Tamika Thompson’s path to Public Storage may have had an unusual start in the quick-service industry. But just as she excelled there—working her way up from an entry-level position to director of operations—Thompson has also found success behind our orange doors.
Since joining Public Storage six years ago, she has ascended from district manager to senior district manager to regional manager, earning several company accolades along the way.
“My biggest key to success is focusing on the people,” she said.
At Public Storage, people are at the center of what we do. We value diversity and embrace our differences because we believe they help us better serve customers.
In honor of Black History Month, we want to celebrate Thompson and the rest of our team.
Motivation for Success
Thompson said she’s often asked what motivates her drive to be successful.
As the youngest of five children, Thompson said, she watched her family struggle while growing up. Her father had an eighth-grade education and her mother a high school diploma.
“I watched my parents live check-to-check and I understood they would not be in a position to help me financially in adulthood,” explained Thompson, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. “I used this as motivation to work hard to break this cycle.”
Once out of high school, Thompson decided to get a job at a nearby McDonald’s where she started off by making fries—a sort of rite of passage for any new employee.
Working at the iconic burger chain taught her a lot about running a business and how to lead effectively. At 19, she was one of the youngest to be promoted to general manager.
In 2008, Thompson was promoted again. This time, she was asked to take on the responsibilities of area manager in Warner Robins, Georgia, which is about a six-hour drive from her hometown and family. Thompson took the promotion.
She had been serving as an area manager for three years when she decided to pursue her undergraduate degree. While working full-time, Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Kaplan University.
Thompson would also go on to earn her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Ashford University in 2011, and this time she did it while working full-time and transitioning into the role of director of operations with McDonald’s.
“This was a huge accomplishment, because I was the first in my family to earn a master’s degree and I was able to put myself through school,” Thompson shared.
Thompson spent 15 years working for McDonald’s, eventually leaving as director of operations.
“Whatever job I do, I’m going to do it at 110%. That’s something I live by,” she said.
Unexpected Career Change
A last-minute change altered her career path.
In 2015, Thompson got married and was planning to start a new role in Florida as a business consultant for McDonald’s. But her husband, Marcus, who was in the Air Force, took a position with another government agency in Maryland instead.
“That change made me think, ‘this might be a sign to see what else is out there,’” she explained.
Thompson logged onto Glassdoor and came across a position for a Public Storage district manager in Maryland. Even though she had only worked in the quick-service industry at that point, she felt she had transferable skills that applied to the role.
Seth Smith, a divisional vice president for Public Storage, was the first to interview Thompson. On paper, he said, she checked all the boxes in terms of experience, education and leadership skills.
But over the phone, there was even more that stood out.
“She brought energy and enthusiasm to the interview process,” Smith said. “You could tell she was excited by the opportunity and wanted to be here.”
Key to Success
In her first year in Maryland, Thompson led her team to earn the company’s District of the Year award.
The following year, Thompson was promoted to senior district manager and in October 2020 she was named regional manager.
As the regional manager in the Baltimore area, she oversees a team that manages 58 locations, and last year helped welcome our acquisition of EZ Storage.
“What I enjoy the most is that no two days are ever alike,” she said. “It keeps you sharp and on your toes. You look up and time flies by.”
In 2021, Thompson and her team were recognized as Region of the Year. The award was an affirmation for Thompson.
“The first thing I thought of was all of our hard work paid off,” she said. “It also let me and my team know if we can find that kind of success in 2021, then we can do anything we put our minds to.”
Colleagues respect Thompson because she has had experience and success building teams and developing individual employees to reach their full potential, Smith said.
“Tamika is very relatable because she’s genuine,” he added.
Thompson is fun to be around and has a great sense of humor, Smith said, but she’s also serious about her career.
“She does an excellent job of balancing these two dynamics and making them work in tandem,” he concluded.
For Thompson, one of the most rewarding aspects of her role is seeing team members evolve and start to find their own success.
“I feel like people are put in your path for a reason,” Thompson said. “I’ve learned something from every single person I’ve worked with.”