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Meli Studio - Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Meli Studio, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Company Description: Meli Studio is a boutique interior design studio directed by Julie Ockerby. The small team of professional and vibrant designers is experienced in all facets of modern interior design. The scope of our portfolio ranges from private residential to luxury commercial developments in aged care.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand

Nomination Title: Julie Ockerby, CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

As CEO of Meli Studio, Julie is on a mission to transform the burgeoning seniors living market in Asia by championing higher excellence in eldercare.

Driven by a passion to reinvent the aged care space, she is an ardent advocate for the elderly and their built environment.

Julie has changed the design expectation for Aged Care in Australia and is determined to continue to push the boundaries until it is a globally recognized concept.

Julie’s quest for global change saw her take on the Asian market and in less than a year, her position as a leader in the industry was recognised when she won the Trailblazer Award at the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2018.

Two of Meli Studios projects were also featured as finalists in the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2018 Interior Design Categories.

The impetus to tackle the aged care market in Asia came after Julie attended the Aging Asia Innovation Forum in Singapore in April 2017. As an innovative city, she presumed that their seniors living would be world class. She left a Nursing Home visit feeling compelled to change the way that the elderly were being cared for.

“I expected to be totally wowed by the aged care facilities. The building was beautifully built but inside, it was everything that I steer away from in my designs. It had a sterile, institutional atmosphere. There were 400 rooms, with eight people in each, who shared one bathroom. I knew that I had to do something to improve the quality of care.”

Julie partnered with David Lane, Australia’s renowned architectural specialist in the seniors living industry. He established Ageing Asia Alliance Fast Track, a core team of advisors and consultants, and Julie joined as the interior design expert.

The group has travelled around Asia conducting Masterclasses in aged care to stakeholders who aspire to change the future of ageing in Asia.

With a background as a registered nurse and having worked in marketing for boutique hotels in Europe, Julie saw a need for change in the way the aged are cared for, and by 2013 had shifted the company focus to aged care.

Her background as a nurse gave her insight into the practical functionality of an operational facility, while her work with boutique hotels informed the style of environment she advocates. Compounding these elements is the deeply personal experience of her family.

“My father was ill and needed a nursing home. I couldn’t find one to the standards I felt he deserved. No one was considering the environment as adding to the quality of life. I would want to go into something that’s designed with heart and soul”

Julie’s purpose is to design aged care so that the lifestyle of residents is as good if not better than they are accustomed to.

Meli Studio has grown twofold in the past 12 months. With 19 projects in development, it will continue to reinvigorate Australia’s aged care facilities while expanding to Asia and the US

"People deserve to be in a space where they're cared for with privacy and dignity. All the things we're providing here, should be available worldwide."

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):

Julie’s purpose is to reinvigorate Aged Care Living. With more than 15 years’ experience, Julie has worked with some of the most innovative designers and hoteliers from around the world and has translated this experience into Aged Careand the Retirement Living industry.

Combining her background as a nurse with her experience in the boutique hotel industry, Julie’s approach is unique. She has transformed the Aged Care Living industry for the better by pushing the boundaries and is determined to achieve better outcomes for our aging population.

Approaching this need for change from a social, philosophical and cultural aspect, Julie has become a highly regarded leader in the industry, where she is recognised as a change agent.