Meet Debbie Quintana CEO of Gourmet Gifts & The Spirit of Wellness
Debbie Quintana is a Wonder-Woman who knows she’s not a super-hero at all. She wants to be a visible example to women: that they, not some super-improved version of themselves, can live their passions, fully, generously – and profitably.
39 years old divorced and remarried; a mother, stepmother, and grandmother, Debbie holds down a full-time job at Cisco Systems, and she is an entrepreneur who’s living her passions. She is the founder/owner of two companies and two associations that express and promote the natural empowerment of women – even when they turn a profit.
Quintana is President and CEO of Gourmet Gifts & The Spirit of Wellness, companies that create unique, individualized gift baskets for both corporate and personal clients. She founded Gourmet Gifts eight years ago with her mother, turning an adored hobby (she began making gift baskets with her Mom when she was thirteen) into a profession. From Gourmet Gifts, sprang Spirit of Wellness, whose gift baskets are focused on self-care. Her customers range from large corporations who want to acknowledge events and employees, to individuals who are expressing sympathy, or celebrating joy among friends and family. Her own comfort-level in both corporate and personal environments is evident in her clientele. The baskets her companies create are personalized, truly unique, and clearly made with female attention.
The spirit of fun and collaboration, rather than competition, drives Debbie. In 2007, she founded the Women’s Networking Alliance to support and empower women entrepreneurs. WNA is now an independent entity and is going national in 2010. In April, she founded The Gift Basket Association to encourage support and collaborate amongst other gift basket professionals and in September she released a new magazine: Trends & Tips.
Her commitment to community is powerfully present in every one of her businesses. WNA does a minimum of one major partnership with a charitable organization annually. In 2008 it was Career Closet, the acclaimed organization helping low-income women dress for and land well-paying jobs. WNA collected six SUVs-full of clothes, shoes, purses, belts; discounts for haircuts, etc. This year they are partnering with Girls For Change, providing coaches, and a directory of services for the teenage girls who will make a difference in their communities. Gourmet Gifts has a generous monthly budget devoted entirely to charitable donations. Spirit of Wellness, in keeping with its name, gives 5 – 15% of all profits to groups like the American Heart Association and the Susan Komen Foundation. And at GBA, Debbie makes Peter Shankman’s weekly charitable donations email available to all its members, encouraging the entire gift basket business community to funnel their resources to those who need them.
By definition, marketing involves reaching out to others – clearly a no-brainer for Debbie Quintana. It’s why she’s in business. As a national company, Gourmet Gifts uses every online avenue available as a marketing platform, including all social networking sites. Each of her company’s websites is properly optimized for ease and effectiveness of use, and has a well-rounded Internet presence, including: blogging to provide information and training for her clients and fellow entrepreneurs; presenting mini-gift-basket classes on YouTube; and using blog talk-radio, where she interviews guests with unique perspectives on her industry. Her marketing strategy is about creating relationships by providing useful tools and information, using the Worldwide Web and locally, through networking.
Besides her businesses and full-time job (which she’s had for 10 years, and has a passionate commitment to), it is essential to Debbie that she truly enjoys, and is present for, her husband, her son, and herself. So, she makes sure her life is balanced, never losing the priority of family, intimate relationships and self-care. How does she do that?
She manages her time really effectively and efficiently, and, she has a great business model.
It’s simple and very feminine: Hire and work with people she can truly trust and collaborate with. Like herself, her colleagues at Gourmet Gifts wear many hats and are able to interchange them on the fly. This creates a team engaged in a common goal, in an environment that is ‘structured, but not overly so.’ So it feels more like a family than a company.
The family feel extends to her company’s commitment to customer service. Clients receive high-level, individual attention, the kind her family and employees also receive. She says unequivocally that such service is Priority Number One, for her business. Not surprisingly, she does not want anyone to settle for a standard, cookie-cutter product. Every gift basket made is shown to the client on live, real-time video. Clients get exactly what they want – and a truly individual gift: down to personalized products like a baby’s name embroidered on a blanket, in a basket waiting for Mom when she comes home with her newborn. This level of customer care is vital to Debbie’s business model, and her life.
Debbie had a health-scare a few years ago that was a ‘wake up call.’ She made a commitment to be 100% present for what she is doing at any given moment and to value all areas of her life. And she sticks to it. She did not do this by reading books or taking courses. She did it, just like she started her businesses, by checking in with what she was passionate about.
Quintana is exactly what she says she is… a woman impassioned to give to and empower other people. The world often sees CEOs who talk a good game at work, or even deliver exactly what they say they will to their employees, while their home and personal lives suffer. Not Debbie. She’s a woman who believes in both her womanhood and entrepreneurship. And her family feels it. She partners with her musician husband in managing and promoting his band, and, this summer, her 15-year-old son was inspired by her example. Instead of applying at McDonald’s for his first job, he started his own business!
Quintana, a woman just like you and me, turns an enormous profit – in both money, and humanity.
For more information on Gourmet Gifts and Debbie visit www.thebestgourmetgifts.com