Anthropology and e-mobility – the unexpected connection!

August 26 2022


  • Young leader traits for 2022.
  • Coming to grips with the new normal.
  • Anthropology and e-mobility?
  • Maybe the arts are a key to business leadership and innovation.

The broader theme of this story is answering the question – what does it take to be a successful leader in the post-pandemic environment?

You might remember a favourite acronym of mine – VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity) – a term that well describes the apparent chaos and pace of change in our world today. It surely describes these last two years even more so.

In this context, an interesting set of traits stands out in the 2022 BOSS Young Executives awards for standout young Australian leaders.

And things are starting to change…

New Roles, and the arts could be back!

While some are established, some of the roles on this list might have until recently made the list of jobs you’ve never heard of. Amy Goldenberg as Ampol’s head of e-mobility for example, has developed and is now implementing Ampol’s eMobility strategy. What’s that?

Would you believe that the person charged with establishing and implementing Ampol’s eMobility strategy went from school to uni and studied philosophy and anthropology? What a pathway!

The arts – involving creative thinking, deep knowledge, the study of what it is to be human – might suddenly have a newly recognised application in business.

Leaving Monash, Amy Goldenberg wasn’t yet clear on what she wanted to do, but did want a job that would be fulfilling and that she felt would impact the world positively. An internship with a New York property developer led to commercial real estate development in London, which included establishing EV chargers in commercial buildings. And hence, to Ampol as head of e-mobility…

The e-mobility role is all about the plan “to transition Ampol to own and operate the largest EV network in the country through their network AmpCharge, which … will offer customers the full eMobility ecosystems, providing reliable, safe and convenient alternative to traditional transport fuels”. Exciting times.

The New Normal

The BOSS judging panel noted that while they were talking to finalists about how they were adapting to the challenges of the pandemic and what staff expected from an employer, the leading cohort of young leaders had already come to grips with the new normal in business and in society, and now were inspiring positive team responses to this new context.

With challenges emerging quickly – think global politics, war, rising interest rates, the threat of recession, supply chain disruption and skills shortages – and with young leaders in particular never having encountered these before, the ability to think quickly and differently is now incredibly important.

Being open to thinking about new ways of working and learning from other industry sectors were also seen as today’s success factors.

Judges also noted that ‘the customer first’ way of thinking was a strong factor for today’s standout young leaders.

It all fits really. Today’s customer has a bigger voice, and leaders who can balance a genuine customer focus with innovation, tech knowledge, adapting quickly, and being inspiring and empowering leaders, will set themselves and their organisations up for success. And, make work more enjoyable.

And the winners

This year’s BOSS Young Executives are:

  • Amy Goldenberg, head of e-mobility at petrol refiner and retailer Ampol,
  • Martin Curtis, head of Google partners at technology behemoth Google,
  • Matt Freeman, former chief financial officer at agricultural services business AWN,
  • Dalton Fogarty, head of strategy at digital gift cards company Prezzee,
  • Jesse Arundell, head of emerging technology at Commonwealth Bank and
  • Yash Sodhi, chief financial officer of funds management at listed financial services company, Challenger.

Based on reports in AFR and BOSS magazine.