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

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.


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.

Dr Megan Oaten

Wellbeing Program Coordinator
2018 Alumnae
Senior Lecturer, Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University, QLD, Australia

Megan holds a PhD in Social Psychology and is a registered psychologist. Her research focuses on emotion and disease-related phenomenon in humans. Megan has been the recipient of the prestigious Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010-2012), funded by the Australian Research Council, and is a CI on two Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grants (2015-2018), including “Determining the role of disease avoidance in stigmatization” and “Western-style diet and impairments in food-intake regulation in humans”. Megan was recently invited to present her research to The Royal Society, Theo Murphy International Scientific Meeting, Chicheley Hall, UK, 2017. Her research is featured in several undergraduate textbooks and she is a scientific reviewer for top-tier international journals as well as international funding bodies, including the Australian Research Council (ARC), The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW), The French National Research Agency (ANR), The Medical Research Council, UK, The Leakey Foundation, USA and The National Science Foundation, USA.  



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.

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.

Britta Denise Hardesty
2016 Alumna

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.


Hayley Young
Homeward Bound Project Manager

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.


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.

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.

Michelle Crouch
Homeward Bound Foundation Theme Leader
Operations Director, Coach and Facilitator at Dattner Grant

As Director of Operations over the last 10 years, Michelle’s role at Dattner Grant is to cultivate an environment in which everyone can flourish. Michelle works alongside Fabian as a ‘trusted advisor’ and is responsible for the overall operations of the business, including financial management, IT and HR. This background has helped her become a coach with a strong business understanding.

Heidi Steltzer
2016 Alumna

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.


Past Leadership Team Members


Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas
Co-founder of Homeward Bound
Research Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre

Kate MacMaster
2016 Alumni
Reflective Journaling Coordinator HB18
Principle Consultant at Studio Wild Consulting. Programs Director at the Peter Cullen Trust.


Songqaio.jpgSongqiao Yao
Leadership Team
2016 on-board logistics and communications
Earth-inspired Explorer and Educator

Kerryn Velleman
Leadership Program Coordinator
2018 on-board psychologist
Director at Human Capital International and Founder/Director at Kru Consulting

Merryn McKinnon
Science Communications Coordinator
2018 on-board Science Communications facilitator and coach
2016 Alumni
Lecturer at Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, The Australian National University


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

Julia May
 Julia May
Visibility Program Coordinator
2016 on-board visibility facilitator and coach
 Director at Visibility Co


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