Born in a communist civilisation where the girl child was viewed as inferior to her male counterpart, Tatiana Ellis (pictured) had to fight her way up the ladder from a tender age.
The very discriminatory environment, however, could not deter her from pursuing her first love – education.
This exceptional determination in the face of discrimination and the passion for learning put her in good stead in 1997 when the then-foreign national fell in love with Zimbabwe and its rich heritage.
It did not take time for her and other investors to commit their futures in Zimbabwe by investing in a beverages manufacturing company.
The consortium of investors immediately appointed Tatiana to lead the manufacturing and distribution company – West Food Distribution – in the capacity of managing director.
This colossal challenge would usher Tatiana into a male-dominated industry. It was so male-dominated that almost 95 percent of her workforce were men while all her competitors were being led by men.
Through hard work, perseverance, and continuous learning, Tatiana steered the ship well, and later on, investors grudgingly opted to cash in on the increased value of the beverages business after getting a lucrative buyout offer.
Not swayed by the investment returns during their short stint in business, and with the conviction that Zimbabwe’s renaissance lay in infrastructure development, Tatiana and her partners chose to invest again in Zimbabwe, but this time in property development.
The Iron lady, whose inspiration came from her deep faith in christianity and her long-term view of investments, was appointed chief operating officer for West Property in 2013.
Trials and Tribulations
With such a deep-rooted entrepreneurial upbringing, the expectation was that Tatiana’s plunge into the world of business would be a bed of roses. Far from it. The property developer and investor had to rise from the ashes many a time as she navigated past Zimbabwe’s decade of economic turmoil (1998 – 2007), and the gender barriers that blighted her journey in the male-dominated industry.
From gender bullies to cunning property schemers, Tatiana has seen it all. It was through customer focus, resilience, teamwork, and her ability to unpack complex business puzzles that Tatiana Ellis managed to rise to the top echelons of Zimbabwe’s male-dominated property industry.
A recipient of several local and international leadership awards, Tatiana’s property development exploits were recently recognised by the Chartered Institute of Project Managers Zimbabwe (CIPMZ).
CIPMZ presented Tatiana with a gong for being Zimbabwe’s best female project manager in the commercial and residential property development category. This and other accolades under Tatiana’s belt underscore her leadership credentials, including her capacity to turn sour lemons into sweet lemonade juice by taking challenges as stepping stones toward success. “Success and failure are mindset issues,” that is Tatiana’s standard answer whenever she is asked how she manages to navigate past life challenges.
The Award-Winning Projects
It is often said that there is no testimony without the test. In her exploits under the visionary leadership of West Property CEO Ken Sharpe, Tatiana Ellis has promoted the rise of ‘Dubai’ in Zimbabwe through the development of upmarket and ultra-modern developments that West Property has come up with.
These include Millennium Heights Apartment Estate and Pokugara Residential Estate Townhouses in Borrowdale which are available at the lock-up shell level.
Below is a detailed description of the flagship developments that Tatiana Ellis has been involved with:
- Pomona City
Pomona City, which has been fittingly described as a city within a city, has adopted the innovative leasehold option of land ownership as part of efforts to enable the middle-income class to access decent housing at affordable prices.
The leasehold option affords an individual an opportunity to obtain land to build on and construct their dream home without a large capital outlay. In Southern Africa, leasehold ownership is taking root in countries such as South Africa and Botswana, to name a few. An example closer home, in South Africa, is the prestigious Waterfall City next to the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg, which also embraced the leasehold ownership concept.
Pomona City will be a secure gated community and estate comprising predominantly residential stands with some facing the Wingate Park Golf Course.
The estate comprises a shopping centre, schools, a park, a clubhouse, a crèche, and a church avenue. The stands are in four categories and phases. Phase 1A stands consist of large stands ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square metres. Some of the stands are along the picturesque golf course, giving our clients magnificent views.
- Pokugara Residential Estate Townhouse
Pokugara Residential Estate in Borrowdale is made up of residential stands and double and single-storey houses. It offers flexible payment terms to afford middle-income earners opportunities to purchase residential stands in a high-class area.
Pokugara Residential Estate is located in Borrowdale West, Harare along Whitwell Road and corner Teviotdale Road.
The award-winning townhouses are 166sqm and have three bedrooms, whilst the double-storey townhouses sit on 226sqm with four bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living space, a common bathroom, and an en-suite staff room.
The units are completely serviced and will have backup water, provision of solar backup, and metered LPG gas.
These developments are sold at the lock-up shells stage whereby the house is completed with roofing and has windows and exterior doors installed.
In addition, plumbing and electrical fittings are also done whilst the interior finishes are left to the client/buyer to complete to their own taste and preference.
In addition, the residential estate will include recreational facilities such as a clubhouse, braai area, gym, and swimming pool. These will be available in Phase 2 of the development, which is now on offer.
- Millennium Heights Apartment Estate
West Property wants to make Millennium Heights, which is part of Millennium Park, a self-contained city within the next decade. The development is an apartment complex located at the end of Maxwell Road, Borrowdale West, in Harare North.
The 24 units in the first block, which have been completed to lock up stage, are all sold out.
On the commercial side, the trend-setting Mbudzi Mall in Harare has become a source of living and an employment opportunity for the young and old in the southern suburbs of Harare.
With the Mall of Zimbabwe on the horizon, Tatiana’s shared dream of positioning Zimbabwe on the global map through infrastructure development will soon be realised.
Away from the corporate spotlight, Tatiana spends time with her family and is not shy to share her humbling weekend schedule, which includes cooking, mentoring the kids, cleaning the house and worshipping the Lord, to mention a few.