What I’ve Learned: Andrea Massey-Farrell ’98
June 03, 2020
By Robert Stephens
You might think the path had to be pre-paved for someone named Massey to rise through the ranks of Orlando-based Massey Services. But that isn’t how this family works.
Andrea Massey-Farrell ’98 flat out says, “I’m not a morning person.” Yet on most mornings her alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., sometimes earlier. It’s her choice. And she wins the daily battle with a strategy: Think of something positive, write it down, and start moving. “Don’t get me wrong, I have ‘those days’ like anyone else,” says Massey-Farrell, “but starting this way makes me a better wife, leader, mother, and person in general.”
It’s a tricky balance. Family. Career. Community involvement. For her, there’s the added weight that most of us will never know: upholding the integrity of the name that her father, Harvey Massey, worked so hard to define. After earning a degree in organizational communications from Rollins’ Hamilton Holt School, Massey-Farrell began her career as an office manager and worked her way up to president and CEO at Massey Communications (now Moxē), a subsidiary of Massey Services. In 2014, she moved over to Massey Services and now serves as the senior vice president of community affairs and president and CEO of the Harvey and Carol Massey Foundation.
“I’m honored to lead the foundation and support our communities—it’s something my family is passionate about,” she says. Her father also instilled his philosophy on the definition of discipline. “It was a standing rule in our house to make yourself do what you ought to do … when you ought to do it … whether you want to do it or not.”
Massey-Farrell generously gave us some time between meetings to share a few more valuable lessons learned from her parents, from life, and from her time at Rollins.
Doing what’s best isn’t always the same as doing what you want. I get up early to do yoga, spin, or go for a run—anything to get the endorphins to kick in. I have to do it before the kids wake up [she and her husband have twin boys]. If I don’t, then my days seem a lot harder.
I’ve made a decision about social media. Keep every post positive. I look for an encouraging quote first thing in the morning—in a book, on an app, or online. A positive thought can literally change your day. It makes for a better leader too.
There were two eye-openers for me at Rollins. One was when we had to read The Power of Positive Thinking for an interpersonal communication class. My parents taught me the importance of how to communicate, but that book … well, look how I start my day. Then there was [communication professor] Rick Bommelje’s Listening class. It taught me to focus less on talking and more on the perspectives of other people.
My parents knew the importance of creativity. Growing up, I rode horses and participated in show-jumping competitions, played sports, and got involved in music and art. Seeing the world from all those angles helped set the foundation for who I am today.
Volunteering has real meaning. I helped at a Special Olympics camp when I was about 10 years old. I didn’t know what to expect but then saw how seriously those athletes wanted to compete and to reach their goals. When you have the opportunity to help them get closer to those goals, it’s incredible. I realized volunteer work isn’t a way to feel good about ourselves. It’s all about others.
I thought about being a veterinarian. But I realized in the small classes at Rollins how much I love communicating and building relationships with people. That’s what led me to the world of marketing.
Hard work can be fun. If I could go back in time, I’d tell a young Andrea that although your goals seem far away, train yourself to enjoy what you’re doing along the way. Daily. You’ll be more productive. You’ll be more positive. And the people around you will do the same.
Everyone should take advantage of the mentorship programs at Rollins. They’re unique because they’re so personal. It might be a professor or a professional or just someone you trust as a sounding board. I’ve had great mentors, including my mother.
Our boys will work on an irrigation crew when they turn 15. They’ll wear Massey uniforms, work on a Massey team, and have the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up. I learned it in a similar way—calling customers, organizing files, and other general office duties.
My parents taught me to be the person I want to be. They gave me wings so I could fly. As I grew up, I knew I wanted to come back to be a part of the family business.
It’s what I want for my kids too. Be positive. Be humble. And be willing to pick yourself up and go after it every day.
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