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Duh...Your People are the Most Important Asset Your Business Has; Behind the Scenes Staff Exposed

Aug 05, 2013

by Ginny Sutton, TSSA Executive Director

It’s no great secret that the people who work for a business define its success.  Superior products, gorgeous buildings, insightful business plans…they all fall by the wayside when tallying the great score card on what makes or breaks a business when compared to the people who create the vision but more importantly, the folks who execute it.

So it makes me a bit crazy when self-storage owners don’t place a high premium on hiring or training the managers who are the very lifeblood of their business.  Is “good enough” really the measure of success for a self-storage business?  If so, someone please tell me why it is different from other types of businesses.

In running the association, I know that no matter how hard I work or how much I want the association to do right by its members, I am nothing without good people doing the day-to-day work.  Fortunately, I struck gold when it comes to our staff.  They are hardworking and focused, but still able to maintain a sense of whimsy and humor, something that helps us from falling into the trap of being work-a-day drones. (There is a lot of work to be done and they work for a tough taskmaster!)

I also know that much of association work takes place where you can’t see it.  So, in honor of our great staff, a short little profile on each follows.   I list here just a fraction of the tasks they handle...don’t want you nodding off.  If you’ve had a good experience with one or more staff members, please email me at  They deserve a pat on the back.

Holly Barr, Administrative & Education Assistant

Holly answers the phone much of the time.  She helps members who call to find answers to their legal questions, processes form orders and helps with our education and the annual conference, selling sponsorships and trade show booths and working with exhibitors.  But she does so much more…too little space here.

Strengths: Cheerful, upbeat, optimistic, friendly; great customer service skills with a true desire to help find solutions.

Weaknesses: All things chocolate; finding a new destination with or without a GPS; parking her car between the lines.

KayKay Davis, Membership Coordinator & Executive Assistant

Kay is responsible for recruiting new members, processing memberships, tracking trends and maintaining the database, as well as assisting with details for board meetings, travel and a variety of projects.  This year she took on the role as liaison to the Forms Review Committee and is overseeing the Goldbook© revamping project.

Strengths: Hard working; adapts quickly to new technology and challenges; excellent data analyst and budget creator; very thorough; good at editing/proofreading.

Weaknesses: Can be distracted by cute delivery men; willing to go without food and water for a chance to attend an event featuring live music.

BromBrom Hoban, Director of Communications

Brom’s job is split between two main areas—maintaining the TSSA website and creating/managing the magazine.  He also writes articles and designs graphics for everything ranging from our educational offerings to new products.

Strengths:  Good with all technology; focused and task-oriented; early life training with sisters helps him work well as sole male in an office full of women; great joke teller.

Weaknesses: An undeniable fondness for punography—no, noread that again; running marathons and half marathons—when will enough be enough already? (Okay, okay…that’s really a strength.  Maybe the weakness is that he is too good at making the rest of us look bad?)

Sonnia Montemayor, Director of EducationSonnia

Our newest team member, Sonnia is responsible for planning and executing all of TSSA’s educational offerings, from webinars to podcasts to in-person education such as that offered at our annual conference, in conjunction with other staff.

Strengths: Great presentation skills; creates killer spreadsheets and other documents to impart data and other information; well versed on all aspects of successful professional development; easy going and gets along well with all personality types.

Weaknesses:  Collecting chotchkies, geegaws and other freebies; cold-blooded--reaches for a blanket or Snuggy when temperatures in the office drop below 80 degrees.

MarissaMarissa van Kwartel, Accounting Coordinator

Marissa handles all things related to accounting, including accounts receivable and payable and financial reporting to the Executive Director and the Board.

Strengths: Meticulous, detail-oriented and thorough. An excellent steward of association funds, she is also the office recycler—she cares about the world environment and does her fair share to minimize our carbon footprint. 

Weaknesses: Meticulous, detail-oriented; believes Harry Potter is a real person. Also, screams like a little girl when she sees a roach.

Silvia Pendleton, Director of Operations, Marketing and Membership

Silvia’s role has evolved over five years to lead her to the #2 position in the association, overseeing many of the day-to-day operations and staff needs as well as directing our marketing and membership efforts. Creator of the monthly e-newsletter and the person who keeps members in the know electronically, she is also the primary planner for the annual conference.

Strengths:  Professional, purposeful and focused, but always with a great sense of humor; good at long-range planning as she sees both the forest and the trees; loves learning new things and improving processes.

Weaknesses:  Shoes, pretty stationery, anything clever, cute and/or cuddly; has a strong predilection towards mischief making; believes having her photo taken will steal her soul (note the lack of photo here).

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