Embracing a new year often comes with a blend of reflections and aspirations. While some people craft detailed resolutions, others embrace broader intentions or choose to steadily pursue ongoing personal growth. As we step into 2024, it’s a valuable practice to look back at the year gone by and anticipate the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead. To capture this spirit, we ask members of the Extra Space Storage team to share what they’re grateful for from 2023 and their ambitions for 2024. Sharing their thoughts are:
- Matt Borja – District Team Lead
- Jared Carter – District Manager in Training
- Heather DeSantiago – Sales Manager
- Michelle Ellis-Acosta – District Manager
- Sinel Eloi – District Manager
- Reagan Garwood – Sr. Customer Service Representative
- Kyle Gilpin – District Manager
- Antwan Graham – District Team Lead
- Logan Harmon – District Manager
- Mary Hernandez – District Team Lead
- Matthew Luba – Sr. District Manager
- Josh Ludington – Sr. Facility Services Manager
- Lynn Montanez – Operations Support Manager
- Bill Mottram – VP of Operations Support
- Jeremy Rutherford – District Manager
- Erin Schlund – Sr. District Manager
- Mary Solis – District Manager
- Robert Tyrone – District Manager
- Chris Woodcook – District Team Lead
What’s something you’re grateful for when looking back on 2023?
Borja: I am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences the organization has provided, which have greatly inspired me and contributed to my development both professionally and personally.
Carter: I am thankful for the support so many have given me this past year. I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with many new colleagues who have generously shared their time and experience, helping me grow. Their transparent approach to business has offered me invaluable insights that will benefit both my team and myself for years to come.
DeSantiago: I am very grateful for a team that presents me with challenges. These challenges are opportunities to view situations from different perspectives, think creatively, and receive valuable feedback from an experienced team.
Ellis-Acosta: I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with so many new people. With Life Storage properties joining my team and the subsequent realignment, I’ve been able to lead a more diverse team, bringing additional strengths and new perspectives to our work. We’ve all maintained an open mind and a positive attitude through the changes, supporting each other to build a stronger team.
Eloi: Reflecting on 2023, I am grateful for working with a passionate and dedicated team that exemplified Extra Space’s values throughout the merger. The team’s commitment made the transition seamless despite many challenges.
Garwood: I am grateful for all the learning opportunities I received in 2023, which led to my growth in my role, and for my amazing and supportive team that helped turn each learning opportunity into personal and professional growth.
Gilpin: I am proud to be part of #TeamExtraSpace and particularly grateful for the incredible people I work with daily. This includes my district team, the Woolley Mammoths, my peers and support team in our division, and our leader, Andrew Gher. I am also thankful for those involved with the Storage Express transition over the past 15 months, including my long-time peers at Storage Express.
Graham: I am grateful to have had the pleasure of working for a company that values its employees. Being part of the CEO Team of Excellence and District Team Lead group was an honor.
Harmon: I am grateful to be part of the Extra Space team, blessed with amazing colleagues who support and work alongside me. Together, navigating the many changes of this year has been a remarkable journey. I am excited for the future, knowing it will be even more exceptional with the wonderful people around me.
Hernandez: I am grateful for the opportunity to truly get to know my father, to hear his wisdom. He taught me to embrace life, to take vacations, visit friends, and to love myself unconditionally. He passed away in 2023, but his teachings and zest for life will continue to influence many.
Luba: Reflecting on 2023, I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me and the unwavering support I received, making it a solid year. It was both challenging and rewarding.
Ludington: I am extremely grateful to be with a company that prioritizes work-life balance. Big picture, I work to support my life outside of work and finding a company that encourages balance is rare. I feel lucky to have joined Extra Space at a point in my life where I can truly appreciate this balance.
Montanez: I am thankful for the opportunity to continue my career with Extra Space following the merger with Life Storage. The Operations team has been incredibly welcoming, and I’m grateful for the chance to grow with this expanded organization.
Mottram: I’m grateful for the connections and relationships built over the year. There were chances to collaborate with new teammates and continue to rely on familiar ones, deepening my appreciation for what we can achieve together.
Rutherford: I am proud of my team’s resilience through the numerous changes and uncertainties of 2023. Their engagement, adaptability, and willingness to accommodate made all the difference. We have a truly dedicated and caring team at Extra Space.
Schlund: Looking back, I am thankful for the collaboration and partnership within Extra Space. The merger with Life Storage has enriched our team dynamic, fostering learning, motivation, and a collective drive for excellence. We’re a stronger team, and I’m excited to see what we can do in 2024.
Solis: I am grateful for my team’s support. I often say that I couldn’t accomplish what I do without them, and having such a wonderful district and division team makes me immensely thankful.
Tyrone: I am thankful for all of my peers. The relationships I’ve built have significantly contributed to shaping my career.
Woodcook: I appreciate the level of teamwork and support that was evident throughout the merger.
Did you have any unique or unforgettable experiences in 2023?
Borja: One of the most memorable events last year was meeting so many incredible people at the National Sales Meeting. Seeing others who share my passion and enthusiasm for our work was inspiring and motivated me to continue improving.
Eloi: Working for a company like Extra Space makes every day a unique experience because of the people I work with.
Gilpin: Receiving the Extraordinary Award was a wonderful surprise and an unforgettable experience. I am thankful to Mike Hurst for the nomination and kind words.
Hernandez: Being invited to a training day at the corporate office and being recognized as top talent for development was a very proud moment for me.
Tyrone: I achieved a significant career milestone by being promoted to District Manager in 2023, a goal I’ve had since starting as an Assistant Manager with the company.
Have you set any specific resolutions for 2024?
Carter: My resolution is to stockpile and develop talent. I aim to be a resource that opens doors and removes obstacles for as many teammates as possible. For my team, this means providing coaching, guidance, and opportunities for individuals to learn from their mistakes and embrace exciting challenges in their careers.
Eloi: For 2024, I’m committed to supporting team members who want to improve reach their potential as a top performer.
Luba: One of my resolutions for this year is to work with an outward mindset and make a positive impact on others. I already strive to do this, but I’m challenging myself to focus on it even more as the year goes on.
Rutherford: I want to be more intentional about celebrating my team’s work anniversaries. It’s crucial to acknowledge and care for your people, and I want them to feel valued by the organization and myself.
What brings you joy and how are you going to do more of that in 2024?
Ellis-Acosta: My team’s excitement about 2024 brings me joy. They believe that our hard work, team-building efforts, and continued support in training new hires will lead to a fulfilling year for everyone.
Eloi: I find joy in teaching and coaching people on new skills that will benefit their growth. I plan to dedicate more time to this in 2024 and beyond.
Garwood: Discovering new things that bring joy, such as finding a new book, a movie, or even a flower on a walk, is something I cherish. In 2024, I will spend more time seeking out these small joys and focusing on them.
Graham: My role as a District Team Lead brings me joy because I love sharing knowledge with both new and existing team members.
Harmon: I find immense joy in spending time with my family and watching my children learn and grow. I realize that every time they ask me to play catch, wrestle around, or play a board game with them is special. Finding balance between my work and home life allows me to appreciate these moments even more.
Hernandez: I plan to reach out to various sites within our company to introduce myself and encourage others to do the same. Meeting new people always brings a wonderful feeling, and I aim to experience that more often.
Luba: Helping others succeed is what brings me joy. With many new team members joining us in 2023, I am looking forward to building long-lasting relationships to assist them in achieving their career goals. Personally, I also plan to travel more in 2024, as new experiences bring me joy.
Montanez: I aim to spend more time with family and friends in 2024. This past year has shown how quickly life can change and people can be gone in an instant, so I want to ensure that those I don’t often see know how much they mean to me.
Tyrone: Spending time with family and being outdoors, like scheduling camping trips, is what I plan to do more of this year.
Woodcook: Witnessing the development and accomplishments of our team brings me joy, and I look forward to seeing more of that in 2024.
What advice would you give to yourself (and others) as you begin 2024?
Carter: Set clear objectives that align with the overall company strategy. Follow them up with checkpoints and key results throughout the year to stay on track. Be relentless in your pursuit, and don’t let short-term setbacks or obstacles deter you for too long from completing your goals. If you stick to this approach, 2024 should be a successful year.
Ellis-Acosta: Have fun every day! Always challenge yourself and those around you. Don’t settle for comfort—reach out to others and ensure we have the right people on our teams. This way, we can all enjoy our work, leading to an outstanding customer experience.
Eloi: The year 2023 taught me to be prepared to take on more challenges than my current responsibilities. With that in mind, the advice I’d give myself and others to invest in self-development and the development of our teammates.
Garwood: The best advice for 2024 is not to let a single bad call or interaction ruin your day. Look for little things that bring joy. Aim to make each day the best it can be by letting go of the small things and focusing on what makes you happy. Life is too short to have a bad day because of one small obstacle.
Gilpin: Success hinges on making good use of available resources. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work! Don’t hesitate to ask for help or delegate. Stay open to new ideas and initiatives, and think critically and creatively to refine and innovate our processes.
Graham: Continue your learning journey daily. Utilize all allocated resources, as there are always opportunities to do more within your district and with the company.
Hernandez: Be open to change and growth. Show them how fortunate Extra Space is to have you. Believe that you are ready for a new role.
Luba: Stay incredibly focused on what you can control and don’t stress over what you can’t. This year may bring challenges, so it’s vital to concentrate on excelling in our roles and impacting others and the business positively.
Ludington: Don’t sweat the small stuff. As we get busier, some details will inevitably get overlooked. I’ve learned to not dwell on these small things, but rather to celebrate the big wins and let go of the minor losses.
Montanez: Embrace change! The past year was full of changes, and the best way through it was to maintain a positive outlook and hope that the end result would be successful, despite any turmoil.
Rutherford: Be more intentional with your time, words, and actions. We have the chance to make an impact every day, and without intentionality, we might miss important opportunities.
Schlund: As we start 2024, remember to check in on yourself and your progress. Life gets busy, and sometimes we forget to prioritize ourselves. Schedule personal check-ins to assess, recharge, or redirect efforts to achieve your goals. Be intentional, challenge yourself, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Cheers to 2024!
Tyrone: I’ve always appreciated the quote from Rocky: “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward—that’s how winning is done.” Keep hammering away and keep moving forward.
Woodcook: Last year was about survival—2024 is about moving forward. It’s time to regather, refocus, and advance.
Do you have a specific career goal you’re going to focus on in 2024?
Eloi: In 2024, my focus is on preparing myself to take the next step in my career. I am working toward becoming ready for the upcoming opportunities that will allow me to advance.
Hernandez: My goal for 2024 is to grow into a new role. I’ve come to realize that my purpose within the company is to develop talent, encourage others to grow, and unlock their potential.
Tyrone: This year, my objective is to learn as much as possible from various peers. By absorbing their knowledge and experiences, I plan to integrate this wisdom to enhance my own skills and strive to become a respected District Manager within the company.
How will you bring more balance or joy into your career in 2024?
Eloi: In 2024, I aim to bring more balance and joy to my career by developing my team to take on more prominent roles and responsibilities. This will allow me to achieve balance through delegation and find joy in actively participating in the growth and success of others.
Hernandez: Over the years, I’ve learned that loving your work is crucial. In 2024, I plan to balance this love with passion and teamwork, which I believe are the keys to a fulfilling career.
Ludington: Last year, I realized that taking mental breaks is more productive than powering through work non-stop. Taking a few minutes to clear my mind and reset has been incredibly beneficial. I intend to maintain this habit in 2024 to bring balance to my work life and tackle challenges with a fresh perspective.
Mottram: Balance is a dynamic concept that exists in a constant state of ebb and flow, often influenced by external factors. My strategy for 2024 is to focus on preparation, intention, and attentiveness, enhancing the quality of my dedicated time toward what I am passionate about, to achieve greater satisfaction.
Solis: For me, bringing more joy into my career involves supporting and mentoring my managers, observing their growth and development. It’s about forging strong relationships that celebrate the unique contributions of each individual to our company.
Tyrone: Simply put, have fun! I believe in loving what you do and finding enjoyment in your work. That’s my goal for bringing joy into my career this year.
Interested in a career with Extra Space Storage? Visit our careers page to learn more about job opportunities.