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Stefanie Di Trocchio is fuelled by curiosity. With a diverse background spanning law, journalism, publishing and now the energy sector, Stef’s career path has been guided by a commitment to lifelong learning. Six years ago, inspired by the urgent challenges in the sector, she transitioned to work in energy. Stef participated in Cohort 6 of the Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship as an ‘intrapreneur’ with a vision to develop an innovative offering for her employer Smart Ease to help accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption in businesses. Milly Young, head of our Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship, sits down with Stef to talk about her journey, and her vision to simplify the transition to EVs.

Tell us a bit about you. Who is Stef Di Trocchio?

As a teenager, I wanted to be just like Jana Wendt. Jana was intelligent, conveyed gravitas and seemed ever-present in my parents’ media consumption of news and current affairs content. A woman who knew so much and one that people actually listened to – an alluring combo for an ambitious young woman growing up in the 1990s.

Fast forward to now and knowledge, communication and education have formed consistent threads throughout my career. Knowing and understanding isn’t enough; demystifying big concepts and conveying key data points are key to leaving a positive legacy in any profession or industry.

Another key theme throughout my career is that of social responsibility. I learnt (the hard way) that if I don’t feel a deep values alignment with the job that I do every day, I struggle to deliver my best service if I feel any kind of moral tension. That’s why I feel particularly grateful to work in a business and industry that is genuinely and collaboratively working towards solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

You have had a broad career spanning law, journalism, publishing and now energy (did I miss anything!?). Can you talk about your transition to working in the energy sector?

My career path was never clear or deliberate. When people ask me about the various professions and industries I’ve worked in (law, publishing, content and media, construction, tech, energy, financial services…), I used to say that the transitions were all accidental.

In hindsight I can see that I’ve always followed my curiosity – and it’s safe to say that as a life-long learner, I’m curious about many things! In 2018, when I was deciding whether to move from business tech into energy tech, my first energy-industry manager shared with me his personal WHY for deciding to work in the energy industry. His articulation of the critical nature of the energy challenge piqued my curiosity completely and made a lasting impression.

After six years in energy, the learning curve has been enormous and ongoing. There’s still a lot I don’t know, but I’m in, boots and all, to continue serving and learning.

Why did you decide to apply for the EnergyLab Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship?

As a life-long learner, I don’t think I’ll ever stop seeking out learning opportunities. When the call-out came for applications, I recalled one of my former colleagues taking part in the fellowship and having a positive experience. It had been a while since I had done any kind of formalised training, so I jumped at the opportunity to participate.

You’re participating in the WICEF program as an ‘intrapreneur’. How has this experience been for you? How has the fellowship helped you?

If I’m honest, at some moments I’ve felt some pangs of being an imposter in the group. Being amongst women who are “starting” something different, creating something that didn’t previously exist, occasionally put me on the outer. But this was only because I’m envious of my peers in the program – being a “true” startup and forging a new path in the world is empowering and exciting!

I’m grateful to have had the support of my employer to participate and am enjoying the challenge of creating a new offering for an existing business. All the topics have been excellent and perfectly on point (with the exception perhaps of how to attract funding since my work is privately supported).

More than anything, the fellowship has given me frameworks for applying knowledge that I’d already absorbed but never been deliberate about, and access to a knowledgeable and generous mentor network. The program has given me some rigour to shape some solutions I’m working on as an intrapreneur.

Tell us about your startup idea. What problem are you solving and how?

The problem I’m trying to solve as an intrapreneur is to help businesses and organisations accelerate their adoption of EVs.

Right now, Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of EV adoption. But soon, all business owners that own and run vehicles will have to think seriously about transitioning their cars to EVs. Given the tabled fuel efficiency standards and mandatory climate-related financial disclosures draft bill, this transition will likely happen sooner than business owners are ready for them.

Not only will business owners have to deal with the cost of buying EVs, they’ll have to figure out how and where to charge them, and to work out what impact their adoption will have on their business rhythms.

Behaviour change is hard – especially when it involves learning about new technologies, plus a perceived dollar and resource cost – so my focus is on making this as clear and easy as possible for business owners.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in the early stages of bringing an idea to life?

The biggest challenge so far is grappling with how many different parts of the car-purchasing and -ownership puzzle are involved. Taking everything from financing the actual vehicles and charging equipment to the day-to-day realities of fueling, insuring, running and maintaining a vehicle into consideration is a big exercise.

What’s next for your solution? And where can we find out more?

We’re on the cusp of trialling some offers and packages for business customers. I’m excited about bringing this proposition to market and evolving it for different types of businesses and organisations. The potential impact of this offering is enormous.

To stay abreast of updates and EV-related news, hit the ‘Sign up’ button on our Learn page (

Any parting advice for women entrepreneurs?

You only have one wild and precious life. Don’t waste a moment of it second-guessing yourself – get out there and make things happen!

Interested in joining EnergyLab’s Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship? Head over to our website to fill out an EOI form. If you have any questions, email Milly at [email protected].

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