Astrophysicist, Speaker & Author
Astrophysicist, Speaker & Author
Astrophysicist, Speaker & Author
HOMEWARD BOUND TO ANTARCTICA - JOINING COHORT #6 TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN STEMM
The vision of Homeward Bound is all about empowering women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) to enhance their clarity, confidence, shared vision, and strategic capability. This, in turn, enables them to assume global leadership roles and contribute proactively to a sustainable world. Homeward Bound aims at redefining leadership to fit our current world, emphasizing a "global home" led with integrity, results-driven motivation, the ability to inspire, care for relationships, and a collaborative spirit. By 2036, Homeward Bound aspires to have built a global network of 10,000 influential women in STEMM. These women will impact decision-making across sectors, moving forward with integrity, results-oriented drive, the ability to inspire others, genuine care for relationships, and a relentless dedication to collaboration to achieving all our shared aspirations. While acknowledging the complexity of the challenges ahead, Homeward Bound’s endeavor represents a small yet impactful contribution to address these pressing global issues collectively.
Preparing for an immersive training and a transformational experience
As #415, I have been part of Homeward Bound’s Cohort #6. From March 2021 to April 2022, I participated in the comprehensive bi-weekly online leadership component. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the second component is yet to take place: A three week long in-person training on a boat in/around Antarctica. My cohort’s voyage has recently been scheduled for November 2023, now that international travel is safe again.
The Antarctica voyage aims at providing a complete leadership immersion under challenging and remote conditions, and without much contact to the outside world. The goal is to enable a most unique engagement with ourselves, each other, and the challenges we will be addressing going forward. In order to support this journey for every one of us, each cohort of ~100 women is joined by a dedicated team of trainers, coaches and psychologists, and a medical professional.
Why I am doing this?
Homeward Bound aims at providing us with the skills and preparation needed to lead with impact and influence for the greater good. The wonderful program will provide me with the visibility, and the leadership and strategic capabilities to demonstrate a new model of leadership, thus creating better outcomes for our planet Earth. Because there is no Planet B. I’m so excited to be part of this unique initiative. Specifically, I hope to sharpen my own leadership skills as well as bring home inspiration, wisdom, tools, and tricks to share with my students, mentees, colleagues and friends, as well as in my LEAPS course offerings.
During the voyage, I plan to record daily leadership mini-lessons that feature the amazing Antarctic landscape and wildlife, based on our onboard curriculum, to share (aftwards) on social media and on my website. Stay tuned!
Antarctica is a unique position on the forefront of climate change. In the past 50 years, the Antarctic Peninsula has experienced some of the most significant warming on Earth, making it a key location for understanding the global impacts of climate change. There is a growing body of research indicating that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have a substantial influence on the Earth's climate. Homeward Bound aims at raising awareness of the devastating effects that climate change is bringing to the pristine Antarctic environment and the rest of the planet.
Our voyage to this remote and extreme landscape offers an immersive experience where participants can develop their leadership skills, engage in peer coaching, enhance problem-solving abilities, and foster collaboration. It will also put participants to the test, mentally and physically as Antarctica presents real challenges of isolation and teamwork which cannot be replicated or simulated in a conference environment.
Guided by our program mentors, faculty, and alumni, the women of Homeward Bound will practice introspection, deep reflection and understanding of core aspects of their thinking and behavioral styles. To successfully engage with this part of the program, participants need to be able to disconnect from their regular lives and networks – something that is rare and difficult for women to achieve. The rugged and remote nature of Antarctica uniquely enforces this.
Through this in-person meetup, our aim is to share and cultivate ideas, build trust, and collaborate on global initiatives.The result is a stronger Homeward Bound network that operates with the power of unity and collective effort.
Why should you support an all-female program?
There remains incredibly low representation of women in leadership positions across the globe – in science, and in many other disciplines. Currently, women comprise 60% of university graduates, but only 10-20% of them make it to senior decision-making roles or professional-level academia. Yet women have greater integrity, more emotional intelligence and are more inclusive leaders, fostering a sense of community strength and wellbeing. In addition, female leaders are shown to have a strong legacy mindset and are more trustworthy when making decisions around money, resources and assets.
Despite almost equal representation of men and women entering STEMM disciplines (both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level), the reality is that there are countless barriers that are preventing women from entering the upper levels of the STEMM workplaces. These include family commitments like taking time off work to have children, the lack of visible female mentors and role models in leadership positions, and discrimination and bias that occur in the workplace. And this is nothing new, sadly.
Minimizing the carbon footprint of voyaging to Antarctica
Homeward Bound is extremely concerned with minimizing the environmental impact of our leadership journey. As such, Homeward Bound takes on its responsibility to 100% offset the carbon emissions generated in the voyage component of the program. Homeward Bound’s first four voyages conducted to date have been 100% offset. Working with Homeward Bound alumnae, there is now a consistent process for participants and faculty of each cohort to follow.