2012 Forty Under 40: Jenny R. Massey

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Jenny R. Massey
Where were you, and what were you doing in 1991?
I graduated from Peru High School one semester early in December of 1990 so I could work full-time in preparation for my freshman year at Indiana University.

When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
An archaeologist. I followed that path in college, graduated and made a whopping $12,000 the following year. That was not even going to pay my student loans. I associated archaeology with travel, and even though there are archaeologists who are quite happy to work in the Midwest, I was not one of them. A baby can change your life plans very quickly; the African countryside wasn’t going to be the optimal place for her to grow up. So we had to switch gears.

Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
I abandoned a career (though not my interest) in archaeology in 1996, went to San Francisco for training in English as a second language and then flew to the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, for a job teaching English at a small conversation school. This was a life-changing experience. We had only planned to stay two years, but through some enterprising business opportunities we ended up on the main island of Honshu in the city of Nagoya and stayed seven years.

Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To be semi-retired. I should be authoring books and painting, living in a beach house somewhere warm. I would like to have the ability to travel to different countries with family. Of course, I’m hoping by this time that I have become an accomplished international business person as well as someone who has given back to the community through volunteer service in various organizations such as the America China Society and Kiwanis Club.

Director of operations, Bingham Economic Development Advisors
Age: 38

Living and working in Japan for seven years opened Jenny Massey’s eyes to the possibilities of cross-cultural business relationships.

Today, as director of operations at Bingham Economic Development Advisors in Indianapolis, she helps companies considering relocation or expansion.

“It’s an interesting little niche to be in,” said Massey, who grew up in Peru, Ind., and always wanted to “see the world.” At Bingham, she researches the locations companies are interested in and studies costs, climate and environmental restrictions. She also negotiates with local and state governments to see what kind of business support they might offer, such as tax abatements, tax credits, help with infrastructure or training grants.

After companies decide on projects, she helps them make long-range plans and figure out capital investment needs.

Massey, her husband and baby daughter went to Japan after she graduated from Indiana University in 1996 with a degree in archeology, stopping first in San Francisco to earn a certificate to teach English.

She taught English in a “conversation school” and learned to speak Japanese. Later, she worked for corporations such as Time’s Asia operation, Dentsu Inc. and Chubu Electric.

“I really opened myself to doing things like marketing, communications and a lot of strategic development,” she said. Being bilingual opened doors, she learned. Before returning to the United States, she earned a post-graduate degree in policy analysis from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

She enjoys putting people together for mutual benefit.

She has also been working with Albert Chen, founder of Carmel-based Telamon Corp., to launch the America China Society, a not-for-profit that helps Indiana businesses build relationships with Chinese companies. The group does basic coaching: how to hold chop sticks, make small talk, how to act with the Chinese.

“Chinese culture is similar to Japanese, yet oh so different,” she said. In April, she is accompanying several members on a trip to China for business meetings.

Now single, she and her daughter live in Fishers.•


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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.