Chief of Staff
U-Haul International Inc.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Industry: Moving and Storage
Jessica Lopez is known at the office for her open-door policy. A lot of leaders like to tout such a policy, but when Lopez says her door is open and she wants to hear from employees, she means it.
“Team members want to be heard and know they matter,” she said. “Oftentimes, they feel as though they cannot come to leadership because the perception is we are too busy. Leaders should never be too busy. Listening to team members is important and has to be a priority. By listening, I have been able to improve policies, procedures, overall team member experience and company culture. I firmly believe if you take care of your team, they take care of your business.”
As Chief of Staff at U-Haul International, Lopez leads company operations and initiatives to help its 32,000 employees serve customers across the largest network of do-it-yourself moving and self-storage in North America.
Lopez joined U-Haul in 2001 as a legal secretary and climbed the ranks to operations manager before her promotion to chief of staff in 2015. She manages several departments and initiatives, including recruiting, risk management, digital marketing, health and wellness, building management and more.
“Jessica brings savvy problem-solving and a relentless will to devise short- and long-term U-Haul business strategies,” her team said. “In her seven years as chief of staff, one of her crowning achievements has been the transformation of U-Haul into a top workplace culture for health.”
Lopez prioritized nutrition, counseling and mental health programs, wellness webinars, gym member incentives, telehealth benefits and nicotine cessation. The company has been recognized by Healthy Arizona Work Places and the American Heart Association.
Under guidance from Lopez, U-Haul built a 55,000-square-foot conference and fitness center that boasts an on-site medical clinic, physical therapy services, a registered dietician, fitness classes, a full gym, a basketball court, an indoor track and meeting spaces. The building was completed in July 2021.
“(Lopez) led that project from start to finish,” her team said. “She always says that it was a labor of love for her. That is because it has everything to do with helping people live their best lives.”
Lopez has served on the Board of Directors for the Arizona and New Mexico Region of the American Red Cross as well as the Arizona Chamber. She was recognized as a finalist for Business Leader of the Year by the Ethical Corporation in 2018 and as a KNOW Tribe “Woman to Know: Phoenix” in 2019.
“Her open-door policy allows team members to share ideas,” her team said. “She hears each and every idea. She states ‘give me your perfect-world scenario,’ and if that is unrealistic, she never says no. She tries to do as much as we can within reason.”
She personally has had a wellness journey and has lost over 100 pounds. She is a dedicated health advocate and is the go to person at the company for support and motivation for wellness. JLO can do it all! (P.S. Another fun fact is Jennifer Lopez follows her on Instagram.)