We caught up with Dr. Kasia to find out more about this remarkable woman as she makes a permanent move to Dubai.
So, Kasia, please tell us about your background and education:
Well, I’m now first and foremost a bonsai and environmental artist and designer.
I spent many years in Academia in Poland, attaining a Masters degree before completing two PhDs, one in Engineering and one in Architecture. As a scientist I developed a number of valuable patents for my University and went on to run infrastructure projects for town and city planning, including building motorways, which is a fun, but challenging environment for a young woman!
I then moved to the UK where I focused on my creative side and established an interior and exterior design business and was fortunate enough to spend a number of years transforming properties throughout the European Capitals for high net worth individuals and famous personalities, which was a very interesting and rewarding experience.
You seem to have achieved quite a lot in a short space of time!
I guess so, but coming from a background of competitive swimming and downhill ski-racing as a child I’ve always had a lot of energy and had a strong work ethic drummed into me by the instructors at the Army run school that I attended. As a result, I also managed to qualify as a Ski Instructor in Austria and to race Tall ships whilst doing my PhDs.
Wow! so what’s your plan now?
Well, Paul and I (Dr. Kasia’s husband, Paul Sterriker) have been working over the past few years on our own property development and transformation projects which Paul will continue to drive whilst I will at last make the time to return to my artistic side and will concentrate on building a new portfolio of environmental art which we hope to show in Dubai towards the latter part of 2023.
That sounds exciting! What’s your artistic inspiration?
The foundations of my art come from my childhood years in the household of a Bonsai Master, my father Wlodek Pietraszko. I experienced and was trained in the art of Bonsai, but my own artwork is less rigid. I like to work with the trees and other organic media to create living art that can bring the beauty of nature inside people’s homes, whether that’s a sculpture made from a living tree that will grow and evolve as a piece of living art, or an installation of a living wall or a painting or prints that express the natural beauty of our environment and that hopefully increases awareness and appreciation of the natural world and motivates people to value it and to take care of it.
So, you’ve been successful in a number of industries and have built a number of successful business. You’re also a successful artist and scientist. To what do you attribute your success?
My fairly unique level of knowledge and experience provides me with the ability to apply a qualified creative and practical perspective in everything that I’ve undertaken and plan to undertake, so my education is a key component to my success. This combined with the good fortune to have an inspirational father and grandfather (the engineer and academic of the family) and a degree of natural creative talent, these are the factors that enabled me to be successful in a number of fields. Plus of course a strong work ethic.
You’ve built your brand and gained huge respect. What advice would you give to our readers?
To your young readers I would say, work hard and get a good education! That will give you a firm foundation and whilst it may not always open doors for you, it will ensure that most doors are not closed to you!
I’m very keen to see more women succeeding and rising to the top of their professions, so to young women would also say, don’t be afraid to enter “a man’s world”, but don’t expect to be respected, don’t demand it by right, earn respect through hard work, commitment and by out-performing your colleagues, regardless of their sex.
More broadly, enjoy life and make the most of every day that is given to you. Take care of yourselves, your family and loved ones, but also be a good person and help those who need your help. Most importantly, enjoy the journey! It’s great to have a goal and to work towards achieving something, but the moment when you reach that goal is a just one short moment in life, so take the time to find something to enjoy and appreciate every day that it takes to get there.
Well thank you so much Kasia. It’s been great speaking to you. We wish you well with your projects and look forward to seeing your new portfolio in 2023.
For more information about Dr. Kasia Sterriker and her work please visit her Instagram page @dr_kasia_sterriker