Leadership in Antarctica
By Aldara B. Dios
After a year of preparation and three weeks in Antarctica, we were looking forward to hearing all about Catherine Sorbara and Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer journey. So when our Co-Chair Raheela Rehman introduced the event we were very excited.
We were fortunate enough to have BAS’s support once again to celebrate this event at their first-class venue: The Aurora Center. The Director of Innovations and Impact, Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, opened the evening. She reminded us that women had come a long way since the days when we were not allowed in Antarctica, when 20 years ago the British research stations in the Antarctic were male-only. Today we have two women as BAS Directors. This was important remark with Antarctica in the background of Homeward Bound. A leadership initiative which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our plane.
It was more than a year ago, during our AGM, that Cathy Sorbara heard Deborah Pardo talk passionately about her journey to Antarctica. She was so inspired and touched that she decided she needed to live the same experience. In only three days she finished her application and a year later she started her own journey.
I went to Antarctica worried about the envioment. Now, I am a climate warrior.
Hannah and Cathy started their journey a year before sailing to Antarctica. The Homeward Bound program includes a year-long program of self-discovery, mentorship, and leadership. It includes a toolkit to help you learn who you are and how to be the best of you, to understand what story you told about yourself and if it is true or not, and to learn what kind of leadership style is your ideal and how to become that leader.
The new normal
Last February Cathy and Hannah embarked with another 76 women at Isuahia. The life on the ship quickly became their new normal. Half their day was dedicated to the leadership program and the other half to explore the wildlife. And, of course, as scientists, they also made a symposium@sea where the themes were decided by a vote.
They had special moments with whales, laughed with penguins and learned to respect the sea lions.
They learned about themselves, about what means to be a good leader, about how women in the world suffer the most with the consequences of climate disasters and how Antarctica and the planet needs our protection.
The evening included interactive exercises where Cathy and Hannah helped us understand how difficult is to communicate and how we are not alone with our insecurities.
It was an empowering event and we hope that someone in the public was inspired to start her own journey to Antarctica. As the Homeward Bound motto goes “Mother nature needs her daughters”.