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Chandra Maddukuri, a man with short dark hair wearing a sweater over a collared shirt while smiling beside his name and title as SVP of Data Science and Revenue Management at Extra Space Storage

Chandra Maddukuri Shares Career Advice with the BIPOC ERG at Extra Space Storage

We’re honored to share valuable career advice that Chandra Maddukuri, SVP of Data Science and Revenue Management, recently shared with the BIPOC Employee Resource Group (ERG). Chandra has been a pivotal part of Extra Space Storage since 2010, contributing significantly to the company’s growth and success. In his role, he leads the Data Science, Revenue Management, and Digital Analytics and Systems teams, driving innovation and strategy within the company. This year, Chandra took on the role of Senior Leadership Sponsor for the BIPOC ERG, further demonstrating his commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion.

In a recent interview, Chandra shared his professional journey and offered career insights to members of the BIPOC ERG. His career is evidence of the power of resilience, authenticity, and positive intent in achieving professional success.

Can you tell us about your background?

I am originally from the southern part of India, where I grew up and completed my undergraduate studies. The region is known for its hot and humid climate and spicy food. My mother tongue is Telugu.

Can you tell us about your professional journey and what led you to Extra Space Storage?

After graduate school, I worked for a software company as a data scientist, developing models that helped with revenue management, forecasting, and optimization to drive more revenue for airlines and hotels. That was my first job out of school. I was hired by Extra Space Storage from there. Initially, my goal at Extra Space was to develop a pricing platform, which is still in use today. Since that initial project, my career has grown at Extra Space, partly because of the impact of some of the initiatives we have undertaken and also because Extra Space itself has grown. Currently, I lead several highly talented teams. One team focuses on digital analytics, using data and analysis to drive strategy for our digital marketing. Another team is responsible for revenue management and handling pricing and promotions. Additionally, there are many data scientists within my team.

What are some of the challenges you faced adapting to the United States?

Initially, learning English and communicating effectively in the language was a challenge. I recall that during my first annual review at my first job, I was rated poorly in terms of communication skills. However, growing up, I was exposed to several languages, including Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi. Over time, I became comfortable with English and now feel confident in communicating my thoughts clearly. Although it was initially a challenge, it did not remain a barrier for long.

What challenges have you faced as a person of color, and how did you overcome them?

Early in my career, both at my previous job and initially at Extra Space, there were not many Indians in the company. This made me hesitant to embrace my cultural background fully. However, I now feel much more comfortable and confident about my heritage. Teaching my nine-year-old daughter about Indian history and our mother tongue has deepened my understanding of my own heritage. Embracing your background is crucial, especially from a leadership standpoint, because authenticity is essential. People can easily spot inauthenticity and respond better to genuine leadership. Embracing who you are and where you come from is key to being authentic.

How can BIPOC employees effectively communicate their accomplishments and advocate for themselves in the workplace?

It’s important to have positive intent when listening, communicating, and interacting with others, especially in scenarios where you might feel underrepresented. Throughout my time in the United States, I never believed that being a person of color would impede my career growth, and having this belief was crucial. Believing in your accomplishments and potential to grow despite your background or heritage is vital. At Extra Space, I am an example of this, as are many others. If you believe in yourself and maintain positive intent, effective communication will follow.

How has living the Extra Space values helped you in your career?

My passion for driving results has been key to my career growth. Throughout my time at Extra Space, my team and I have been involved in several innovative initiatives. These initiatives resulted from creative problem-solving and have been instrumental in driving results. Executing these complex initiatives required substantial teamwork, buy-in, and collaboration with various teams. The impact of these initiatives and the Extra Space value of Teamwork has been a significant factor in my career growth.

What advice would you give employees to help with their career growth?

If you are managing people or teams, focus on hiring the right talent. Hiring the right talent is critical for career growth because engaged and productive teams drive performance. Over the years, I have made substantial efforts to hire the right talent by understanding the desired skills, experiences, and attributes needed for success in each role. Structured interviews with targeted questions, case studies, and assessments help ensure we select the best candidates. Great talent takes work off your plate and challenges you to add value in new ways, driving your growth. For those not in leadership roles, don’t shy away from asking questions. Understand the opportunities available to you and identify any skills you might need to reach the next level. Have conversations with your managers about your career aspirations and how you can contribute to Extra Space.

This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) members of the BIPOC Employee Resource Group about career growth. Chandra Maddukuri is the Senior Vice President of Data Science and Revenue Management at Extra Space Storage.