Welcome, Leader

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

- John F. Kennedy

Your CEO nominated you. They believe in your potential as a leader and want to invest in you. They are sharing an experience that has helped them personally or professionally more than any class or coach.

The CEOs who participate in YPO’s Industry Networks are banding together to provide Forums for their Key Associates. If you haven’t heard of Forum, we’ll try to explain here, schedule time with you to explain or set you up with a sample experience. Once you are ready, please let us know your interest with this very short form linked below, and we’ll place you on a waiting list. Once we reach critical mass to form a high-quality Forum of about 8 leaders from your industry, we’ll be in touch.

Or get in touch with the team to ask questions and get more information here.

What Is Forum?

Forum is hard to explain, but we’ll try. It isn’t for everyone, but most leaders find it to be one of the most valuable things they can do with their time. Diverse peers meet monthly in a confidential space to work on their biggest challenges. They form strong bonds that help each outside the Forum session, by sharing networks, ideas, and support. The process itself teaches leadership lessons about vulnerability, powerful questions, storytelling, and many other skills.

Do I Have Time for This?

This is a firm commitment, like a Board of Directors meeting. Each member’s consistent voice is crucial to creating a powerful session. Meetings should not be attended on the go; you’ll need to arrange your calendar to be in a quiet place with strong internet for these two hours. But rest assured, you’ll have the support of your CEO, who understands what Forum means on a calendar.

There is almost no work outside the Forum. And inside, you are working on your most pressing challenges. Participants say that they can’t afford not to make this time.

Hear What Other Key Associates Say:

Success Metrics From
YPO key Associate Forums:

The first cohorts of YPO Key Associate Forums launched earlier in 2023.

A design team that includes YPO’s Forum leadership reviews session results and applies learnings. Cohort two will be even better.

Here’s a 30-second testimonial from one of the participants.

Nuts & Bolts

YPO Networks & Timelines

What Happens Next?

We’ll take it from here. Once you have confirmed your interest, representatives from CIN, YPO, and Circl.es will curate your Forum group and send invitations. You will have a few days to accept your spot. All along, we’re here to explain details and answer your questions live or via email

About YPO

YPO is a global leadership community of chief executives driven by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders. We come together in YPO to become better leaders and better people. Through YPO, we are inspired and supported to make a difference in the lives, businesses and the world we impact.

About Circl.es

Circles Learning Labs has partnered with YPO and other peer learning leaders like Harvard Business School and The Aspen Institute to build technology that makes it easy to scale a consistently great Forum experience virtually.


For many of us, the relationship with our Forum mates transcends the words “friend,” “colleague” and “advisor.” You will gain a circle of others who are deeply invested in their success. You will have a committed space in your busy calendar for reflection on your biggest leadership challenges. You will also experience the powerful leadership lessons members all have, around vulnerability, inclusion, presence, listening, blind spots, storytelling, diverse perspectives learning itself — you will gain leaders around you who get this and become allies reinforcing those things in your own workplace.

This Forum is gifted to you by your sponsor.

This is a question best addressed to the CEO who nominated you: will they encourage you/support you in keeping this commitment to your Forum the way they do to theirs? We recommend framing this as a Board Meeting. Because it is virtual, certain special norms, like being in a quiet stationary place with good internet, need to be practiced. At the end of the day, each Forum will determine its own norms, starting with YPO’s recommended best practices for Forum.

We’ll start with the YPO standard of “Noone, Nothing, Never.” During the initial training meetings, Forums will spend time grappling with what this really means. We’re designing the first year as a gradual learning experience, where norms like this will be consistently revisited, with member’s understanding and skill deepening over time. 

The number one rule is: you gotta wanna. Your CEO feels that you are an ambitious, open-hearted, rising leader. Most companies simply don’t have the in-house training resources to keep up with how fast you can and want to grow; yet they understand that our companies grow as quickly as our people do. 


An important advantage of this network-level matching process is that we can curate Forums, instead of creating them one at a time at the chapter level. A downside is that sometimes we won’t be able to accommodate a nominee, and they will have to wait until another cohort of several forums is created.

The matching process will rely on the Launchpad technology build by Circl.es, which will survey nominees and pull in some other key data about you. Then, representatives from YPO and Circl.es curate the groups and send invitations. You will have a few days to accept your Forum, after which we will add others to the group until we have 8 members committed.

We will first be selecting members who will feel like peers. We’ll consider company size, sector, and years of experience. However, diversity fuels learning. Once we achieve a certain level of peeriness, we will diversify as much as possible. If there are enough of a key role, like CFO’s, we may try to form role-specific Forums.  Forum is fundamentally about leadership, not about tactical job advice, although if we do get a great functional group they may have the benefit of both. 

Maybe. We are planning for a certain level of churn, and do have a process to add members to a Forum when this happens.

Our target is 6-8. We’ll likely begin with 8 members and anticipate possible drop-off.

Circles Learning Labs has partnered with YPO and other peer learning leaders like Harvard Business School and The Aspen Institute to build technology that makes it easy to scale a consistently great Forum experience virtually. The video space itself has features that make running a great Forum easy. Years of hardening has made the space reliable. But the entire digital environment makes the launching and managing of Forums at scale efficient. Participants will have almost no learning curve; you’ll simply join your session and instantly learn the few features that matter for Forum. There will be live and instant 24×7 support, just in case.

There’s nothing quite as impactful as a Forum retreat, and we’re excited to offer a yearly facilitated retreat as part of the YPO KA Forum Program. The cost is $850, excluding travel, food, and accommodation. For cohorts starting in May 2024 and beyond, this fee is already included in the program price. Retreats typically occur around the fifth meeting, with each Forum planning the retreat alongside their facilitator.

Probably, yes. YPO’s 35,000 member companies are spread across the world. In this program just over a quarter are outside North America. Exposing Key Associates to these diverse perspectives is a strength of the program for many. We do make sure to minimize time zone issues and never make a Forum that is too spread out to find a consistent time. In some cases, only one or two members of the Forum are outside North America and those members will usually travel to retreat. Forums spread across multiple countries usually chose a destination that all members can obtain visas and access easily. It is important to let us know any preferences or constraints in the intake forms, and consider this when accepting your Forum placement. We discourage hybrid (one member remote on the phone, others in the room) and virtual retreats.

We launch Forums three times a year. Roughly, we are able to find suitable Forums for about 80% of nominees, and as the program grows we expect that hit rate to go up. But it is helpful to pool candidates instead of continuously launching Forums to optimize the match. Here’s our calendar:

The Key Associate Forums will use all the processes and best practices of a YPO Forum. However, based on years of running circles for non-CEOs, we have found that there are some differences that need to be considered. In general, as a Key Associate you might have less scheduling freedom than their bosses. You also might not be familiar with YPO culture to start.

To support, we will have a professional moderator lead the group for at least the first year. The time commitment will only be 2-hour virtual sessions. We do expect that some Forums and individuals will ask for more – and so we are making provisions for a retreat option. We’ll keep our eye on this and follow the energy to possibly offer more intense versions, or to support a Forum in increasing its hours.

We’ve absolutely seen breakthrough results with this format. Certainly, more is always possible, and we’ll keep the door open to that. But shorter time commitment lowers the barrier to entry to get more rising leaders on the Forum path.

Let us know whether you prefer phone or email hereand we’ll be in touch shortly.

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