Indianapolis: 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.