A Circle of Peers

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

Need help navigating your career and business decisions?

Plenty has been written about workplace equality and how having a mentor can help women further their careers. According to Cristina Cantarell, one of the leaders of the Lean In Zürich Chapter, having a circle of peers who both challenge and support you, can be your best career-making move!

With Fasnacht celebrations going on in the background (already?) we had a chance to “lean in” with Cristina at Chez Marion and find out more about this inspiring group…


Zuri Girl…How would you describe a Circle to someone not familiar with the concept of Lean In?

It is an intimate group of women that both challenge and support each other. It is not like the support you would get from your mother or your childhood friends because their link to you is professional. They bring a different perspective that helps you question yourself and advance in your career.

Zuri Girl…You mentioned that you own your current position to Lean In. How do you mean?

My Circle gave me the courage and helped me prepare for my job goal. We role played salary negotiations. They read my business plan and gave me feedback. Now they continue to give me input, and solutions on how to deal with difficult meetings or work situations.

Zuri Girl…How does a regular Circle operate?

It is normally composed of 10-12 women who meet frequently. Since the idea is for all to benefit from each other’s advice, sometimes we focus on helping one circle member with her specific work issues. At other times, we meet and discuss general challenges that we all face.

Zuri Girl…What attracted you to Lean In on the first place?

I have always been interested in feminist issues and once I read the book, I knew I wanted to be involved. I contacted the organization and managed to get invited to a leaders’ workshop, where I met Sheryl Sandberg.

Zuri Girl…Any tips you want to give Zuri Girls looking to jump start or further their careers?

Sheryl Sandberg recommends, and I agree that women with children should try to keep working at least on a part-time basis. That way they will be able to reinsert themselves in the business world with better pay parity options. Also, make an effort to network.

Check it out gals…the Zurich Chapter would be delighted to have you!

Article & Images by Zuri Girl Bruny Nieves…This Puerto Rican balances her mommy duties with freelance work in Public Relations, her Juice Plus franchise and writing about living in Switzerland from her tropical perspective in her TropiSuiza blog. Bruny likes to run, read and travel.