I first heard of Lean In last autumn/fall when a co-working space I was based in, were hosting a networking morning for the ladies of Lean In Belfast. I was pretty intrigued to find out a bit more, as I have always championed women in business, and having a ready made network to join sounded ideal.

I joined a local Facebook group, not really knowing much about Lean In except that it was started by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. As with all of these things, it’s only when you actually read the book yourself, you can make your own mind up. As I had some free time while we were visiting my in-laws in Australia over Christmas, I downloaded the book onto my kindle and started to read. I couldn’t put it down! It is written in a way that makes it really easy to read — lots of great real-life stories about women stepping up.

Everything in the book resonated with me. From my first job in Software Engineering back in 2000 when a senior (male) member of staff told one of my colleagues they had employed more women this year ‘to make the place look pretty’ to the frustration I had felt in my Project Management role where I wasn’t able to progress my career because I had chosen to work part time around my family. More about that here.

When I got back from my trip, I was fully ready to really Lean In!! Brilliant timing as the Lean In Belfast circle was launched in collaboration with AllStateNI last week. There were women there from all different jobs and businesses, stay at home mums and even some men :). Lean in Belfast describe itself as a vibrant, supportive network full of inspiring women determined to make a difference in the world. Well who wouldn’t want to get involved?

launch of Lean In Belfast with AllState

It is wonderful to find a network of like-minded women — ready to support each other and bounce ideas and issues off. I am already booked into a mentoring walk in March, where we are going to be meeting local school girls and talking to them about all the opportunities waiting for them.

Lean In Belfast was started by local entrepreneur Nuala Murphy, and there are numerous circles within the group including one for Entrepreneurs, one for Women in Tech and many more. If you want to find out more, visit http://leaninbelfast.com/ #TogetherWomenCan

I have already stuck my hand up and joined the committee, to help with marketing the group on social media. Excited to see what happens now! #LeanIn

Originally published at medium.com