Irena Edwards joined Extra Space Storage in August 2020. As Vice President of Lending & Investments, she oversees the company’s bridge loan program and is responsible for increasing the pipeline of incoming deals, facilitating underwriting and closing processes, and finding investors to purchase tranches of closed loans.
In the following Q&A, Edwards shares more about her career, including the advice she’s received from her mentors, the most challenging aspect of her work, and the experiences she’s most proud of.
Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?
A: I have worked in commercial real estate finance for two decades, most of my career spent on the banking side. Working for a REIT like Extra Space Storage was a natural progression for my career.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: The best advice I have received is to be opened to new opportunities. Be focused and work hard at your current job, but do not shy away from new possibilities. Learning new skills is what helps you grow and makes you more valuable.
Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?
A: Finding a vested mentor really helped propel my career. Her advice of being true to myself, always volunteering for new challenges, and not being afraid to ask for help influenced my career accomplishments.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A: The most challenging aspect of my career has been finding work-life balance. I learned that I cannot accomplish a perfect balance all the time. There are days when I give more to my job, and then there are days when I give more to my family. It balances over the long term. Extra Space Storage has been, hands down, the best employer in this aspect.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?
A: The most fulfilling aspect has been seeing the results of my work. The sense of achievement and pride in what I do. A recent example would be recognizing a gap between client needs and my previous employer’s loan type offerings. I was able to structure a program that became very popular with our clients and also economically beneficial to the company. A true win-win.
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Irena Edwards is the Vice President of Lending & Investments at Extra Space Storage.