RJE sells furniture by Knoll, a company that designs their product in a modernist style I’ve become familiar with through watching the AMC series Mad Men. Really, my only experience in the world of the business elite comes from television and books, so as I peered around the swanky, surreal atmosphere of RJE’s lobby, I found myself anticipating Dennis “Denny” Sponsel, the company’s president, to be the business shark that TV and movies are fond of depicting, or one of the villain CEOs prevalent in recent news.
But his track record suggests a much more compassionate business professional than we see in today’s media. Sponsel is a board member of over a dozen charitable organizations including United Way, American Red Cross, and Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. He is a recipient of the IU Keystone Award and the IU Spirit of Philanthropy Award. When Sponsel led me to his office, we passed a sales meeting in progress. The meeting room struck me as unique for its lack of privacy; people sat relaxed around a large table partitioned off from the lobby with nothing more than a few columns, clearly visible and easily audible to any customer that cared to listen.