About Us

yoga womenCircleswork! offers you the tools and support you need to bring together a group of people in circle — whether for personal growth, teaching and learning, or community action. In circle, as people practice listening without judgment and speaking truth without fear, a deeply human capacity for cooperation naturally emerges. CirclesWork! tools provide a framework — a common language and practical techniques for cooperative work — to get you started and support you along the way as you build a circle that accomplishes its purpose and, at the same time, consistently works for everyone.

Our vision engages us in building a culture of cooperation, a  world where circles have become a primary way we gather as we remember our connection to each other and discover the wisdom we can only access together. Like the ancient vision of Indra’s Net connecting millions of points of light around the Earth, each circle then is a point of light in a world that works for everyone.

Our Mission 

CirclesWork! provides proven resources, tools and support to bring people together in circle and to co-create a culture of cooperation.

Our Vision

Circles midwife the new culture.

In conversations where each voice is honored, we hear our own voices, become our more authentic selves, strengthen our capacities for leadership, bring our gifts and passions to action, and discover the wisdom we hold together that not one of us carries alone.

Indras-net-beads2In an expanding worldwide “Indra’s Net” of circles, the new story of our time emerges — a story that can sustain life on earth in a human culture of cooperation and compassion that benefits all of life.

CirclesWork! Principles

Equality: Each circle member participates as an equal part of the whole.

Respect: We listen without judgment, with compassion, and practice non-violence.  We clear the air to stay present and authentic with one another.

Gratitude and Abbondanza: What we appreciate appreciates. Appreciating and taking joy in the talents and gifts of others, and recognizing our own, brings synergy and generates empowerment.

Cooperation: Working together in cooperation honors the truth of our  interdependence.

CirclesWork! Founders

Lauren J. Oliver, PhD and Bonnie Burstein PhD, founders of CirclesWork!, each bring more than 40 years of experience in facilitating and training groups, organizations and circles to work well for the members — empowering them to meet their goals while building strong, trusting inter-relationships.

Lauren Jinshil Oliver, PhD

Lauren J. Oliver, PhD, expresses her passion for building and evolving sustainable community by launching action circles, to connect those ready to make a difference in the world, and to make our impacts visible.   Dr. Oliver co-founded CirclesWork! (2006) to launch action circles of peacemakers.  As a coach and organization development consultant with a 25-year career in industry, Lauren focused on high-performing teams and change management. She served as architect and director of the training and development system at Toyota’s first North American plant (NUMMI) for ten years.  As an executive consultant with Personnel Decisions International, Pacific Gas & Electric, and in South Korea, Lauren provided leadership and organization development, team building, quality management, problem solving, and continuous improvement. Parallel to obtaining her B.A. at Harvard University, and her PhD in Clinical Psychology at UCLA, she trained and worked with circle-oriented organizations like the LA Radical Therapy Women’s Collective, and she co-founded Support Group Network (1982), a training program for building strong circles of mutual support – the roots for CirclesWork! Go to Work with Lauren Oliver to find out how she can help you revitalize your circle community.

Bonnie Burstein, PhD

Bonnie Burstein, PhD, is an award-winning director of Psychology Training at Los Angeles Harbor College’s Life Skills Center (LSC). The LSC was designated by the Board of Governors of the 112 California Community Colleges as “Exemplary Program of the Year – 2004.” For eight years in the 1980’s, as program director of the California Self-Help Center at UCLA, Burstein developed and extensively field-tested the model group format that evolved into CirclesWork!. Among the founders of the Maple Center in Beverly Hills, and the Parent Project, her programs have consistently been cited for bold vision, innovation and productivity. Burstein is associate editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology; worked with the U.S. Surgeon General, served on the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, and Saybrook University.