Shane Inman, ASID, IIDA
Practicing interior design allows us the ability to positively transform how others think, feel and behave while inside the environments we create. Our moral responsibility to inspire and motivate starts with individuals, but we can also use our talents on a greater scale to impact entire communities.
Giving back to your local community not only fulfills a greater good, it also promotes the diversity of your talents and demonstrates that your chosen career is not motivated by money, but rather by passion! When you love what you do, the money will follow, and that mindset is apparent to those around you. Be mindful, of course: don’t get in the race if you don’t intend to go the distance. But when you are sincerely committed to pitching in unselfishly for something you believe in, like-minded professionals will appreciate and acknowledge your impeccable time management and organizational skills by giving you full creative control that will place you front and center.
For my company’s first pro bono contribution, I designed a formal sit-down dinner and event for 500 for the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, which led to my acquiring the president of the organization as a private client. The second design contribution was for an organized community competition that awarded a free $35,000 kitchen. My participation in this event led to successfully establishing my corporate identity and branding through radio and television. The third design contribution was part of a highly visible event for Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, which resulted in increased recognition for my work, with the secondary benefit of getting all my phone calls and emails returned much more quickly from that time on.
Nobly place your name next to projects you support without thought of personal gain; enthusiastically bite off more than you can chew for worthy causes. In the end, the rewards that come back to you from your dedication and ability to deliver what you promise will be better than capital—this is portfolio building at its best!
What sorts of pro bono projects have had an impact on you, personally and professionally? Any great stories to tell? Please share your comments below!
Shane Inman, ASID, IIDA, is president and principal interior designer of The Inman Company, a residential and commercial design firm with offices in Chicago and Traverse City, Mich. He frequently blogs for the Chicago Tribune ChicagoNow website and his work is featured on HGTV.com.