10 January 2022

Meet Nicole Gemlitski, one of our rising stars

Raised in Melbourne, Nicole Gemlitski is a designer taking the problem-solving world by storm. With a Russian background and an ‘80% fluency’ in the language, according to the young designer, Nicole is motivated to use her skills and abilities to create solutions for people and places. She recently joined The Growth Drivers and is already making waves as a designer who wears many hats.


During her later years of school, Nicole found her feet in designing and was encouraged to study industrial design by a teacher who recognised her talents. Unsure of which direction to go after she graduated, she decided to give it a shot before dropping out halfway through the year to follow her heart on a gap year to South East Asia.

Undeterred by those around her who thought she wouldn’t return to study, Nicole slipped seamlessly back into studying design at RMIT, feeling more motivated and interested than ever.

Throughout her degree, she tried her hand at everything from product design to service design and furniture design. Eventually, through a lot of trial and error, she realised she loved the excitement of problem-solving and has been stuck on that trajectory since.

During her studies, Nicole worked on a thesis on issues surrounding chemotherapy environments. Compiling the project at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Nicole conducted research in chemotherapy rooms, doing observational studies and nurse surveys. She considered the atmosphere of the chemotherapy rooms and eventually designed a communication device that eliminated the stress of surrounding clinical noise. Her work was received extraordinarily well, with nurses loving the product and noting that it had already made a huge difference in their world.

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A talented young designer, Nicole was awarded with the Australian Design Graduate of the Year Award thanks to this work. Her other awards include the Australian Industrial/ Product Design Graduate of the Year, the VIC/ TAS Design Graduate of the Year, the VIC/ TAS Industrial/ Product Design Graduate of the Year and the Joyce Coffey Women in Design Award for Outstanding Female Designer.

Having worked in hospitality for a long time, her new role with The Growth Drivers is a step that Nicole has been looking to take for a while now. Valuing the company and admiring their journey toward sustainability, Nicole is very happy to be working amongst a team she calls ‘interesting and very smart’. Drawn to the company for their hunger to catalyse change, Nicole saw parallels with her desire to design for a better world.

So far, she’s been lending her talents to a myriad of tasks within the team, including an exciting project revolving around the seafood industry. Her role so far has also included stakeholder engagement, interviews in the field, research analysis, visual communication and a wealth of other tasks, which suits her desire for variation.

Lured to design that is user-focused and accessible, Nicole is passionate about the end goal of making a difference in people’s lives. She is passionate about using her purpose and position to move mountains for others – and in her case, that means bridging gaps, looking at the instances where people are unnecessarily suffering and questioning the issue from every angle until it seems solvable.

With helping people on her mind from day dot, she was encouraged to become a doctor by her mother. But now, Nicole has found her purpose – and it’s helping people through product and service design.

When asked what a perfect solution is, she was quick to answer.

It should make people happier, and life better or easier. It fixes the world somehow.
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