The C-Suite Spot: Honoring Tradition While Moving ForwardNov 23, 2020 04:04PM ● By Jenna Gabrial Gallagher
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
On any given pleasant weekday afternoon in downtown Omaha, it’s common to see a group of executives gathered on business management consulting group Revela’s well-manicured loading dock, sipping wine and recapping what they learned that day.
That was all part of Revela owner Andrea Frederickson’s strategic plan when she chose her company’s 15th Street office space and designed it herself six years ago. “I love it when we open up the glass doors at the end of a session and have a happy hour. It’s exciting that the businesses we work with want to make the space their own,” said Fredrickson, pointing out that the changing seasons mean there’s always a fresh backdrop of flowers and foliage. “My favorite is fall, because all the leaves turn Revela colors.”
Those colors include bright orange, (“Because it makes people happy,” Frederickson said), lime green, ruby slipper red (perhaps channeling Fredrickson’s favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz), and slate gray—the last of which may be an updated nod to the company’s original brand, the American Institute of Management, which Fredrickson founded with her father, Wayne Nielsen, 31 years ago. “Our brand then was very traditional and stoic,” she said, recalling an era when conservative black-and-gold color schemes were the universal shorthand aesthetic for executive leadership.
Revela does a lot of work with long-established businesses, including helping family-owned businesses with their succession plans, so Fredrickson embarked on a rebrand (with local branding company Daake) when she took sole ownership in 2013. Being able to custom-design the spacious new location to accommodate the direction in which she wanted to lead Revela played an important role in the transition. She said she and her team work so well in the space that they even chose to come in to the office during the spring COVID-19 shutdown—despite having the capability to work from home.
“It’s 3,500 square feet, so there’s plenty of room to socially distance. But we do maximize every inch of space,” she said with a wide, sweeping gesture that included an expansive snacks table—laden with Revela-colored Skinny Pop bags and jars of matching candy, located in the conference room. “The bold, dynamic energy here opens people up to the possibility of new ideas and new behaviors.”
Michelle Hill, a facilitator at Revela, agrees. “The layout provides a variety of spaces that encourages collaboration and helps people feel relaxed. Often, after sessions, people gather in little areas to chat about the ideas they have thought of, and collaborate on how to implement them when they get back to their office.”
Together with traditional details such as exposed brick walls—and a prominently displayed portrait of Nielsen—the design elements honor the past as a pillar and the future as a goalpost. The same can be said for one of Fredrickson and her team’s favorite functional features, the floor-to-ceiling, stainless steel dry erase boards. They’ve become an indispensable tool for corporate planning sessions, but they’re also a sleek, modern update on blackboards—part of the building’s DNA from one of its earlier incarnations as a parochial school.
Today, Gallery 1516 is next door and new condos and apartments are being built all around, which is one of the things that drew Fredrickson to the neighborhood. “The spaces around here are constantly evolving. We’re on the edge of the Old Market, which has always been on the edge of the traditional and the new. I think it helps us challenge ourselves and our clients to always be thinking of what’s next.”
Visit revelagroup.com for more information.
This article was published in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of B2B.