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Q&A with Senior Vice President of Operations West Rashede Peoples

As Senior Vice President of Operations for Extra Space Storage, Rashede Peoples leads the self storage company’s west region. Peoples, who has been with Extra Space Storage for six years, supports a talented group of Division Vice Presidents, District Managers, and Store and Assistant Managers. He also sits on Extra Space Storage’s Diversity and Inclusion committee.

Headshot of Rashede Peoples of Extra Space Storage

We recently sat down with Peoples for a Q&A to discover more about his operations work at Extra Space Storage and the most successful moments of his career.

Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?

A: After leading restaurant operations for 13 years, I was introduced to the self storage industry by spending 1.5 years with Public Storage. I really enjoyed the self storage industry. Shortly after leaving Public Storage, I was extremely fortunate to find Extra Space Storage, an organization that I believed to reciprocate my own values.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?

A: Early in my career, I was very focused on making organizational leaders proud. I was always looking to prove myself. I was once told by a supervisor: “Do not try to impress me. Impress those who you lead by leading them as if you are trying to build a volunteer army.” I have always gravitated toward this thought process. Your team genuinely cares about your expectations when they know that you care.

Another piece of valuable feedback I received from a mentor was “You get to a point in your career when you cannot outwork everyone. You must take the approach to learn as much as possible so you can continue to add value to your organization at every turn.” This advice was instrumental in helping me learn the power of personal and professional self-development. As my career has evolved, I continue to invest in both personal and professional development each year. I truly believe that professionals in any field should always take this approach. I have never sought out promotion, but through personal development, I have always tried to make myself ready for the opportunity. This mindset has allowed me to minimize the learning curve when taking on a new role. I have always felt that I was more than ready for the next promotion once I was blessed to enter the new role.

Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?

A: While working in the restaurant industry, I was promoted from a store manager to an interim district manager role. I was in the role for six months and then a full-time district manager was hired. I was then asked to go back to the store level. While I was disappointed that I did not get the position, I appreciated all the feedback that I received, and I was determined to improve. The new DM lasted only a few months, and I was eventually promoted into the DM role. This experience heavily influenced who I became as a leader. I learned the value of maintaining a professional attitude and effort in the face of adversity. I am convinced that I would not have earned the DM role if I didn’t handle that setback with business maturity and professionalism. I also learned how to fail forward—to purposefully and deliberately use failure to find success.

Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?

A: My upbringing was of very humble beginnings. I was not exposed to many professionals, nor was I a naturally gifted communicator. I was fortunate enough to be accepted to a very good four-year university. College was a challenge for me as I learned to communicate at a new level. When entering the professional workforce after college, I had to invest a lot of time and energy honing my communication skills. While I’m far from perfect today, I have worked extremely hard to become a stronger communicator. My advice for those who have struggled in this area is to strive to “not be misunderstood” and keep working!

Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?

A: Being the first college graduate in my family was a significant launching point in my career. Though it was an uphill battle, it taught me that anything is possible if you work hard, learn hard, and focus on the goal ahead. I was so enthralled with this lesson that I became a huge proponent of seeing others break through developmental barriers to achieve their potential. The most fulfilling aspect of my career has been to watch those leaders whose paths I may have impacted as they have personally and professionally developed themselves to new heights.

Q: Describe your most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage.

A: I have been very fortunate to work with extremely talented leaders at Extra Space Storage. My most successful endeavor truly rests with those leaders that I may have had the opportunity to promote, inspire, or impact through collaboration.

Q: What advice would you give to future Extra Space Storage leaders?

A: I would offer six key points to future Extra Space Storage Leaders:

  1. Live and breathe our values. While many companies have values, I truly believe people within an organization need to lead a company’s values to keep them alive and maintain the backbone of a company’s culture.
  2. Always be open to learning from others. There is power in inclusion and diversity of thought. Build and maintain strong relationships.
  3. Always invest in personal and professional self-development.
  4. Become a leader of developing others.
  5. Performance is the price of admission for growth. We must perform for us to grow. Never lose sight of this constant.
  6. Always give the extra degree of effort with all that you do.

This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Rashede Peoples is the Senior Vice President of Operations West at Extra Space Storage.