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Cumulus Grows its Leadership Team

31 Mar 2021

At Cumulus we strive to provide opportunities for growth to all of our team members and we are delighted to recognise three passionate, talented and dedicated team members.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of three new Associates –
Claire Austin, Edwina Brisbane & Pippa Jensen.

Claire, Edwina & Pippa align with our core values and showcase this every day. They not only excel within the business but also contribute outside the practice by tutoring, mentoring and volunteering with like-minded individuals and organisations.

Claire joined Cumulus in 2015 after returning to Tassie after a number of years in Melbourne, the team knew Claire would be the perfect addition to the Hobart office. “Claire’s outstanding project/consultant management skills, her considered advice, her willingness to try new things, her rigour and attention to detail, her collaborative approach, her dependability, her playful sense of humour around the office, and her optimism even when things get tricky” has made her a very important part of our studio explains Cumulus Director Kylee Scott.

Claire Austin explains why she enjoys being a part of the Cumulus team, “I love the projects we are blessed with at Cumulus. They are so diverse. Particularly in Tassie some of our projects have become part of the Tasmanian cultural landscape and it’s so exciting to be a part of that … plus I laugh a lot at work which must be a good thing!”. The gravity of this new appointment is felt by Claire, but it has provided her the opportunity to strive for bigger things within the Cumulus team “The implication of trust from within Cumulus, which means a lot to me, because I care about the lot of them. I believe Cumulus is in a strong position to really impart the importance of beautiful architecture in our communities and how a company behaves on a social level. My aim is to continue our goals in my small way.”

“I’m really keen to help support our new team members during the induction process into Cumulus, as we do things differently with a variety of platforms. This can be really overwhelming at first, so I’d like to smooth out the ride. Because it is pretty awesome, once you get used to it!” Claire continues “I’m also dedicated to bringing a positive visibility to the women of Cumulus. We already do so at Cumulus, but we’ve got to keep going on, continually challenge and keep riding the wave of the social climate we are in right now. Be great examples and call things out when we see it.”

In 2019 Edwina joined the team and has seamlessly integrated as a part of the Cumulus family. Kylee describes some of Edwina’s key accomplishments “Edwina’s appointment as an Associate recognises her tireless efforts in bringing the team together during a challenging 2020, her strategic thinking regarding new opportunities for Cumulus and submission work, her commitment to high quality design outcomes, considered and clear design feedback, her care for the team plus her reflective and proactive approach to process improvement.”

Over the course of her career Edwina Brisbane has worked in multiple practices, on a variety of projects as well as facilitating public discussions and teaching design. Edwina reflects “I’ve found all of those experiences have been tapped into since joining the team and I have been encouraged and supported to continue to learn and share both within the practice and across the broader industry”.

Edwina states that her alignment to the Cumulus values is one of the reasons she enjoys working within this unique team, “values are sincere and expressed in daily interactions with one another as well as larger actions – such as project outcomes. Design wise, there are common threads which focus on how spaces are experienced, engage with context and respond to the client in an intelligent and generous way. The bar is high, it’s very fun to be a part of.”

The Associate appointment has left Edwina feeling humbled but confident “Like Claire, the implication of trust is wonderful to have. To be acknowledged as a part of the leadership team and encouraged to provide stewardship is very exciting” and it has given Edwina an even greater drive to look forward focusing on strategic thinking and enhancing company culture, “I would like to continue to foster and encourage the great culture at Cumulus – particularly in terms of mutual support, design reviews, social activities, good humour and our collaborative spirit.”

Edwina is also looking forward to further contributing to “Cumulus’ growth in the mainland, with a focus on Victoria. We have done exceptional work within the tourism industry and for social housing providers. My final goal is to continue designing and delivering exceptional projects with my exceptional colleagues.”

When considering the opportunities this new role will provide Edwina looks across the broader industry to see what change she make:

- The Visibility of women in profession isn’t representative of the numbers within industry, likewise, the number of women in leadership roles is lacking. The female role models that young professionals have are typically small business owners. I would like to counter this and be a visible female leader within an established business.

- Interested in the impact good design has on communities, small businesses and local economies and how this is measured and communicated. I would like to expand on this knowledge within Cumulus and ensure that we measure work in progress in these ways to ensure best project outcomes are achieved.

- Good design is for everyone and should not be considered a luxury, this isn’t a popular mantra within the industry and should be.

In 2015 our Launceston office was enhanced by a recent Masters of Architecture graduate in Pippa Jensen. “We thank Pippa for her collaborative approach, her commitment to high quality design outcomes, her proactive approach to process improvement, her drive to continue our close team bond in 2020, her extra-curricular work with The Findlay project and Chapter Council, her focus on forming strong connections across the wider office, the strong communicative working relationships she has formed with her clients and her contribution to the office culture.” Kylee provides some insight about working with Pippa.

Pippa knew that she wanted to work at Cumulus while in her final year at UTAS, she felt aligned to the collaborative and playful approach that is Cumulus. It has been over five years since she first walked through the doors, and her career has continued to progress within the Cumulus team. Pippa reflects on her journey “There are a couple of things I feel are unique to being an architect in Tasmania but also at Cumulus / particularly our diverse range of project types, interesting and varying project site locations, having the opportunity to work closely with a variety of clients, an emphasis on going to site and engaging with the construction process and the opportunity to gain experience on all stages of projects.”

Reflecting on her new appointment Pippa explains, “I am very grateful for this recognition. I find great joy in collaboration, striving for high quality design outcomes, forming close relationships with clients and finding ways to bring the offices together. So, it’s a pleasure to be appreciated for these things. I am honoured to be promoted alongside my friends and colleagues, the fabulous Ed and Claire. I am very excited to be involved in the Cumulus leadership team moving forward.”

Pippa is passionate about continuing to improve the team’s environmental and cultural focus and this will be a motivation for her moving forward, “I am very proud to say I am part of the Cumulus team, the culture we represent and the architecture we create. At the moment our workload is busier than ever but at the same time I feel we are more focused than ever on our environmental impact, office culture and great design outcomes. Constantly challenging and pushing the expectations of these Cumulus values is really important to me.”Claire, Edwina and Pippa’s actions and attitudes consistently exemplify the values of Cumulus – they are all collaborative, ambitious, playful, rigorous, responsible and reflective members of the Cumulus team.

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