Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes is big on batteries. The president of Black Mountain Metals—a division of Fort Worth, Texas-based energy producer Black Mountain—is on the hunt for ore like nickel, a key ingredient of the lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars like Teslas. In 2018 her unit plowed $75 million into mining operations in Western Australia. That same year, the Harvard M.B.A. ran a hostile takeover bid for Australian miner Poseidon Nickel, acquiring a 20% stake. Zumwalt-Forbes grew up near the oilfields of Choctaw, Oklahoma, majored in petroleum engineerin­g at the University of Oklahoma and worked as a drilling engineer at ExxonMobil. As head of business developmen­t for Black Mountain, her analysis of the evolving battery landscape inspired the company’s jump into mining. “My number one hurdle was overcoming impostor syndrome,” says Zumwalt-Forbes (no relation to the magazine’s founding family). “I rarely see another woman in meetings, let alone one without a formal mining background, but I know I’ve earned my seat at the table.” —Jeremy Bogaisky, Elisabeth Brier, Chris Helman

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