Home > Inside Extra Space Storage > Our Team > Women of Extra Space Storage: Empowering, Leading, and Innovating in the Tech Industry
Extra Space Storage Women In Tech Featured Image

Women of Extra Space Storage: Empowering, Leading, and Innovating in the Tech Industry

Women have made remarkable contributions to the world of technology throughout history, and their impact is becoming increasingly recognized and appreciated. As we come to the end of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to highlight some of the extraordinary women at Extra Space Storage who have helped us become more than just a storage company—their contributions have also established us as a leading technology provider in the industry. They discuss empowering other women in tech, preparing for leadership roles, and rewarding aspects of the job.

Sharing their thoughts are:

  • Amy Adams-Edson, Senior Manager of Store Networking & Onboarding
  • Andrea Allred, Senior Data Engineer III
  • Katie Dodds, Senior Director of Revenue Management
  • Mary Widhajanto, Associate Data Scientist
  • McKenzy MacKay, Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analytics

How can women best support and empower each other in the tech industry?

Adams-Edson: Across the board, one of the best ways to progress in tech is not being afraid to ask questions. With that, we also need to be welcoming of questions to build a deeper understanding of how our projects and tasks work together to contribute to the bigger picture.

Allred: We need to be willing to share what we know and build each other up when we take risks. I also think it is important to take time out of our day-to-day and present what we do to schools where teenagers see that women can succeed in technology.

MacKay: As women, we should always build up other women, celebrate the little successes, and offer advice or words of encouragement when needed. I love seeing women supporting other women—it makes my heart happy. It only helps build the community and lift everyone around us. There’s no reason in this day and age to feel like we need to push others down in order to succeed. Instead, we should be each other’s biggest champions.

How do you think the tech industry can work to become more inclusive and diverse?

Adams-Edson: I think something that keeps people away from tech is the idea that you have to be well-versed in IT to get started. There are roles at every level that allow individuals to get started in their careers. It’s important to emphasize that you don’t have to be an expert to get started.

Allred: Continuing to create a more flexible work environment allows everyone to take care of their personal lives while still being available to handle emergencies and the off-standard hours sometimes required in this industry.

How do you balance your work in tech with other aspects of your life, such as family or personal interests?

Dodds: I don’t come off as a techy person outside of work, and most of my friends don’t even know what I do as a career! I like to spend most of my free time getting outside and living the #vanlife. Desk jobs can be tough on your health, so it’s super important for me to move my body as much as possible. I go on walks, take the stairs, and do anything I can to move throughout the day. Taking care of my health is the most crucial aspect of work-life balance for me right now.

Widhajanto: It’s simple, but I just make sure I separate work-life from life at home and set personal goals outside of work. Right now, that means making time to hike, camp, snowboard, go to concerts, and spend time with loved ones exploring new places.

How do you think women can best position themselves for leadership roles in tech?

Adams-Edson: The key to progressing into a leadership role is not feeling different because you are a woman. If you view yourself as different, you will be perceived as such. Volunteer for projects and learn as much as you can. Jump at opportunities to work with as many people as possible to show what you bring to the table.

Allred: Being authentic to who you are goes a long way, and playing by the rules established 50 years ago is no longer necessary to become a leader. Expressing a desire for leadership roles to your manager and other leaders in the organization is a great way to find mentors who will help you grow and reach your goal.

Dodds: By the time you’ve reached a level where you are looking at leadership roles, you have likely proven that you are an awesome programmer, analyst, or data scientist. Communication is a huge part of leadership. For folks in analytics, the technical side may come a lot more easily than the soft skills do. Put special emphasis on improving your communication because that goes a long way when you want to grow your career on the leadership path.

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your work in tech?

Adams-Edson: People in tech are some of the best you could ever hope to work with. As a manager, I often organize groups to troubleshoot issues or map out large projects. I love seeing the knowledge that each individual brings to the group and how it comes together and is used to improve people’s day-to-day lives.

Widhajanto: Contributing to the advancement of gender equality and inspiring other women to explore careers in STEM is definitely a rewarding aspect of being a woman in tech. Regarding the day-to-day work, there’s nothing more gratifying than solving complex problems and producing data-driven solutions with tangible impacts.

What advice would you give to women just starting in tech?

Adams-Edson: Own that you can do anything you want just as well as anyone else if you are willing to do the work. Take all the opportunities you can, and interact with as many people as possible.

MacKay: My biggest piece of advice is to work hard, show up, and don’t be afraid to share your voice. There’s so much value that can be seen in someone who is simply willing to work hard and continue to show up day after day. I know speaking up and sharing your voice can be intimidating, especially if you are just starting in tech. But we need all voices and all opinions. Your voice may be the thing that changes the course of a meeting or a project. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Extra Space Storage is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Want to join us? Visit our careers page to learn more about company culture and job opportunities.