Musimbi Kangoro - Homeward Bound Busara Circle - #strongertogether


Busara is a Swahili word for wisdom. As part of Homeward Bound, the Busara Circle recruits women who can use their experience to mentor program participants.

One of the main characteristics of this group is the ability to help participants gain confidence/courage in areas of great success or influence, as well as when they are not as successful or feel voiceless. The women of the Busara Circle call on their wisdom acquired by a long time of service and leadership to support the women of Homeward Bound.

The Busara Circle began life as Homeward Bound’s Elder Program, which featured as its first recruits the climate change policy expert and architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres (for HB3) and Kenyan human rights activist Musimbi Kanyoro (HB4).

In 2021 the Elder Program changed its name to the Busara Circle, to acknowledge and distinguish it from the elder program started by Nelson Mandela.

Homeward Bound’s Busara Circle recruits from a diversity of cultures and has a strong focus on elevating the different approaches to leadership in our world today.


Dr Musimbi Kanyoro

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro


Musimbi Kanyoro is the former President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. She is an activist for women and girls’ health and human rights, and passionate about using philanthropy and technology to drive social change. Before joining Global Fund for Women as CEO, Musimbi was Director for Population and Reproductive Health at David and Lucile Packard Foundation, managing the $30 million grant making portfolio. Musimbi has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Texas, Austin, and a doctorate in Feminist Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary. In 2014, she was named one of the 21 women leaders for the 21st century by Women’s E-News. In 2015, Forbes magazine named her one of 10 women “power brands” working for gender equality. Musimbi serves on the Aspen Leaders Council, the CARE Board, the UN High Level Taskforce for Reproductive Health, UN Women Civil Society Advisory Board, and on The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s Scientific Advisory Board.


Ms Michelle Deshong

Ms Michelle Deshong


Australian Indigenous leader Michelle Deshong has recently accepted the role as ‘busara’ for HB5. Michelle is a representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and is lead facilitator for Oxfam’s national program Straight Talk, which teaches Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women about the political system and how they can use political engagement to create change in their communities. She was previously the Director of the Australian Indigenous Leadership programme, and was the 2015 National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year. Michelle is currently completing her PhD in Enabling Participation of Aboriginal Women in Public and Political Life at James Cook University, and in 2015 was a recipient of the Fulbright Indigenous Professional Scholarship, where she undertook research in the USA and Canada to develop strategies for nation building, leadership and gender equality.

Ms Elaine Martyn

Ms Elaine Martyn


Elaine Martyn is the Vice President and Managing Director of the Private Donor Group at Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 255,000 nonprofit organisations with nearly $30 billion in grants since inception in 1991. Prior to this, she was the Vice President of Development for the Global Fund for Women. Elaine is commitment to women’s empowerment through high-level, dynamic fundraising, and has lead efforts to build the philanthropic community in the UK, US and Asia. Her career has centered on the advancement of human rights through medical education, social justice, diversity policy, and advocacy using fundraising and political action through roles with  Refugees International, King’s College London, the British Medical Association, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School.

Fabian Dattner

Fabian Dattner

Visionary Founder

Fabian is well known to many Australians. She is founding partner of Dattner Group, highly regarded leadership experts. Dattner Group include Compass, a national leadership initiative for women, Kacha, a national recruitment initiative for women in technology, and Re:think, a transformational leadership consultancy. Fabian is widely recognised for her commitment to helping from board to basement. She’s a speaker, educator and social entrepreneur, and a regular commentator in the media on leadership and ethical issues in the world today, and on the role of women in building a sustainable future. She has won many awards for her work. Fabian is CEO, dreamer and co-founder of Homeward Bound.



H.E. Abena P. A. Busia is Professor in the Departments of English and Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University, a published poet, and a diplomat currently serving as Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil.  She has published widely, lectured extensively, and taught workshops and master-classes for UNESCO and other bodies on curriculum transformation for gender, race, and African-Diaspora Studies. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards from organizations such as the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, including the RU President’s Award for Distinguished Public Service.  She is also Founding Board member of several international organizations including the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, The African Women’s Development Fund [AWDF] and AWDF-USA for which she served as Executive Chair.  She is also one of the three Project co-directors and series editors of the award winning four volume Women Writing Africa project, published by the Feminist Press 2002-2008.

Phoebe Barnard

Phoebe Barnard


Scientist, public policy analyst, strategist and film co-producer Dr Phoebe Barnard has a long-running fire in her belly for transformative sustainability change, led by women and men with collaborative values. She works at scales from global to local on climate risk and resilience, ecosystems, global change, and societal futures. She is the Conservation Biology Institute’s Associate Strategist, Affiliate Professor at University of Washington, and Research Associate at University of Cape Town, and was awarded globally for impactful teambuilding. Phoebe founded and led transformative programs in Namibia, South Africa and North America, and collaborative transdisciplinary research and climate preparedness work. She mentors young professionals across Africa, Europe and the Americas, all now leaders and changemakers in their own rights.

We have seen women and men, societies, philanthropies, really happen in the world we are exposed to, and we bring this to the table; we have been leaders, mothers, advocates. – the women we meet are struggling; we bring our real time experience which is global, deep and wide. We create a humble, authentic, kind, honest and integrity rich space. We can talk to many things, at times and for women as it suits their greatest need.

There are times when we can talk about our experiences in universities, in government, in the UN, in not for profit, in business, handling money and people, influencing policy and decision making, creating global change.. All these things are part of Busara. Any one area would normally be a struggle trying to understand if it is a moment in your career; but when you have been in leadership over time, you learn to see leadership simply as something you do with other people; you develop with others, that’s how it works. You are never a leader by yourself; always with in a context.

We accept being vulnerable, we let others grow to be bigger than ourselves we accept there will always be things we don’t understand and there will be people we depend – on upwards and sideways. There are, as a result, ways to be led as much as lead. This we bring to Homeward Bound.

We accept that the more we do and learn, the less certain we become and so we listen and collaborate. We move to a common purpose, a shared vision, and we accept that our skill helps many hands craft the journey.

We have courageous conversations and support others doing the same.



Masterclass Series 1 - Leadership


Continuing the leadership conversation from 2020. Understanding leadership is an accretive (complex layers) journey.

Session 1 – Leadership through the lens of difference

The Busara Circle deliberately seek to unpack the conversations between and with women from diverse cultures, as part of a broader conversation on the intersectional nature of women’s lives. This leadership masterclass presented by H.E. Abena P. A. Busia, Michelle Deshong & Dr Phoebe Barnard will expand the concept of leadership through the lens of difference, in the spirit of inclusion, collaboration, and by challenging a largely western model of leading.

Date: 3 August, 7am – 8.30am AEST (check your time zone)

Masterclass Series 1 - Leadership

Session 2 – Leadership through the lens of difference

Continuing the conversation with Musimbi Kanyoro (Kenya) and Elaine Martyn (USA).

Date TBA.

Masterclass Series 2 - Money and You


Three Sessions TBA

Money for self

  • Learning to ask for money for yourself
  • Why its hard (especially for women)

Money for others

  • Raising money (understanding the basics)
  • Understanding budgets, key financial reports

Money for change(contest)

  • Raising money from philanthropic donations
  • Influencing, building relationships


Busara Circle Welcome

The first Busara call on 8 June 2021 was an opportunity for the women to meet the Homeward Bound community, share stories and insights, and find connections. Only the introduction and final plenary were recorded.

View slides here.


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