LAr.Wan Salamatul Juita Wan Hashim is an avid art lover since her primary school days and her passion for arts and creativity has driven her to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture. In a recent chat interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, LAr. Wan Salamatul Juita Wan Hashim, Founder and Director of Verona Design Sdn Bhd shares her interest and passion in landscape architecture, the importance of the outdoors to an individual’s well-being and her advice for young people who plan to start a business.
Born to parents who were lecturers and was sent to Art Class at the age of five, LAr. Wan Salamatul Juita Wan Hashim discovered her passion in art when she was studying in primary school in Bangi where she participated in drawing and art competitions and had won a few times. Later on, she decided to pursue a course in Landscape Architecture at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) as she loves being involved in arts and creativity.
Juita started her career at Walrus Design Sdn Bhd (Formerly known as ICN Design International) and subsequently went to work for Malik Lip & Associates. By the time she was 26, she sat for the Landscape Professional Examination organised by the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) and passed in one seating.
“I love taking breaks and spending time outdoors as it helps me to relax and re-energised. I’m interested in creating places that provide people a getaway from the hectic city life to de-stress. Spending time outdoors would improve one’s well-being and also enhance positive emotions,”
“My ex-boss once told me that I am a fast-learner with a great potential. That was the moment I know I can do more and be more”, says Juita.
Two years later after receiving her professional qualification at the age of 28, she decided to run her own landscape architecture firm as it gave her the opportunity to use her creativity to showcase her very own concepts.
Juita’s firm is selective of projects and it designs external places which help connect people to the environment. Her projects include High and Low Rise Residential, Commercial, Mix Development, Parks, Industrial, Street Furniture, Streetscape and Master Planning. One of Juita’s completed projects is the Help University Mini Campus where the landscape is mostly at Open Courtyards, Pocket Planting and Corridor Areas with lots of Ferns, Forest tree species and Semi shade plants. The building design was unique and efficient in capturing daylight.
Juita has been awarded as the Young Landscape Architects of the Year for 2015 by ILAM and her upcoming High Rise Residential, “Suria Residence” which will be completed by end of this year won the category of “5 stars Best Residential Landscape Architecture” in the Asia Pacific at the international Property Awards of London. Her project has also been listed by Star Property as the “Top 7 Earth Conscious Development Projects” in Malaysia. Juita is also the past ILAM Council Member for the year of 2010 to 2014.
Juita faced a major challenge during her second pregnancy. “A woman running a company in a male-dominated industry is tough, let alone having limitations due to pregnancy. I was stressed and lacked sleep. I was over-worked. This resulted in a traumatic near-death delivery experience due to complications. After that harrowing experience, I learnt that health and a work-life balance are crucial for one to be productive.”
Juita is a visionary leader who sets goals and plans for her company’s future and is always there to guide her staff while embracing open communication channels. Despite her busy schedule, Juita ensures that she spent quality time with her kids. She also enjoys alone time at the spa or massage sessions to relieve stress.
Her greatest achievement in life is to be able to take good care of her loving family while living out her dreams. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs is this: “Passion is the key as it would help you persevere during difficulties. Don’t be afraid to ask and do mingle with experienced and positive people. Learn from your mistakes, take the risk and believe in yourself.”