As much as Justine and I try to pour our time and efforts into Gazella, we are usually absolutely time poor and often also lacking in motivation. True fact! That’s not to say we are motivated about making a difference – we are! But, sometimes after a 65 hour week full of battles and trials, it’s hard to get the lappie out and type out an hour interview, or even worse – spend some time internally reflecting. Not to mention, neither of us are writers, so writing takes us…well a long time…
Let’s face it. Love jobs, require love. And sometimes I’m too tired to even brush my hair. I’ve taken to ‘letting my mane out’ as the blokes on site like to say…secretly I’m too tired in the morning to hunt for the hair ties that my kitten steals during the night.
However, you know what we have learnt here at Gazella? There is nothing like meeting people to bring opportunity knocking. Meeting amazing women that help us in ways we could never have foreseen or imagined. Chance meetings that have become friendships. Momentary conversations that have lead to ongoing dialogues. Introductions that have snowballed into networks.
Back when we were fresh, newly-minted bloggers we were lucky enough to interview the phenomenal Danni Addison, CEO of the UDIA. An absolute moment for both of us. I mean…we left our meeting with her, questioning our entire lives. Both of us were in awe of her. Danni was our age. Already a CEO. Walking a path of influence we could only aspire to. However, Danni saw the worth of the story-telling at Gazella and she invited us to bring Gazella to a live audience in 2016.
Two weeks ago we completed our third live panel. Thanks once again to the UDIA and in particular their Women in Property network. The energy in the room was electric. Women engaging in real conversations around their experiences. We always aim to have a cross section of ages and experiences on our panel, and this year was no exception with Nicole Brown, Sarah Horsfield, Susan Oliver and Hayley Mitchell joining us to tell their stories and offer their words of advice.
I want to be real for a moment. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I feel like an imposter some times in these situations. Probably something we have all felt at times?
At work I’m (kinda) looking after my first project. My team are great, but they barely know about Gazella. On the night we undertake our third live panel, I quietly say, ‘Hey, sorry guys, I have to leave early tonight,’ then leave later then I meant to and battle traffic all the way to the city, where I walk into a room full of women that are probably more confident and accomplished than me. I’m too stressed to speak to anyone, because I left my notes in the car in the carpark I sprinted from across the city. I look at my boots in dismay, as I walk into the venue late – they are covered in mud. At least they are authentic?
Justine and I take the stage with these women who have made their mark in the built environment. I put on my best acting face. If there is one thing I CAN do, it’s get on stage and perform, an architecture degree and years of taking the stage in pointe shoes will bring you a level of ‘game face’. Having said that, I was nervous as hell, being extremely aware that again, I haven’t brushed my hair, my boots are REALLY dirty, I haven’t changed from site, where we were busy pouring a ground slab, so I’m actually just really dirty all over and I’m sure that I’m going to be fairly incoherent because I’m my usual tired mess.
It all goes well of course. Justine and I, from years of interviews, have found a way to settle into a pattern of question asking and covering for each other. There’s a nice natural flow between us and our panelists are in sync with that in the best way. Nicole’s youth and passion, Sarah’s brash confidence, Hayley’s calm consideration and Susan’s bold opinions crystallised on years of experience.
In the end, I have to remind myself, that despite how I felt. Despite the self doubt. It was Justine and I that made the night possible. Not without help and support of course (we love you UDIA), but even though what I have achieved personally often fails to feel like anything, together at Gazella, we have managed to create something to be proud of. A network and a tribe of people bought together because of our effort to INSPIRE, CELEBRATE and CREATE AWARENESS. There is an old adage that we are stronger together. And at GAZELLA that is certainly true. So we hope you continue to spread the word about Gazella and the stories of the women that we share.
So with that I leave you with some words from our panelists. Thanks to these women for being such inspirations to so many. And for making change in our industry.
Considering the cross section of insights and generations across the panel, it is very apparent that women are being heard. It’s so important to look at the positives and celebrate the progression from when Susan graduated, until now. The opportunities women are given today are inspirational in themselves and I believe it is so important, as discussed on the panel, to not wait to be recognized or asked, but to go out there and actively pursue your dreams! Don’t focus on an implications being a woman may hold – know that we are all equal, and go out into the world with the assumption that nothing and no one can hold you back. As women, we should be the first to stop questioning our equality and position based on gender. The rest of the world will follow.
It was a privilege to speak on a panel with such successful women in their own fields. The different perspectives presented provided a well-rounded understanding of the challenges and possibilities for women in the built environment. It was fantastic to have males in the audience and speaking to them afterwards, they shared how happy they were to attend and learn what it feels like to be the minority in the room! The event also gave me peace of mind to know that many others are facing challenges in their own workplaces, but there is a strong force of change moving through the industry.
So refreshing to hear from some truly remarkable women about how much can be achieved by following their passion and backing themselves. An inspiring event that reminded me how much we can learn from sharing our stories.
I cannot forgive anybody that says there is not a woman qualified for a position. The room was full of them.
And the talent, energy and personality of my fellow panelists and the Gazella team was a treat.
We’d also like to invite you all to our next event. Yogazella is back for it’s third installment on June 29 at Radiant Sol in Port Melbourne. Two hours of relaxation. Unwind, enjoy some amazing food and have a good chat with the tribe. We hope to see you there. If you are interested, tickets are only $36 and can be purchased through the link here.