Jeff Norman, Vice President of Investor Relations & Corp Communications, has been with the Extra Space Storage team since 2012. Though his primary role within the self storage organization is managing relationships with shareholders and research analysts—as well as ensuring Extra Space Storage’s publicly-traded stock receives fair valuation in the marketplace—Norman also helps manage public relations and corporate communications for the company.
In the following Q&A, Norman shares more about his career with Extra Space Storage, including the advice he’s received from his mentors, the most challenging aspect of his work, and the projects he’s proud of.
Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?
A: I previously worked as a commercial real estate lender for eight years at Zions Bank, which is also located in Salt Lake City. Extra Space Storage was one of Zions Bank’s largest borrowers, and I originally came to Extra Space Storage as the Director of Financing, meaning I would arrange loans from a number of banks on behalf of Extra Space Storage and managed our corporate lines of credit.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: Early in your career, work for experience and not for money. In my original roles at Zions Bank, the pay was only okay, and our department worked many more hours than most people in that pay range. However, the volume of transactions I saw couldn’t have been replicated in that short of a time period in very many banks in the country. Also, I was entrusted with much larger responsibilities early in my career due to the number of transactions I had done, which led to much larger career opportunities a few years into my career.
Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?
A: I don’t have one specific experience, but I would say, in general, it has been having great mentors. I have been very fortunate to have worked for great mentors who have taught me the importance of teamwork, ethics, treating people well, meeting time frames, delivering results, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. My career has been shaped by great examples, for which I am very grateful.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A: Learning to evolve in an ever-changing business landscape. I really like coming up with a good strategy or process and becoming proficient at executing it. Unfortunately, the competitive landscape is always changing, and as a result, we always have to change with it. That requires a lot of stretching and growing all the time, which can be hard when you are trying to increase efficiency.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?
A: Working shoulder to shoulder with great people! We spend so much of our time at work that I can’t imagine doing that in place where I didn’t genuinely enjoy the people I interact with every day. I have been fortunate to work with smart and hard-working people who challenge me, support me, have great values, and who are fun to be with. The relationships that I have made with great coworkers, customers, partners, and investors has been the best part of my career.
Q: Describe your most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage.
A: I would say the successful transition from Spencer Kirk to Joe Margolis as CEO has been my most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage. One of my responsibilities is to ensure that Wall Street has access to our management team, and that they present well in all public forums. Wall Street can get very nervous with leadership changes at public companies, especially when going from a very well-respected CEO like Spencer, who they had worked with for many years, to Joe, who most analysts did not know well. I worked very hard to make sure analysts were able to get to know Joe and see how great of a leader he is, so they knew the company was still in great hands. We didn’t have any material backlash or change in confidence in the management team at Extra Space Storage through the transition, which for me was very rewarding and preserved significant shareholder value.
Q: What advice would you give to future Extra Space Storage leaders?
A: Work hard, and focus on the big picture. It’s human nature to focus on what’s being done for you today in your career, which I believe leads to short-term decisions that limit long-term opportunities. I have found as I put the company’s goals first and then my department’s goals before my own (the inverted pyramid) that personal development and opportunities take care of themselves. I have never felt like I have missed out on an opportunity or that I have been passed over by not protecting my own interests.
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Jeff Norman is the Vice President of Investor Relations & Corp Communications at Extra Space Storage.