The Self Storage Association (SSA) recently held its 2022 Fall Conference and Trade Show during the month of September in Las Vegas, NV. In addition to many of the usual activities like hearing from industry leaders and networking, Extra Space Storage had the opportunity to sponsor the inaugural session for the SSA Diversity and Inclusion Council.
The SSA serves as the official trade organization and voice of the U.S. and international self storage industry. The newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Council aims to help underrepresented professionals in the self storage sector advance in their careers. The goal is to facilitate relationships and friendships that lead to future opportunities and create a more inclusive self storage industry. Council board members include:
- Amish Gupta – Montfort Capital Partners, LLC
- Donnie Berry – Barings
- Howard Pryor – SpareSpace
- Maria Avellana – Extra Space Storage
- Nathan Bennett – UTEX Storage Partners
- Pascal Souvenir – Heitman
- Sergio Barbosa – Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC
“The SSA represents many self storage operators and owners across the country. We have an opportunity to open doors for underrepresented backgrounds to accomplish their goals within the self storage industry,” shared Maria Avellana, Director of Joint Ventures at Extra Space Storage and a Board Member of the SSA Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Avellana joined Extra Space Storage in 2015 after several years in commercial real estate. As a district manager, she spent time in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Denver focusing on the success of team members in the field. Eventually, her career led her to Salt Lake City, UT, where she joined the Third-Party Management team and now oversees joint venture efforts. She also serves as a chairperson for Extra Space Storage’s Women’s Employee Resource Group.
“It’s important to me to get involved in diversity and inclusion efforts like these and support more balance in the industry,” Avellana continued. “As someone who grew up in a different country and environment, I’m always grateful that Extra Space has given me a chance to grow my career. Sharing my story and encouraging change is important to me.”
On Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the Diversity & Inclusion Council held its inaugural networking session at the SSA Fall Conference in Las Vegas.
“We were thrilled with the turnout at our inaugural event,” said Avellana. “We had about 100 people in attendance ranging from smaller self storage owners to executives from some of the larger REITs. Our CEO and other Extra Space leaders were in attendance as well. I’m proud that they support diversity efforts not just within our company but within the industry as well. We appreciate the support from the SSA and our industry peers and are excited to see the council grow.”
Featured image (left to right): Amish Gupta, Sergio Barbosa, Donnie Berry, Pascal Souvenir, Nathan Bennett, Howard Pryor, Maria Avellana. The next Diversity and Inclusion event will be held during the SSA Spring Conference in New Orleans, March 8-10, 2023. In addition to the Diversity and Inclusion Council, the SSA hosts a Women’s Council, Young Leaders Council, and more. Learn more at selfstorage.org.