Changemaker spotlight: Meet the Chair, Anna Stoll

Anna Stoll

Meet Anna Stoll, Chair of the Built Environment Change Makers and Decarbonisation Business Development Lead at Amey.  

We sat down with Anna to tell us about her unique job at Amey, which has to navigate the intersection of business growth, finance, people-first change and decarbonisation solutions.  


Anna plays a role in helping to unlock the art of the possible for decarbonisation by working with some of the UKs largest public sector bodies to determine solutions for their estates, and works with local authorities, defence, education, justice, central government, transport and health services to help deliver their sustainability strategies at macro and micro scales, establishing herself as a high-achieving leader in UK built environment decarbonisation. 


Background into the built environment 


Anna comes from a long line of family involved in the construction industry. Anna is the daughter of an Architect, so construction surrounded her from a young age dutifully studying her father’s drawings in his office. She jokes that most of her childhood weekends were spent on building sites and attributes any adulthood neck pain to developing an early habit of always looking up to take in the architecture around her.  


But her professional journey into the built environment began, unexpectedly, by studying both her Bachelors and Master's in Palaeoanthropology, which filled her with a passion for understanding connection with our places and spaces as part of the human experience and the impact of climate on this psychologically, biologically and culturally. 


Trained in the field as an archaeologist, Anna began working alongside large construction and infrastructure contractors on national infrastructure projects such as on the A14 for Highways England. This sparked her interest in a career in the built environment, working her way from the ground up.  


It was upon this solid foundation that Anna pursued her interest in this industry further and worked across the higher education sector across both construction and facilities management consultancy projects that focused on operational and strategic improvement to generate resilience within SME businesses through Knowledge Transfer and Business Model Innovation; blending academia and industry thinking.  


Working on decarbonisation 


Anna has continued to accomplish and establish herself as a leader in this space.   


In her current role at Amey, Anna works with public sector clients with expertise in decarbonisation and energy transition across Facilities management, capital projects and Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES).


Anna’s work primarily focuses on solutions that take into account systems thinking principles where she works with clients to look at building based interventions (such as energy efficiency works, retrofit), estates level transformation through a sustainability lens, right up through to looking at campus and city scale strategic energy partnerships and SLES opportunities. These speak to Amey’s capabilities and experience in delivering impact across Transport Infrastructure (such as EV charging, Active Travel, Rail Electrification, Road decarbonisation), Design, Advisory and Analytics as well as Domestic and Non-Domestic Estates Management and Project Delivery in the Built Environment.   


Anna connects the dots in a way that makes sense for the places, estates, and assets she works with.  

I am grateful I am in a space where I am constantly learning, evolving, and growing. I get to rise to challenges and help create solutions that not only decarbonise but also support better public health, community wealth building, enhance safety and positive social connection. Anna Stoll

Business growth and sustainability 


Finding a balance between advancing business goals and sustainable practices requires nuanced decision-making from Anna. 


She says, “My role is about business growth, which is an interesting tension to hold as somebody who exists in sustainability spaces that focus on the narrative of degrowth. I find that the tension is a real driver for me to explore the art of the possible and come up with more regenerative perspectives.” 


In a world where business and Net Zero feel like they are in opposition, Anna’s job is to bridge the gap between the two and be the one to make positive outcomes happen. She says it’s continuous striving to “move towards triple bottom line approach that co-creates the right kind of value propositions and solutions that actually make Net Zero and sustainability a feasible and desirable reality that works for clients whilst leaving a positive legacy in their communities.”  


Moving construction to massive action 


Anna’s is also involved in forums like the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), which she joined due to chairing the BECM. She sits on the Transformation Board for CLF and is currently working on a project called Construction 2034 that invites a strong, novel and alternative vision for the future and clear manifesto that outlines key commitments required for moving along the Scottish Construction industry, emphasising clear action, accessible messaging, and alignment with the outcomes of the Construction Leadership Forum Accord Action Plan. 


Transformation needs to move from this very high level conceptual ‘thing’ talked about in rooms with closed doors with to a representative, collective, conscious plan of action that responsibly and reasonably looks at the short, medium and longer terms. We need people to be able to see, touch and feel and co-sign change that is sense made; beyond well-intentioned plans for plans, high level thought leadership and jargon. It is time for practice over perfection. Anna Stoll

When she is not doing all this work, she is also serving as an Advisory Board member for the innovative Fintech in Construction start-up Saible. The goal here being to disrupt the payment culture in construction that currently costs the sector £6bn a year, with insolvency of over 4,000 businesses a year.  

Anna says, “Procurement and payment practices are one of the foundations we need to make good of. It’s often overlooked. Efficiency, transparency and collaboration with clients, contractors supply chain and payment are key to how we create a just future”.  



What is it like chairing the change makers? 


Anna’s leadership role as Chair of the Built Environment Change Makers stems from a desire to empower voices and drive meaningful change. It has allowed her to connect with peers and network with people who are similarly minded to her. She says she has found the process of chairing a group of nineteen different individuals with different skillsets, areas of expertise and roles, and rallying them around the singular common mission, challenging, yet rewarding and as a source of constant inspiration to dig deep and give more to our industry and communities. 


Anna sees being a leader, and by extension being a change maker, as being someone who serves others to cause change. 


She says, “I lean into that collaborative way of change, watering seeds in the cracks of the pavement. The way I see it, it’s my job to be an ally, my job to challenge, to be a critical friend and to champion the not-so-obvious. It's my job to make room for others and humanise change. Especially when we’re talking about big, crisis topics like climate, skills, ecological collapse and the cost of living”.  


Advice for those looking to get into the construction sector 


Anna’s advice for individuals aspiring to enter the construction industry: “Don’t overthink if you are the right ‘fit’; construction is more than muddy boots or restricted professions. We need so many different skillsets perspectives from technical, people right through to a huge dependency on creative competencies. I cannot stress enough that there is always space for you.” 


I cannot stress enough that there is always space for you. Anna Stoll

Anna also highlighted the value of mentorship early on in your career. “Whether it's a peer, a friend, a neighbour, a role model, a colleague. It's been so useful for me because you get the wisdom and knowledge of someone who's been there and done that or experiencing the same things with you and then being able to sound board and figure it all out with them. It can be a tough industry to navigate, especially at the coalface of change, but it is incredibly rewarding career that gets easier when you build community and support around you.” 


The keys to progress 


Finally, looking ahead at the industry in the next ten years, Anna envisions a built environment characterised by better role models, critical-thinking leaders and open-minded leaders who are open to conversations with a more diverse and younger audience. She also says that embracing inclusive decision-making processes, adopting a community-focused approach, and reimagining procurement practices are the essential steps to take towards realising the Just Transition.  


It is clear speaking with Anna that she is one-to-watch and set for more greatness in the future. Still only in her twenties, her strategy-focused and action-orientated mentality will continue to cause impact in the coming years.  


The Built Environment Change Makers (BECM) are a group of built environment professionals, co-ordinated and supported by BE-ST, who advocate for systemic change in the sector. Learn more about the Built Environment Change Makers here