Homeward bound from the Pilbara to the Antarctic - elevating the role of women in leadership

By Rachael Marshall

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What is Homeward Bound?

Homeward bound is a state of the art leadership and strategic program that endeavours to elevate the role of women in leadership globally; demonstrate how polar science informs us about the health of our planet and explores how women at the leadership table might give us a more sustainable future. A total of 42 applicants were chosen from 80 short listed applicants from around the globe to join the expedition, and i was fortunate enough to be selected. Along the voyage a team of globally acknowledged scientists will share valuable insights into the complex environmental systems our world relies on whilst fostering a 'think tank' environment for the participants from an array of science, research and communication backgrounds to brainstorm and discuss challenges facing our future. Here we will gain pragmatic skills to influence decision makers and an improved ability to deal with sensitive, difficult or political discussions. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that promises to bear fruit well into the future.

It is a vision, an adventure, a collective pursuit to better the world through science, education, communication, collaborative thinking and credible influence.

January 2017

It's being filmed..

The voyage will also form part of a new documentary series which follows the whole process from selection to induction, the voyage to the return, captured by a team of leading Australian documentary makers. The goal of the film is to shine a light on the global crisis that is the profound shortage of women in leadership, encouraging a ripple effect of change to address this imbalance.

Why is it so important?

The world is changing, the pressures on the environment are increasing, and the conditions of key environmental health indicators are falling. We are out of balance and risk spiraling out of control. On top of this, in 2015 women are still drastically under represented at the leadership table and are not having an influence on these critical discussions. In fact, Australia is going backwards into a realm of unconscious gender bias. Here's some Australian 'women in leadership' statistics from 2014:

- Woman hold 12% of chair positions and 23% of directorships in reporting agencies.
- Women represent 17% of CEOs and 26% of key management personal
- Women leaders are opportunity driven, strategic, passionate, entrepreneurial, purposeful and meaningful, and value traditions and family.

So Why is it important? Because woman make a difference. Balancing the gender voice at the leadership table can make a significant difference in influencing environmental sustainability in Australia and abroad. Worth thinking about isn't it?

Why are we heading to Antarctica?

There are few places on Earth where climate change is more apparent than Antarctica. Antarctica has experienced air temperature increases of 3°C in the Antarctic Peninsula Although that might not seem very much, it is 5 times the mean rate of global warming as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Over the past 50 years, the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the most rapidly warming parts of the planet, and is not just restricted to the land. It has now been established that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is warming more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole. Studying climate change in Antarctica is important because it enables scientists to predict more accurately future climate change and provide information to politicians and policy makers. Where better for future leaders to come together to see and discuss future climate than Antarctica?

Why do I need financial support and where do the funds go?

Homeward Bound is funding the Antarctic Program; however I am relying on the generosity of my friends, family, colleagues and networks, as well as my own funds, to help me cover the cost of my berth on the ship. I need to raise $15,000 USD (roughly $18,000 AUD by June 2016). The program is estimated to cost approximately $40,000 USD per participant.The fraction i am requested to contribute will cover accommodation, food and transfers. On top of this i need to cover the costs from Karratha to Hobart and return. I'm not expecting to raise all the money and am contacting private organisations and madly saving to ensure i am part of this epic, inspiring and trail blazing expedition.

If by some miracle i raise MORE than i need, i'd like to "pay it forward" and use the excess funds to help other participants that weren't able to raise sufficient funds.

By no means will this be a "grab and dash" - the Homeward Bound program is designed to increase awareness, encourage and mentor woman everywhere, not just those that have been selected. Therefore your donation is an investment and an acknowledgement that this program is an opportunity to make a difference, to inspire future leaders in climate science and policy and improve the representation of women at the decision table for science and policy.

Who's behind this campaign

Homeward Bound is the brain child of Fabian Dattner, one of Australia's best-known female entrepreneurs, speakers and leadership commentators. The idea was born in August 2014 and has gained considerable attention and momentum over the last 4 months attracting support from both the private and public sectors, media and research institutions alike. Homeward Bound already has in-kind and financial and support from a wide range of sponsors and faculty including Jane Goodall – primatologist and environmental campaigner, Greer Simpkin - producer (former head of fiction for ABC) , Janine Hosking - director (My Khmer Heart, Ganja Queen and last years award winning documentary 35 Letter), Dr Susan David – Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Coaching, awarded speaker and coach, and Clare Bowditch – award winning singer and activist.

Fabian Dattner recently wrote on the open Homeward Bound Facebook forum

"It is important you all understand that Homeward Bound is a big vision; underpinning every part of it is this: can we genuinely start a collaborative global movement of women like you - clever, qualified, experienced, capable and influential, who've been given a rare opportunity to have state of the art leadership and strategic education, who act individually but who work collectively for a better world, holding and supporting each other, no matter where we all are. You have been selected for Homeward Bound because we see your potential. You will be a profoundly more effective and influential woman when we return to Hobart, Australia. You will have a massively elevated sense of innovation, strategy and how to sustain execution."

Watch Fabian Dattner's TEDx talk below
Another fantastic TED talk by yet another inspirational woman is by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO about "Why we have too few women leaders"

Here's some perks for helping me get there...

As a thank you for your generosity enabling me to travel to a place which has always been in my dreams, whilst interacting with an amazing group of influential woman of science and leaders in their fields, i would like to offer perks as an incentive to dig a little deeper to help me accomplish my goal.

Some of these perks include my acrylic paintings and mounted photographs of the beautiful Pilbara taken by some very talented Western Australian Photographers. Keep a look out for new perks as they come to light. You can see some of my previous paintings on my website www.middleofthewaterart.com. Scroll down to see the Perks.

During the year leading up to the expedition, i will keep you posted about the achievements of the Homeward Bound network and the planning for the voyage. I will also be writing regular articles on the Mermaid's Society website www.themermaidsociety.com.au.

If you have perks you would like to donate to help me achieve my goal, please contact me! Below are some of the ones on offer..

Thank You!

Visit the Homeward Bound Webpage

To follow Homeward Bound on Facebook click on the following:

HOMEWARD BOUND Website coming soon! Stay Tuned.

For a full Homeward Bound Project brief, please contact me.

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Team Members

Rachael Marshall