Honorees made acceptance speeches from the heart at Boca Chamber’s 2019 Business Awards Friday at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
Sal Saldana had a dream about his parents. Roxana Scaffidi thanked the Boca Regional doctors who saved her husband Charlie.
Tom Lynch brought his sons Connor and Brendan on stage to accept accolades for their 100-year-old family business.
“They were here to help me celebrate,” Business Leader of the Year Saldana said about his late parents from Mexico. They instilled his work ethic as a first-generation American, he said.
Saldana managed 10 Simon malls before becoming manager of Town Center of Boca Raton mall. He brought his work team, his wife Josephine, a special ed teacher, and his family to the luncheon Friday.
“We’ve created a central place for the community,” he said. “People here are a class act. We strive to make Boca Raton proud.”
“Pick a career you want and like,” advised Tom Lynch. His firm, Plastridge Insurance, was named Business of the Year. “Keep a keen eye toward the future and a positive approach. Exceed people’s expectations.” Make time for your family, he added.
Scaffidi’s an accountant who came here from Peru in 1996 with business credentials.
She credited her employees, clients, and Chamber mentors for showing her the ropes and helping her start Florida Accounting & Advisers.
She got involved in area nonprofits and found the work inspiring. Doctors helped her husband recover from cancer, she said.
“As a woman don’t be afraid. As a business owner don’t be afraid. As an immigrant, don’t be afraid. The sky’s the limit,” she said.
In a Chamber tradition, Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU, presented the Business Leader award as the 2017 honoree. He represented the Resort’s John Tolbert, last year’s recipient.
Chamber chair Susan Saturday presented the Lynch family’s Business of the Year Award on behalf of Bluegreen Vacations.
As the 2018 honoree, Ami Zak, Unique Gifts & Premiums, presented Scaffidi’s Small Business Leader of the Year honor.
The presenting sponsor was South Florida Business Journal. JM Lexus and JM Family Enterprises, Boca Raton Bowl, Bluegreen Vacations and The Jim Morgan Institute for Global Entrepreneurship were the awards and grand sponsors.
Chamber president/CEO Troy McLellan recognized the past winners and chamber chairs in the room. “A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” he said, quoting leadership thinker John C. Maxwell.
Dr. Daniel Gropper, FAU’s college of business dean, emceed. Boca Helping Hands’ executive director Greg Hazle led the pledge of allegiance and invocation.
By Marci Shatzman