Leadership DeKalb in its 26-year history has been involved in makeovers of a sort. By training and inspiring community leaders, the organization has transformed communities in which these leaders work and volunteer.
Earlier this month Leadership DeKalb was on the receiving end of a more tangible makeover. The organization received $10,000 in-kind from IKEA Atlanta to refurnish its Decatur office space as part of the national IKEA Life Improvement Challenge. An international company with stores in 38 countries, IKEA focuses on “furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them,” according to its press materials. Its local presence is a 34,000-square-foot store in Atlanta’s Atlantic Station.
The first local winner, Leadership DeKalb was nominated by a group of IKEA employees and voted on in an online survey. Leadership DeKalb members were urged to vote in support of the proposal and enough did to secure the prize.
“We had five volunteer teams of passionate co-workers that wanted to carry out the IKEA vision to create a better everyday life for deserving organizations here in Atlanta,” said Jim Anastos, store manager of IKEA Atlanta. “Leadership DeKalb won the voting and we are very excited to partner with them.”
Among the transformations was a space that was large for a single office but not large enough—or so it seemed—to be two. By creating back-to-back work stations, the IKEA designers were able to make the space comfortable for two employees. Space efficiency is a specialty at Sweden-based IKEA, which, according to its website takes the Swedish approach to design, which involves “making the best possible use of the limited resources they have.”
Another office at Leadership DeKalb doubles as a storage area for a large amount of printed material. Installing a floor-to-ceiling curtain in front of the shelves on which the material is stored created a cleaner look while keeping the material easily accessible.
“We are appreciative of the valuable contribution IKEA Atlanta has made for our office makeover. IKEA is turning our office into a more effective work space as well as a more engaging environment for community leaders to gather,” said Sara Fountain, executive director of Leadership DeKalb. “By not spending our funds on this redesign and office improvement, we can continue to focus our resources on our mission toward transforming our local community for the greater good through leadership development for adults and youth.”
Fountain, who was the only person to come into the office the day of the makeover, said watching the transformation was fun. She pointed out art pieces and other details that help give the offices their sleek new look. “We framed some of the pictures we’ve taken of Leadership DeKalb classes over the years and chose some interesting pictures from the store.” She said that visitors seemed especially intrigued by a photo in the conference room of a rope bridge over a space that fades into fog; it seems to reflect the risk-taking aspects of leadership.