Leadership wisdom for Women in STEMM


Homeward Bound is a global initiative for women and non-binary people with a STEMM background across all career stages. The online program is the gateway into a global network of leaders who share the same sense of purpose and skills for the kind of leadership our world needs.

Program duration: 12 months online 
online, with global meet-up extension


Applications are now open for the 2024 – 2025 online program!


There are many things that concern people about what is happening to our planet. Whether it is climate crisis or poverty, education or gender, biodiversity loss or the warming of our oceans, at some point we have to ask: what kind of leadership got us to where we are today? And, what kind of leadership will move us into tomorrow?

Mother nature needs her daughters. 

Homeward Bound was founded to create a global network of women with a background in STEMM leading and able to solve our world’s greatest challenges. We achieve this through the delivery of a unique leadership development program that seeks to change the current leadership model by equipping STEMM women from around the world with the skills to lead for the greater good, to be inclusive, collaborative, legacy-minded, and trusted with assets.

Each graduating cohort becomes part of a global network of like-minded women and non-binary people committed to demonstrating, as individuals and together, a model of leadership that will influence outcomes for everyone towards a healthier planet, and a sustainable future for us all.

Why leadership?

There is a lack of leadership opportunities for women and non-binary people with a STEMM background
  • Science has underpinned much of the progress of living standards in the world and will continue to do so but must also be used to address many of the most challenging consequences of this progress by solving the problems that have arisen.
  • We believe women leading in this context are crucial to ensuring the delivery of balanced and equitable long-term decisions.
  • Women and non-binary people in all sectors deal with systemic and overt impediments to their leadership, despite repeatedly demonstrating their immense value. Only 29% of senior leaders are women and this varies significantly by region. They are routinely paid significantly less than male counterparts.
There is a lack of visibility for women and non-binary people with a STEMM background
  • Women and non-binary people in STEMM experience significant systemic bias to the extent that many women do not stay within the field. i.e. bias in allocation of grants, strategic responsibility, promotion etc.
  • Overwhelmingly, research findings demonstrate that women of colour, among other underrepresented groups, do not persist in STEMM at the same rates as their white male counterparts due to social or interpersonal factors.
  • Women and non-binary people in STEMM are less visible in science research and in STEMM awards, prizes and grants.
The practice of leadership is in crisis: we need innovative approaches on how to lead for the future of the planet
  • The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2021).
  • Leadership focus has been comparatively short-term, male-dominated, ‘I’ over ‘we’, competitive, acquisitive and aggressive.
  • Homeward Bound’s model of leadership is collaborative, inclusive, legacy- minded and trusted with assets.
  • By elevating women with a background in STEMM into positions of leadership, we increase opportunities to contribute to global issues such as health crises, plastic pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and the climate crisis.

About the program

The program comprises workshops, reflective sessions, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one coaching sessions, and the opportunity to develop meaningful collaborations through small group work.

The Homeward Bound initiative aims to:

  • Enhance participants’ leadership, strategic, and visible impact skills so that they are better equipped to effect positive outcomes in their “sphere of influence” as well as in the wider world. 
  • Deepen participants’ relationship with STEMM as it informs what is happening to our planet.
  • Build a global and expanding network of deeply skilled women with a background in STEMM – who are committed, compassionate, personally self-aware, able to accept and give constructive feedback, with a legacy mindset, and trusted with assets – financial, people and planet.

The online leadership program is structured around our core ‘Streams’ of Leadership, Strategy, Wellbeing, Visible Impact, and STEMM.*

Supporting these Streams are:

  • The Busara Circle, a group of eminent, experienced global leaders support the program and share their unique experiences and wisdom of leadership with participants through a series of masterclasses, mentoring, and support opportunities.
  • Our Wellbeing Team, who ensures a focus on psychological safety and wellbeing for participants.

The program utilises diagnostic tools, one-on-one coaching sessions delivered by Homeward Bound’s global coaching community, and a mentoring program that matches participants with alumnae.

These key components are woven together into an integrated program, delivered by an expert global faculty.

* This program outline reflects content delivered for the Homeward Bound 7 and 8 cohorts and may be amended for the 9th cohort. 

Leadership Stream

Homeward Bound’s Leadership Stream aims to deepen your awareness of your own personal leadership philosophy (what), purpose (why) and practice (how).

Combining research and experiential learning approaches, you will be supported to develop a leadership practice that responds to the complexity of your current context and prepares you for whatever may emerge in your future.

Your leadership capability will be developed through the use of diagnostic tools, frameworks and reflective practices that aim to surface the elements that enable your leadership including: identity, power, values, mindsets and style.

Each participant will be paired with a professional coach, who will provide one-on-one coaching sessions to support your leadership development.

Visible Impact Stream

A key gap between the will to lead and the ability to lead is finding and projecting your voice – being visible. It is necessary in order to build impact and have a wider influence.
Visibility is a critical, but often overlooked strategy, for advancing women into leadership and keeping them there.

More than communicating your science or profession, building influence for the sake of numbers or metrics, or becoming an artificially louder version of yourself, visibility is about demonstrating the value you bring.

We know visibility isn’t straightforward – it is uncomfortable and takes practice. And for women, particularly women and non-binary people in STEMM, there are systemic and structural barriers for being visible, and real potential drawbacks.

The goal of Homeward Bound’s visible impact stream is to support participants to develop the will and skills to be strategically and purposefully visible, in order to build influence and have a wider impact.

The Visible Impact Stream uses these three pillars to develop each participant’s unique approach to visibility:

  1. Visibility to self: knowing yourself through purpose, values, vision and self-awareness
  2. Visibility to others: being known and seen by others, authentically using strategy and storytelling
  3. Visibility in context: using your visible leadership for a greater purpose

At the end of this Stream, participants will have used their skills to create a new narrative around their professional and personal visionary goals, culminating in the development of a visibility plan that aligns with their personal strategy map.

Strategy Stream

Being adept at strategic thinking is a distinct advantage both personally and professionally. It enables you to allocate your resources – energy, time and finances – where they will have the greatest impact. Homeward Bound’s Strategy Stream builds your capacity to become comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, to approach possibilities with curiosity rather than judgement and to readily challenge your assumptions.

Being strategic requires you to put the smallest decision in the context of broader goals, and to make the time to reflect before making decisions. Making conscious choices about what you will do and what you won’t is a critical part of being strategic. It is at the point of choice that your ability to be strategic is fully tested.

Through the program, you will learn how to increase your strategic contribution through building the insight to ask yourself bigger and better questions, connecting people and ideas in new ways, having the courage to make conscious choices and being more deliberate and intentional in your thoughts and actions.

Participants will:  

  • Develop an understanding of how to map strategy in order to clarify and communicate it
  • Prioritise and align resources to make strategy happen
  • Develop their own personal strategy map
  • Use this framework to bring together the learnings from across the whole program
  • Establish a basis on which to make the conscious choices required to live a more purposeful life
  • Embed new behaviours into habits.
STEMM Stream

A key objective of Homeward Bound is to elevate the importance of STEMM and to establish a global community focused on collaborating towards impactful outcomes.  

The STEMM component of the program explores what your purpose is in your STEMM field, and what drives you to do the work you do. It explores your leadership journey in STEMM, and helps you determine what you value in STEMM leaders. In this Stream you will learn from other leaders in STEMM, discuss current and emerging topics in STEMM and explore the practise of kindness in science.  

The program leverages the collective knowledge and expertise of participants to collaborate on chosen projects. Participants also learn about each other through a ‘symposium’ style presentation from each participant. 

The goal of Homeward Bound’s STEMM Stream is to:

  • Elevate the voice of women and non-binary people in STEMM
  • Support participants to elevate the importance of STEMM
  • Grow our impact
  • Foster new STEMM collaborations
  • Learn from each other.

The thing that I am most impressed by is that commonality we have in that space. You meet people from all over the world who sign up for Homeward Bound, and you realise that those same concerns that I might have about the future of the planet are shared by these women across the globe.

Prof. Sharon Robinson

University of Wollongong. HB Faculty.

“HB is an amazing program and an amazing opportunity
to connect with other women. I thought Antarctica would
be the major draw card, and while its still important, it is not the main reason I would recommend the
program to others.”

HB8 Participant

“Homeward Bound’s Online Leadership program is an incredible opportunity to learn more about myself and network with incredible people around the world; learning more about the roles we fill, the roles we want to fill, and the importance of looking after our planet during the process.”

Caitlin Kramer, HB8 Participant

“Homeward Bound has changed my view of leadership and my approach to every aspect of my life, including leadership.”

HB4 Participant