A VISIONARY leadership initiative for women has opened applications for its seventh intake to help them build the skills needed to create a sustainable future for the planet.

Homeward Bound is aimed at women from a science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) background and will see 100 successful applicants take part in global group meetups in Antarctica, or another international location.

Around 600 women have already taken part in the initiative, including Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater (below), the Scottish Government Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

She told The Sunday National she became a member of #TeamHB3 after responding to a social media post: “I saw a tweet calling for women in STEM to join a leadership course that involved going to the Antarctic.

“The deadline was only a couple of days away and I was heading up to Orkney for work, so I recorded my application video sitting on the wall at Kirkwall Harbour.

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“The aim of the programme was to bridge the link between what science knows and what politicians are not doing about the climate and biodiversity crises. The programme believes that women, in particular, and women working together have a unique role to play in bringing forward global action on climate.

“I applied hoping to learn the skills I would need to lead my party and Scotland into a greener and more sustainable future.”

Homeward Bound was founded by Australian author, leadership expert and blogger Fabian Dattner, who is CEO of it and the Dattner Group.

She said the program’s foundation, that Mother Nature needs her daughters, is an urgent call to action for women to stand up to be the collaborative, inclusive, legacy-minded leaders our planet needs.

“Mother Nature really does need her daughters; more of us standing up as leaders to be collaborative, inclusive, and legacy minded,” said Dattner.

“Homeward Bound was founded to create a global network of 10,000 women with a STEMM background willing and able to lead and solve our planet’s greatest challenges … This is the seventh cohort of women we are working with to build the leadership skills needed for a sustainable future for our planet.

“I can’t imagine a more important time or more important group of women to elevate.”

Slater said that her time on the third cohort of Homeward Bound, along with 80 women from 23 countries, had taken all of them out of their comfort zones.

“We were presented with a model of leadership as having three concentric circles: self, others, context,” she said.

“Examining yourself is really hard, both in looking at how far you have to go to become the type of leader that you want to be, but also in accepting yourself as you are and tackling your imposter syndrome to recognise that you do deserve a seat at the table where decisions are made just as you are.

“I think it is sometimes particularly hard for women to see their own strengths and recognise their own achievements.”

As well as a politician, Slater is also recognised in her professional field of tidal energy, and was the engineering project manager on the world’s biggest tidal turbine, built by Orbital Marine in Dundee.

So, did she achieve what she set out to on Homeward Bound?

“I believe that life is a journey, and that the journey is the point – not the destination.

“Homeward Bound became part of my journey toward leadership of my party and of becoming an elected representative serving the people of Scotland.

“It also connected me with scientists and experts around the world and opened my eyes to how global the issue of climate is and how connected the solutions must be.”

The vision of Homeward Bound is to support and engage a 10,000-strong global collaboration of women from a STEM background to contribute to decision-making as it informs the planet’s future.

Slater has only a few words of advice for any woman considering taking part in the Homeward Bound initiative: “Definitely apply. If you are successful, you will have so many great experiences and learn so much about yourself.

“You will also learn lots about leadership, visibility, strategy, teamwork and collaboration.”