Three more Strathclyders selected for Homeward Bound women’s leadership programme

Ice bergs in the Arctic Sea.

Three more Strathclyders have been selected to participate in the Homeward Bound global leadership programme that sees women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) travel to Antarctica.

Wendy Pring, Dr Stephanie Ordonez Sanchez and Dr Maria Weikum will participate in the 12-month initiative which aims to equip a 1,000-strong collaboration of women with the skills to demonstrate a new model of leadership and create better outcomes for the planet.

The program includes online learning to increase leadership capacity, strategic capability, visibility and collaboration, and culminates in a meeting of all 100 participants of the Homeward Bound sixth cohort in Ushuaia, Argentina before embarking on a life-changing voyage to Antarctica, one of the most ecologically sensitive and inspiring areas on Earth, in December 2022.

Participants have been selected through a competitive process, in recognition of their potential to lead and enact change.

Revolutionary idea

Ms Pring, Enterprise Fellow in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Chartered Civil Engineer, said: “I first read about the Homeward Bound initiative in 2018 and thought it was a revolutionary idea: a leadership programme that tackled how we approach, view and remediate climate change and manage our planetary boundaries.

"I am excited, proud and very daunted to be surrounded by the level of passion which has been palpable across all the communications so far between the Homeward Bound cohort on Zoom, Whatsapp and email.”

Dr Ordonez Sanchez, Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering said: “Currently, less than 20% of women occupy senior management roles globally. Therefore, it is hard to level the playfield with such an unequal workforce. More diverse and equal work environments are required to tackle issues such as the pay gap and performance bias.

"The values of Strathclyde and HomewardBound align in various ways and the University continues to benefit from the inclusion of its staff members in the programme by showcasing the outstanding research and staff that this institution is made up of.”

Dr Weikum, Concordat Officer in the Organisational and Staff Development Unit (OSDU), said: “Homeward Bound tackles a number of important topics, including climate change, sustainability and the representation of women in leadership, but I think its biggest gain, for participants and the wider community, is the international network of STEMM leaders that the programme aims to bring together.

"Just by working with my fellow UK participants over the last few months, for example, I’ve already met amazing female leaders and broadened my own perspective immensely.”

Fundraising effort

As part of this programme, Stephanie, Wendy and Maria have teamed up with five other participants based in the UK, and will be attempting to see how many times they can cover the equivalent distance from the UK to Antarctica – 16,000 km – by bicycle, running, swimming and walking to fundraise for their programme participation.

The trio set out on their virtual journey on Earth Day on 22 April. To contribute to their fundraising effort visit:

It is the first time three participants from Strathclyde have taken part in the same year, bringing the total number of Strathclyders who have joined the Homeward Bound programme to seven.

Previous participants were: Dr Katherine Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) (2017/18), Dr Kirsty Robb, Research Associate in SIPBS (2018/19), Dr Jana Schniete, Research Associate in the Department of Physics (now working at Edge Hill University) (2019), Dr Katherine Tant, Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (2020).