Eight years ago I met Gayle and Malcolm in the Solomon Islands on one of Global Leadership Foundation’s Leadership Experiences. It was one of my early introductions to leadership development, and also to the work that Global Leadership Foundation undertakes. More recently, they encouraged me to apply for a place on the Homeward Bound program. The program is a strategic leadership initiative focused on women working in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine). It is built on four main pillars, focusing on leadership, strategy, visibility and collaboration.

In June I was proud to learn that I had been selected to be one of 100 women from across the globe to make up #HB4, the fourth of these Homeward Bound programs. Now, with the sponsorship of Global Leadership Foundation and further support of others (including Jadestone Energy and even my twin toddler boys’ day-care centre, Tiny Beez) as well as family and friends I am excitedly looking forward to a year of leadership development culminating in a scientific voyage to Antarctica in November 2019.

With this blog post and subsequent posts over the coming year, I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with the Global Leadership community.

Gillian StarlingI am a marine scientist who provides leadership in the strategic development and implementation of natural resource management and conservation initiatives across a broad range of marine and coastal projects in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. I have a keen interest in climate change. I like to work with individuals, communities and organisations to build their capacity to better manage their natural resources to achieve positive environmental and social outcomes.

My goal in participating in the HB4 program is to strengthen my science communication and leadership skills and raise my professional profile. I’m hoping to become part of a global network of women in STEMM that is well placed to create a change in how we manage the environment. I want to influence decision-makers and global policy, particularly regarding climate change and a sustainable future.

The initial news that I was accepted into the program was quite surreal, but over the past few months, as I have been working to raise the necessary funds and articulate what the program is and what I want to get out of it, it has begun to feel more and more real.

Although the program is only just getting underway, the collaboration and networking components between the participants have been strong since we learnt of our success. After the release of the latest IPCC report the topic of climate change has featured more heavily in our discussions. I am looking forward to building my networking with other women in STEMM. I am not sure what to expect from that, but I am sure it will only be positive.

I am excited about what the HB4 program will entail. Having an opportunity to re-visit leadership theory again will be fantastic. I’m particularly looking forward to being able to share and discuss what the program teaches and seeing how it relates to being an emotionally healthy leader through monthly catch ups with Gayle and Malcolm.

One of the strongest feelings I have at the moment is one of accountability. With all the support I am being given I feel a strong responsibility to ‘walk the talk’ – in both my career and lifestyle choices. As a passionate conservationist, I live and breathe environmental protection and reducing my environmental footprint … I feel my footprints are more visible now than ever before.

I’m looking forward to joining the Global Leadership community in Melbourne in December at this year’s Fellowship Event. I’m looking forward to building my ‘leadership’ network too. Perhaps some of you reading this will be there too? Either way, it will be lovely to share my progress with you over the next year via the special Gillian Starling category on the Global Leadership Foundation blog.


Photo by henrique setim on Unsplash.com