Today’s spotlight shines on an incredibly humble woman who would much rather be working quietly behind the scenes than standing the spotlight. I suspect her agreement to be interviewed at all was grudging, but I couldn’t let it go because I get the impression she is the quiet backbone of this place. Kim Flower’s official title is Treasurer/Global Director of Payroll, but she is so much more. Our CEO (and her brother/co-founder) Cris Burnam had this to say: Kim Flower is a co-founder of StorageMart and has played a vital role since the beginning. In 1999, Kim was the entire HR department, accounting department, and office manager all rolled into one position. Today with over 560 employees, Kim has a front seat in helping guide the firm forward utilizing her immense institutional knowledge of the company and background in the self storage business.
And Lise Nyrop, Global Director of Human Resources, said: Kim brings a deep value to the organization. Her historical knowledge and perspective are important to the growth and stability of the company. While StorageMart was growing, Kim brought together the resources and staff necessary for building a strong Human Resources and Payroll presence. She continues to be a resource to the company, to our employees, and serves our customers with her focus on quality.
What do you do at StorageMart? I’ve done a lot of things. When I was in college, I helped run the Rangeline store in the evenings. When I got married, we lived above the office at Rangeline and were the weekend managers. Even after I graduated from college – and did not use my given degree – I ended up in the accounting side of StorageMart. I’ve done accounting, payroll, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. Now, I oversee the cash management side, and I contribute to the payroll side. I also help with the operations of our family businesses, doing the accounting for those as well.
In the beginning, before PCs, before the stores had computers, we had a system where the managers completed a sheet with carbon paper. At the end of the day, they would fax their ledger sheet to us at the office and we would enter that into the computer. A lot has changed since I started. That’s all computerized now and they do it themselves – a good thing, since it was a pain to enter those every day.
Is there a particular turning point that helped define your career path? Back in the ‘80s, my father gifted us a couple of stores. That started us siblings into actual ownership of the business. For all four of us, it solidified our future in storage.
Who have you turned to for inspiration throughout your career? My mother has always been a source of inspiration for me. Some of the long-term employees we’ve had throughout the years have been as well.
Based on your experience, what is one thing managers or execs could do better to support and encourage women in the workplace? Everyone should have the same opportunities to grow, develop, and be successful in any business.
Tell us a bit about what you do when you aren’t busy being a rock star at work. My degree is in housing and interior design, so I’m constantly working on my house. I like to garden, read, watch movies and musicals, travel, and Cardinals baseball. Lots of things like that.