Say hello to Leonard Massey. He’s the general manager of the Hampton Inn on Bay Street, a popular hotel in the heart of the historic district. He’s the picture of success, but his story didn’t start out that way. Massey’s humble beginnings would have been humble endings without the opportunities found in tourism and hospitality.
OUT OF POVERTY Massey was raised in Savannah by a single parent with 6 children. If he were to follow the pattern laid out before him, he would walk down the path of poverty. Most born into lower income households, statistically stay there. Few make it out.
“I could have taken an easy way out and done something to get money fast,” said Massey. “The road to fast money would have led to a dead end.”
Instead he took a job as a dishwasher at a local hotel when he was 17 years old and a junior at Savannah High School.
It was minimum wage, but Massey quickly recognized the potential the industry offered. After three months of hard work, he asked his manager if there was an opportunity to grow. He moved into serving at banquets and then worked as a bellman. His managers took notice and he kept earning more opportunities to advance.
“Tourism gave me an opportunity to have a high paying job with on-the-job, paid training,” Massey said. “I may have started as a dishwasher but now I get paid well with a great bonus package.”
GIVING BACK Now Massey looks for the next up and comers in the tourism community. He likes the idea of promoting from within and finding the hidden treasures in people. He now employs 50 people and takes every opportunity to help others on their road to success.
He also volunteers and raises money for the United Way, the Savannah Harbor Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire just to name a few.