At Public Storage Our Values Attract Diversity and Foster Inclusion

Jun 22, 2020 / Public Storage

Public Storage has been a fixture in neighborhoods nationwide for five decades, and in that time we have drawn strength from the diversity of our employee teams and the communities where we live and work.

We are more than 5,000 Public Storage team members at 2,500 locations around the country, people of different backgrounds and life experiences. In all, 53% percent of us are people of color and 70% are women.

We hire the best for each role as it comes up, and that goal has brought us to this place. This diversity extends to the highest level, where 50% of our top C-level executives are people of color.

Among the broader group of executives, a large portion of all field vice presidents are people of color and women, managing a double-digit portion of all of our locations, including in some of our most competitive markets.

“One of our core values we repeat often is 'we care,’ for our customers, communities and colleagues,”; said Roger Clark, a longtime company vice president who manages 49 locations in the Houston, Texas, region, the company’s most competitive market. Like many managers at Public Storage, Clark hosts team events throughout the year and is pictured in the center front of the photo below.

public storage employees give a thumbs up in front of houston building

We care about offering opportunities to all employees, and have programs to help each grow and move up, including facilitating nearly a half million training sessions last year companywide.

“We are united in one common goal – creating a diverse and inclusive environment within our organization where we support one another,”; CEO Joe Russell said in a written statement shared with employees this month to clarify the company’s stance.

The focus on developing our employees has long been a cornerstone of our company. For example, Tony Gradford, joined Public Storage nearly 23 years ago as a call center agent. Today he is a vice president who oversees operations and sales for nearly 10% off all company locations. From those beginnings, he was promoted eight times over the years and is now responsible for bringing in millions of dollars monthly in one of the company’s most important markets out of Southern California.

public storage vice president tony gradford sits with members of his team

“When I was leaving my interview everyone was polite, outgoing, and I quickly saw the diversity at all levels of the company. That was an attraction for me,”; said Gradford.

Just six months after joining the company, Gradford was promoted to lead agent. But by then, he was interested in moving into the field operations. Gradford said his supervisors recognized his ambitions and talent, and within a year of joining Public Storage, he got the transfer he wanted, and has been promoted eight times over the years.

Carolin Polanco, who moved here from the Dominican Republic when she was 21, joined the company eight years ago and was soon promoted from being a floating manager to resident property manager at one of the largest storage facilities in the company in our New York market, just two years later.

“It’s a very family-oriented company,”; she said. “I like the job a lot, otherwise I wouldn’t be working here as long as I have.”;

Polanco said training from veteran leadership in her district helped her advance. The institutional knowledge she was able to gain helped her meet our customers’ needs.

“I love the diversity we have on the staff. Being able to talk a little French, or being fluent in Spanish helps us a lot serve our customers,”; she said.

Gradford said the company’s practice of hiring “the best”; has resulted in a very diverse and inclusive workforce. Going for quality, has brought diversity.

“It’s very fair and equal across the board,”; Gradford said. “It’s never been about color or gender, it’s been about what you can produce as an individual and a leader.”;

When Gradford interviews candidates, he is often asked about the culture of the company.

To that, Gradford shares: “This culture is one that’s really about inclusiveness. It’s not based on seniority or preference; it’s measured in terms of your ability to lead and grow the business, and grow and develop people.”;

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