Early on in my career as office manager, at a little non-profit called Partners for Development, I was asked to re-do the office. They decided that I had an artsy look about me and was therefore qualified to re-design the whole space. That is non-profit mentality for you, in a nutshell.
This was a tall order. The office was disorganized, and as the low man on the totem pole, I was anxious to please. At an international non-profit with a mix of personalities who all had strong opinions about how it should look, I had to marry ideas that included “clean & modern” with “island tiki-bar” and I had a budget of $3000 to overhaul 1600 square of space.
This was before Simply Turquoise ever got started, so the before pictures I have are really during pictures. I wish I had taken more before photographs so you could see the dramatic transformation. Here they all are, me and the interns slaving away, on a Saturday.
After a lot of thought about where to put extra work stations, whether or not a Program Manager would be willing to share her office with me, and trying to carve out a small space for eating into what was a storage area, the creativity began.
I drew from several sources of inspiration and used bold colors, a beautiful collection of hodge-podge art and sculpture, and graphics for promotional materials as the basis of this makeover.
One of my co-workers actually looked at the door to make sure he was in the right suite the first time he entered, the change was so dramatic. He did not even recognize our office!
I displayed a clean-burning cook stove we manufacture and distribute in Tanzania and framed a poster explaining what that lump of metal in our reception area actually was.
Using a projector, I traced the PFD logo onto the wall leading to the café
Together with interns, community service hours and volunteers, we transformed this space to reflect our identity as an international non-profit. We spend a lot of hours in this space and it was one of the most gratifying projects I have ever done.
The goal was to give visitors an idea of what we are about as an organization as soon as they walk through the door. The change in this office space created a more functional working environment, and brought our mission as an organization to life in a headquarters far away from the action.
© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio and Valerie Snogren.