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Minority Businessperson of the Year finalist: Annette Quintana


In 1990, sisters Annette and Victoria Quintana shared a vision to support companies and government entities in unearthing the best and brightest technology talent to bolster their organizations and projects.

Thus, the two Native American and Hispanic businesswomen co-founded Denver-based Istonish Inc., an information technology services company that has evolved and expanded into an international minority and woman-owned staffing and consulting business, serving clients in telecommunications, medicine, consumer food products, aerospace, insurance and government. Today Annette – the littler sister – serves as chairman while Victoria is the company’s CEO.

“We are proud to be part of an increasing number of minority business enterprises that are changing the profile of America’s business owners,” Annette said.

In just more than two decades, Istonish has managed to employ more than 1,000 individuals.

The company’s commitment to diversity is evident thanks to its core values and mission to provide the highest level of talent and consulting in the IT business.

“Annette believes in respecting and celebrating the differences among her employees, clients and suppliers,” said vice president of marketing, Mary Ellen Talent.

Internally, the firm has weathered economic storms by being adaptable, catering its services to what the present market wants and needs.

“Minority entrepreneurs have carved out significant business niches for themselves across the nation,” Annette said.

She said that while government programs for minority, disadvantaged and woman-owned businesses can open doors, they are ultimately “held to the same performance standards to stay and compete long-term. Factors that have influenced (Istonish’s) growth have included community support, increased networking and improved access to capital.”

Along with her ability to navigate economic twists and turns and with dedication to continued learning to seamlessly weave in and out of different professional circles and sectors, Annette strongly believes in community contribution, which perhaps explains her involvement in a wide variety of organizations that promote education and diversity. Some include: the Colorado Race to the Top K-12 Education Reform Project, Colorado Technology Association, Visit Denver, the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and more.

“Where we come from … shapes everything about who we are,” said Victoria. “It helps shape Annette’s leadership style and the type of culture she wants to create within the institution as well as her commitment to the community.”

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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