40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Yahaira Antonmarchi

Director of Community Relations, the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone; Age 33; Education: Associate degree, Holyoke Community College; BA, Elms College

Yahaira Antonmarchi

Yahaira Antonmarchi

Antonmarchi was born in Puerto Rico to military parents; her mother was in the Air Force, and her father in the Army. When her parents retired from the military, the family settled in Western Mass., where Antonmarchi attended school mostly in South Hadley before graduating from Holyoke High School. Afterward, she went right to work in a small administrative office, after which she was hired at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone. While working for the firm full-time, she earned degrees from HCC and Elms College, and obtained a license to sell real estate.

What did you want to be when you grew up? My upbringing was very strict and disciplined, and the value of hard work was instilled in me from an early age. Although I can’t recall having an interest in any specific profession, I know I always wanted to work hard. I remember being a young girl and thinking that women in business suits seemed so powerful, like they had worked their asses off to get where they were, and they demanded respect for it. I thought that was so impressive. I wanted to be a woman in a business suit — or perhaps just the embodiment of what a woman in a business suit conveyed to me at the time.

How do you define success? I think being successful isn’t so much about your own accomplishments, but what you inspire others to accomplish. To be told that I have motivated someone or that someone looks up to me makes me feel far more successful than any degree, award, or accolade ever will.

What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about the advancement of individuals or groups for which advancement may seem unlikely — those who have the cards stacked against them. As a minority woman from a low-income background, I know what it is to be the underdog. It is truly inspiring to see disadvantage turn to motivation, motivation to action, and action to advancement.

Whom do you look up to, and why? Growing up, I saw my father walk from our home in Holyoke to work in West Springfield and back every day to provide for our family. The sacrifices that my mother has made for the sake of my two brothers and me almost make me question whether I could ever be even half the mother she is. The answer to this question will forever be my parents.