It has been two years since the formation of the Australian Institute of Architects National Committee for Gender Equity. With the passing of this milestone, the committee has recruited some new members to continue the push for a more equitable profession. Chairing the committee for the 2016–2017 year is Lee Hillam, who takes over from the inaugural chairperson, Emma Williamson. Here is a snapshot of the new look team.

Lee Hillam

Lee Hillam is the Chairperson of the NCGE. She is a director of Dunn & Hillam Architects in Sydney, a parent, and an advocate for architecture’s role in designing better places for all people. Lee has been instrumental in setting up Dunn & Hillam Architects to be a flexible workplace with a high level of business transparency for all staff.

Michael Smith
Michael Smith is the Deputy Chairperson of the NCGE. He is a director of small practice Atelier Red+Black, based in Fitzroy, Victoria. Michael is a passionate advocate for architecture and good design, and writes the Red+Black Architect blog as well as columns for

Emma Williamson was the founding Chair of the NCGE and is a director of CODA, a practice she co-founded with her husband Kieran almost 20 years ago. Emma is convinced that architects are the best problem solvers and that we can make a big difference to all types of issues. As well as advocating for good design, equity and diversity, Emma is a master juggler and has three children that she happily throws into what has become the somewhat choreographed chaos of her life.


Dr Gill Matthewson is currently based at Monash University in Melbourne. She has been researching into architecture and gender for many years, and most recently completed her PhD ‘Dimensions of Gender: women’s careers in the Australian architecture profession’ at the University of Queensland. Gill is also a member of the Parlour collective.

Jessica Hardwick

Jessica Hardwick is a new member of the NCGE. She is lead architect for Happy Haus and also has her own home-based studio based in Brisbane. Jessica is passionate about the role of architecture in building communities and social infrastructure and works primarily in the residential and community sectors.

Catherine Startari

Catherine Startari is excited to have been given the opportunity to join the NCGE this year. She is a project architect at GHD Woodhead in Adelaide, and is currently involved in urban design and defence projects. She has recently returned to Adelaide with her husband and young son after working as an architect in the Middle East for the past seven years.

Leone Lorrimer

Leone Lorrimer has been a member of the NCGE since 2014. She is CEO of dwp|suters, was a director of a major Australian international practice for 19 years and had five years experience on the client side in the UAE. She is an advocate for the advancement of women through AIA, WGEA and NAWIC, and is a member of Chief Executive Women.

Sam McQueeney

Sam McQueeney is a Graduate Architect at Circa Morris-Nunn Architects, a small practice based in Hobart, Tasmania. Passionate about engaging in the architectural community, he represents Tasmania on the Emerging Architects and Graduates Network group, and has also volunteered on the local Open House Hobart organising committee.

Madeline Sewall

Madeline Sewall works for the vibrant Melbourne practice Breathe Architecture, where she leads a variety of projects ranging from residential to commercial. Outside of the practice, Madeline enjoys writing, painting and skyping with her faraway sisters.

Sander de vries

Sander de Vries is a new member of the NCGE. He is a Project Architect at SQC Architecture, a medium-sized firm in Hawker ACT, and specialises in Community architecture. Sander is a proud and active dad of two fantastic little boys, who keep him grounded and well loved.


The National Committee for Gender Equity was established by the National Council in December 2013 to implement the Institute’s Gender Equity Policy and to recommend actions, initiatives and programs required to give practical effect to that policy. See more information on the policy and the work of the NCGE committee on the Institute website.