6 months in – and 8,705 km towards our goal

Our journey so far

We set off on our virtual trip from the UK to Antarctica on 22nd April 2021 – to mark Earth Day, in line with Homeward Bound’s ambition to ensure the sustainability of our planet.

For the past 6 months we have been working through the Homeward Bound programme, exploring our values, aspirations, and origin stories, and working together with the 6th cohort across the world to develop as leaders.

So, we’re reflecting on our journey so far: 

Dr Clare Bond

I really can’t believe we are at the half-way point or perhaps even more scarily that we would have been going to Antarctica soon. This all comes on the back of a very strange one and a half years of not going anywhere. For someone that used to travel a lot – this lack of travel, and the impending travelling again, is odd to say the least. But where am I on my Homeward Bound journey? Reflecting, reflecting. Realising I have learnt habits and in-built self-doubt. Learning to say NO more; and also, YES more!! Working out what matters and why. Trying to feel less guilty about everything and be less hard on myself. What a strange year to start Homeward Bound, but also what a year. Now more than at any other time personal reflection, the value and legacy of life all seem very topical. The journey and the connections are what it’s about to me. But I have enacted some of my values… making a stance on diversity equality and inclusion issues and I am so excited to be able to go to COP26 as an observer and to talk about some of my research.

Dr Maria Weikum

Six months of Homeward Bound have really rushed past it seems – with 40+ hours of sessions, hundreds of pages of materials and loads of interesting new tools and insights to help me build more purpose into what I do, it’s been quite a unique experience. One of my key takeaways from the programme so far is that it has really helped me to ask more questions about myself, my values, and my goals. I have always been keen on learning new things and pushing myself to become better but participating in Homeward Bound has enabled me to do this much more strategically and with more self-awareness.

I still have a lot to learn and I’m really looking forward to the next six months of the programme, but just to give you a brief glance at some of the positive outcomes from HB, here are some of the things I’ve been up to thanks to it:

– I have taken up new professional development opportunities to deepen my understanding on sustainability and how I can contribute to sustainable development with my personal skillset;

– I have been developing a personal strategy map and visibility strategy to be more targeted on where I want to be in a year’s time;

– I have started building reflection and personal development into my everyday life to become more self-aware;

– I have developed a better grasp on my long- and short-term career goals and aspirations (+ a network of people that can possibly help me find out how to get there);

– I have built new collaborations and friendships with women across the world, including this fantastic joint virtual journey with my UK team mates.

Dr Harriet Teare

Yesterday was my last day working as a Research Leader at RAND Europe, and on Monday I will begin a new role as Programme Director for the UK SPINE Knowledge Exchange, at the University of Oxford. The initiative aims to build the framework for an accelerated pipeline of affordable medicines for healthy ageing. My decision to return to Oxford and take up this role was entirely supported by my involvement in Homeward Bound. The work we have been doing to understand what drives us, what our values and aspirations are, and the direction we want to go in, has been crucial in making this decision, and determining my next step. 

The overwhelming benefit of being involved in Homeward Bound is getting to know this amazing network of women across the world. The opportunity to share and explore our experiences, to learn from each other and understand different perspectives, has been invaluable in my own thinking; they are an inspiring bunch of people doing important and exciting work. While the trip to Antarctica was always a compelling part of this journey, the programme has provided so much more than just that, and while we all hope we will still make it, it is as much to meet Team HB6 face to face as it is to explore the icy wilderness.

Dr Sharon Pfleger

I can’t believe we are at the halfway mark already. How time flies when you are having fun!  It reminds me of a quote by Micheal Altshuler. “The bad news is time flies- the good news is you’re the pilot!”  If the last 6 months has taught me anything it is just this- that I am the pilot and I need a map to fly at my best. I’m slowly working my way through the strategy mapping that we’ve been introduced to and really think that it will help me focus on my goals and be a better leader to grow others to become successful.  It’s hard and scary at times to peel away layers of oneself but the inspiration and vitality of over 100 other women is spurring me on through this adventure. Bring on the next 6 months!

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