CBI is proud to feature Emma Maltba this week in our Leadership in Action blog series. In her role as Vice President of Client Services, Emma works hand-in-hand with our clients and provides project insights utilizing her previous experiences as a talented designer within the Architecture & Design industry.

Emma is passionate about the workplace, design and giving back to her community. When she is not at CBI, she spends much of her free time as a key leader with the IIDA Carolinas Chapter. Emma has committed 10 years to the IIDA Carolinas and shares a little bit about her experience with this organization below. 

Q: What is your involvement in your local community? 
Emma: I have been a member of the IIDA Carolinas Chapter for the last 10 years. I joined as Board Member in 2011 and have held a variety of positions since. Last year, I served as Chapter President of the entire organization, and this year I am in a Chapter Advisor role where I help guide the new Board of Directors and advise the new Chapter President to ensure continued success for the organization.

Q: It sounds like you've been truly committed to the IIDA for a long time. Tell us a little bit more about their mimssion and the roles that you held throughout your time with the organization. 

Emma: The Carolinas Chapter of IIDA was formed in 1995 and has been supporting interior designers across the region for over two decades. In 2019, IIDA Carolinas was recognized internationally with a Bronze award for growth in membership. We are one of the fastest growing chapters, with an exciting 43.9% jump in new membership.

Our Chapter is made up of six City Centers which serve as mini hubs for our members. The City Centers cover Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad, the Triangle, Coastal South Carolina, Columbia and Upstate South Carolina. In addition to these City Centers, we also have several Campus Centers to help engage our student members. I served as the Charlotte City Center Director for three years and in that role, I was responsible for planning local events for our Charlotte members which included continuing education and thought leadership events. I was eventually promoted to Vice President of our City Centers which meant I had oversight for all six City Centers across the Carolinas and was responsible for ensuring goals and objectives for each area were achieved. Finally, as President I was responsible for the operational activities of the entire organization and took active roles in planning our platform-wide events, budgeting, recruiting new members and more. 

Q: What are some of the accomplishments you achieved with this organization that make you most proud? 
Emma: As President of the organization one of my key responsibilities was planning an annual event called Design Works. Design Works is usually an in-person event that the IIDA hosts for its members and the larger design community with the goal of recognizing extraordinary work within the industry. The event follows an awards ceremony format with award categories that include: Best in Show; Beauty on a Budget; Corporate Large Winner; Corporate Small Winner; Education Winner; Design Detail Winner; Furniture/Millwork Winner; Healthcare Winner; Hospitality Winner; Government/Institutional Winner and many more. 

This year, we realized that Design Works would take on a different shape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Board we had many discussions about whether we postpone or cancel the event but came to the agreement that we really wanted to continue to recognize the work of professionals in our field, even if we couldn’t meet in person. Instead of our regular in-person event, we transformed Design Works into the virtual event of the year and still had a great time recognizing our colleagues and peers for the amazing work they continued to achieve while managing challenges of a global pandemic. As part of our virtual event, we created a campaign called the Design Community Campaign where we designed apparel that members could purchase with the proceeds going into a fund that would help those in our community experiencing certain hardships. You can see and purchase the apparel we created to support this initiative here. This was a really cool thing to see come to life, and I was very proud of how the Board was able to pivot quickly and still pull off a high-quality event that many of our members enjoyed. 

Another achievement I’m extremely proud of was last year’s Philanthropic Month which occurred in May. As an organization, we feel it’s very important to give back to our local communities in a charitable way and designate the month of May to do so. Each Center City is responsible for planning a charitable event in which they fundraise for a local organization in their market and provide opportunities for members to volunteer time and talent. In 2020, the IIDA Carolinas Chapter raised more than $40,000 for a variety of charitable organizations in our key markets which is one of the largest amounts we have fundraised throughout my time on the Board. 

Q: Wow that’s fantastic! Tell us, what inspires you personally to give back? 
Emma: I strongly believe that we all have a responsibility to help others when they need it. None of us got to where we are without a little assistance, whether it’s helping someone find a job when they are unemployed, giving time to a local charity or helping a colleague advance in their career. The IIDA stands to support designers and industry professionals in their careers and their professional development, but we also look out for one another and this year was a strong testament of this. We try to help people in their career growth while also giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and I think these two things makes for a great combination. 

Q: So, what are the key goals you want to achieve in your role with the IIDA this year? And are there ways for others to support the organization if interested?  
Emma: One key focus for me this year is to work with the Board and President on continuing to grow our membership. We won awards in 2019 and 2020 for our growth, and I don’t want to lose that momentum as we head into 2021. Additionally, we’ve seen a big uptick in our student memberships. I want to continue improving our student programs and creating engaging ways to attract members from this demographic. 

As far as other opportunities to support the IIDA Carolinas, we always welcome new members. At the local level there are several different steering committees that support the Board of Directors, and we are always looking for new faces on these committees. We love meeting new people and talking to those who want to take more of a leadership role and there are some really strong opportunities for those looking to be more actively involved. 

Q: Well Emma, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. What’s next for you after this year as Chapter Advisor? 
Emma: I know I will still always be involved with the IIDA Carolinas Chapter in some way, shape or form. I have spent so much time in this organization it will remain very close to my heart. My hope is that next year I can expand my leadership responsibilities and time supporting a local charitable organization that allows me to use my skills and experience from the IIDA to help new individuals and continue to serve in new ways. 


Emma is a true leader in our CBI Charlotte market, and we are thrilled to have her as part of our team. Learn more about the IIDA Carolinas Chapter here and stay tuned for our next Leadership in Action post on Monday, February 22.