My encounter with Western Australian of the Year, Holly Ransom

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a Women with Ambition breakfast event this week, where I met the one and only Holly Ransom. I’ve heard of Holly before and we were connected on Twitter, but to listen to her and to meet her in person was still something that felt quite surreal. Not that she looks unapproachable. Quite the opposite in fact. Holly is very relaxed, casual and honest. I would never have guessed her age, because she is so confident and she has achieved so much. She probably hates people mentioning her age though!

Just so you know, Holly is 24, and in 2012 she was the youngest Rotary President, Western Australian of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year and one of the “100 Most Influential Australian Women”. This year, Holly chaired G20 Youth Summit, and she has also worked with more than 20 non-profit organisations and many top politicians and leaders.

When I was 24, I was working as a junior actuarial analyst, and spent most of my free time on movies. I wasn’t interested in politics or current affairs.

Of course, I shouldn’t be too self-critical. People like Holly are rare. But the world needs them, to lead, to disrupt.

Holly spoke of her encounter with a homeless person begging on street when she was ten, and realising that night when it was raining that not everyone had things that she took for granted, like shelter, food, clothing etc. Her passion for poverty alleviation started from that encounter.

I envy her. Sometimes I wish that I found my purpose in life much earlier, so that I could have done a lot more by now. But I know I should be grateful that it didn’t come too late for me.

Listening to Holly’s honest account of her experiences and her passion for gender equality, women leadership, poverty alleviation and youth leadership, I truly believed that our generation, and the next, and the next, will make the world better and fairer.

When the event finished, I asked Holly if she’d like to share her experience, particularly her experience on a microfinance project in Kenya, with my fellow actuaries, and she said Yes!