There are more than 28,000 of them at workplaces around the world. They’re active in at least 141 different counties. And 85-percent of employees credit them with a positive change in their lives.
InfoTrust is proud to have one with eight members and counting.
What is it?
Pam Castricone, InfoTrust Web Analytics Consultant, calls it a “support system” like no other.
“If there was something that I felt like I needed to discuss, this is definitely where I’d go,” she says.
Castricone is one of the newest members of InfoTrust’s Lean In Circle, a small group of women who meet regularly to learn and grow together.
It’s a way of stepping outside their comfort zones and “leaning in” — a movement inspired by the book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.
The book has since launched a foundation, which encourages companies to start their own Lean In Circles. InfoTrust buys a copy of the book for every employee who is interested and provides regular work time for the group to meet, read, and discuss the book.
“This group is a great part of the company and really shows that InfoTrust values a culture of caring for each other,” Castricone says. “There can be challenges to working in any male-dominated field such as the technology industry, and this group helps us to connect and coach each other. Despite our different backgrounds, we’ve discovered that we have a lot of shared experiences.”
The group meets at least once a month to discuss a new chapter of the book. The Lean In Foundation provides discussion questions and icebreakers that always seem to get the group active, excited, and engaged.
“It’s a really nice way to get some reflective time in at work and get to know other employees on a deeper level,” she says.
The Lean In Foundation encourages companies to start the Circles because research shows people are more confident and are able to learn and accomplish more effectively in small groups. Lean In Circles are typically groups of eight to 12 employees who are at similar stages in life with shared goals.
Members receive step-by-step meeting guides and activities, expert videos on important topics and skills, and group emails and social feeds so everyone can easily stay in touch.
“InfoTrust knows new ideas can add value. It’s one of the best things about the culture — everyone is valued,” she says.
Castricone, originally from Cleveland, received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from John Carol University and her graduate degree in statistics from Miami University.
“I’m drawn to math and statistics because I like to challenge myself,” she says. “I love the satisfaction of figuring something out and then being able to share that deeper level of understanding with others.”
When she started looking for jobs after graduation, InfoTrust stuck out to her because of its distinction as a Top Workplace, a local award given to the best place to work in Cincinnati.
“I was really excited about the opportunity to analyze real-world data with my degree and do it at such a great place.” As a Web Analytics Consultant at InfoTrust, Castricone helps companies and organizations set up or fix their web analytics.
“I like being involved in the client relationship and being able to take the lead on projects,” she says.
Castricone calls every day a fun challenge full of things such as assisting clients in learning how people are using their websites to working closely with coders to improve tools and data systems. She applies what she learns in the InfoTrust Lean In Circle daily.
“My contributions are valued,” she says. “You’re encouraged to find solutions and that feels really good.”
She remembers one experience in particular shortly after she started at InfoTrust. There was something new she wanted try with one of her projects. She turned to her boss, InfoTrust President Alex Yastrebenetsky, and asked if she could pursue her idea.
“He looked at me and said, ‘You don’t have to ask permission. You can just do it.’” She knew then she had definitely picked the right place to work.
“Everyone is really open and we’re encouraged to go after things we’re passionate about,” she says. “Ideas are not shut down. They’re encouraged.”