Rachael Robertson answered an ad in the ‘situations vacant’ column of a newspaper. What followed was a leadership journey unlike any other.
After a strenuous selection process, which included a week-long boot camp, Rachael was chosen to lead the 58th Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to Davis Station. She was only the second female to ever lead a team at the Station and one of the youngest ever leaders.
This leadership role is a truly unique experience. Antarctica in winter is totally inaccessible which means once the last ship leaves at the end of February, no one can leave the base under any circumstance (not even if you are dying) until the ship returns in November. It’s a 24 hour a day, every day of the year, leadership role.
Rachael was responsible for all aspects of life on the Station, from the safety and welfare of over 120 expeditioners in Summer, to the delivery of the Australian Government’s $20mn science program. At the end of Summer most of the expedition team returns home and only 18 people remain behind through the long, dark Antarctic winter. In any circumstance, this would be a tough role, but for a female in a male dominated environment, it was also a very challenging one!
Prior to this Rachael held senior operational management roles for 16 years in a range of complex and challenging environments.
Since returning to Australia, Rachael has completed her MBA and is now working in the field of leadership development.
She is an author and keynote speaker and her leadership and teamwork insights have been presented at over 1200 national and international conferences with clients including NAB, AXA, Westpac, BHP Billiton, IBM, Minter Ellison, Crown Casino, CPA Australia, Wesfarmers, BP, Choice Hotels, Randstad, Mercer and GE.