2004 John Monash Scholar Lara Olsen was a key speaker at the Spirit of Australia Commemorative Service for General Sir John Monash, held at the Victorian Legislative Assembly in Melbourne on Friday August 6th 2010. Lara spoke of the “seeds of greatness“ evident in Monash’s early career, which came to flower in his leadership with the AIF in France, at the SECV in Victoria after the war, and in the design and construction of the Shrine of Remembrance. Her address was a highlight of the annual service, arranged by the Spirit of Australia Foundation.
Lara, like Sir John a University of Melbourne engineering graduate, has returned to Melbourne after six years overseas. She used her John Monash Scholarship to complete an MBA at INSEAD in 2005, and worked with the Boston Consulting Group in London until 2007. She then took up a position as Head of Europe for Cool nrg International Pty Ltd. At Cool nrg International she helped grow the organization to 17 people at $24m turnover, and led the “The Great British Light Switch”, distributing 4.5 million light bulbs to more than 12,000 stores in a single day. She returned to Australia late in 2009 and found Energy Return Pty Ltd, an innovative carbon and energy auditing business based in Melbourne.