Homeward Bound is a ground-breaking global leadership initiative. Our aim is to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. Its three strategic focal points are:


    I am willing and able to lead                    We are stronger together                   We are taking actions with impact


Each graduating cohort of participants becomes part of a global network of like-minded women committed to demonstrating a model of leadership (collaborative, inclusive, legacy-minded, trustworthy with assets – people and money) that will influence outcomes for men and women towards a healthier planet, and a sustainable future for us all.


The idea of Homeward Bound was, quite literally, dreamt into reality by Fabian Dattner (social entrepreneur, leadership activist and founding partner at Dattner Group). Together with Antarctic Conservation Biologist Dr Justine Shaw, Antarctic Marine Biologist Assoc Professor Mary-Anne Lea, and Antarctic Marine Scientist Jess-Melbourne Thomas, Homeward Bound was born. Together, they garnered the support of significant scientific bodies and women of influence, created a strong leadership team and teaching faculty, and got the project off the ground.

In 2015, the project went viral. Launched in 2016, the inaugural program culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica.

Since then, Homeward Bound has been developed by an extensive team of collaborators, including Michelle CrouchJulia MaySarah AndersonKit Jackson and Marshall Cowley. Past participants and new strategic stakeholders help expand the message of women with a STEMM background leading for the greater good.

Homeward Bound has now led four cohorts of women through the annual state-of-the-art program and Antarctic voyage. The fifth and sixth cohort will complete their Antarctic voyage in November, 2023. The seventh cohort finished their online program in March, 2023 and will voyage to Antarctica in the 2024/25 season. The eighth cohort will commence their online program in May, 2023.


Why Women?

Globally, women are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions, and change has been incredibly slow, despite increasing dialogue and process/systems changes. (Although women comprise 60% of university graduates, only 10-20% of them make it to senior decision-making roles or professional-level academia.) By providing these women with leadership, visibility and strategic skills, a sound understanding of the science, and a strong purposefully developed network, we will enhance their ability to lead for the greater good, to impact decision-making for a sustainable future.


Why the focus on STEMM?

We believe scientific endeavour plays a critical part in resolving our most ‘wicked’ problems moving forward. We want to tackle the challenge of science communication and the visibility of women in STEMM. Additional to the overarching gender imbalance in leadership, women in STEMM face additional challenges specific to these fields.


Why Antarctica?

Regions of Antarctica are showing the fastest responses to some of the global sustainability problems we currently face. Antarctica offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe first hand the influence of human activities on the environment and provide critical insights into the global-scale change required. This iconic environment has captured the imagination of leaders in the past and the expedition experience of the Antarctic component of the Homeward Bound program creates strong bonds between participants.


Why Now?

If not now, when? The sustainability of our planet is in crisis and so is the state of leadership in our world. Homeward Bound aims to address both these global issues.



Acknowledgment of Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners – the Kulin Nations, particularly the Wurundjeri people – upon whose ancestral lands Homeward Bound HQ members live and work.

We pay respect to their Elders, past, present, and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners and First Nations people of the countries and regions across the globe where the wider Homeward Bound community live and work, acknowledging the global importance of connection to country.

And, we acknowledge the shared sovereignty of Antarctica, one of the last international commons, and our responsibility to protect and learn from its vast wilderness. Antarctica’s beauty and fragility remind us of the importance of the Homeward Bound vision to build the capacity of women to lead in ways that are inclusive, collaborative, and legacy-minded, and that create better outcomes for the planet.