Page 68 - BusinessWest May 12, 2021
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 Claudia Quintero
Staff Attorney, Central West Justice Center; Age 32
    Growing up in Los Angeles, Claudia Quintero saw plenty of disparities — by class, race and ethnicity, gender, and more — and wanted to do something about it.
“But I was undocumented,” she said. “So I didn’t know if I could go to college, much less
just a smattering of the different projects we have.”
Central West’s migrant seasonal farmworker project, her area of focus, provides holistic legal advocacy to farmworkers across Massachusetts on housing, work conditions, and other protections, while advocating for these workers on the state level. “A lot of farms are located
in rural parts of the state where the workers might not even know we exist,” she noted.
The performing and visual arts are a big part of Quintero’s identity; she’s a classically trained pianist, was a Mexican folkorico dancer for 15 years, and is an amateur photographer. The work she performs today at Central West has become a critical part of that identity as well
— and a continuing tribute to her journey and those who helped her along the way.
“It’s a really gratifying job. I feel like it’s kind of my responsibility, since I was given such an amazing opportunity getting legal status in the United States,” she explained. “That’s not an easy feat; not everyone is eligible to become a lawyer in the United States, and even to be a legal citizen is such a huge privilege for me. So I know I have to do something worthwhile. I know it’s an opportunity I shouldn’t squander.”
—Joseph Bednar
law school.”
In high school, though, she met a lawyer who
helped her attain legal status. “I was so
inspired by this attorney — who was also a
Latina, and was very kind and very effective in her advocacy — that I wanted to go to law school and do for others what she had done for me.”
That law school was at Western New England University, where she knew she wanted to focus on social-justice work. Fittingly, she landed a job with Central West Justice Center immediately after achieving her juris doctorate. “It seemed like the right fit ... like work I was meant to do.”
As a subsidiary of Community Legal Aid, Quintero explained, “we provide legal civil services to indigent clients, people who can’t afford lawyers for things like eviction defense, state and federal benefits law, family law, wage-and-hour claims, immigration ... that’s
 Michael Regan
Owner and President, Clayton Insurance Agency; Age 38
    Integrity means a great deal to Michael Regan.
As an insurance professional who had been steadily growing in his career, Regan was ready to pursue his next
business goal: to run his own agency. He had heard that Martin Clayton, longtime owner of the Clayton Insurance Agency in Holyoke, was looking for a young person to carry on the legacy of his business.
While he appreciated Regan’s 10-plus years of experience with Goss and McLain Insurance Agency, Clayton was particularly impressed that the Greater Holyoke Chamber
of Commerce had honored Regan with the Henry A. Fifeld Award for Voluntary Service to the Chamber.
“It turns out Clayton knew Fifeld and told me, ‘if you won Hank’s award, you must be a pretty good citizen,’” Regan recalled, adding that the conversation was a key step toward eventually acquiring the agency.
Once he settled in as the new owner at Clayton, he admits he felt some pressure to uphold the integrity of the firm and to make sure customers receive the same quality service they always have.
“I gave Martin my word that I would continue the legacy of the agency,” Regan said. “I work very hard to always keep my word.”
He had the option to change the name of the agency or add his name to it, and Clayton even encouraged it. But Regan decided he didn’t need his name on the sign. “The Clayton Insurance Agency has such a good reputation, I didn’t feel the need to mix that up and add my name. It’s not about me, it’s about continuing the agency and taking care of employees and customers.”
Since Regan took the helm in 2019, the agency has grown
by just over 30%, a trajectory he hopes to continue for years to come.
“We’re looking to bring on more staff in the next couple of years and to keep the agency moving forward,” he said.
Regan is extremely community-minded, from funding scholarships to running food drives; from collecting donations for youth sports in
Granby to volunteering with
the First Tee program to teach inner-city kids about golf, a sport he’s also introduced to his four daughters.
Meanwhile, he hopes to continue the legacy of his agency until he’s ready to pass it along. “Fast-forward 50 years, I want to look back the same way Marty did and find a successor who can continue the Clayton Insurance
Agency even further.”
—Mark Morris
 68 MAY 12, 2021

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