Authored by Hannah Campbell
The Island Sky team had the remarkable opportunity to visit Palmer Station, one of the United States research stations on the Antarctic Peninsula. Perhaps the most remarkable thing was that this was the first time Palmer Station had welcomed visitors since the start of the pandemic. As someone fascinated by how people motivate and lead in complex and dynamic environments, working on Antarctic Stations has always been something intriguing to me.
Our program aboard the Island Sky is a journey into the complexities of leadership. Conversations with Palmer Station’s resilient team revealed alignment between the Homeward Bound model of leadership and the critical skillset required to lead in the dynamic station environment.
We spoke about the importance of impactful communication, the ability to deliver on commitments, and the foundational significance of self-awareness and knowing how to fill your own cup so that you can be a stronger leader. All this is underpinned by an environment that fosters fun, friendship and a true value of support for each other in the workplace.
Also incredible is that many of the workers seek to return season after season. Within the context of the work environment, this in itself is an example of leadership in action, because although the sheer beauty of the icy continent is an honour to witness, spending months at a time here is not without sacrifice.
This visit was an energising reminder of how leadership can help navigate complex environments, and what incredible opportunities exist to contribute to a more sustainable future.
Photo: At Palmer Station, Antarctica. Credit: Alessandra Salgado