It has been a year since my first post about my Homeward Bound experience. Now, with just over a month to go until we begin our trip to Antarctica, I have started to picture what it is going to look like when we first approach the Antarctic Peninsula.
I am told nothing can really prepare you for it. I am so excited to see my first iceberg, the endless white expanse and all the different shades of blue in the water and ice. While iconic penguins will be a must see, it is the leopard seal I most anticipate seeing with my own eyes – followed closely of course by magnificent humpback whales.
It will be difficult saying goodbye and leaving my twin boys and husband when I fly out to Argentina, though apart from the personal reward of this expedition I know I am ultimately doing this in order to contribute towards a better future for them. I will join the rest of the #HB4 group, made up of women from 23 countries, in Ushuaia, the southern-most city in the world, 36 hours later. There we will spend two full workshop days preparing for the journey ahead: not just the crossing of the Drake Passage, and three weeks at sea, but the life-changing journey that the leadership development program is said to be.
While visiting Antarctica has been a lifelong dream, I am equally as excited about the leadership journey I am on. The program has already been so valuable, and has included online learning as well as mentoring, assessments, face-to-face group work and assignments, along with leadership profiling to increase leadership capacity, strategic capability and collaboration. I have been told that what we have done so far only constitutes 10% of what the program entails, and so I understand why the three-week intensive program is said to be transformational.
I already have a changed mindset from when I started the program. It is now less about an end point for me as a leader, more about being part of a global brain doing what we can for the greater good.
One of my goals was to feel more confident and to strengthen my voice as an advocate for the environment and a sustainable future – and I already feel that I have a stronger voice.
We have just been provided with packing lists to make sure we are well prepared for the
0°C to -15°C temperatures we will experience when we are in Antarctica. Our coaching sessions are focusing on what we want to personally focus on for the voyage, which for me is about finalising and implementing a personal and professional strategy plan.
I am thinking about my future career path, and where I can have the most influence/impact. As part of the program there have been ‘Master Classes’, of which one was about using science to influence policy. I know this is a space I am really drawn too.
As I will be sharing a confined space for three weeks with 100 other women, I need to consider how my style may impact others, as well as how others’ styles may impact me. For this I will certainly be drawing on Gayle and Malcolm’s book Working with Emotional Health and the Enneagram. While there are bound to be some challenges, the opportunity to build professional and personal friendships with 100 remarkable women from around the globe, all of whom work in STEMM, is sure to be another highlight. I already know that amongst the group there are so many women who I look up to and I can learn from.
Of course, the other thing I look forward to is the chance to relive the journey over and over by telling everyone who’s willing to listen all about it!
Once again I’d like to thank Global Leadership Foundation for their support of me on this journey. I’m now within reach of my fundraising goal and as a final effort I’ve set up an online fundraising page here: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/207409/creating-a-change. If you would like to support me it would be sincerely appreciated.