Nareit’s REITalent series shines a spotlight on talent in the REIT industry, highlighting various roles within Nareit member companies and the unique career paths individuals have taken.
Nareit recently spoke with Natalie Pyzik, project architect at Public Storage (NYSE: PSA).
Find current job opportunities available with Public Storage.
What does a project architect do at Public Storage?
Every project architect at Public Storage has a different role on our team. I currently work for our national reinvestment team on our rebranding initiative called the Property of Tomorrow program. Part of my role as a project architect in that program is office and space planning, and I work closely with our contractors and vendors, as well as our construction managers and my project managers. I spend time on layouts with our millwork vendors, and I also work closely with our operations and facilities teams day-to-day making sure that what I'm designing on the inside of the office is also going to function day-to-day for our operations teams.
What kind of advice would you give to someone who's looking for a job like yours right now?
I would say to be open-minded, optimistic, and patient. Sometimes you have an idea of what you want to do, but if an opportunity presents itself that’s not that, don't shut it down. Always take a call, and always take an interview. You might learn something, create a new contact, or a new networking connection. Be very open-minded when you're searching for a new position.
Why do you think someone should look for a role within commercial real estate or more specifically a REIT?
I love commercial real estate because of the big scale of the projects that I work on. With a REIT, you're working with a lot of different entities of the company outside of your role and your department so you learn a lot and you see the bigger picture of how a project evolves over time and who plays a part in them. I think that's exciting and why I would say to go with a career in commercial real estate at a REIT.
What is a challenge that you’ve faced in your time at Public Storage and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge I've faced is that I've been with the company for four years, but my position has been different every year. Starting in this (Property of Tomorrow) program was a shift for me. I had previously worked in the real estate department on the design team. This program was new to the company and to me so being very adaptable and flexible, being patient with the program, and leaning on my team members since we’re all in this together is how I got through the challenge of the new role.
And what would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment is getting my master's degree. I worked full time while I was in grad school, and it was very difficult. I sacrificed a lot of personal time, but I was very driven and motivated and it's something that I'm very proud of myself for doing.
What do you think that senior executives could learn from someone just starting their career?
Tap into the kind of curiosity that people have when they're starting out in their careers.
I know when I had just started at Public Storage, I wasn't used to the storage world. I didn't really know anything about it. I came from retail, so I had this huge interest to know more about the company. I talked to a lot of people, whether I worked with them or not, and asked them what role they played in the company, what they did in their jobs, and asked them if we would work together. It might be interesting for senior executives to pop in a little more on the people that are new at a company, ask what they are doing in their role, and find out what they want to learn from you.
Was mentorship early on in your career at Public Storage a big part of your experience?
I have a great mentor, my previous supervisor, Bernadette McDermott, who is the Vice President of Architecture and Design. She's really been a good mentor to me, and she's helped me throughout my time at the company as I keep moving forward at Public Storage.