A few words...[prologue]...
Entrepreneur. Experience designer. Culture consultant. Career coach. Product developer. Beauty seeker. Mother to (35) plants. Soulful. Insightful. Loving.
Living in Abu Dhabi, Egypt and now the U.S., Amira El-Gawly has spent the last five years building a design and experience agency here in the District. Hard working and active in the city, Amira sits on the board of a non-profit, coaches entrepreneurs, and loves to go to farmer's markets, concerts, shows, enjoying what the city continually has to offer.
However, she is in a new season. Stepping back to take a much needed sabbatical from her design agency work, Amira is rediscovering and reorienting her skills, passions, time and resources. Renewal. The arduous but necessary work. The invisible work. The inner work.
Trusting that it will manifest. That it's already.
Sometimes it takes the better part of a year. Maybe longer. But with it comes perspective, rooting, self-assuredness, and friendships along the way. Ours was a fast friendship for which I am deeply grateful. She has been a soul friend to me and to many others. Amira desires her life and legacy to center around love and it's evident in her way, her relationships, her home, her happy plants :).
I am jazzed to share Amira's interview and images that we captured on a chilly fall day in downtown DC. I love this chick! Enjoy learning more about Amira and her depths and heart for beauty, people, connection and the things that matter.
What is different about you today than a year ago?
I started 2017 with a life-changing decision to leave a company I spent the last six years building. I was scared—it was risky and I had no plan for what was next. But anything I’m scared of doing, especially if others challenge me and tell me I “shouldn’t” do, I have a perverse attraction to doing it.
It’s been a powerful and slow season of change and renewal, of grieving what I left behind, of rooting myself in courage and faith and love.
I’ve become more of myself. I’ve reclaimed control over my days, and have worked on designing them more intentionally to reflect what’s most important to me.
I’m more highly attuned to what matters to me, who matters to me, the people and experiences I believe are worth the investment. I feel a sense of presence and stillness that I haven’t felt in years. I sense God’s presence and touch in my life. I spend more time with the people I love and care about. I think what’s changed most in me is my desire and joy in spending my time with people after I’d spent years needing all my spare time to recharge alone, just to drain it all again at work
When you are at your most powerful, you...
love relentlessly, charge forward bravely and am in service of others.
What is quote you come back to time and time again?
You have extensive experience coaching entrepreneurs and businesses as well as offering consulting services on organizational culture and leadership. What is an essential quality that every healthy company culture, no matter how big or small, must have or grow towards?
Who is a force in your life (positive or negative) and why?
My mother has been an ever-present force in my life. Over the last two years especially I’ve felt her support and love through this difficult time and important season. She is a force of beauty and courage and resilience and change, and I admire her ability to change herself, no matter her age. Just thinking about her puts a smile on my heart and face.
What rituals do you practice in your life?
Sunday mornings may be my favorite ritual. I wake up early, walk to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market and buy flowers and vegetables for the week. I visit with my favorite farmers, who always bring beautiful energy to the market along with their goods. I then go to my church and gather with the community there to worship and learn. Often, friends will come with me and we’ll spend time together afterwards over a cup of coffee, walking in the Shaw/Logan Circle neighborhood with no agenda in mind.
Another favorite ritual that I’m working on is a weekly early morning walk with a couple of friends (the lovely Sarah, founder of Kicheko, is one of them!). We meet at Wydown on 14th street for coffee at 7:30am and walk arm in arm (if it’s up to me), talking and enjoying each others’ company in the quiet early hours of the city.
When faced with a challenging situation, what is the first thing you do? What is the second thing?
First, call a friend. Second, make a cup of hot tea. Third, write about it to work through it.
What are your favorite shapes, plants or materials currently?
I’m loving contrasting textures—rough linen, rich velvets and raw silks. Also in awe of all things nature gives us — these days, I’m having a love affair with trees, vine plants (like the pothos and wandering jew) and, always, my sweet fiddle leaf fig tree Dolly.
You are a seeker of beauty. Where have you found beauty in DC?
Beauty is all around us. We just need to invite it into our days, into our eyes and hearts. I find it in the people I meet. In the flowers and tree-lined streets. In the hidden alleys painted with art and plant-filled balconies. In my church and the soulful music it creates. In the makers and brave entrepreneurs who serve us with their businesses. And most of all, I see it in the faces of every person walking down our streets, determined to make a difference, change the world and be a force for good. We live in a special place.
What do you love about yourself?
I love the people I choose to love and surround myself with.
I love my self-assuredness and faith in myself.
I love my random and strange sense of humor (and the laugh that comes with it).
I love the color of my skin and the beauty mark above my lips.
I love the way I listen.
OOTD: Her Own // Make-up: Her Own // Necklace: Marble Moon Bar (Dark, White)
Make sure you're following us on Instagram to see more posts and highlights from her story this week.
Stay tuned for our next week's feature, spotlighting culture consultant and beloved human, Amira El-Gawly