MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Corinne Stanton was born to sell. And she knew it at an early age.
“I got the advertising bug when I was in 11th grade and became editor of the yearbook [at Somers High School],” she recalled. “I went around selling ads for the yearbook. I got such satisfaction from seeing those ads in the yearbook.”
Stanton, who graduated from Somers High in 1989, is a sales executive for Halston Media, the parent company of Mahopac News, as well as The Somers Record, Yorktown News and North Salem News. Last week, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce named her a recipient of the Trailblazer Award as Best Sales Executive. The awards were to be presented at a banquet tonight, March 23, at Villa Barone in Mahopac.
“The Trailblazer Award is definitely a validation of what I do,” Stanton said. “I feel like I have been recognized for all the hours I have spent on my feet. I really care about what I do and I want to see the business owner succeed. I want to be doing an ad that says they are celebrating their 10th anniversary.”
After she graduated high school, Stanton attended Westchester Community College. She was the first of the four kids in her family to attend college.
“My parents were a little skeptical, but I was on the President’s List and I received the Dr. Joseph N. Hankin Book Award,” she said. “Then I went to SUNY New Paltz and got my bachelor’s degree.”
When she graduated New Paltz, she hit the ground running and within a week had a job selling advertising for WVIP, a radio station in Mount Kisco. But she soon discovered she preferred selling print ads and landed gigs with the Yorktown PennySaver, Guide Communications (local phone directories) and later started her own publication—Images and Impressions magazine. That was when she met Brett Freeman, publisher and primary owner of Halston Media and her current boss.
“Back then, he consulted with me. He wanted to know if I thought it was a good idea to start a paper in Somers,” she said. “I’ve known him a long time now.”
Her next job was selling ads for the Westchester Business Journal in White Plains, but she quickly discovered she did not enjoy the high-pressure, fast-paced nature of that gig.
“My heart belonged in northern Westchester and Putnam County,” said Stanton, who also won the Somers Education Foundation Person of the Year Award in 2010. “I love to know my neighbors and help them and promote them. I didn’t want to do the rat race of White Plains.”
So, she took a new job with the Putnam County Examiner, which led her to an interesting discovery.
“When I was at the Examiner, all I heard was, ‘No, thanks, I already advertise in the Mahopac News. They do better coverage,’” she said. “I started thinking that I needed to revisit Halston Media. Brett [Freeman] and I already had a relationship and I wanted to work for a company where there was going to be a return on investment for my clients.”
As it turns out, Freeman was looking for someone to help stabilize his sales force.
“He approached me because he saw what I was doing on social media,” she said. “People kept telling him, ‘You need to hire Corinne; get Corinne and you will have a ‘golden girl’ on your team.”
So, in February 2016, Freeman did just that and Stanton joined Halston Media and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m so thrilled to finally be on the same team as Corinne,” Freeman said. “She truly cares about her clients, and her clients know it. The best salespeople don’t sell. They are consultants and they are looking out for their clients’ needs. That’s Corinne!”
Stanton said that all the jobs she’s had have been stepping stones to where she is now.
“I took all these different jobs always looking to better myself,” she said. “I was never fired. I was just always looking for the next level. One door closes and another opens, as they say. I always wanted to be with a company that is looking to make itself better. I don’t want a sleepy company.”
Last summer, Stanton left her native Somers to move next door to Mahopac, her primary sales territory.
“I have roots [in Somers],” she said. “I was two-time past president of the Somers Chamber of Commerce. My dad, Robert Stanton, is a lieutenant with the Somers Police Department, and my mother, Helga, is the Somers dog control officer.”
But, she said, moving to Mahopac made sense.
“I do most of my business in Putnam,” she said. “I am with the Greater Mahopac/Carmel Chamber of Commerce where I am one of the membership liaisons. When a place is about to open, I go in and say, ‘Hi, I’m Corinne from Mahopac News and I am with the Mahopac/Carmel Chamber of Commerce.’ Call me the welcome wagon. I tell them, here’s what you need to do: you need to advertise with us and you need to get involved with the Chamber.”
Living where she works has benefits. It helps her network more efficiently, which leads to tips from friends who sometimes know about new businesses opening in town. Sometimes she even learns about breaking news, which she passes on to the editorial team.
“An opportunity to move to Mahopac came up and I just found a little slice of heaven,” she said. “I used to live in Lincolndale so I already knew that I liked to be around water. It just felt good. You can’t live in a bubble—you have to grow.”
Since moving to Mahopac, she’s used her mastery of social media, such as Facebook Live, to promote her clients, as well as community events.
“Brett told me the other day that I’ve become the face of Mahopac,” she said. “Everyone talks about it. I don’t miss a meeting or an event. I will step up and volunteer. Like for the Fireball Run, I was the flag girl. Whatever you need me for. People love that; they follow it and share it on Facebook. Corinne is live!”
Stanton does all this while raising two kids. Her daughter, Diana, 18, is a senior at Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls. She’ll attend Siena College in the fall. Her son, Michael, 15, seems to have picked up a bit of the entrepreneurial bug that his mom possesses.
“He’s got really great work ethic; he walks around with his business cards,” she said with a laugh. “On his own Facebook page, he likes to promote trucks. He seems to be a smart, young businessman already.”
Stanton said that one reason for her success is that she doesn’t approach the job as if she’s just selling a product. She truly believes she is helping her clients succeed.
“I do what is right for the client even if it means pushing them a little more,” she said. “But you have to listen to them and understand what their needs are. Even though I might want to sell them a big package, sometimes they just might need something to keep their name out there. You don’t sell the lawnmower repair guy the back cover; certainly, not in January. You sell him the business card ad for 10 weeks in the spring. You have to be smart about it.
“I get to know my clients,” she adds. “I will be the first to wish them a happy birthday. I think I add that little extra touch that others don’t. I am not an order-placer. I want [the client] to get their message out there.”