Celest Quintana, a self-made entrepreneur of 10 McDonald’s franchises whose North Jersey restaurants also provide for people in need, will be honored with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s 2023 Caren Franzini Leadership Award at the 9th annual New Jersey Women Business Leaders Forum, from Sept. 27-28.
NJBIA will also honor Sally Glick, business development adviser and ambassador with CliftonLarsonAllen, with its 2023 Legacy & Leadership Award in recognition of her business achievements, mentorship of women in business and years of public service.
The New Jersey Women Business Leaders Forum, powered by NJBIA, will take place at Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. The largest professional women’s conference in New Jersey, it brings together hundreds of corporate and nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs and students each year to inspire and empower the building of successful businesses and to increase diversity in corporate leadership, both in the C-suite and the boardroom.
“It is a privilege to honor both Celest and Sally, who are true trailblazers in their respective fields and have given so much to the world of business and public service in New Jersey,” NJBIA CEO Michele Siekerka said.
“These amazing women have achieved immeasurable results for their businesses, while opening the doors for other women seeking to advance themselves in business. We are thrilled to present these awards to Sally and Celest.”
Here’s more on the honorees:
Quintana: She came to the U.S. from Spain when she was 10 years old. She grew up in Newark with eight brothers and sisters. After graduating from East Side High School, Quintana worked as a dental assistant for 15 years. At age 28, she opened a clothing store with two friends called “Impulse” in Harrison. She then moved the boutique to Newark as a single proprietor.
In 1992, Quintana opened her first McDonald’s restaurant on Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen. Since then, she has steadfastly expanded, now owning and operating, with her daughter, Jessica Quintana, 10 restaurants in Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, East Orange and Parsippany. Her restaurants employ more than 500 local residents.
Quintana has attributed “hard work and lots of it” to her success as an entrepreneur, as a way of leading by example for her employees. At the same time, she provides for those in need in the communities that she serves through donations and fundraisers. Her stores are true community centers where families gather to share a meal, and staff and neighbors come together to support the local communities.
She has also been a member of NJBIA’s board of trustees since 2008, serving as the board’s chairperson from 2021-2023.
“The Caren Franzini Leadership Award is an honor bestowed on individuals who inspire and empower others to achieve professional excellence,” Siekerka said. “Celest’s rise in business over the past 30 years has been remarkable and to see firsthand how she has grown her businesses, provided countless opportunities for workers and served her community well beyond food has been nothing short of inspirational.”
Franzini, who died in 2017, was the longtime chief executive of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority who worked with seven governors from 1994 to 2012 to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth, particularly in New Jersey’s largest cities. Franzini later served on NJBIA’s board of trustees until her death at age 57.
Glick: Serving on the CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) Business Development Advisory team, Glick has responsibility for reinforcing the firm’s well-regarded legacy as the eighth-largest CPA firm in the U.S. and maintaining critical relationships with the business and nonprofit communities in the New Jersey regional market.
Prior to her current position at CLA, Glick was a principal and the chief growth strategist for SobelCo for close to two decades, serving as the firm’s ambassador to the community, while driving, shaping and maintaining the firm’s relationships and supporting its business development strategies.
Glick is deeply involved in the community, serving on several nonprofit and business boards and committees, including a current board member and past president of the Association for Corporate Growth – New Jersey, chair of New Jersey District Export Council, retired board member for Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, as well as a participant on several CIANJ committees, a volunteer at the Somerset County Business Partnership, member of the Advisory Committee of the Morris Council Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Council, previous board member and executive board member for the Center for Nonprofits and a longstanding member of the M&T Bank advisory board.
She has earned special recognition as an inducted member of the New Jersey Ad Club Hall of Fame, the Marketing Association Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame, while also receiving Commerce and Industry Association’s Chairman’s Outstanding Leadership Award, the NJBIZ Lifetime Achievement Award, and NJBIA’s N.J. Inspiration Awards (now the Caren Franzini Leadership Award).
“Sally’s generosity in sharing her rich knowledge and experience as a mentor to so many women in New Jersey business — even including many of us at NJBIA — is beyond compare,” Siekerka said. “Her reputation as someone with unstoppable energy, kindness, compassion and resilience is her well-earned foundation.”