We are proud to be an organization with insightful and amazing female leaders who are represented at all levels and who come from such varied backgrounds.
Earlier this month we had the privilege of amplifying their unique stories and journeys in our Celebrating “HerStory” panel for Women’s History Month. The panel is just one facet of our commitment to building and promoting a more inclusive and diverse culture at Public Storage.
Our moderator was Natalia Johnson, Chief Administrative Officer, and featured Marshann Varley, Senior Vice President of Risk Management, and Tracy Johns, a Divisional Manager.
Below is an excerpt of the chat:
What have you learned in your career that has helped you succeed?
“I’m a big believer that every strength is a weakness and every weakness is a strength. Perfectionism and attention to detail, which is amazing on one side, on the other side it can drive me and the other people around me crazy. It’s learning that balance. It’s ok to make a mistake but it’s what do you do with that that is ultimately the key to learning. We all have adversity—but what do you do with it, how do you come out of it?
I also tell people to make decisions as if you own the company. ‘Is that really how you would spend money? Is that how you would spend your time?’
And lastly, the first ‘no’ isn’t always the final answer. You just have to go back and understand why you were told no and what do you need to do to solve your problem and present it again,” Tracy Johns, a divisional manager.
How do you balance work and personal life?
“There’s no answer or perfect response. I try to be as positive as I can and try to plan as much as I can. I am a planner and like to plan things out because it reduces stress for me. I try to prepare for the unexpected.
I would also say being present is a lesson I learned early on from my son. When you are at their activities, give 100 percent for them. My son called me out on it during a game. When he was playing he looked up and I was on my phone. Since that time, I totally focused on being present at his games. When I am at work, I am 100 percent laser-focused on work. I think those things have really helped me.
The thing that was critical for me for finding balance was asking for help. Initially, I saw it as a weakness, but now I realize it was being self-aware enough to know your strengths and know where you had shortcomings. And no one professionally got to be anywhere they are without asking for help.
Also, set aside time for yourself. We forget that we need to find time each day to do something that brings you joy—whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour, I think it is really critical for our emotional health and balance,” Marshann Varley, senior vice president of risk management.
What piece of advice have you received that has stayed with you?
“You need a village to go after what you want but once you delegate responsibilities to that village you got to let them be and not try to control everything the way you want. In my case, my village is my husband. I need to let him fly and not worry because each one of us does things different.
The other one was from a mentor who told me ‘declare what you want and I’ll be there for you, but you need to decide and know it is ok.’
When it comes to your career declare it and be ok to put your goals out there and share with others, and you’ll be surprised how many people want to help you with that journey. I read a book once that said ‘the universe conspires,’ and I think there is some truth to that. People want to help people and if we are courageous enough to share our dreams and goals, people will help to get you there,” Natalia Johnson, chief administrative officer.
Thank you to all the women at Public Storage for changing, shaping, and transforming our business and communities.