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A February kickoff of YNHHS’ 2020 Lean In class included a panel discussion about gender equity that featured (l-r): Mark Rogers, director of Pharmacy, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, a member of the pilot Men Leaning In circle; and previous Lean In Circle participants Karen Brown, MD, medical director of Primary Care, Northeast Medical Group; and Deremius Williams, YNHHS vice president of Payer Strategy.


YNHHS’ successful Lean In program continues to grow

In 2014, Yale New Haven Health launched a pilot “Lean In Circle” in which 10 women leaders across the health system met regularly to share experiences and learn how to excel in the workplace.

Recently, 95 women in YNHHS’ sixth Lean In class gathered to help kick off another year of a successful program that is growing in size and scope. They were joined by members of YNHHS’ pilot Men Leaning In circle and graduates of the Lean In Class of 2019.

“We extended Lean In to our male colleagues because we felt that in order to appreciate what this is about, they needed to be part of the experience,” said Marna Borgstrom, YNHHS CEO. “It will take women and men working together to truly close the gender equity gap and lead the organization into the future.”

Based on Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, the circles are open to all women in YNHHS management and physicians who are or aspire to be in management.

“Women completing the program found it so valuable, they were asking, ‘What’s next?’” said YNHHS Lean In program leader Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president, Operations, and executive director, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

In response, the health system introduced a “Leaning In for Life” program for previous Lean In Circle participants last October. In addition, YNHHS recently launched an Affinity Group for women who are not in management but seek personal development and professional career advancement. Managed by YNHHS’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Affinity Group will lead efforts to promote gender equality and support diversity and inclusion in collaboration with the Lean In Circle program. To learn more about the Affinity Group, email diversity@ynhh.org.

“Lean In is about building confidence, knowledge and careers,” Borgstrom said at the kickoff. “It’s about building a sense of self-worth.”

To learn more about Lean In, visit the Institute for Excellence section of the YNHHS employee intranet (in network only).