Pedestrian Group announces the launch team of Refinery29 Australia

Nine owned-Pedestrian Group, one of Australia’s largest youth-focused publishers, has announced the appointment of the team that will drive Refinery29 – a leading global media outlet focused on women and underrepresented voices – as it launches in Australia and New Zealand for the first time.

The team of 5 will be led by head of editorial Zahra Campbell-Avenell, most recently the head of publishing and editorial at Finder, and editorial leader with more than 12 years’ experience in content strategy, audience acquisition, and driving successful editorial teams.

L to R; Pema Bakshi, Vanessa Lawrence, Kate McGregor, Alicia Vrajlal, Zahra Campbell-Avenell, Maggie Zhou

Reporting directly to Pedestrian Group publisher Vanessa Lawrence, Campbell-Avenell will be responsible for the highly-anticipated site’s voice, mission and strategy across all platforms when it launches in late-July.


“Refinery29 is all about elevating and making space for women’s voices, and there’s no platform in Australia that comes close – therein lies our big opportunity. There couldn’t be a more crucial time for Aussie women to both hear and tell their own stories, and I can’t wait to create a home for conversations that reflect important lived experiences on Refinery29 Australia. To lead a brand I’ve loved for over a decade is a true honour,” Campbell-Avenell said.

Lawrence said of Cambell-Avenell’s appointment: “One of Zahra’s biggest strengths is the fact she hasn’t worked in traditional women’s media; what we’re striving to build is something Australia hasn’t seen before, so who better to lead it than someone who can identify the white space? She has an intimate understanding of Refinery29 Australia’s opportunity to be a vehicle for fresh perspectives on long overdue cultural conversations, and her wealth of knowledge in SEO and affiliate is just the icing on the cake.”

Campbell-Avenell will be joined by Kate McGregor as managing editor (formerly managing editor of Popsugar Australia), Alicia Vrajlal as culture editor (formerly editor of HuffPost Australia), Pema Bakshi as style and living editor (formerly digital content editor at Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Australia) and Maggie Zhou as writer and producer (formerly editorial assistant at Fashion Journal).

Lawrence said recruitment for the roles was “exhaustive” and attracted more than 500 applicants in less than 3 weeks.

“This is a real testament to the relevance and resonance of the Refinery29 brand. In Zahra, Kate, Alicia, Pema and Maggie, we’ve assembled a dream team of talented women whose strengths not only complement each other in the best possible way but who are truly passionate about delivering on Refinery29’s brand mission to platform underrepresented voices and issues affecting Aussie women,”Lawrence said.

Simone Oliver, global editor-in-chief of Refinery29, added: “With this launch, we not only have an incredible opportunity to extend the R29 platform but the privilege of creating content that reflects the varied experiences and intersectionality of Australian women+ today. I’m thrilled to see such a powerhouse team come together for R29 Australia.”

Refinery29 Australia will officially launch on 28 July, with a 300-person launch event for key agencies, clients and women of influence to be held in Sydney. Confirmed commercial launch partners include Adidas, Stan and Uber.

The announcement comes after Pedestrian Group inked a long-term partnership with Vice Media Group to be the exclusive publishing and commercial partner for Vice Australia and Refinery29 Australia in the Australia and New Zealand markets.

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