Lean In Calgary - Lean in Canada

About Our Network

Lean In Calgary is a city-wide network that publicly launched in 2019. Lean In Calgary was founded by Susan Elford who served as Network President until July 1, 2022 before taking on the role of Director, Network Liaison for the Lean In Canada Board and Sharleen Gatcha stepped into the role of Network President. Sharleen joined Lean In Calgary as Co-Lead, Circles in April 2020 after becoming a Circle Leader of the YYC Calgary Circle in 2019.

Susan started the first Lean in Circle in Calgary geared towards the working woman who was encountering roadblocks in her career due to motherhood, family responsibilities, or other gender-inspired challenges in early 2015 after reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book: Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Susan’s story is similar to that of the founding president of Lean in Canada and many other circles and networks around the world. Women the world over read Sheryl’s book and wanted to be a part of creating more equality in the workplace.

Lean In Canada is a community of professional women empowering each other to build purposeful and fulfilling careers. We all share that common purpose and drive to be our best, including efforts to remove gender-based obstacles that are in our way. There is so much work to do to continue the journey towards equality.

Lean in Calgary is proud to share the following accomplishments since launching in 2019:

  • Designed and launched a public consultation program to invite community leaders to share what they might look for in another women’s networking organization.
  • Created the Lean in Calgary Leadership Team and recruited volunteers. Today, we are thrilled to have 10 dedicated team members who work to grow and support Lean in Calgary throughout the year.
  • Recruited sponsors and launched Lean in Calgary in September 2019 to 200+ attendees at the historic St. Louis Hotel in Calgary’s East Village.
  • Held our first Circle Up! Event in October 2019 (in a snowstorm) that activated 35 new circles in our city. This style of event was the first of its kind in Canada and throughout the world and quickly became an annual event for us and for other networks across Canada.
  • Monster Canada sponsored an event in Feb 2020 titled ‘Building your Career’. Held at Hotel Arts with 80 attendees, this was our last in-person event before COVID rained on our parade!
  • In early 2021 we hosted an inspiring conversation in partnership with our friends at the YWCA.
  • In Spring 2021 we hosted a virtual three-part series related to Confidence, attracting hundreds of attendees from around the world. The series focused on Confidence, Career Confidence, and Leadership Confidence, presented by local experts.
  • In September 2021, we hosted (still virtually) an event showcasing the top candidates in the fiercely contended Calgary Mayoral election. Not only did this event become one of ‘the’ events to be attended by the top candidates, but it was also recognized internationally by Sheryl Sandberg herself, as well as Lean in leaders from around the world as truly having made an impact.
  • In February 2022, we hosted our second annual Circle Up event virtually for 40+ attendees that included participants from across North America!
  • In June 2022 we hosted Summer Solstice Networking Cocktails and had the opportunity to see each other for the first time in more than 2 years. We heard our network wanted more in-person networking opportunities like this one and we plan to deliver!

Going forward, Lean In Calgary will continue to build on Lean in’s mission to support women in the workplace across Canada and around the world and will host events that get to the heart of what matters most to them. There is still so much work to do in this regard.

Join us, won’t you?  Make a commitment to yourself to participate in at least one event with Lean In Calgary this year or next. Together we are stronger!

Join our organizing committee today – click here to view our volunteer opportunities.


Sharleen Gatcha

Calgary Network President

Reena Khullar

VP of Strategy & Partnerships

Nicole Eaton

Vice-President, Operations

Brittany Gilmour

Co-Lead, Graphic & Socials

Jordan Wigle

Head Finance

Cara Hughes

Lead, Finance & Corporate Secretary

Cheralee Rutledge

Co-Head Circles

Sabine Dinnert

Co-Head Circles

Babette Machalka

Co-Head Events

Paola Abedini

Co-Head, Events

Kelsey Scott

Co-Lead, Events