EVEN before setting foot on a ship bound for the South Pole - a once-in-a-lifetime adventure - Jazmin Daniells has had an unforgettable experience as part of Homeward Bound 2019.
Dr Daniells left on Friday for the three-week voyage from Argentina to Antarctica, the pinnacle of what had already been "the opportunity of a lifetime that will challenge me and shape me to be the best leader I can be".
The Homeward Bound project aims, over 10 years, to build a global network of 1000 women in leadership roles working towards a sustainable world.
In the 11 months before departure, the ex-Gunnedah resident and peers in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine) fields around the world took part in an online program covering leadership, strategy, visibility and science.
"I had monthly web-based meetings and personal coaching sessions, with the aim to prepare me for the trip to Antarctica and further develop my leadership capabilities," Dr Daniells said.
That was followed by in-depth workshops in Ushuaia, Argentina, in the days leading up to the ocean journey.
"I arrived to Ushuaia and, within a couple of hours, I had met dozens of incredible women from all around the world," Dr Daniells said.
"We've focused on what is important to us in our leadership journey, how to be more visible when communicating [those values] ...
"I've met so many wonderful and courageous women, many who've left their children for the month in order to take their place as advocates, leaders and influencers."
Dr Daniells said visibility was a focus of the program because only 10 per cent of senior leaders were women.
"Many employees think women are well-represented in leadership, when in reality they see only a few," she said.
"Only one in 10 senior leaders is a woman ... We need more women in leadership within STEMM and now is the time for us to take our place."
Platform for passions
Dr Daniells said the Homeward Bound program had already given her a platform to share her passion for science, learning and the need for climate action.
"I was honoured to be a keynote speaker at an event in Port Macquarie that was dedicated to encouraging and inspiring young girls to pursue careers in STEMM, she said.
"A month before my departure, I convened a seminar on climate change and health at the University of Newcastle, highlighting the links between climate change and the impact it will have on human health - for example, increased heatwaves, the recent bushfires, further droughts leading to food insecurity, increased pollen and allergies [and] air pollution causing lung disease."
And how does one prepare for an unprecedented trip aboard a ship with almost 100 other women?
"I stocked up on sea sickness pills and warm clothes," Dr Daniells said.
"Very importantly, I've received a massive stack of letters from family and friends at home.
"I'll be mostly without internet for the three weeks, and so having these little treasures from home will be so wonderful to have if I'm feeling homesick.
"I am so grateful for family and friends who have supported me."
Dr Daniells is still fundraising to cover the trip's cost, at https://chuffed.org/project/homeward-bound-jazs-journey-to-antarctica-for-women-in-stemm and she said she had been "blown away by the generosity so far".
To follow her journey:
- Newsletters: http://homewardboundprojects.com.au/2016/11/22/subscribe/
- Instagram: @homewardboundprojects
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homewardboundprojects/
- Twitter: @HomewardBound16