A year ago—June 3, 2017 to be exact—WMCCAI moved (back) into Suite 100 West after 106 days of renovations. Every surface of the old office was touched—most of it ripped out and replaced, but there are a few walls left that existed in the old space. The same square footage, one more staff office, workspace for members and a larger conference room. A tall order indeed. The office design was on purpose—to give members dedicated space for education and a workspace to enjoy; to create a welcoming entrance for visitors and to support staff growth for the future of the chapter.
And now in June 2018, we are proud that CAI recognized WMCCAI’s Office Remodel with a 2017 Chapter Excellence Award in Chapter Development and Management. Sarah Gerstein, the 2018 Chapter President, and I accepted the award on behalf of the chapter at the CAI Annual Conference in May.
The renovations process was a learning experience for all of us. This is what we learned:
Sometimes Plan B (or even E) is even better than Plan A: The office renovation began a year before the first wall was torn down. Chapter staff and the board of directors worked alongside an architect to layout the new office. We had 5 versions before we agreed on the current design (so Plan E is what we see today!). Furniture purchasing – what you see there is Plan B. All the changes were made to ensure Suite 100 West was welcoming, friendly, productive space for staff and for our members.
Asking for Help Is Essential: WMCCAI committees work hard to provide programs to members. During the renovation, the conference room walls were demolished, and the floor was torn out. Clearly, committees could not meet there for three months. Volunteer leaders offered their conference space so that committees could continue their work while I managed the contractors in the office. Inside the contraction site, having trusted professionals made the process smooth; none of us are experts on the start-to-finish renovations process so asking questions and hiring the experts allowed each of us to be confident in the final product.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Our renovation team included more than staff and members. The project manager, the architect and the landlord were integral parts of the process. Daily meetings on the construction site, so the project manager and I stayed on the same page; weekly meetings with the architect and landlord ensured we were on schedule; conference calls with IT vendors to make sure the office remained functional in the temp space, and there was a seamless transition to the new Suite 100 West. Communication was key—and the teamwork made it all happen. On schedule.
We are proud of the space. How does the space work for you, the WMCCAI member? There is a workspace available—bring your laptop and plug into our internet (or log onto the dedicated member wireless network). Education sessions are hosted in the office to give you a central place to learn (and the free parking at the office is great too!).
Come by and enjoy the spaces; we’d love to see you!
By Jaime Barnhart, CMP
Jaime Barnhart, as the chapter’s executive director, is responsible for implementing the organization’s mission and goals, and managing its staff. Jaime has worked in non-profits/associations in the D.C. Metro area for over 12 years focusing on program management, events and trade shows, and marketing. She joined WMCCAI as the events manager in 2015.