Andrea’s connection to Bay Path is all in the family. Her mother, Barbara, graduated from Bay Path in 1957. Over the years, her mother shared with Andrea how Bay Path had such a positive impact on her life. Andrea took those words to heart. In 1995, when she moved to western Massachusetts to launch Johnson & Hill Staffing, Bay Path was on her radar. Incredibly, I had also just become President. When her mother passed, Andrea created the Barbara Brodeur Hill Memorial ’57 Scholarship at Bay Path. Around 2003, Andrea and I had lunch and soon she joined the Advisory Council. We’ve been together ever since, and I attribute this longevity to our special friendship and respect for one another. She is such an admirable, humble woman. The founder and president of Johnson & Hill Staffing (a woman-owned business!), they support many nonprofits in our area as part of their mission. They exemplify a company that gives back to our communities all year round. In addition, Andrea volunteers her time to local organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, The American Cancer Society, University of Massachusetts Family Business Center, and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, among others. In 2011, Andrea was recognized at Bay Path’s Women’s Leadership Conference and inducted into the 21st Century Women’s Business Leaders Hall of Fame. Carpe Diem!
Could you share a bit about your life journey and career?
I graduated from UMass Amherst, Isenberg School of Business, with a concentration in marketing and a minor in economics. I grew up in the eastern part of the state but had deep roots in western Massachusetts. Throughout my childhood, I spent a lot of time here visiting with family. In many ways, moving here to start Johnson & Hill Staffing was like coming home. It was always my dream to open my own business and work for myself. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at it. At the time, I thought I would be here for a few years and then move on to do something else. However, once I started to get involved with the business community, meet people and experience the wonderful lifestyle that western Massachusetts has to offer, I wanted to stay. This year marks 25 years for Johnson & Hill Staffing. What I cherish the most are the wonderful people I have been able to work alongside, and the incredible clients and candidates we have partnered with. This area is special because of the people who make it their home.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud of the people who make up the team at Johnson & Hill (J&H) Staffing, and that we are reaching the milestone of 25 years in business. Many of the team members have been with us from the start. Some have retired, but are still part of our J&H family. There is a special collection of people who have contributed to the success at J&H. From my aunt who was instrumental in forming the business, longtime friends and coworkers who have since retired, and the colleagues that are still working with me today. We have partnered with the best organizations in the area and have strong relationships with our clients and candidates. I am thankful for all of those connections and proud to have guided the path for J&H all these years. When I meet people, they say we have had a positive impact on their lives because we helped them find their dream job or they just had a great experience with us. I love those stories. It is so rewarding.
What is one regret that you have in your career?
I don’t really have many regrets in my career. Maybe there are a few things I haven’t done yet. When the opportunity to start Johnson & Hill came up, I was enrolled at Boston University in their part-time MBA program. I had to choose between the two, and decided to move to Springfield to start the business. Through the years, I couldn’t justify the time to go back to school. The business was so demanding. At some point, I would love to complete the MBA program. Who knows? Maybe when I do, it will be at Bay Path. I could join my mother as a Bay Path alumna.
What advice would you give to students at Bay Path who are setting out on their own life journey?
I would suggest that students really think about what makes them happy, what they want in their life, the things they want to accomplish, and really visualize what it all looks like. Define what success means to them personally, not anyone else’s definition of success. Then be open to the opportunities that come your way. Take calculated risks to get where you want to go. Take moments to reassess and make sure you still want the same things as you go forward, and adjust if necessary. There will be twists and turns, opportunities you had not imagined, but that is the fun part. In your decision making, try to take positions where you are developing your experience and expertise over just a good salary. Find mentors and develop a strong professional network. No matter what happens in your career, you will always have your talent and your professional contacts. Act with integrity and do the right thing. And finally, protect your reputation because it follows you, good or bad.