Ishraga Eltahir

What is your professional background/expertise?

My professional background is in international policy and financial regulation in the public and private sectors.

How did you come to know/work with Kelley Oklesson/Groundsmith Collective?

I am currently on a journey of delving deeper into my interest in landscapes and garden design, so I’m always seeking out learning opportunities. I had the great fortune of participating in a three-day landscape training course taught by Kelley.

What was something that you learned while working with Kelley?

I learned to think about what’s beyond the surface and what is immediately visible: soil health is extremely important.

Were there any challenges or changes in plans and how did Kelley handle it?

Kelley is adept at handling different personalities and the needs of a diverse audience. When changes were necessary she calmly and easily pivoted.

What piece of advice would you give those considering hiring a design professional?

Hire a professional with deep understanding of intersecting issues; someone with a lens for more than beautiful spaces, but a real passion for people and the natural world.

Share an inspiring quote.

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

This is from my favorite Khalil Giibran poem, which is part of a great book called the Prophet.