Prioritize and Pivot: This Financial Veteran’s Proven Path to Faster and Better
As Prologis’ chief accounting officer, Lori Palazzolo heads up a global team with a leadership style that cultivates culture and challenges team members to be their best.
Corporate Communications: It’s great to connect with you, Lori. Please give us a snapshot of your professional experience.
Lori: I studied accounting at Walsh College, a small private school in Michigan. I wanted to become a CPA, so I joined a large public accounting firm in Detroit, now PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and worked there for seven years. I left PwC to join a REIT that had recently gone public, Chateau Communities, as its controller. The company went through a merger and I moved to Denver with them. After about ten years, the company was sold. That’s when I joined Prologis to lead the Corporate Accounting and SEC reporting teams. I was promoted to Prologis’ chief accounting officer in January 2011. In fall 2020, I celebrated my 16th year anniversary with Prologis.
Corporate Communications: How did you find Prologis, and what is the backstory of your inspiring example of dedicating almost two decades to the company?
Lori: When Chateau was sold to a private company, a friend of mine told me she had heard Prologis was relocating their accounting team from El Paso, Texas, to Denver. I reached out to a recruiter I knew who got me an interview. I was excited about the prospect of building a new team here in Denver. Over the years, I have been challenged by the many exciting things that Prologis does and I have enjoyed the opportunity to build a world-class global accounting team. The people I work with are a joy; they make my days special and rewarding.
Corporate Communications: How does your role connect to Prologis’ 3Cs: customer centricity; change through innovation and operation excellence; and culture and talent?
Lori: The 3Cs are consistent with the primary objectives our team has had for years. We interact with many Prologis colleagues who rely on us to help implement their projects and initiatives, so it is important for us to have a customer-centric mindset. We are involved in every transaction that Prologis and our funds are involved in; this means we frequently have a lot going on and so we continually evaluate our processes to find better and faster ways of doing things with the objective of being a world-class accounting team. We have a large global team, and it is important for us to develop our peoples’ professional goals and ensure that our culture attracts and retains top talent.
Corporate Communications: How is your role an example of doing things not just faster, but better?
Lori: Many people count on us to do our job well and in a timely manner. As the company grows, we continue to find ways of doing things to allow us to support that growth. This means continually prioritizing and pivoting to address what is most important for Prologis right now. We have had some great successes with automation, continuous improvement workshops and data analyses that allow us to free up time so that we can dedicate even more of our focus to creating the future.
Corporate Communications: What makes a truly great team?
Lori: It all comes down to the people and the culture. We work with our current and future leaders to help them develop and strengthen the critical leadership abilities that in turn cultivate the best culture – one that is open to engagement and discussion; provides transparent communication; challenges people to be their best and care about and support each other; and embraces change and works toward the future.
Corporate Communications: Tell us about an especially tough challenge you met or solved.
Lori: At both Prologis and Chateau, I worked through a merger of equals where two companies came together to form a new company with board members, executive team and employees from both companies. This is challenging for many reasons and there is a lot of work to integrate systems, data, reporting, processes, people and cultures. I learned of the Prologis merger during my first week as chief accounting officer! So, I had to learn a new role during this time, as well. Like most challenges, it was a great learning opportunity for me and for many people on my team. Another very recent challenge that many people are experiencing is transitioning to an environment where people are working remotely due to the pandemic. My team is doing an amazing job of continuing to deliver high-quality work.
Corporate Communications: Outside of work – passions, hobbies, volunteering?
Lori: My biggest passion is my 2-year-old grandson. Spending time with him really boosts my energy! I love spending time in the Colorado mountains – hiking, kayaking and visiting new restaurants and galleries. I also love to travel to new places and experiment with cooking. I am passionate about helping girls find their voice and path and to be strong, smart and bold. I do this as a board member and treasurer for Girls Inc of Metro Denver.
Corporate Communications: Best career/life advice you’ve gotten or given?
Lori: I like to remind myself and others that we don’t always have all the answers so we need to make the best decision with what we know and move forward. When we make a mistake, which we will, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up. We just address it, learn from it and move on. And not feel bad about it!