Where do we begin with Holly Ransom, this tremendous young leader?
This year she’s on the upsurge. Her message has been cutting through in many forums.
As co-chair of the Y20, the youth G20, she’s been working on exciting intergenerational engagement - growing support for youth entrepreneurship and bringing education up to date with the needs of the modern, casualised workforce.
When not working on the Y20, she runs her leadership development company Emergent Solutions.
This is, of course, in addition to the speaking engagements Holly works on with Saxton.
She’s the 25-year-old with a diary quite unlike any other.
She has spoken across six continents (in January she spoke at a conference in Antarctica), presented at the International Insurance Cooperatives and Mutuals Conference, and shared speaking bills with the likes of Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jnr.
She was invited by the Governor General of Australia to give the Commonwealth Day address in Canberra.
Her first blog for Huffington Post Australia was, for the first fortnight, the highest ranked on the entire site.
Then there was becoming a regular panellist on ABC’s The Drum, reaching over 85,000 followers on Twitter, and being ranked as one of the top 20 Australian influencers on LinkedIn.
Most people are dumbstruck by how Holly has achieved so much at her age.
When she speaks, she doesn’t just recite the shopping list of accomplishments (which is clearly considerable), she lets people in and explains how she’s done it.
She gives real rare insights into the process and thinking of a high achiever.
With a mix of the lawyerly and the exuberant, she can explain macro trends and simplify complex topics down to the crucial essence an audience wants to hear: ‘what does this mean for my organisation?’
For Holly, It’s about delivering bottom-line results – sharing key insights into the tangible actions leaders need to take in order to drive engagement from youth and markets.
In short, she draws results-oriented lessons from big picture stuff. It’s done with the unerring, driven sharpness she has been so noticed for. Barack Obama joked at the G20 in Brisbane that she’d be running the world someday.
‘How do you get to be heard - as a leader who is young, and a leader who is female?’
Holly is often asked variations on this question by her awestruck admirers, and she invariably has one word: mentors. “The single biggest contributor to my growth has been mentors.” And when it comes to getting career advice from high powered people, why not aim high? Holly remembers IMF head Christine Lagarde imparting to her some personal wisdom on the importance of not “shying away from your point of difference” as a woman in a male-dominated field.
She still self-describes as a ‘forensic questioner’, and sees the title as a badge of honour - “It’s more important to be interested rather than interesting.” Perennially curious, for Holly there is an unending stream of questions to be asked.
She’s all about reframing challenges and generating solutions.
“It frustrates me when I ask why and I get the answer that ‘it’s always been done this way.’”
There’s something emboldening about the way Holly implores those around her to “reimagine the way we’re tackling problems.”
Her endgame is “to drive collaboration between the corporate, government and non-profit sectors” to make the world a better place.
In the meantime, to add to the roll-call of Holly’s achievements this year, if you weren’t already dizzy, she has been appointed to the Advisory Boards of the RMIT College of Business Industry, Black Sheep Capital, and Swimming Australia. She's also been named a Young Business Leader of 2015 by CPA's In The Black Magazine.
Spare time? “I work out a lot, six times a week – that’s ‘me time,’ for thinking.” Soon to compete in her first ironman… here’s to 2016, Holly.