As Chief Legal Officer with Extra Space Storage, Gwyn McNeal works closely with the company’s Legal Team, Executive Team, Board of Directors, and Vice President of People to set company strategies and goals relating to recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent. McNeal has been with Extra Space Storage for 13 years and also worked two years prior to that as a legal consultant for the company.
To learn more about her work with Extra Space Storage, we recently sat down with McNeal for a Q&A.
Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?
A: I was working as outside counsel for Extra Space Storage and was incredibly impressed with the people and culture. When I was asked to join the company to fill a newly minted legal operations role, I immediately accepted because I was so comfortable with the organization.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: Talk less, listen more…very tough advice for me personally to heed, but extremely valuable.
Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?
A: By joining the company as the legal operations attorney, I worked hand-in-hand with our operations team. This role really taught me the underlying business of storage, which has allowed me to be a business partner and not just a lawyer.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A: I visited our Venice facility after a massive fire gutted the building and saw first-hand the destruction of photographs, mementos, and personal objects that clearly meant a lot to our individual customers. I realized that the fire dealt more than just a financial blow to Extra Space, but an emotional one to our customers.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?
A: Working on our Culture Guide. I came to Extra Space because of our culture, and I have stayed at Extra Space because of our culture. So to be able to help synthesize our culture into a guide that can be referenced by current and future employees was really exciting.
Q: Describe your most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage.
A: I’m really proud of the fact that every member of our legal team views themselves as problem solvers rather than risk spotters. As a result, our department has consistently been ranked year in and year out as the #1 service department by our internal customers.
Q: What advice would you give to future Extra Space Storage leaders?
A: Try to answer the question of “Why” before you ask others to follow you. If there is no compelling reason, then maybe you should be solving some other equation.
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Gwyn McNeal is the Chief Legal Officer with the Extra Space Storage Management team.