Passing the Baton - Outward Bound

Passing the Baton

Working mothers gifting self-discovery through the great outdoors

My Course, Life after OB

What do a public relations professional, a former model agency owner, a human capital consultant, a tech company sales whizz and a supply chain manager have in common? A single OB baton!

All five women completed an OB course independently before each passed on the baton to a friend or colleague who they knew would benefit from the experience.

The chain began with PR specialist Lisa Joe, who passed her baton to friend and writer Caroline Barron, who in turn nominated investment coach Andrea Duncan. From Andrea, the baton went to Anna Wright who then invited her friend Sarah Blaikie to pack her bags for Anakiwa, the home of Outward Bound.

Lisa says she passed the baton to former model agency owner Caroline who was facing poor health at the time. “We had been running buddies and I was missing her on our morning runs. I promised her that when she was well again, I would pay her course fees to Outward Bound on the condition she would pay it forward.

“We are five women into the chain, we haven’t all met, but there’s a common thread in our tapestry. The women who’ve accepted the baton are successful working mothers who juggle many balls and taking time out of their daily lives has a major impact on others around them – putting their own personal development first is generally not something as mothers they prioritise.”

Like more than 65,000 New Zealanders who have also travelled to Queen Charlotte Sounds to experience Outward Bound, the five Auckland women all learned very different lessons while at Outward Bound – some challenging, others fun, but learnings they are applying in both their personal and professional lives.

For Caroline, discovering that she had a choice between stimulus and reaction where you can choose how you respond and finding the space between, was her most meaningful lesson.

Andrea found her most challenging moments were around putting her trust in other human beings, particularly when climbing blindfolded up a sheer rock face and relying on the directions of someone else.

Anna learned she needed to take more time to listen. “Everyone has a story,” she says. 

Sarah Blaikie returned from her course recently. She says she was pushed further than she thought she could go. “All the activities left me with such a sense of achievement. The week also highlighted the importance of getting on with people, however different to you. I loved that.

I brought home from Outward Bound renewed energy and clarity regarding what is important to me – to concentrate on the important things in life and get out there with my family and enjoy it. Be happy with you!”

Outward Bound is big on values. Demonstrating compassion, service and showing aroha for yourself and those around you is central to OB’s kaupapa. The ‘Pass the Baton’ concept gives alumni the opportunity to actively demonstrate their Outward Bound values.

Says Lisa, “As anyone who has experienced the magic of an Outward Bound course knows, there is a genuine desire to return home and tell everyone we know to do whatever they can to get to Anakiwa and have their own experience, to take the time out for themselves and unlock their personal potential."

It’s thrilling my baton has touched four women in just three years, and I genuinely hope the baton continues to be passed on for years to come.

Lisa Joe

OBalumni Lisa Joe Caroline Barron

Lisa Joe (left) and Caroline Barron


caroline high ropes

Caroline conquering the high ropes course


rock wall female