Homeward Bound was co-founded by Fabian Dattner and Jess Melbourne-Thomas and the program has been created and led by a multidisciplinary leadership team from across the world who all donate their time and expertise to the project.

Fabian Dattner
Co-founder of Homeward Bound
Leadership Program Coordinator
2016  & 2018 on-board Leadership  facilitator and coach

Fabian Dattner is well known to many Australians. She is founding partner of Dattner Grant (Facebook Page), highly regarded leadership experts, and founder of Compass (Facebook Page), a national leadership initiative for women. Dattner Grant are also the initiators of Women at Their Best, a Facebook site for ordinary women doing extraordinary things. Fabian is widely recognised for her commitment to helping hundreds of men and women, in as many organisations from Board to basement. She has multiple technical accreditations and has been included in as many books as she’s written. She’s a speaker, educator and social entrepreneur and a regular commentator in the media on leadership and ethical issues in Australia today and the role of women in building a sustainable future. She is has been three times a finalist in the TELSTRA Business women’s awards (last in 2016) and has been selected as one of the NAB 2016 100 Women of Influence.
Connect with Fabian: LinkedInTwitter, Facebook

Kit J

Kit Jackson
Strategy Program Coordinator
2016 on-board Strategy facilitator and coach
2018 on-ground Strategy facilitator and coach

Kit is the founding partner of Strategy Together, an expert strategy management consultant and and executive coach. Kit worked with Balanced Scorecard founders, Drs. Kaplan and Norton, for over ten years and is a regular speaker on Strategy Management, recognised by Kaplan and Norton as the thought leader on using strategic themes for multiple strategy execution processes.


Greg Mortimer
2016 & 2018 on-board Expedition Leader

Greg Mortimer is an Australian mountaineer and has led close to 100 expeditions to Antarctica. He was one of the first two Australians to successfully climb Mount Everest. Greg trained as a geochemist and geologist, has worked as a survival-training instructor and as a Scientific Affairs Adviser for the New Zealand Antarctic Division. He is the recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and three Australian Geographic Society medals. Greg’s calm and supportive guidance and wisdom have been central in making Homeward Bound a reality.

Fern Hames
2016 Alumni

Fern manages Science Communication and Collaboration at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI) in Victoria, Australia. She connects people and knowledge; within ARI, and beyond. She has a research background in Antarctic algae and freshwater fish, and extensive experience in engagement, environmental education and citizen science, from Australia’s wild deserts and Wet Tropics to India. Fern has volunteered in Australia, Tanzania, Myanmar and Pakistan and was a founding member of the Jane Goodall Institute Australia. Fern plays an active role in emergency management.  B.Sc (Hons), Grad Cert Australian Rural Leadership, and Fellow of Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Kate MacMaster
2016 Alumni
Reflective Journaling Coordinator

Kate MacMaster is a knowledge explorer, enabler, and social change activist, and has worked cross-culturally over two dozen times in 15 countries across Asia Pacific, designing, implementing and evaluating capacity building and leadership programs for organisations across many sectors, including the international aid and development sector, the Australian Environment Movement, and the Defence and Intelligence communities. Kate’s work uses adult learning theory, critical reflective journaling, and participatory, collaborative approaches that enable people to work together and find their own solutions to problems, making the results sustainable and ensuring ownership. When Kate isn’t playing with her small children Maggie and Archie, or helping partner Phil to build their off-grid, sustainable home on their 300 acre wildlife refuge, Kate keeps occupied with a few other projects – Kate is the Founder and Director of Talk About Town: a conversation between climate communicators and rural Australian Communities; the Founding Director of Studio Wild: a fair trade space, a co-work hub and a community workshop space; and Founding Partner of Trader & Co: A Social Change Collective empowering rural Australians to meet, share, create.


Britta Denise Hardesty
2016 Alumni

Britta Denise Hardesty is a Principal Research Scientist for CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere. A broadly trained ecologist, Denise’s work has taken her to all seven continents, studying everything from penguins in Antarctica to hornbills in West Africa, the rainforests of central and South America, and looking at plastic waste along the most remote coastlines in Australia. For the last decade her work has increasingly focused on plastic pollution, looking at impacts on wildlife such as seabirds, turtles and marine mammals. She advocates for the role of science in underpinning policy and decision making, and has served as a scientific expert on a number of international panels. Denise regularly provides advice to governments and international bodies and she believes strongly in the contribution of communities, having worked with more than 8,000 citizen scientists over the last few years to help tackle the plastic pollution problem.

Dr Justine Shaw
Science Program Coordinator
2016 & 2018 on-board Science Faculty
Research Fellow, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and The University of Queensland.
Justine‘s research focus is the conservation of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems and invasive species establishment in these areas of low human pressure. Justine is interested in understanding the way in which species interact with each other and their role in ecosystem function. Her research examines the role of environmental factors in influencing species abundance, distribution and occurrence. Justine is currently examining the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic protected areas and the role of climatic change in conservation planning for Antarctica. She is also quantifying human movements within Antarctica and investigating how sub-Antarctic island ecosystems respond to pest eradications to inform conservation decision making. Justine has a wide global research network, having worked in Australia, South Africa, sub-Antarctic/Antarctic and the Arctic. She has been “going south” for 19 years and is passionate about expedition science, having spent many hours in the snow, wind and rain with a pack on her back. She is subject editor for several journals and a co-founder of the Women in Polar Science Network. Through her research she hopes to further conservation of these last true wilderness areas.

Kerryn Velleman
Leadership Program Coordinator
2018 on-board psychologist
Leadership facilitator and coach

As an Organisational and Coaching Psychologist with over 25 years experience in consulting and leadership roles, Kerryn coaches boards, senior executives, female leaders and change champions to optimise their influence of large-scale organisational, cultural and sector-wide change. She guide leaders in the negotiation and management of their careers; coaching them to strengthen their executive presence, leverage collaboration technologies and broaden their networks to build impact. Her passion is in developing the capacity and confidence of leaders to embed a coaching culture in their professional lives. Kerryn believes that embedding the discipline of reflective practice, supported by nourishing relationships, is key to helping leaders identify and question the assumptions and behaviours that shape decisions and enable them to thrive in complex, ambiguous and high pace environments.  Kerryn is a level three accredited organisational coach (advanced coaching practice), mentor coach and qualified supervisor with the Institute of Executive Leadership and Coaching (IECL), the Psychology Registration Board and the Australian Psychological Society (APS).  She is recognised as a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), is a Member of the International Society of Coaching Psychology, leads the Women in Leadership group and facilitates supervision skills training for psychologists for the Victorian College of Organisational Psychologists.


Sarah Anderson
Visibility Program Coordinator
2018 on-board visibility facilitator and coach
Homeward Bound communications and campaign strategist

Sarah Anderson is a communications, marketing and social and digital media strategist with deep experience across corporate, non-profit and government sectors in Australia and internationally. She is passionate about helping women find their voice and become more visible through purpose-driven communications and leadership, having worked with male and female leaders and executives for more than 15 years in strategic and coaching capacities, including most recently leading social and digital communications for ANZ Bank. She runs her own consulting practice, working with businesses, start-ups and emerging leaders and putting into play her passion for courageous ideas, authentic leadership, creative thinking and collaboration, leveraging the latest and most exciting frontiers of communication and technology. Sarah has co-created the visibility and communications modules for the Homeward Bound program and leads the communications and social and digital media strategy for the project.

Songqaio.jpgSongqiao Yao
Leadership Team
2016 on-board logistics and communications

Songqiao brings interdisciplinary and cross-cultural experience as a researcher, activist and entrepreneur working on global environmental sustainability issues such as food, water, and climate change. Driven by her 9-year-old dream, she raised $20,000 dollars in 2015 through crowdfunding for an advocacy trip to Antarctica and started the 2048 project to educate children about climate change and Antarctic conservation. She started actively campaigning on environmental justice and climate change as a researcher and youth delegate at UN climate change conferences in 2010. She has facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues and built partnership between China-US, China-EU and BASIC countries climate organizations. In 2012, she helped build the environmental NGO International Rivers’ China office and strengthened its program on river protection in China through extensive field research and policy publications. Her ethnographic research along the Nu/Salween river has won a National Geographic Global Explorer grant. As a social entrepreneur, she has co-founded a healthy snacks brand in Beijing and has initiated or consulted for agriculture and food security projects in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. She graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and was a Gates Cambridge Scholar focusing on China’s role in the Arctic. She recently finished her MBA at University of Oxford as a Skoll Scholar.


Dr Mary-Anne Lea
Science Program Coordinator
2016 & 2018 on-board Science Faculty
Senior Research Fellow and deputy Centre head of the Ecology and Biodiversity Centre, Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.

Mary-Anne is passionate about understanding the way in which then environment affects the behaviour, distribution and life history of marine vertebrates. She has studied many species of seals and seabirds throughout the Southern Ocean and has participated in 20 expeditions and voyages. Specifically, her research focuses on the way in which marine predators, especially migratory animals, interact with their environment at different temporal and spatial scales, and the fine-scale relationships between animal behaviour and prey dynamics. Happiest when collaborating with others – Mary-Anne has worked with researchers all over the globe and across systems (sub-Antarctic/Antarctic, sub-Arctic Alaska and North Pacific and temperate).  Much of her research has focused specifically on the influence of climate change and variability within the marine environment on top predator behaviour and distributions in the Southern Ocean. She is a member of the SCAR Expert Group of Birds and Marine Mammals and co-founded the Women in Polar Science Network.
Marshall C
Marshall Cowley
Leadership Program Coordinator
2016 & 2018 on-board Leadership facilitator and coach
Marshall joined Dattner Grant in 2007 as a Senior Consultant. He is a talented facilitator and coach that works to build the capability of leaders to create high performance cultures. Marshall brings a depth of experience in Learning and Development and Organisational Development and so is able to ensure that the various programs, initiatives and interventions he develops are well integrated with the organisation’s strategic framework. He has taught undergraduate subjects within the Faculty of Management at the University of Newcastle, and presented at numerous conferences both domestically and internationally. He possesses a high degree of commercial acumen, financial management skills and understands principles of good governance, having served on several Boards.

Merryn McKinnon
Science Communications Coordinator
2018 on-board Science Communications facilitator and coach
2016 Alumni

Merryn started out as a marine scientist, but she soon realised that talking to people about her science could do a lot more. She moved to science communication and has stayed there ever since in a variety of roles and countries. Merryn has slimed presidents, made children laugh and created programs and events to change ideas, inspire interest in science and to help protect the environment. She is now a lecturer and researcher in science communication, helping the scientists, public health workers and policy makers of tomorrow to communicate clearly and with influence.

Julia May
Julia May
Visibility Program Coordinator
2016 on-board visibility facilitator and coach
Julia May joined Dattner Grant as the head of the Global Women’s Project in March 2016. She brings a rich experience in storytelling, coaching, communications and strategy. Julia manages Compass, the national women’s leadership program, and Dattner Grant’s growing suite of services aimed at equipping women with the skills to be better able to shape the world around them. Julia spent 12 years as a journalist, writing mostly for The Age. During five years as Fairfax’s London correspondent and later as a social affairs writer – where she wrote mainly about justice and women’s issues – she gained a deep understanding of the power of storytelling to both empower and disempower. A passion for helping others to articulate their purpose and reframe their narrative led Julia to undertake a diploma of life coaching, and to work with individuals and companies to overcome the roadblocks in the way of their best path. She has a deep ability to listen, to distill ideas, to think creatively and strategically, and, as a mother of two girls, has an abiding sense of the need to take a different approach to leadership in order to secure our future. Julia is also a board member of the Creative Women’s Circle, a national non-profit, and actively mentors several emerging women leaders.

Heidi Steltzer
2016 Alumni

Heidi is an environmental scientist, an explorer, and a science communicator, sharing her passion for science with others. She is an Associate Professor at Fort Lewis College, Colorado, which has a tuition-waiver for Native Americans. She studies how environmental changes affect mountain watersheds and Arctic systems and their link to our well-being. Heidi’s research has been published in Nature and other prominent journals, and featured in media including the New York Times.


Hayley Young
Homeward Bound Project Coordinator
Hayley has a passion for exceptional client service and loves her role in assisting both the program participants throughout their Homeward Bound journey along with the Leadership Team who are all volunteering their time and expertise to Homeward Bound outside of their full time jobs. Hayley has a background in youth work and is passionate about seeing women grow in their leadership capability, their influence and their impact on the world.


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