community involvement

Smart and Inspiring Business | Life Story = IKEA in town

It was back in 2008 when my youngest daughter, Melanie D'Andrea, then a University of Miami undergrad, came home to share a great idea she had.  She had been a DJ, News Director and then General Manager of WVUM, the school's Radio Station.  She had been complaining that everything in the radio station was rundown, disorganized, boxes everywhere and no place to sit.

Melanie said she was going to write to a few furniture stores to see if they had some furniture, or an old couch to donate to the school and she wanted me to proof-read the letters.  My heart sank.  How not to break her enthusiasm?  Who was going to donate to a private school? How touched were they going to be with this story about privileged students that did not have where to sit in their own radio station? What furniture store would simply donate items without a real compelling reason?

So here is a summary of why intentions count and we should always aim for the stars:

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  • IKEA responded.  They had recently opened their Sunrise, Florida store and were looking for community projects to get involved and be more visible.
  • IKEA redecorated the entire WVUM Radio Station with their colorful, fun, youthful furnishings.  Melanie became a school celebrity :)
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  • IKEA did not stop there.
  • The company was going to participate in the "Room for Improvement" show that Miami's Channel 7 had at the time, and they asked Melanie if she knew of anybody that lived in the dorms. Melanie told them she lived in the dorms.
  • Melanie's dorm was totally furnished and decorated by IKEA and the Room for Improvement crew; and the segment, along with Melanie, televised by the TV Station.
  • Melanie's room was toured by all students as they all knew the story and wanted to take a peek at such a cool dorm.
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No doubt a highlight for Melanie then, and a lesson to us all.  

The worst effort is the one we do not make and timing is everything.

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