Life Remodeled COO taking on new responsibilities in additional president role
By Sherri Welch
Life Remodeled, a Detroit nonprofit converting vacant schools into centers serving surrounding communities, has created a new president role and named its COO Diallo Smith to fill it.
Life Remodeled created the new leadership position in response to its current and future growth plans, founder and CEO Chris Lambert said in an emailed statement.
Smith, 48, will take on additional oversight of government and corporate affairs and support fundraising efforts as president and COO. He’ll also oversee the nonprofit’s employees and play a lead role in developing the nonprofit’s second community hub, Anchor Detroit, on the city’s east side.
After Life Remodeled bought a former elementary and middle school in central Detroit from Detroit Public Schools Community District six years ago for $1, members of the community expressed anger that they didn’t get the same opportunity and weren’t asked what they needed as the nonprofit created its first community hub there.
With help from former executive turned board member Dwan Dandridge, a Black nonprofit leader, Life Remodeled changed its approach, committing to a “community first mindset” that incorporates transparent conversations with the leaders of communities in which it is working. For the approach and community response, Life Remodeled was named a Crain’s 2023 Best-Managed Nonprofit finalist.
Credit: Matt Friedman/Tanner Friedman
Life Remodeled’s second community hub, Anchor Detroit, in the Denby neighborhood on Detroit’s east side.
In the newly created role, Smith will oversee the work with community partners to develop equitable and inclusive technology programs at the new site Life Remodeled is developing. Its first “opportunity hub” will recruit nonprofits providing youth programs, workforce development and human services to help the surrounding community thrive.
“Diallo’s determination to ensure Life Remodeled meets and achieves our goals relating to growth and impact is matched by his absolute dedication to the city of Detroit and providing opportunity to its residents,” Lambert said in a news release. “He is an inspiring leader as well as a great partner to me as we lead this organization together into a new era with the opening of Anchor Detroit.”
Smith is a Detroit native and graduate of Cass Technical High School. He has a bachelor’s of finance degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio and a master of divinity degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Before joining Life Remodeled in 2021, Smith was project planner at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit briefly after founding Drive Table Tennis Social Club in Detroit and operating it for six years.
Prior to that, he spent 8.5 years as executive pastor and chief administrative officer for Awakenings Inc. in Houston and held corporate finance roles for a total of nine years at ExxonMobil and BP Amoco Marketers Association.