Homeward Bound Impact

At Homeward Bound we do things differently. We embody and promote a different, distributed and inclusive model of leadership (a ‘polycracy’). We challenge and help women in STEMM to lead, both individually and collectively, by building capacity and networks for this different style of leadership, anticipating that this will build courage for action (#strongertogether) and in time contribute to systemic change. Our singular focus is leadership for a more sustainable planet.

It is our shared intention to accelerate the change. We will distil how and where we have impact. We will continue to share what we learn and do.

Homeward Bound’s first Monitoring and Learning Evaluation (MEL) Framework has measured the impact and value of the initiative over time. The MEL captured the impact along Homeward Bound’s multiple ‘pathways of change’, including:

  1. Homeward Bound as a whole, developing and modelling a new way of doing collaborative leadership, having an organisational voice on important issues, and raising the visibility of women and leadership globally
  2. Projects and collaborations driven by Homeward Bound alumnae – either closely aligned, or loosely affiliated ‘spin-off’ projects/collaborations, with Homeward Bound
  3. Individuals having impact in their areas of practice, driven by the improved leadership skills and networks, and expressed by making a difference in their specific domains of work.

The examples that follow showcase only a very few of the many individual and collective examples of impact stemming from the Homeward Bound initiative.

Documentary films and books

Antarcticness: Inspirations and imaginaries Homeward Bound alumna from around the world describe their expedition to Antarctica and their leadership journey in a chapter of this beautiful book of science, poetry, personal reflections, photography and art.

Malaspina award Homeward Bound received this award – an honour bestowed by the Embassy of Spain in Canberra and the Association of Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific – in recognition its global work advancing the leadership capability of women in STEMM.

Antarctica Becomes Her A book of portraits and insights documenting the HB1 journey, produced by Environmental Scientist Dr Melissa Haeffner

The Leadership A 90-minute, theatrical release documentary film about the challenges faced by women as leaders in transition, produced by the award-winning Bunya Productions.

Deep Blue A book documenting the life stories of 37 Homeward Bound alumnae and 20-day Antarctica diaries. Due for Chinese release 2020.

100 women in Antarctica Climate Story A YouTube video series by HB4 alumnae featuring short clips about their work and climate change

Finding Frontiers A short film about Homeward Bound by Kathmandu

Protecting Paradise National Geographic Documentary featuring Environmentalist Laura Wells (HB2, Australia)

Projects and collaborations

Marine Protected Areas in Antarctica Sixty Homeward Bound alumnae are strategically tackling the promotion of Marine Protected Areas in Antarctica, with a focus on the proposed Antarctic Peninsula MPA

Collaborations in United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention CoP25 A group of Homeward Bound alumnae coordinated to strategically influence the climate negotiations, bring a different approach to the way they’re conducted and support the women on the frontline of the negotiations in the COP25

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Global Warming of 1.5  ̊C (2019) Five Homeward Bound alumnae contributed to this globally-significant report

Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Three alumna are commissioners (Belgium) and delegates for SCAR’s Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

The Gender Fact Sheet, outlining the biases for women working in STEMM fields, summarised into 25 Cold Hard Facts everyone should know that impede women’s advancement; developed by three generations of Homeward Bound alumnae and based on the review of 600 separate pieces of research

The Green Book and Carbon Offsetting Program A sustainability handbook and carbon offsetting program developed by, and for, multiple generations of Homeward Bound participants

Antarctica for the Brave A children’s education project for primary school children across Colombia, to engage them as environmental ambassadors by Physicist Paola Tello Guerrero (HB3), seen by 6,000 people

Derivative Leadership Development Programs

WE Africa Leadership training for African women, inspired by Homeward Bound, and led by alumnae and an elder (Musimbi Kanyoro) across HB2, 3 and 4.

Leadership for Women in STEMM Iceland A leadership course and workshops delivered by Marine Biologist Mia Cerfonteyn (HB3) at the University of Iceland

Earthship Sisters A leadership program for women to be environment ambassadors, by Marine Ecologist Deborah Pardo (HB1) in France

Individual impact

TED talks

Training leaders to restore a planet in crisis Hafdis Hanna Ægisdóttir (HB3, Iceland), Plant Ecologist and Director of the UN Land Restoration Training Programme

Can food save the climate crisis?  Dr Samantha Grover (HB1, Australia), Soil Scientist

What sharks taught me about being a scientist Melissa Marquez (HB4, Latin America), Wildlife Educator

Why we need engineers now more than ever Elanor Huntington (HB1, Australia), Professor of Quantum Cybernetics at the Australian National University

The great penguin rescue Dyan deNapoli (HB1, USA), Penguin Aquarist

A small country with big ideas to get rid of fossil fuels Monica Araya (HB1, Costa Rica), Sustainability Advocate, Advisor and Communicator

Do we care to change what we cannot really see? Fabian Dattner, Homeward Bound CEO and Co-founder


Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal (Australian Academy of Science) Distinguished Prof Susan Scott (HB2) in recognition of her inception-level skills help advance our understanding of gravitational waves and the nature of singularities

BBC 100 Women 2019 Xiaoyuan (Charlene) Ren (HB2, China) in recognition for MyH2O, her solution to the lack of clean drinking water in rural China

La Tribune Top 20 Innovating Women in France Deborah Pardo (HB1, France) for Earthship Sisters

Ashden 2019 International Award for Sustainable Buildings and Cities Chunguang (Charlotte) Wang (HB3, China) for her renewable energy development company EQuota Energy in Shanghai

ARC Future Fellowship at Sydney University, Australia Assoc Professor Margaret Barbour (HB1, New Zealand)

Marie Claire Mexico ‘Lead Her’ Award Sandra Guzmán Luna (HB2, Mexico) recognised in the ‘Le Geek, C’est Chic’ category for leadership in science & technology

Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2020 Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, Homeward Bound Co-founder and Marine, Antarctic and Climate Scientist


Leadership Achievements

Co-Leader of the Scottish Greens Party Lorna Slater (HB3), elected August 2019

World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2020 Dr Marga Gual Soler (HB4, Spain)