September Professional Member of the Month

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Laura Kessel

RDG Planning & Design

Landscape Architecture Studio Director

1. Our line of work is built on the value of relationships and opportunities; what have you found is the best way to communicate in times of conflict?

I was on our high school debate team and had to research and argue both sides of a topic. Trying to understand the other side of the conflict is critical to coming to a solution rather than becoming more deeply entrenched in the issue.

2. Sometimes our careers can be demanding; how do you wind down in the evenings to maintain a balanced lifestyle?

We work hard to try to have meals together as a family and spend time outdoors in our yard or at a park. Though my boys are ages seven and nine right now; they also still let me read to them every night – a tradition that I won’t stop until they absolutely make me. We just finished a book on Alexander Hamilton (thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda for making history so fascinating to my boys – the power of the arts!).

3. In 2018 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website?

Anything that saves time! My absolute favorite website is Grateful Chef’s website. In two minutes, I can order reasonably affordable, nutritious, locally-prepared meals for our family.

4. As professionals we are versed in community interaction and collaboration; what are you involved in outside of your profession?

Those who know me well, know that I can’t ignore politics. When I can, I make time to advocate for political issues including policy action for climate change.

5. We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?

Where do I even start? I think this warrants a small thesis, but instead a bullet-point list:

  • My mom and mother-in-law who show the importance of service to others on a daily basis

  • The founders of iaWia and the continued volunteers who keep this great group going

  • Many amazing co-workers (past and present) who have shown how to be resilient, supportive, and talented

  • RGB!