Grace Kunde has been with Extra Space Storage for almost 14 years. As the Senior Vice President of Accounting and Finance, she oversees a department of approximately 90 accountants who ensure the self storage company produces accurate financial reports for its shareholders and partners.
Learn more about Kunde’s work with Extra Space Storage and get insights into her career, the challenges she’s faced, and her greatest accomplishments in the Q&A below.
Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?
A: My career started in public accounting where I worked with Ernst & Young for seven years. When a life change moved me to Utah, I was put in contact with Extra Space Storage while they were in the middle of growing their accounting department as part of a $2.3 billion acquisition. I started as an assistant controller. Through our growth, I have had many opportunities that have allowed me to continue to progress into the role I hold today.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: Love what you do. You spend most of your life working at your job and on your career. If you don’t love what you do, you’ll be miserable.
Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?
A: I had a couple of partners at Ernst & Young who really encouraged me and acknowledged my hard work. They helped me to believe in myself and see that there was no limit to what I could accomplish.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A: Change. Systems change, the company grows, people move, and change challenges you to keep up. But despite the challenges, change has brought me many opportunities for growth.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?
A: My interactions with people have brought me the most fulfillment. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with really smart people who are genuine and enjoyable to be around. Specifically at Extra Space Storage, we challenge each other to be better, and we enjoy being together. We work hard, but because we also have fun together. It makes the hard work fulfilling. I learn so much from the interactions I get to have everyday with my team.
Q: Describe your most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage.
A: During 2014 and 2015, we changed our financial reporting system to an ERP system. It was a nine-month project that required a lot of extra work and was very challenging. We were able to roll out the system with only a single month delay. It was extremely rewarding working on the project with the members of my team, and I was able to learn so much by having the opportunity to lead the project.
Q: What advice would you give to future Extra Space Storage leaders?
A: Build relationships, care about the people you work with, and do your best every day. The relationships you build inside and outside the organization will help you as you progress.
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Grace Kunde is the Senior Vice President of Accounting and Finance at Extra Space Storage.