“We learned to see all sides, in people as well as in what we learned and I think this helped me to be more of a renaissance man – to be open to so many different ideas." -Chris Farra, Red Oaks alumnus
At some point in their educational journey, every learner must consider their place in the professional world. For Chris Farra, the destination turned out to be a leadership position within the family business that had influenced him throughout his adolescence. After his time at Red Oaks, then Montessori Children’s House, Chris attended Morristown-Beard School through high school then went on to attend Fordham University, where he majored in finance and minored in Italian. From there, Chris moved directly to pursue his MBA at University of Notre Dame, where he focused on marketing, taking on internships as a buyer at Lord and Taylor and Target. As he completed the program, the time came to make a choice and after exploring various disciplines and career options, Chris chose to join his parent’s company, Michelangelo Designs, an importer of high-end Italian furniture, catering to trade members such as architects, designers, retailers and developers.
“I always knew it was a possibility I would join the company, it’s always been a part of my life,” said Chris. “In school I studied finance to see what else was out there but at the same time I studied Italian and then later marketing because I knew those would be beneficial if I joined Michelangelo Designs. When the time came to make a choice, I knew I wanted to be part of taking my family’s business to the next level.” Part of that next level includes a 35,000 square foot showroom that Chris helped bring to fruition, as well as regular trips to Italy to stay on top of trends and helping to determine what styles, materials and colors will catch on in the U.S.
An important part of spotting the trends is keeping an open mind, which Chris says is something he learned in his Red Oaks days. “I remember the sense of knowing you could do things your own way, and you respected the way other people did things,” he recalls. “We learned to see all sides, in people as well as in what we learned and I think this helped me to be more of a renaissance man – to be open to so many different ideas.”