper Club are looking for new members for their committee if you are interested. If supper is not your preference, check out any of the Lean In Circle groups in your area or you can even start your own.

I’m looking forward to the next one!

This blog first appeared on the fabulous ToGetHer Further community.

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