DDI and The Australian Financial Review BOSS Announce Australia’s Top Young Executives

June 25, 2021

DDI’s Day-in-the-Life Executive Leadership Assessment Identifies Australia’s Brightest Up-and-Coming Leaders

Despite a year wrought with uncertainty, The Australian Financial Review BOSS Young Executives competition’s six recipients displayed outstanding business focus and leadership qualities in business and their communities.

The recipients demonstrated outstanding leadership, despite facing a global pandemic and volatile economic environment, to win the prestigious The Australian Financial Review BOSS Young Executives Competition. Recipients are recognised as Australia’s most promising up-and-coming executives under 35 years old.

DDI, a leading global leadership consulting firm, and Australian business publication The Australian Financial Review BOSS partnered to present the 18th annual award. The judging process was hosted virtually, using video conferencing technology and DDI’s virtual leadership assessment solutions. Award recipients from New South Wales and Queensland came together in Sydney for an in-person awards ceremony, which hasn’t been possible since 2019.

The competition consisted of 10 shortlisted applicants. They participated in DDI’s executive simulation assessment and interviews with a panel of senior business leaders. The assessment identified well-rounded young executives showing emotional intelligence, business aptitude, innovation and leadership skills to excel in an executive role. The panel selected six winners who showed a solid understanding of their company’s goals, and clear and effective leadership skills. They also demonstrated a strong commitment to the advancement of business and wider community.

“This year’s cohort of accomplished, aspirational and purpose-driven young leaders inspires confidence in our future,” said Bruce Watt, Ph.D., vice president of DDI. “They faced unprecedented challenges with the pandemic. They’ve shown us how the next generation can rise up to meet the challenges of a forever-changed business landscape with confidence and vision for a better future.”

This year’s winners are:

  • Belinda Hogan, 86 400’s Chief Financial Officer
  • Fahim Khondaker, BDO’s Partner of Data Analytics and Insights
  • Ellen MacDougal, Steadfast Life’s Chief Operating Officer
  • Mirinda O’Gorman, LanternPay’s General Manger of Healthcare
  • Tara Osborne, Bingo Industries’ General Manager of Group Strategy and Investor Relations
  • Remya Ramesh, Coles’ head of Digital Experience at Coles

Each finalist demonstrated exceptional executive leadership skills during DDI’s challenging day-long virtual executive simulation. During the simulation, they stepped into the role of president of a fictional $28 billion artificial intelligence company operating in today’s agile world. The assessment analysed participants’ key business leadership skills. These skills included developing a strategic business plan, data analysis, establishing and sharing a vision, and influencing a key business partner. The finalists were also assessed on their ability to drive results, create an inclusive environment, listening and responding with empathy, and lead in a virtual environment. Afterwards, they received extensive feedback on their strengths and development areas, creating a development plan for further success.

“The assessment experience and feedback the award recipients received illuminated their path forward and provided them with the focus and confidence to continue striving toward a bright future,” Watt said. “The BOSS Young Executives Class of 2021 has proven that, despite the challenges, they’re able to help push their organisations forward and continue to grow.”


About DDI
DDI is a global leadership consulting firm that helps organisations hire, promote and develop exceptional leaders. From first-time managers to C-suite executives, DDI is by leaders’ sides, supporting them in every critical moment of leadership. Built on five decades of research and experience in the science of leadership, DDI’s evidence-based assessment and development solutions enable millions of leaders around the world to succeed, propelling their organisations to new heights. For more information, visit ddiworld.com.