“Improvise, adapt and overcome,” is a well-known motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. It’s also a way of life for Shannon Marvin, marketing company president (MCP) of U-Haul Company of Western Oregon, whose tenacity elevated her through the U-Haul ranks at a steady pace. And, her work as a U-Box customer care representative (CCR) could be credited as the whetstone that helped Marvin sharpen her leadership skills. In fact, Marvin is the first CCR to advance to the role of MCP in U-Haul history.
Marvin joined U-Haul in 2009. After a few months as a customer service representative (CSR) at U-Haul Moving and Storage at Sandy Boulevard, she transitioned into the role of CCR.
“When I was a CCR, the U-Box Program was relatively new,” Marvin recalled. “I essentially had to grow a business from nothing. They gave me keys to a truck, a forklift and warehouse and instructed to ‘do my best.’”
Marvin’s unique determination and leadership stood out to her former MCP, David Scheafer of U-Haul Company of Portland.
“As a CCR, Shannon used her strong work ethic to do what it took to get and serve U-Box customers,” Scheafer praised. “No task was too large, nor was any request too small.”
Despite her dauntless attitude, Marvin did have to face her share of critics and skeptics. She was regularly asked, “Who is going to help you?” or “You seem kind of small for that big truck.”
“Those comments can throw you off of your game, but they only helped fuel my determination,” Marvin declared. “I dealt with the entire spectrum of opinions on a female truck driver from comments and criticism to women and children asking to take their photo with me and my truck. It was such a rewarding and empowering experience.”
During her time as a CCR, Marvin not only strengthened her resolve, she also honed her ability to think on her feet. In addition to delivering U-Box containers, Marvin was also responsible for making reservations, repair, assembly and prospecting for new customers—all new territory for Marvin, who faced the challenge head on.
“As a CCR, we were always one of the top performing companies—most months we were No. 1,” Marvin noted. “Some of what we learned is part of the U-Box Program today. We quickly became one of the ‘ones to call’ for anything U-Box.”
Invaluable Leadership Experience
It wasn’t long before Marvin advanced to field relief manager (FRM). She then transitioned into the role of traffic control manager (TCM), a position she held until becoming an MCP. But, through each career move, the leadership skills Marvin learned as a CCR followed her. Kim Merow, area district vice president (ADVP), worked with Marvin as an MCP and saw how the CCR role helped Marvin become the leader she is today.
“She embraced being a CCR 150 percent,” Merow asserted. “In doing so, she proved herself willing and capable of doing anything put in front of her. Her leadership and ability to manage multiple responsibilities at once is what started her on the path to becoming an MCP. And, she’s just going to continue to grow in her position as an MCP because that’s who she is.”
Her skill with the U-Box Program drew the attention of U-Box Program Manager and Vice Chairman Sam Shoen.
“Shannon is the rare combination of high energy and detail oriented,” Shoen praised. “Her sense of urgency to do better today has made her team one of the top U-Box performers in the country.”
“I believe what sets U-Haul apart from other companies is that you will go as far as you want to in the organization,” Marvin advised. “I learned to think on my feet and accomplish the job no matter what. If you want to, you will; and if you don’t, you won’t.”
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