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40 Under 40

40 Under 40 The Class of 2020

After Nominations Close on Feb. 14, They’ll Choose Class of 2020

Time is running out to nominate individuals for BusinessWest’s 14th annual 40 Under Forty, a program launched in 2007 to recognize rising stars in Western Mass., and has since become a coveted honor throughout the region.

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, Feb. 14. A successful nomination will be detailed and thorough, listing an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed  HERE.

The class of 2020 — who will be profiled in the April 27 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke — will, as usual, be chosen by five independent judges, who bring broad experience in entrepreneurship, business development, and civic engagement, among other things, and include three past winners. Here’s a quick look at each of them.

Mychal Connolly

A member of the 40 Under Forty class of 2011, Mychal Connolly currently serves as chapter chairman of SCORE Western Massachusetts, a nonprofit that gives free mentoring to people looking to start, grow, or exit a business. He is the author of the book Launch and Stand Out, a guide to starting and growing a business with creative marketing and branding, and an accompanying podcast. In addition, he leads Hundred Grand Plan, a group that works with entrepreneurs and business owners looking to earn their first $100,000. He was named one of America’s Top 100 Urban Entrepreneurs and is also a 100 Men of Color honoree for his work in the community.


Jose Delgado

As director of Government Affairs at MGM Springfield, Jose Delgado manages relationships with state and local elected and administrative officials, represents MGM’s legislative agenda in Massachusetts, and builds and maintains relations with host communities and community stakeholders. Prior to that, he was a pre-admissions adviser and recruitment coordinator for the University Without Walls at UMass Amherst. A member of the 40 Under Forty class of 2014, his community roles have included vice chairman of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade Committee, a board member of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, and a founding member of Suit Up Springfield.


Claudia Pazmany

As executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Claudia Pazmany blends business-development skills with deep experience in capital campaigns, philanthropy, community engagement, social media, and alumni. She is also the advisory board president of CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County and has served as president of Friends of Amherst Recreation. Pazmany has served on many search committees and been a judge for the Berthiaume Center for  Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, and is currently working to support Greenfield Community College’s workforce-development initiative, serving on its Future of Work advisory committee. 


Payton Shubrick

Payton Shubrick, a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2019, is a home office technology strategist at MassMutual, where she has focused on fostering an innovative culture with the creation of ideation spaces that have evolved into open workspaces throughout the home office. She has also worked on multi-generational relationships, supporting understanding between senior and millennial employees. Additionally, she serves on the company’s diversity, inclusion, and equity committee, focused on the notion of ‘belonging’ for all employees. She most recently launched an adult-use marijuana establishment, 6 Brick’s LLC, and consults with Smallify, an innovation capacity-building firm.


Donna Yetter

Donna Yetter is a principal in Commercial Services at Melanson Heath, a certified public accounting firm in Greenfield.  For more than 30 years, she has been a trusted accounting and tax advisor, working closely with clients in need of tax-planning and personal and business tax-preparation services. A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants, she also has extensive experience as a certified estate and trust specialist, which allows her to expand her range of services and partner with law firms and investment advisors who do not have full-time staff dedicated to this specialized area.

40 Under 40 Class of 2020

40under40SMALLNominations for 40 Under Forty Class of 2020 are now being accepted. 40 Under Forty is a celebration of young business and civic leaders in the Western Mass., and an undertaking in which our readership will play a pivotal role. Indeed, the process of selecting this region’s 40 Under Forty begins with nominations. And we urge you be thorough, because 40 Under Forty is a nomination-driven process; the background material submitted on a given individual is the primary source of information to be weighed by the judges who will score the candidates.

Please take a few minutes and help us identify the region’s 40 Under Forty.

If using mobile device to submit nomination, please make sure your phone is in Portrait view mode.

Save the Date

The selected individuals will be profiled in the April 27th edition of BusinessWest and celebrated at the annual 40 Under Forty Gala on June 25, 2020.
For more information call (413) 781-8600

About the nomination form:

• Candidates should have achieved professional success and actively volunteer for civic and/or non-profit organizations.
• Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on
this form will be considered.
• Fill out the nomination form completely.
• Photocopies are acceptable.
• Supporting information (i.e. résumé) may be sent to [email protected] Please include nominee’s name in subject line.
Deadline is February 14, 2020. No exceptions.
• Nominees must be under 40 as of April 1, 2020

If using mobile device to submit nomination, please make sure your phone is in Portrait view mode.


Fill out the nomination form completely.
  • As of March 1
  • (job responsibilities, special projects, business-related affiliations)
  • (board involvement in community, state, or national organization, including trade associations)
  • (spouse, children if applicable)
  • Nominated by (your information):

Presenting Sponsor:

Continued Excellence Presenting Sponsor

Media Sponsor:


40 Under 40 The Class of 2019

Scenes From the June 20 Event

40under40-logo2017aThe Class of 2019 was celebrated at the annual 40 Under Forty Gala on Thursday, June 20 at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke.

More than 650 people crammed the Log Cabin which has become one of the region’s best networking events.

Presentation of the Continued Excellence Award to Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls Inc., was the opening act of the 40 Under Forty celebration.

Photography for this special section by Leah Martin Photography

A Gallery of the Celebration

Presenting Sponsors



Exclusive Media Sponsor

40 Under 40 Cover Story The Class of 2019

Announcing the Honorees of the 13th Annual 40 Under Forty


A panel of judges was kept quite busy over the past few weeks, reading, evaluating, and eventually scoring nearly 200 nominations for the 40 Under Forty Class of 2019.

Yes, that’s a record, and it’s a clear indication of how coveted that designation ‘BusinessWest 40 Under Forty honoree’ has become within the 413 — and how much young talent this region boasts.

Submit Nominations for Next Year HERE!

40 Under Forty Class of 2019

Photography for this special section by Leah Martin Photography

Presenting Sponsors



Exclusive Media Sponsor

40 Under Forty Continued Excellence Award

Nominate your choice for an outstanding BusinessWest 40 Under Forty Alum!

Click for Past Honorees

When BusinessWest launched its 40 Under Forty program in 2007, it did so to identify rising stars across our region – individuals who were excelling in business and through
involvement within the community –and celebrate their accomplishments. In 2015, BusinessWest announced a new award, one that builds on the foundation upon which 40 Under Forty was created. It’s called the Continued Excellence Award. as the name suggests, will be presented to the 40 Under Forty honoree who, in the eyes of an independent panel of judges,
has most impressively continued and built upon their track record
of accomplishment.

For your convenience, a list of 40 Under Forty Alumni can be found HERE.

About the nomination form:
• Candidates must be from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award, in this case, classes 2007-2018.
• Only nominations submitted to BusinessWest on this form will be considered.

Deadline is May 3, 2019 at 5 p.m. No exceptions.

Presenting Sponsor:

Continued Excellence Award Past Winners:

Samalid Hogan
Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
Class of 2013

Scott Foster
Attorney, Bulkley Richardson
Class of 2011

Nicole Griffin
Owner, ManeHire
Class of 2014

 Dr. Jonathan Bayuk
President of Allergy and Immunology Associates of Western Mass. &
Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Baystate Medical Center
Class of 2008

Delcie Bean
President, Paragus Strategic IT
Class of 2008

40 Under Forty Alumni Achievement Award Nomination Form

Fill out the nomination form completely.
  • Nominated by (your information):


The Class of 2019

Project Planner, Tighe & Bond; Age 27
Education: UMass Amherst (BS, MRP)

Sarah Adams

Sarah Adams

What did you want to be when you grew up? Definitely not a planner! I’ve always loved animals, so I wanted to be a veterinarian. I didn’t know what planning was until I got to college, but I immediately connected with the idea that the built environment should balance impacts to economy, environment, and social justice. I get to do work every day that helps animals (and humans) on a more macro scale by protecting important habitats and reducing GHG emissions.

How do you define success? One of my favorite quotes is “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” The most successful people I know can meet adversity head-on with no forfeiture of passion or energy.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? David Bowie. I grew up listening to Bowie with my dad, and I’ve always been fascinated by how incomparably influential he was in music, fashion, and art in general. Bowie is a testament to the virtues of strangeness, and I’d like to tell him how grateful I am for the mark he left on the world. Although, instead of lunch, I’d rather take advantage of his discerning yet adventurous eye for style and go shopping!

What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Matilda is an embodiment of the authority that girls have to control their education, and a reminder that knowledge truly is a superpower. Books and characters like Matilda taught me, when I was a little girl, that I should crave knowledge. Now, as an adult, I try to teach that message to my Girls on the Run team and remind students at NEWIEE (New England Women in Energy and the Environment) on Campus events that their education doesn’t stop when they graduate.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I try to find time every day to run, stretch, or get outside with my dogs. My workouts are often the only time I fully give my attention to myself and how I’m feeling, and I find that I feel more focused in the afternoon on the days I get out for a few miles at lunch. I also feel my strongest when I’m running, so I try to carry that confidence into my next meeting or whatever else I have going on that day.



Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Senior Vice President, PeoplesBank; Age 38
Education: Westfield State University (BS), Western New England University (MBA)

Aleda Amistadi

Aleda Amistadi

How do you define success? Being proud of my achievements, both personally and professionally, and being able to learn something about myself when there are shortcomings. In my professional life, success can create lasting change for our customers, our associates, and our communities, which motivates me every day.

What are you passionate about? First, I am passionate about being a mom to my 5-year-old daughter, who is incredibly smart and makes me laugh every day, even if she doesn’t intend to. She keeps me grounded and brings me back to reality when I need it the most. I am also passionate about my work, and I feel incredibly blessed to love what I do every day. I am so fortunate to have a career in which I can constantly grow and challenge myself on many levels.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? I am very lucky to have a solid support network of family, close friends, and constructive co-workers. They help guide me when I need it, correct my path when I’m going in a direction that isn’t true to who I am, and offer amazing and honest guidance when I ask — or even sometimes when I don’t ask. I know it all comes from a place of love and respect, and together, they make a strong (and often comical) advisory group.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I wake up every morning and set out to do my best. If I look back on the day and can think of one or more accomplishments — personally or professionally — that I put my heart into, then I know I have had a good day.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? As a huge Duke basketball fan, I would love to have lunch with Mike Krzyzewski. I would love to ask Coach K why he feels he has been successful in his field and how he has been able to command respect from his players, fans, and peers, all from a variety of backgrounds and talents. His ability to lead and be a role model in such a diverse environment is inspiring.

What actress would play you in a movie about your life? Gal Gadot, because my daughter adores Wonder Woman, and I would get cool parent points if Wonder Woman pretended to be mommy.


Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Founder and Director, Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop; Age 33
Education: Bard College (BA), the New School (MFA)

Joy Baglio

Joy Baglio

What did you want to be when you grew up? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My sister and I grew up surrounded by the most magical collection of children’s books, all curated and read to us on a daily basis by my mother. Before I could write, I’d dictate stories to her, and later on I’d make my own ‘books’ with illustrations. One was called “Horse of the Mountains,” about a horse who goes rogue and forms a community of woodland animals.

How do you define success? My definition is a bit of a contradiction. I’m working on finishing a novel and short-story collection and have big plans for both, yet I also try to steer myself away from the world’s definition of success — however loud. I think real success — regardless of what concrete and external goals we may and should have — is about living in a way that’s truest to ourselves: discovering what that is, and learning to hear and trust that inner guidance.

What are you passionate about? Writing. Stories. Studying and teaching craft. Sentences that feel alive. Voice-driven fiction. Speculative fiction. Creating literary community. Animals. Birds. Veganism. Adventure.

Whom do you look up to, and why? As both a writer and literary entrepreneur, I’m inspired by authors who simultaneously write while also creating literary community. My former mentor, Rebecca Makkai, is inspirational as an award-winning author, writing instructor, and director of Chicago’s StoryStudio. Julia Fierro of Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop — a wonderful writer, instructor, and savvy business leader — is also someone I admire.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? One of my favorite (deceased) writers, Angela Carter, who wrote deliciously ornate fabulist stories and fairytale retellings about beasts and vampire countesses in prose that feels electric.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Throughout my journey as a writer, I’ve studied with some amazing authors: Aimee Bender, Rebecca Makkai, Mary Gaitskill, Brad Morrow, Julia Fierro, Caitlin Horrocks, Laura Van Den Berg, and Mary Caponegro, just to name a few. Most writers’ paths are filled with all kinds of discouragements, rejections, and loneliness, and having mentors who helped me focus on the work itself — how I could best develop both concrete craft skills and a trust in my own creativity and vision — has been life-changing. I feel immensely grateful for their generosity and brilliance.



Photography by Leah Martin Photography

The Class of 2019

Director of Bands, Springfield High School of Science and Technology; Age 36
Education: UMass Amherst (BM, MM)

Gary Bernice

Gary Bernice

How do you define success? “Seek to serve, not to be served” is our SciTech Band commandment. My students and I post this motto on the entrance of our classroom door, write it on our chalkboard, print it on our band handbooks, embroider it on our band jackets, and flash it on our band website. Most importantly, we try to live out this commandment as a band family. We define true success as an action, not a status — the commitment to consistently and willingly put the needs of other people before ourselves in all that we do.

With 500 students, we are the largest band in the state of Massachusetts. Despite the challenges of an urban school district like ours, and the fact that 99% of our students have never played an instrument before, they are still able to inspire audiences throughout the region. Our students are three times more likely to stay in school and were the recipients of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the state’s highest honor given for achievement in the arts. Our band even received a personal letter from President Obama praising them for dreaming big dreams and improving our community.

Most people would describe these accomplishments as our success story. However, our real success story is about who we are and who we strive to be — a band family that serves each other and our school, shares the joy of music with our city, cares for the people around us, takes a stand for justice, and empowers students to become leaders and make a lasting difference in our community.

What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? Never give up and always believe in my students.

What person, past or present, would you like to have lunch with, and why? Jesus. I would love to hear his guidance in person. As of 2019, deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide — so-called ‘deaths of despair’ — are destroying people and contributing to our nation’s declining life expectancy. As a teacher, I see these symptoms of despair and hopelessness every day in my classroom. It breaks my heart to see people (especially my students) believe they are not loved or valued. I know that Jesus, in his compassion, would share some insightful words to give me strength and encouragement as I try to build up the people around me.

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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