Authored by Annemieke Hartman Jemmett.


Upon embarking on the Island Sky, the pictures on the wall of the reception area brought me face to face with Antarctic history. In that moment, I realised that I am following in the footsteps of the great leaders: Shackleton and Scott.

I shared how I am feeling at the start of the expedition, in the presence of over 100 STEMM women. Excited, enthused, engaged, anxious, fearful, knowledgeable, confident, and much, much more.

As leaders, we are continuously presented with the unknown and aim to collaboratively find solutions. Travelling to Antarctica on an expedition ship requires me to go to the next level of acceptation, adjustment and adaptation. The physiological impact, on this ship, underpins the exploration of clarity of my leadership.

Currently, I am impacted by:
• Lack of control of the environment, as Mother Nature does her thing
• Unfamiliar situations
• Continuous change
• After the Falkland Islands, no support from land
• ‘Existential threat.’

Reflecting on how I can overcome the impact:
• Assess situations continuously and adjust
• Review conditions frequently
• Understand timings and accept change
• Prepare to allow for adjustment
• Accept that Plan A is the best at the time under the circumstances
• Mitigate the risk
• Accept that you will get wet
• Manage the risk
• Ask for help and support from others.

Based on the Homeward Bound Program prior to departure, the Life Styles Inventory [LSI], Global Leadership Well-being Survey [GWLS], two days of on land sessions and this first at sea day, and following reflection and feedback, I received further confirmation that I am used to living with ambiguity and have all the attributes I need to thrive as a leader.

Our Expedition Leader, Claudia Rodell, pointed out that there is only one plan: Plan A. It’s the plan you set out with, which is adjusted based on the conditions that you face at the time.

Most importantly of all, upon reflection, I trust myself and my own judgement. This expedition, a journey of a lifetime, will further enhance my leadership skills whilst carving out my role in leadership for a sustainable planet including environment, social and governance aspects. I am part of the Homeward Bound community, aimed to be 10,000 women in STEMM by 2036.

two homeward bound women standing on the deck of the boat looking out to the ocean while it snows

Photo: Annemieke Hartman Jemmett on the Island Sky. Credit: Heidi Victoria