Gazella tribe unite!  / 
Our new Editors for 2020

story / Announcement / March 30, 2020

There is nothing wrong with figuring out that you can’t do it all and bloody calling in troops to help, right?

Justine has been brewing a marvelous stew for a while and decided we needed to take on some peeps to help with the workload of what Gazella has become. God, when we started this we were lowly grads with not a care in the world (except how to become not-grads). Now we are ‘running-the-show’ so to speak and still trying to hustle on the side. Needless to say we’ve been lagging behind on our Gazella workload.

So it is with extreme amounts of pleasure, and not a little bit of fanfare, that we can introduce your crew for 2020. The New Editors of Gazella, who for the next 12 months will work with us to take Gazella to places it’s never been before.

Unfortunately with current circumstances being what they are (#stayhome), we couldn’t get together for a photo shoot, so instead you have some marvelous mash-ups of our weekly Houseparty meeting and some stay home selfies to introduce the crew.

As always we are looking for interesting people/events/projects and ideas for Gazella. You know where to find us! So follow along and watch this space in 2020!


Sophie Cleland

Sophie works hard at wearing as much print and pattern as possible. Print, print, print – is there any other way?!  She is a principal at an Architecture firm, where she works on public and community buildings and spaces. She loves being able to support public space and our civic institutions.

Her current obsession (besides print fabric) is growing things from seeds! Outside of work she paints…not walls but oil paintings. She loves the feel of the brush and the butter-like texture of the paint, painting a series of birds was like painting her way to freedom. She is currently playing with some new topics… stay tuned!

She studied photography many moons ago and wanted to be a photographer until she was in her early 20’s. And of course she studied architecture.

Sophie believes in building a platform for others to grow. She has always supported the women (and men) around her to allow them to grow to shine, encouraging them to be at the front while she provides the background. She has always been very accessible and available. Sometimes this is hard, but it’s about allowing others to share your knowledge to create new leaders.

Sophie’s pet hate is poor communication. It basically creates or exacerbates problems and is something we have control over.

Sophie would like to see more leadership in women. Building support structures beyond just the introductions to create real foundations. She believes your career is a lifelong learning journey – you should share it! She hopes that in the future we become more supportive and generous to those around us.

In the words of HAIM,

Never look back , never give up, I’ll never give up ! 

Nancy Gergis

Nancy works her magic in New Business for a construction company. Her focus is around research and development. She spends much of her days analysing, understanding and mapping the Melbourne market in all sectors – which isn’t basic at all! While it can be a constant challenge to bring in new business through clients and consultants… attending a lot of events and drinking a lot of coffee, has its perks!!!

She loves Netflix shows. If it’s about the mafia or cartels – she can’t get enough. She also loves online solitaire.

Nancy grew up in a tight-knit Egyptian community, where life is lived together. Seeing her Egyptian friends and family, going to Church every week and eating with everyone (of course), is a big part of her life. She tries to squeeze in some exercise too, such as Pilates and walks.

She started studying Architecture at the University of Melbourne, then transferred into Property and Construction. She is passionate about believing and delivering equal opportunities for males and females. And not just in respect to our work lives, but in all aspects of life… social too!

Nancy has had a tough few years, losing both her parents. But in that she has found strength in both her faith and in trusting the timing of her life. Her go to saying is ‘trust in God always’. She believes that things happen in people’s life for a reason, whether or not we accept it.

Nancy hates loud chewing… I mean…yuk! Her hope for 2020 is that COVID-19 disappears and yet also that it makes people realise how much we should care for each other and treat each other well. We are living through scary times at the moment, but we can get through!

Alice Leake

Alice is a Senior Landscape architect working for local government. She is currently obsessed with creating her own illustrated patterned material and learning to sew, a desire to not only beat to her own drum but create a unique style.

Outside of work, people would say she’s a people person, making friends everywhere she goes. Alice is an instant connector and has been one of Danielle and Justine’s secret sources for years, regularly meeting people whom she thinks will be great on Gazella or for her next passion project. Friends with everyone some would say!

She studied at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Architects and has a double degree in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. Alice isn’t one for dawdlers and gets very annoyed with people who take up too much of the footpath and walk slowly through the city. She hopes that one day there won’t be a need for IWD and that every day is in fact that.

She is also passionate about helping to pave the way for the next generation. Alice sits on The Venny board. What the Venny you ask? A risk taking playground where kids rule and it’s all about having fun. She is an avid learner and loves meeting new young guns who push the status quo and ask us to think outside the square!

As Katy Perry says in Firework:

“You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know
You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night” 

Rosie Leake

Rosie is a Design Manager working for a construction company. She is a University of Melbourne, Masters of Construction Alum and has landed full circle, working on a project in a site office out of one of her old classrooms. When she isn’t harassing consultants, she is running out the door to this month’s hobby; woodworking, pottery, basket making, knitting, painting, silversmith, scuba diving, you name it, she’s taken a class.

She has a secret obsession with country music. She knows this highlights her rural roots and makes her kind of weird. She doesn’t care though, all the best people are friends in low places.

Rosie is passionate about celebrating and nurturing the next generation of legends. She finds motivation in the confidence of those who haven’t been crushed by society and she hopes they never are. Rosie aspires to keep pushing boundaries until there is no need for discussion on gender, ability, ethnicity, age, beliefs or sexual orientation. She Imagines the freedom of a world where everyone is able to survive, move freely, be respected and celebrated exactly as they are.

Rosie’s favourite books are Rupi Kaur’s incredible, heartbreaking, relatable and inspiring poetry.

Her pet hate is the inability to charge her phone and listen to a crime podcast at the same time. Sort your life out, Apple.



And last but not least, an update on us! What have we been up to?


Justine’s Update

Justine has her fingers in all sorts of pies. During the day, she is either wearing the Development Manager hat (a role she is new to but loving the challenge) and other times she is mingling in her Business Development role looking to engage in all sorts of construction activities.

Justine loves eating. An obsession she will never really get over. Only recently finishing her renovation in Carlton, she swears she’s never going to do that again. She enjoys yoga (when she is motivated to get on the mat) and is a huge Seinfeld fan.

She studied at the University of Melbourne, completing her Masters of Construction Management (what feels like long ago). The heart and soul of Gazella, her drive and obsession for strength, advocacy and integrity has gotten these girls and their passion from the dark room to the gallery wall.

She wants people to keep joining the conversation around women in the built environment and making a difference in the world. Justine is still working on building her empire and is excited to see what 2020 brings for Gazella with these new boss girls by her side.

Danielle’s Update

Danielle is still at a Tier one builder, but now playing the role of Project Manager. Her acting skills carry her through the times when she doesn’t know what the hell she is meant to be doing.

She is currently obsessed with growing indoor plants, a sign of her desperate need for the Aussie dream – a backyard. She has also filled her site office with a bit of a jungle, to mixed reviews from her team (plants take up desk space).

She is still dancing, though she is now supplementing ballet with pole, which causes her to be bruised more often than not (physically and her ego – pole is hard!).

She is still passionate about advocating for females in senior leadership positions, as that’s where real change will happen and she is fascinated by the change that seems to be flowing through from Gen Z. They seem confident in diving into their professional lives and they have no fear of saying ‘no’. Good on them!

As Gwen Stefani aptly sang, ‘I’m just a girl in the world…’…but boy are we a force when we try! Seeing Malala Yousefazi, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Atwood and  Clementine Ford speak in recent times…Hell, isn’t it a great fight to fight!

She is however, tired of fighting trolls on social media and hopes that her future beans will have a fairer, more equitable world in which to live.

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