Page 32 - BusinessWest 40 Under Forty 2024
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     Payton North
Executive Editor, Reminder Publishing: Age 28
 Payton North didn’t remember aspiring to being a reporter and editor when she was growing up. But her mother found
proof that this was, indeed, a long-standing career goal.
“She found a paper I wrote when I was
a sophomore in high school where I talked about how I wanted to be an editor,” said North, who recalls having some interest in broadcast journalism, but eventually desired to make an impact that “would not be limited to a minute or two of soundbites.”
To say North has made that dream come true would be an understatement. She is now executive editor for Reminder Publications, leading efforts to produce eight weekly newspapers, one daily, two monthly magazines, and several specialty publications. She now oversees 20 employees as well as more than a dozen freelance writers and photographers.
She still does some writing, which she enjoys, but acknowledged that much of her time is now devoted to planning, managing, setting a tone for these publications, and mentoring younger staff members.
She acknowledged these are certainly challenging times for print publications, which have lost both readers and advertisers to the internet, but she said the need for local news remains, and such content is perhaps more important than ever.
Paulette Piñero
CEO, Unstoppable Latina LLC: Age 37
This is the message she hammers home to young reporters, who often wonder out loud just how important it is to cover that local planning board or school committee meeting. North will answer for them.
“Accountability in our communities
is so important,” she explained. “If we
don’t have reporters’ boots on the ground covering our select board meetings, our town council meetings, our school board meetings — the local government that is affecting people’s taxes and their children’s school — something very important is lost. Those are the stories that really hit people in their homes, and I’m glad people come to us for that because they can’t get it anywhere else.”
While busy managing publications —
and people — North is also active in the community. She volunteers with Valley Eye Radio, a nonprofit that reads and records newspapers and broadcasts in senior centers and hospitals for those who are visually impaired, and also gives of her time at Whispering Horse Therapeutic Riding Center in East Longmeadow.
All of this material could go into a short item for the Reminder’s publications — one announcing that North is a deserving member of the Forty Under 40 class of 2024. BW
—George O’Brien
 Paulette Piñero remembers the hours be- fore she slipped into a coma.
It was March 2020, and she was one of
the very first COVID cases in Massachusetts. “My legs were purple; they thought they might have to cut them off. I lost 40% of my lung capacity by the end of the first week. A social worker brought me an iPad so I could say goodbye to my family.”
Two years before that, she’d started writing a business plan, one that would help clients with business strategy and creativity. “But I continued to second-guess myself: ‘this is not for me,’ or ‘maybe I’ll do it at some point when I retire.’ I just felt like the dream was out of reach.”
But in February 2020, a month before she fell ill, Piñero started working with a SCORE mentor and developed a real launch plan. And when she woke from her coma, she knew she didn’t want to waste any more time.
“I promised myself, if I left that hospital,
I would never put my dreams on the back burner — and, miraculously, I left the hospital. I had physical therapy for more than two years, and I was diagnosed that summer with long COVID. But I still launched my business; it was the first thing I did when I got out of the hospital.”
Before creating Unstoppable Latina, Piñero
spent her career — in both Puerto Rico and then Massachusetts — in the social-impact space, working on strategy, programming, and marketing programs for nonprofits and impactful companies.
Now, she empowers women entrepreneurs by cultivating their confidence and brand positioning to embrace personal narratives, address human needs creatively, and lead industries with inventive ventures.
“The way I measure impact is, do you feel like the CEO of your business? Do you have a strategy and the tools that will move you from a side hustle and overwhelmed to stepping
up as the CEO of your business and making decisions? And then, can you disconnect and be present with your family?”
That last part is especially important, said Piñero, who is also the co-author of the 2021 book Extraordinary Latinas: Powerful Voices of Resilience, Courage & Empowerment.
“This experience has allowed me to see business success as something that serves both your clients and yourself. That, to me, is more successful than just the revenue. My business is not just for helping the local economy,
but helping Latinas be confident in their business and be present for their families and community.” BW
—Joseph Bednar
 A32 2024
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