Eight days to go before 90 women from around the world converge in Ushuaia, Argentina, to experience the final component of the third program of a STEMM-focussed, women-only global leadership initiative: Homeward Bound – from dream to global initiative in 4.5 years, a phenomenon of inclusion, collaboration, legacy thinking and deep, deep trust in common cause.
As I prepare to separate again from my family, to take my year’s holiday leave working with and helping this cohort, I ask myself why I am doing this, what it stands for in our world, and what I think this third cohort will create together on behalf of all of us.
To answer this, I have to start with the end in mind. Imagine for a moment a world led in equal measure by men and women. Imagine a much-changed model of leadership. Imagine a collaborative, inclusive and legacy-minded focus on the health and wellbeing of our planet. I imagine these things all the time. I believe (with significant evidence to support my perspective) that these attributes are more likely to be fostered with more women leading, not as an act of equity but of sustainability.
Imagine a world where not only do women lead more visibly, but women with a STEMM background (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine). Science has touched every part of where we are today, and likely will touch every part of our collective future. In my mind’s eye, women are present in co-creating this future and in helping all of us understand the costs and benefits of our choices.
The vision of Homeward Bound (now owned by over 320 women representing 40 nationalities and some 25 different scientific fields) is very clear: 1000 women by 2026 with a STEMM background who are a) More able to lead as a result of their involvement with Homeward Bound, b) All feeling and recognising that women are stronger together and c) All working for the greater good and having a visible impact.
I am personally involved because I love my children deeply. Simple as that. I think we need more women leading and I can help make that happen.
In our world today, these women bring a collective skill to add value, and they are clear and critical thinkers. This third cohort are benefiting from the wisdom, collaboration and feedback of the previous two. Their experience, insight and feedback will further refine and advance Homeward Bound for the fourth group (already underway with their on the-ground virtual program).
I think, this year, we will consolidate the leadership and visibility focus. We will also advance the gender think tank started earlier this year to selective actions we can take as individuals, in collaborative teams and as a whole.
So far, from what we know, there have been at least 350+ online/TV/mainstream media interviews/articles, 63 educational talks in schools, 91 speaking/presentation opportunities (e.g. keynotes, conferences, seminars, workshops), 32 radio interviews and 10 podcast interviews.
In 2019, the documentary created in support of Homeward Bound, Beautiful Minds: Agents of Change (Bunya Productions) will be released, and the second podcast series This is Our Time will go to air.
We will keep refining and improving what we do to ensure we deliver on the promise of Homeward Bound. It is a grand journey, one I share with a group of dedicated minds, including those of the co-founders, Justine Shaw and Mary-Anne Lea. None of us is willing to step aside, and progressively more and more alumnae are joining the faculty.
An unstoppable force and an unshakeable purpose.
From little things big things grow.
Fabian Dattner, Homeward Bound Co-Founder and CEO