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191: The Stories of Women are Precious

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About this episode

Welcome to another episode of Outrage + Optimism, where we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue about building a sustainable future.

This week, co-hosts Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac, and Paul Dickinson interrupt their previously scheduled programming一the launch of the O+O miniseries discussed last week一to celebrate International Women’s Day (recognized annually on March 8) with CEO & Leadership Activist Fabian Dattner. The team also covers big news about our oceans’ future and closes with music from Child Seat.

Tom starts with the news that after nearly 20 years, members of the United Nations have finally agreed on the United Nations High Seas Treaty, an international framework to protect biodiversity in international waters. It’s a massive achievement that protects the migratory routes of some of our most iconic species and demonstrates significant multilateral cooperation. 

Oh, and negotiations were led by Rena Lee, Singapore’s Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs一another great reason to celebrate International Women’s Day.

On a related note, Christiana references a disturbing statistic from a report prepared by GWL Voices for Change and Inclusion, an advocacy group of 62 current and former senior women leaders, that women have held just 12% of top positions at 33 of the largest multilateral institutions since 1945. Clearly, we still have a ways to go in the pursuit of gender equality.

Next, the trio welcomes CEO & Leadership Activist and the founder of the global leadership consultancy the Dattner Group, Fabian Dattner. The group discusses Dattner’s work at the nexus of leadership, support for women, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). While it may sound like an unconventional combination, Dattner explains how it all came together一initially in a dream一and later in her Homeward Bound initiative. It is, our co-hosts agree, an unassailable mix of what our world desperately needs and could use more of.  

Later, Dattner brings up her trip to Antarctica and how the concept of success is as dangerous as the concept of failure. For many women, Dattner explains, success can be framed as an elusive ideal. She counsels that if you aren’t willing to fail, there’s nothing you can achieve because success is mostly a string of failures. These are just some of the topics from the group’s lively exchange!

Finally, the episode closes with the track “Burning” from indie rock powerhouse Child Seat.

You won’t want to miss this one!


To learn more about our planet’s climate emergency and how you can transform outrage into optimistic action subscribe to the podcast here.

Find out more about the United Nations High Seas Treaty.

Download the report from GWL, Numbers Matter: To Fix the multilateral system start by including women.

Fabian Dattner


Learn More about the Dattner Group, the Compass Leadership Program for Women, and Homeward Bound.

Here’s the 20023 Edelman Annual Trust Barometer referenced in the episode.


Child Seat

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Full Transcript

Tom: [00:00:00] Hi friends, Tom here. This is not as previously advertised, the mini series that we told you we were bringing you this week. And that is because this is International Women's Day this week. And so therefore, we wanted to put out an episode that celebrated that with a brilliant guest, which is what we've done. And also there were some pretty big news about the future of the oceans. So we will be back next week with the special. But for now, here's the podcast. Hello and welcome to Outrage and Optimism. I'm Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Christiana: [00:00:38] I'm Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:00:40] And I'm Paul Dickinson.

Tom: [00:00:41] This week is International Women's Day. We talk about the breakthrough to protect the future of the world's oceans, we speak to Fabian Dattner and we have music from Child Seat. Thanks for being here. So friends this is not our bonus episode. However, there has been a few big things happen this week. We're going to get to the fact that it's International Women's Day in a minute. But first of all, there has been a pretty big breakthrough that has been a very long time in coming that has gone under the name of the UN High Seas Treaty. Now, this has taken years, decades of negotiations and it's a very big deal. You probably remember the big deal for nature that happened at Montreal at COP15, the Nature COP before Christmas that protected 30% of land by 2030. Well, this does the same for the proportion of the oceans that falls outside the jurisdiction of any individual country. It is shared territory, the high seas. And it's a big deal because this incorporates the migratory routes of many of the most iconic species. This is how we tie together the locations where all the biodiversity is generally found to ensure it's protected long term. And it's been very hard to reach. What do you both have on this?

Paul: [00:02:00] It's a victory for internationalism and international cooperation. And it's true that wise person, biologist Helen Scales, pointed out in New Scientist, my magazine of record, that the treaty lays down broad commitments to protect 30% of the high seas, which is what we are celebrating, which parts, she points out, will be protected and how strictly remains to be decided. So obviously there's this secondary challenge or burden of the implementation, but the point being you can't get to that challenge without the initial treaty. And that treaty is an extraordinary breakthrough and negotiated, I believe, by the Environment Minister of Singapore. And she was showing extraordinary leadership, corralling so many nations behind such an important treaty. So a moment for celebration with the victory of female leadership achieving collaboration unprecedented since the Paris Agreement, which was female leadership and collaborative. There's a theme here.

Christiana: [00:02:55] Well, there's a theme. And the the other thing that I want to point out is female leadership from a very small country, otherwise a city country. Right. So how interesting that it doesn't necessarily take a huge economy, a huge country, a huge political power to have this kind of leadership. I just wanted to note that beauty very often comes in very tiny little bottles and so does leadership. So does leadership. So quite, quite wonderful. But also how fantastic, right? When from some perspectives we think that multilateralism is on the wane or being debilitated by geopolitics and that people are turning their attention away from the protection of nature. All of that actually contradicted by this amazing UN High Seas Treaty. And just so that we understand how important this is, when we say the high seas, it means the waters that are beyond any national jurisdiction that is in international legal waters. Sorry about that pun. In international legal waters. Very impressive because most treaties to begin with, the Paris Agreement and everything under the climate convention and the biodiversity convention actually has to do with the jurisdictions that are the responsibility of governments.

Christiana: [00:04:33] So the national land, the national waters are all within those treaties. This is actually going way beyond. And we have been hearing for years that it is very, very important because of the species routes, migratory routes and because of the species that are there and because of the abuse that is going on in fishing of the high seas. It was very important to get a treaty that begins to regulate that. Most people 2 or 3 years ago, frankly pooh poohed the idea and said that's going to be completely impossible. Nothing is going to be possible to be agreed for the high seas, because this is this is the wild west of the seas. Right. No one has jurisdiction over it. So the fact that the wild west is beginning to be tamed, the fact that we now have at least the beginning of the treaty and yes, the text is going to have to be formally adopted and then sent for the UN Assembly for approval. All of those steps need to be done, but an incredible breakthrough for multilateralism, for leadership, for leadership from small countries, for female leadership, really quite impressive.

Tom: [00:05:49] Absolutely. And just to put a few numbers on that, to demonstrate what this really means, right now, about 1% of the high seas is protected. And the definition that you just gave Christiana, the high seas, that is 60% of all the ocean, right now 1% of that has any form of protection. That will be 30% by 2030. That's what the legal text here mandates. That is huge. And it will be the 30% that is most valuable for biodiversity, the fishing hatcheries, the areas around migratory routes. So this is a really, really big deal. Right. And this is, anything else to share on that, Paul, please.

Paul: [00:06:25] It's not it's not on that.

Tom: [00:06:26] It's fine. You know.

Paul: [00:06:27] I'm sorry. It's just one little thing that I wanted to share because I think it helps. It helps frame where we are and how quickly things can change. So I hope this is going to be an empowering thing I'm about to tell you. There's a comedy series I love on television called Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's extremely strange. It's extremely strange. And it's based on a sort of mockumentary, a comedy about a comedy. So the producer of the television series Seinfeld has made a series about himself. So there was a comedy program called Seinfeld that actually was on a few years ago. Half of all human emissions are since the first episode of Seinfeld.

Tom: [00:07:07] That's amazing. I saw that.

Paul: [00:07:09] David Wallace-Wells pointed this out. And what that means in a certain sense is that we can't look back at industrialists with top hats in 1890 and say that they were the problem. It's, you know, half of human emissions since a recent popular comedy program. So what I'm driving at is that things have happened so fast up, they can go down as fast. If we think we have the power to stay as we are, then we have the power to change. That was my observation for the day.

Tom: [00:07:37] And by go down, I'm assuming you're meaning emissions can go down rather than human society can collapse.

Paul: [00:07:43] Could be either.

Tom: [00:07:43] Could be either. Right. Or maybe both.

Paul: [00:07:45] Stakes are high. The stakes. The stakes. What is it, our odds are slim. I know, it's the most beautiful quote. Hang on a second.

Tom: [00:07:53] Stakes almost infinite.

Paul: [00:07:54] No, no, no, no, no. Yeah. The odds were great; our margins small; the stakes infinite. 

Tom: [00:08:01] Very good. Churchill, for those who are wondering.

Paul: [00:08:03] So, so we're going to have to we're going to have to change the, change the story. Christiana, how do we change the story? We we come off mute. That's one of the first things we do.

Christiana: [00:08:12] So, yes, we're celebrating today multilateralism and female leadership. And however, as Paul will let us know, it's also good to temper our enthusiasm a little bit. And so I draw your attention to a report that has just been released that points out the fact that since 1945, multilateral organizations have had 382 leaders. How many of them have been women? 47. On the whole, women have been in charge for 12% of the time since 1945, and 13 of the multilateral organizations have never, ever, ever elected a woman to lead them. So, yes, it's wonderful to see the emergence of female leadership in multilateralism. And we have a long way to go, a long way to go. So just a note of tempering. And if you want to know where this report is, we'll also put it in the show notes. And it comes from GWL Voices, and GWL Voices is a group of women who have been in leadership positions in multilateral institutions. As we have said, way too few of us. 

Paul: [00:09:39] Well, on the theme that Christiana put forward of this extraordinary absence of women, where you know, they are half the population, but they're not in these positions of power, I think I've mentioned to you before, 20 years ago, you might even remember hearing these stories Tom. 

Tom: [00:09:53] I do.

Paul: [00:09:54] In the early days of CDP we would write to the Chair of the Board. Think about that. The Chair of the Board of the 500 most valuable companies in the world. And because I was stuffing the envelopes myself, I could see the gender of the recipient of these letters. And in the first year, 2002, it was it was 1 in 500 was a woman. The second year it was 2 in 500, and the third year it was 1 in 500. And what I concluded from that is that when a position that's the chair of the board of the 500 biggest companies in the world, when when that position is moving between 99.8 and 99.6% of one gender, it is basically apartheid segregation. There is there was a there's some kind of conspiracy against women. Now, that was 20 years ago. And now we are up to in the S&P 500, we just hit 10% of chief executives are women, but 10% out of 50% of the population,

Tom: [00:10:47] It's not much to celebrate really, is it. 

Paul: [00:10:47] There's something wrong, something wrong. I mean, it's you know, the trend line is good, but it's a disaster.

Tom: [00:11:08] So unless anyone else has anything else to share, I think we should go to our interview.

Christiana: [00:11:18] Well, so how wonderful that we're able to have Fabian. I believe that we had her on the podcast a hundred years ago, but we're delighted to have Fabian Dattner back on the podcast. She is the Founding Partner of the Dattner Group in Australia and they are highly regarded leadership experts. In this case, we're interviewing her not just as a leadership expert, but quite specifically for her initiative that has been going on now for several years called Homeward Bound, which is a global initiative supporting and encouraging women in STEM. And you'll hear us talk about STEM, STEM being S.T.E.M., sometimes with a double M, which is women in the sectors of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. And that is the subsector of professional women that Fabian has chosen to put through this leadership course that she offers. Well, she will explain, she is not doing that personally anymore, but she did while when I joined her wonderful trip several years ago. And she will be, the reason why we thought it would be fascinating to get her on the podcast for Women's Day is because not only is she a woman who is a leader herself, but she is supporting women in leadership in one of the sectors that is most difficult to find women, which is precisely science, technology, engineering and maths, and bringing those two things together. So we are delighted that she was able to squeeze us in. And Tom, very sorry that we're squeezing you out this week, but it was actually.

Tom: [00:13:13] Well worth it, no problem.

Christiana: [00:13:15] Quite, quite  important, that we honour Women's, Women's Day this week and no one better to do so than with our good friend Fabian Dattner.

Tom: [00:13:25] Let's go, let's go to the interview.

Christiana: [00:13:33] Thanks so much for joining us here on Outrage and Optimism. And I know that we reached out to you very much in the last minute, so you're squeezing us in. But thank you. Thank you so much. And yes, I'm just so thrilled that so much has happened since you took me to Antarctica. But before we get to that, to your Antarctica trip of this year, let's just step back for a second, because it seems to me that there are several things here that we would love for you to share with our listeners. First, why did you use STEM as the sector in which you want to support women? Yes, we know there are very few women in STEM, but what is the promise of STEM that you are supporting? Secondly, and I'm going to ask you both of these questions because they're interrelated. Secondly, why did you use STEM, women in STEM as the entry point to leadership? Because you could have said, I'm going to encourage women in STEM, or you could have said, I'm going to train leadership, but you brought both of these things together and then we'll talk about Antarctica. But why did you bring those two things together?

Fabian: [00:14:53] Well, the first thing and I'm sure you guys will appreciate, the first thing I have to say in this context, I'm a Christopher Hitchens fan. Okay. So with that in mind, and you all know who he is, if I thought I'd been touched by the hand of God and I respect the people who believe, I probably would have had a heart attack. You have to remember, Homeward Bound was genuinely a dream. October 15th 2015, I had a dream. And in that dream we were on a ship. And it was the bow of the ship that you were on, Christiana. The Ushuaia. I saw the women on the floor in the ship knowing that the furniture was tied down. I saw the banner Homeward Bound on my left and over my shoulder. I knew there was a film crew and we were making a film about the interrogation of leadership in the world. So it was crystal clear I knew what we were doing. I knew why we were doing it. And that's the morning I wake up and I tell my beautiful husband I had this amazing dream. He's a philosopher. That's also important. And having told him, he went, oh what a lovely dream. What are we having for breakfast? I then told my my my business partner, who was very conservative and very risk averse, that I had this amazing dream and I thought it had legs.

Fabian: [00:16:04] And he said over his dead body. And I went, okay. And then I went to the third person who was a wonderful young woman, Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, who was a marine biologist and a Rhodes Scholar, had also done our women's program. And that's where the fire gets lit. You know, the saying that nobody follows the crazy social entrepreneur. They follow the first followers. So what happened is serendipity, a confluence of events. What do I think actually happened? I have a, have a lifetime obsession with four four key things in our world. I genuinely believe you scratch below the surface of every pernicious problem you have. We have sorry, not you. We have. And you find an issue with leadership. There's a problem with leadership. The decisions, the resources, the biases, the predispositions. By the same token, you scratch beneath the surface of every great action and decision that occurs, you'll find great leadership. Now, leadership is not positional, hierarchical. It's everywhere. So I have, as a leadership expert, a deep and abiding concern about the practice of leadership in our world is not fit for purpose, not people, not the leaders, but the way we execute leadership. That's number one. Number two is the sort of relentless and continued absence of women in any significant number.

Fabian: [00:17:27] And all the research that I've seen, the evidence that I've seen says whether it's bred in the bone or real, that women predisposed to certain attributes which we desperately need, they've got everything else and collaborative, inclusive, legacy minded and appear to be very trustworthy with money and assets people. The third one was I am a lay lover of science. And so into the story, into this dream come they're all women in STEM. Little did I know Christiana what that would demand of me, that audience, if I had chosen, you know, people like you or people like Tom and Paul. If I'd chosen marketers, bloggers, artists, film makers, they would have been my people. But I chose the hardest audience because I didn't want the women to be challenged intellectually. I wanted to be able to say, this is an unassailable group. We have nothing to prove to man, nor woman, nor anyone in between. This is a brilliant collection. They're women, they're scientists, and they are pre-selected for the fourth element, which is this deepening anxiety everyone has, rightly so, about the state of our world. So those four things which have been a long time obsession of mine, converged into the dream. So STEM wasn't STEM per se. It's a much bigger focus now than it was in the beginning. 

Fabian: [00:18:48] It was brilliant women. Don't assail their intellect, don't assail their capacity to reason or analyse or think in a way that provides sufficient evidence that action should be taken. Now, if I pull those elements together, it became a unique proposition and then framed it in Antarctica. And I think I thanked the fact that the week before I had the dream I was in Tasmania in the Australian Antarctic Division, running a women's program, and of the women in the program we stopped at lunchtime and as is the way with women, we crouched under a stairwell and ate sandwiches, laughing, talking, sharing stories and the women shared stories of Antarctica and it was horrible. It was what I heard was the work was brilliant, the environment was brilliant, the women were brilliant, but constantly passed over by men for decisions, constantly passed over for positions of leadership by men. Money would be given to this and not to projects that women were infinitely qualified to say should be done. And one woman in particular I remember to my dying day, a woman called Barbe, you know, multiple times to Antarctica, a real expert gets run over for a small allocation and then collapses in front of me. We calmed everything down. We went back into the program. That just fuelled those four elements. And that's how the dream was born. Load More
Christiana: [00:20:11] Well. And, I mean, that's a pretty powerful dream. If everybody had those dreams, we would have revolutions going on everywhere. But then, I mean, you say that, in the dream you were on a ship. But why did you choose Antarctica? I mean, try to make your life complicated. I know how difficult it is to organize those trips. You know what you went through during the pandemic. Couldn't you have made your life a little bit easier than taking all these women to Antarctica. Why Antarctica?

Fabian: [00:20:45] I think because I have a deep sense of Mother Earth. I have a deep sense of the earth in my bones, as I'm sure you guys do. And it had to be somewhere where people could experience the earth as a planet, not a place. And I think there are two parts of the world where you can do that. Antarctica is one of them, and Mount Everest the other. And if I thought Antarctica was going to be hard, getting them up Mount Everest would have been impossible. And if I had a choice between being seasick and terrified, I went for seasick.

Paul: [00:21:17]  [00:21:17]Thank you for this extraordinary work you've been doing. And we were saying before the podcast began how I laughed out loud today when we were, I was listening to you on some podcasts and somebody said, what do you want to be remembered for? And there was a little pause and you said nothing. And then you said, humans have only lasted about 150,000 years. And you don't think we're necessarily going to last long enough that you want to be remembered within that tiny little canon. And I was kind of, I've never felt so psychically slapped on the hand. But I mean, honestly, your comment about the pernicious absence of women in leadership is something so profound and so absolutely true. And, you know, you've spoken about female qualities, but I think you embody one with some other things that you've said. You know, a lot of our listeners feel really challenged by, you know, this is an overwhelming battle and they're kind of being brought down by how difficult it is. And I've heard you say that the concept of success is actually as dangerous as the concept of failure. And that's that's that's an extraordinary perspective. Can I ask you to talk a little bit about that?

Fabian: [00:22:23] Yeah. Well, I think success is mythological and it's dangerous because it sets an ideal and now we feel we're never good enough for it. And women carry a huge narrative around that. We don't look good enough, we're not slim enough, we're not smart enough, we aren't able to speak up enough. The fact that we emotionally engage with things is seen as a liability. You know, there's a lot of things about being a woman that are seen as a liability and albeit in an intersectional world, it's still half the world's population. So these these are people who've looked at iconic figures and been invited to think I should be like that. I think men are much better at pacing the ambition and also they have a huge, a huge body of examples. I've set an ambition and I can get to it. And if you're part of the club, somebody will help you. You know, for a woman, you set an ambition and you will be called tough, overbearing, a bully, too pushy. A man with the same attributes won't have those things said about them. So what I say to women everywhere is don't lock into success and failure as ways of describing your journey through life if you aren't willing to fail. There's nothing you can achieve because success is increments of failure from a baby learning how to walk. It has to fall over multiple times in order to walk. And if you help people understand, that's how your brain learns. It learns by that sequence from, you know, unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence. And I have to be willing to say, I can't do it yet. And then you'll get to conscious competence, and then one day you'll get to conscious, unconscious competence. But once you're there, you probably need to start all over again and get back to being consciously incompetent so you keep learning.

Paul: [00:24:16] Well, one more prompt, if I may, because did you not also talk about evaluating your, your sort of, I don't want to say success because you know, you pointed out it's a silly word, but asking yourself really how you're doing by asking if you're fulfilled or if you're depressed. So rather than looking externally for your achievements, so to say, to to check in internally, did I understand that correctly?

Fabian: [00:24:37] That's a very, there's a, I don't share that way of thinking with a lot of people, by the way. But I think the idea of depression and fulfilment, failure and success is an intersecting grid and of course, failure and success, when I set myself a goal and I don't succeed, I'm going to have to go back and have a look at what I did and I could change. But if I set an axis on depression to fulfilment, then I'm tracking for, is what I'm doing fulfilling me. You can have people who are successful and depressed. Isn't that interesting? You know, they're burning out. You can have people who are depressed. 

Christiana: [00:25:16] Quite a few actually, quite a few. 

Fabian: [00:25:19] Yeah, a huge number. So that we're in the middle of a burnout epidemic. And so you'll see this exodus from what we were doing because, is this all there is? I don't relate to my kids anymore. My wife and I, or I and my wife or my and my husband or I and my partner don't have sex anymore. It's horrible. So then the other side, you can have fulfilment, but failure, which is a kind of complacency, which is great if that's your life choice, but it will kill a podcast or an organization. If you're complacent, but in fulfilment and success, you have a sense of abundance, a willingness to learn. And I feel good inside myself that this is worth doing. So a lot of my focus in all the work that I do is on that. So no, also it's important to know that so much has happened to Homeward Bound during the pandemic. It's a new organization basically, with new ambitions.

Tom: [00:26:12] Fabian, thank you so much for this. This is so wonderful to get to talk to you. And I just want to sort of make this a little bit practical and ask you a question on on International Women's Day. And you've spoken very eloquently about how women inherently possess many of the qualities that we now need for the transition ahead of us. And we are big supporters of that perspective. And I've seen that in in action in a few ways, including in this podcast and in previous ways of working. I'd just like to ask at this moment of intersectionality and of gender equality, we all have a collective responsibility to create this future where these qualities that are now so necessary can come about. And we all have different roles in that. And that sense of abundance that that future represents is something that should be attractive to all of us. But sometimes people don't see it that way, and sometimes it can be challenging and threatening for people. What have you found are some ways of helping people see the abundance of that world in order to help them unlock their deep support, to help bring it about?

Fabian: [00:27:22] Well, the first thing is, I am cautious about who I have that conversation with. And, you know, Christiana is an icon of wisdom around mapping over to other people's contexts. The focus is, to begin with, with all women is what is the story you tell yourself about yourself? And if we can't look into that story and understand how a lifetime of micro bias and aggression and systemic bias over centuries has shaped our perspective of who we are. We have to find a way to reconstruct stories about ourselves, and that is complex and deep and is the first third of all the work we do with women. But having got that story, there is a bravery that emerges and an awareness of opportunity. You don't have to tell people they can see it themselves. So the fire is lit first by finding the fire within myself, not saying there is a different or abundant future. So I'm cautious about that because I think there's a lot of recovery that we have to have to find. And the other thing I say to women everywhere is hold the stories of women as something very precious. And it's something that was said to me by a very wonderful woman, and Christiana knows her, called Musimbi Kanyoro, treat them as this fragile thing because they are. And women supporting women and never judging and not blaming is a crucial part of that find that sense of possibility. And the other thing is, you know, time permitting, you know the story of the gardener. You're going to be planting the seeds for a botanic garden you will not see, you will not see it in your lifetime. So plant the seeds anyway, because if you don't plant them, no one else is going to see it. And, you know, that's I think is such a deep part of what you guys are doing. You just keep going because the alternative is untenable.

Tom: [00:29:16] And connected to that, I mean, I'd just love to ask from your perspective, how are we doing? Because actually, I mean, what you've said is you have to plant the seed. You have to keep going. What the, what you're talking about this shift of leadership and female leadership is fundamentally connected to the success of this global endeavour to deal with the climate crisis and all these other systemic challenges that we're facing and what we don't have there is time. So given this necessity to plant seeds and be invested in the long term, but also make a quick transformation, how's it going?

Fabian: [00:29:46] Well, from my vantage point in terms of the work that I do, I'm watching a snowball effect where, for instance, go from in Australia, which for the rest of the world is where is Australia? But what's happened is from our perspective, that's grown exponentially and we're now in an international domain apart from Homeward Bound, our own organization is working internationally with wonderful organizations like laureate universities who are looking for transformational outcomes. It's an awakening and I think if we took 10% of the money that was spent on infrastructure, on the solutions to the problems, and we took 10% of that money and we spend it on the capability of leadership to lead those solutions, it would be a very different future. Our problem is no one is really saying, actually, you know what, we need to get leaders to change at a fundamental level, the practice of leadership cannot take us into the future we want. So how do you help people in their late 40's, 50's and 60's who are the major power holders to make the shift? You know, what's happening in the Ukraine is an utterly appalling example of the very thing that we can see. But it's so apparent. And then a narcissistic psychopath, a bully, silences his own good people. My heritage is Russian. The Russians are amazing people, silenced by something they're afraid of and lied to. So I think all we can do is do your bit, enjoy your life doing your bit. Don't get too serious about your bit and then you're dead. That's all right.

Christiana: [00:31:19] I love that. I totally love that. It's so true. It is so true. Do your bit. Enjoy your bit and then you're dead. And that's ok.

Paul: [00:31:28] Enjoy your life and then your dead. And that's okay. Yeah. No, I'm kind of. I'm going to say that I'll take that to my grave. But I will, you know, and beyond.

Christiana: [00:31:38] Faby, what would you say, from where we are today to the vision that you have put forward of leadership, female leadership, there definitely is a road to be walked. And although I only joined you for the trip to Antarctica per se, your program for women in STEM and leadership is actually a one year program. And the trip to Antarctica is sort of the chrysalis or the final point there. Could you walk us through why do you do it a whole year process? What are the components there? Because I would be interested to see how you map those components with the gap that we see. What what are the pieces that you see that are missing and that you encourage all of these women to grapple with during that whole year of training?

Fabian: [00:32:38] So maybe I need to bring you up to date with what happened in COVID, if I've got the time to do it. So, you know, everything is under challenge globally, including if we can't go to Antarctica, what is Homeward Bound. And during this time, as is the way with scientists are very sceptical, dare I say it, sometimes cynical people about other people's intentions. And it's always been brought back to me. I'm not trusted with money that somehow in some manner I was taking money from Homeward Bound as opposed to what I actually did, which was to pull resources and money into Homeward Bound and underwrite it for its first four years. I took all my holidays to be part of the faculty, delivering the experience to the participants. But I said, all right, we will make it a not for profit and I will be on a board. You know, let me get arm's length from the project. So in 2020, we 20 or 21, we became a fully fledged not-for-profit. And in the process of that, we now, I resigned as the donor CEO and we had the first paid CEO into the organization because for me, when I say, Paul, that I don't really want to be remembered for anything because I think it's a conceit that I would you know, for me, I feel like it's a conceit.

Fabian: [00:33:53] I would rather we were all remembered for turning the planet around and saving our future. That would give me great joy that we together turned our planet this wonderful tapestry of good intention around the planet. So I'll do whatever they wanted to help them feel they were safe and secure. So the not-for-profit setup we have a board which I sit on. We have a fully paid CEO doing an amazing job in a very, very difficult time, Pamela Sutton-Legaud. And we pay faculty who deliver the program on the ground. So the ten month program still focuses on four critical principles, leadership over three very specific arts, leadership of self, leadership of others and leadership in context. And guess who cemented that three arc approach? Madame Figueres in endless conversations on the ship telling us there should be three approaches. So that's cemented into the design of the program. Having done that, we then talk about the ability to articulate personally what is my strategy map for life. So I originally brought in the wonderful Kit Jackson, who's a global expert on strategy and has worked really closely with Bob Kaplan and David Norton and run various operations of them around the world. But she developed personal strategy mapping. So it's a very big part of the program. Now, why are you doing what you're doing? Can you specifically articulate it? What values underpin you? Are they solid? Can you define them in behavior? And then establishing what the priorities are to be the person you wanted to be when you joined Homeward Bound? And then we look at things like enablers.

Fabian: [00:35:36] What's going to make this go from an ideal to an actuality? Kit subsequently developed a significant online program for that. We've worked closely with Sarah Anderson and Julia May developing a visibility program, and now that's taken out to the world in lots of different ways. And women have to feel safe not and we have a big focus on if your visibility is for self. It's just vanity. That's not why we will help you be visible. We'll help you to be visible, to become part of this global tapestry, to influence for a better future. So now you get leadership, you get strategy and you get visibility. And then we bring in science communication because it's staggering. It's staggering how bad science comms is. And we help them to get their science into a meaningful way into the world that helps change the world. And increasingly, we had to add in a big piece on well-being and psychological safety, which surprised me, but was an offshoot of the amount of abuse that women have experienced in many quarters. But STEM is no better and in some instances worse.

Christiana: [00:36:46] Wow. Wow. That's a, that's a sad comment.

Fabian: [00:36:49] It is. It's sad but true. Interesting the STEM field that needs to hear the truth most, engineers, think it's not accurate. Don't believe the research when it's shown to them. These brilliant people who, I love engineers, but they need to listen a bit harder.

Paul: [00:37:05] But, but bless them, they have the ability to do extraordinary things. Your comment visibility is not vanity, is just astonishing. And you mentioned Australia that has been, so to say, backward. But then was it not female leadership in the teal candidates that actually turned around the Australian political system and actually provides a model for the rest of the world. So, just wanted to kind of applaud that very practical side.

Christiana: [00:37:28] Yeah, listeners can't see Faby dancing right now, but she's dancing on the screen.

Fabian: [00:37:35] I think the the last man who had the title of prime minister but didn't behave like one had no legacy mindset at all, was replaced by both a government in Australia with a vision of the future and the Teals and the Greens holding them to account. So there's a significant, significant change in Australia and you know, we have fingers and toes crossed that we get there without dividing the country because we're saddened by how divided the world is around trust in leadership. It's a sad story. I assume you all know the Edelman research and if you don't, oh my god, you should have a look and then share it with your listeners and bring Edelman on to the podcast because.

Tom: [00:38:20] Say one more word about that for our listeners.

Fabian: [00:38:22] Yeah. So Edelman does a Global Trust Barometer. It's a massive piece of global research on the narrative of trust in the institutions and leaders tasked with making decisions about our future and the results have just come out in January 23rd. And it's a heartbreaking picture of a very, very divided world. And if ever there needed to be an investment in the narrative of leadership, there's your research. You know, it's huge. It's tens of thousands of people in in something like 120 countries, all socioeconomic groups, all ages. So it's a huge body of research on one proposition.

Christiana: [00:39:01] Yeah, well we'll definitely put the link in the show notes, but it's a great suggestion to have that on the podcast. Thank you for that Fabian. So sadly we we have to let you go. We know that your time is is very, very short today. And Faby we on on the podcast usually ask our guests at the very end from where you are right now looking at the new Homeward Bound and this whole year with the women that you'll be working with throughout the year. And then your next trip to Antarctica. But also beyond that, what are you most outraged by and where are the seeds of optimism?

Fabian: [00:39:48] You might not like my answer madam. But I'm.

Christiana: [00:39:53] Go for it, I like it already. Just with that introduction.

Fabian: [00:39:56] I'm outraged that you're not part of the Busara Circle. But I'm most optimistic. I'm most optimistic that this podcast will bring you back and we will get your voice because you are much loved and deeply respected. And we're coming up for with the two ships going this year, nearly 700 influential scientists, all women and all within a supported and enlightened approach to leadership. I can't think of a more important patron, and I continue holding in my mind's eye that you are the patron and that we can bring you back to talk to these women, because I think it would be life changing.

Christiana: [00:40:32] That's sweet Fabian, thank you. And beside me, though, what else keeps you outraged, beside my non-performance?

Tom: [00:40:40] I'm very impressed though. Someone using that question to persuade Christiana to do something.

Christiana: [00:40:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tom: [00:40:44] That was a pro move, I like that a lot. 

Christiana: [00:40:45] That was very strategic.

Tom: [00:40:47] Yeah.

Paul: [00:40:47] That's very stylish. Very stylish. Visibility is not vanity.

Fabian: [00:40:52] Let me think. Is there anything that outrages me. No. I'm too practiced at not getting outraged if you want my honest response, when I'm outraged, it just makes me I feel powerless. And if I've got one commitment, is to feel powerful not powerless. And so I try my hardest not to get outraged. And, you know, of course, there's so much in our world, but I don't think it's outrage I would feel it's grief for for things that happen in our world that are just so mindlessly awful. I feel outraged at the impossible pain of people post the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, still not having the help that they need. I feel just. You know, lost six, seven members of their family that I just feel, you know, consuming grief for. I'm not. I'm not an angry person. And when people get angry, I get a little playful and I certainly get very self-reflective. What can I do differently to calm the waters? What am I most hopeful for or optimistic about? You know, it's a bit like success and failure. Again, optimism, you know, is an ambition for the future. I know that we can create the future we want, so I don't need to be optimistic about a future where we care for the planet. We live together constructively. We learn how not to fight each other and, you know, recognize, as Carl Sagan said, there's no one coming to rescue us from ourselves. So I can see that future. The telling question for me is, will we do what's necessary to get there? And to that, I have neither anger nor optimism. I'll just keep doing my part.

Christiana: [00:42:29] Keep doing your bit. Like you said before. What a fantastic conversation this has just been so, so thrilling. Thank you so much for, for heading our call there, really quite a dribble here of words of wisdom and inspiration Faby. Thank you so much.

Tom: [00:42:57] So what an incredible leader Fabian is. She's just so thoughtful and compelling and and just so persuasive on these issues. What did you both leave that conversation with?

Paul: [00:43:07] I'm absolutely struck with the power of a dream. Like you can actually have a dream. And instead of it being just like a crazy dream you forget about, it can be something that's really cooked and well thought through and full of inspiration. And I noticed the first lovely man she goes to her husband says, oh, that's nice, what's for breakfast. And the second lovely man she goes to her business partner says, over my dead body. And then the third person she goes to is a woman who says, that's absolutely fantastic, let's do it. So there's something there also. But no, I was more struck than anything else by her ability, Tom, you said also Ian Bremmer said this, but but for her to be without outrage and in fact, some of the comments she made were so, so profound, they really touched the heart. The idea that she, you know, doesn't want to be remembered for something. She she she sees her life as complete in and of itself. She's not trying to sort of hark back to her life from from after when she dies, that she sees the concept of success as dangerous as the idea of failure. And I think we're going to come back to these themes in the future. I think they're part of an amazing inquiry, success and failure being a false dichotomy and being true to yourself and and understanding that, you know, when you're either looking at whether you're feeling down and depressed or whether you're feeling fulfilled is probably a really good indicator of how well what you're doing is going. So all of that was wisdom, pearls pearls from heaven felt like to me.

Christiana: [00:44:31] Hmm, well Paul, I totally agree with everything that you've said, which doesn't happen often, so let's mark that one.

Paul: [00:44:41] Ching. But it's not a success. It's not a success.

Christiana: [00:44:42] Ding, ding, ding. And and I also want to say, I was really struck at the end by when she said she doesn't do outrage. And let me just say she doesn't do outrage out of a lack of passion or out of lack of intensity. I shared a cabin with her in a very, very small, tiny little research boat going to Antarctica for several weeks. And I am you know witness that this woman is everything about intensity, passion, living life, not 100%, but 160%. She is just, you know, such a such a powerful motor for her ideas, for everyone else's future, for their leadership, for their potential, for their possibility. And the fact that she has the wisdom to say she doesn't do outrage. Wow. Wow, you know, I am in deep admiration about that, because outrage very often comes out of our intensity and our passion against something. And she is she is very passionate. She is very intense. And yet she has the wisdom of an elder to say she doesn't do outrage.

Tom: [00:46:11] Yeah, I mean, I don't have much to add. I think you both said it very well. I think the only thing I would just say is I I've known obviously of her a good bit and we've interviewed her before. But I was just really struck by the infectious and playful energy that she brought to the conversation. I mean, these are difficult issues that she's talking about. I'm sure she deals with a lot of women who have had very frustrating experiences in their careers, being artificially kept down, not provided opportunities. And the fact that she has maintained a playful, infectious, joyful energy throughout all of that is remarkable and very impressive. And I'm sure it makes her much more effective in what she does as well. And it's connected to what you both said about the outrage. Right. I think that that's it. Thank you for joining us this week. We're leaving you with some music as ever. This week we have a piece of music from Child Seat. So really hope you enjoy that. And we will be back, we promise, next week with the first episode of the mini series. So thank you for joining this week. Hope you enjoyed it.

Christiana: [00:47:08] Unless we invent something else to derail that Tom.

Tom: [00:47:11] Unless we invent something else.

Paul: [00:47:12] International stop Tom's mini series day.

Tom: [00:47:14] At some theoretically point, theoretical future point. We will do the mini series. All right. Maybe next week, we'll see.

Paul: [00:47:18] See you in a few weeks.

Tom: [00:47:20] Thanks so much, nice to see you both.

Christiana: [00:47:21] Bye. 

Tom: [00:47:21] Bye.

Paul: [00:47:22] Bye.

Child Seat: [00:47:24] Hi, this is Josiah and this is Maddie, and we are Child Seat from Los Angeles. Our song Burning was written about a wildfire that almost took out my hometown in Northern California in 2021. Due to the extreme drought and heat in California that year, it wiped out hundreds and thousands of acres of forest. It's a reminder that life throws us curveballs, including losing the things we love most. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing lasts forever. We are handed various experiences, and even though those experiences can feel hard or unwarranted at times, it often makes us appreciate the good things in life and fun fact, Jeff Schroeder from the Smashing Pumpkins played a sweet solo on the song.

Sarah: [00:52:51] Hi, it's Sarah, the exec producer of Outrage and Optimism here. I'm stepping in this week with some very short and sweet credits as Clay is unfortunately poorly at the moment. So we're sending him lots and lots of love and wishing him a very safe and speedy recovery. Get well soon, Clay. Firstly, huge thanks from us to Fabian Dattner, who agreed to our very last minute request and joined us this week to celebrate International Women's Day with us, which happened on Wednesday the 8th of March. She brought amazing fun and wisdom to the conversation and it was such a pleasure to host her. So thank you again. We wish her all the best for the two boats making their way to Antarctica this year. And please check out details of Homeward Bound in the show notes. It's an amazing organisation. Massive thanks too to our music artist this week Child Seat for letting us feature their incredible track, Burning. We hope you take some time to check out their album Bad Holiday and their new single, Cherry Stem. All details can be found in the show notes. Also, the hugest of thanks to Airaphon for stepping in also very last minute to help edit, mix and deliver the podcast while Clay is recovering. Please check out their links in the show notes, they come so highly recommended from us. Finally, make sure you tune in next week to the first episode of Tom's mini series exploring the timely issue of what we are framing as momentum versus perfection in the climate movement. We've had so many brilliant guests featuring across both episodes, and we would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this issue over the next few weeks. So please reach out. Thanks for listening.


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