Don’t walk past!

Young business entrepreneur gives the boys four challenges.

The Middle and Senior School boys came together for a special assembly this week to hear Holly Ransom, millennial business entrepreneur, G20 Youth Summit Chair, Australian ‘100 Most Influential Women’ inductee, CEO, law/commerce graduate, ironman endurance athlete and board member of the Port Adelaide Football Club (the youngest board member ever) – all at 27 years old!

One of Holly’s first jobs after graduating was with Rio Tinto CEO Dr Sam Walsh AO (OB 1966), who employed the 22-year-old to scrutinise the company’s gender and environmental policies. (Sam and Holly enjoy an ongoing mentor/mentoree relationship.) She is now CEO of Emergent, a company specialising in the development of high-performing intergenerational workforces, leadership and social outcomes. In a stimulating address, she gave the boys four challenges:

  1. Don’t walk past.

The world is full of inequities. (Holly gave the example of a homeless man she saw on the street when she was 10.) When we walk past, we’re saying it’s OK. Instead, we can do something, no matter how small. (Holly organised a food drive at her primary school.) We need to ask ourselves: What are the things I’m not prepared to walk past?

  1. Don’t let others’ expectations shape the way you behave or achieve.

Holly said that when she was chair of the G20 Youth Summit, many politicians didn’t have high – or, indeed, any – expectations of the group. (She was torn to shreds by one senator when her plans didn’t meet his expectations!) Instead of accepting this, the group set high expectations for themselves and sought to meet them. They showed up in the way they wanted to show up, not in the way that was expected of them.

  1. Spend time with a diverse group.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, ‘You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ (There’s a prize for the person who can tell us the date of the eNews in which this quote appeared earlier this year! Send your answerto hello@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au.) Motivational speaker Holly Ransom said, ‘The hallmark of great leaders will be the diversity of the five people you spend the most time with.’

Holly emphasised the vital role that mentors can play in the professional and personal lives of young people. When she asked one of her own mentors how long it takes to learn from someone’s lifetime of experience, he responded ‘Coffee’.

  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

In 2015, Holly and her best friend embarked on what they called ‘Fear Factor 15’. Every day for the whole year, they did something they were afraid of. Holly’s activities included jumping off the side of a boat into the sea in Antarctica, taking acting and singing lessons, and leaving her job to start a new company.

Holly described how we all live within two zones: our comfort zone and our courage zone. Everyone’s zones will contain different things, but we need to commit to spending time in our courage zone, whatever that is for each of us, on a daily basis. The things that will get us where we want to go in the future live in our courage zone.