Each year, America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) celebrates the nationwide Network’s “State Stars.” These individuals are nominated by their peers and selected by their SBDC Network for their exemplary performance.  Brookdale’s Director of Small Business and Development Center (Monmouth/Ocean SBDC), Dr. Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, has been selected by her peers as America’s Small Business Development Center New Jersey State Star for 2021.  She is the first Latina regional director awarded the State Star Award in the history of the NJSBDC Network. 

The live-streamed virtual award ceremony is scheduled to take place on August 18th at 2:00 pm. This year, America’s SBDC will celebrate the state stars that have been on the job throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, helping clients survive and thrive in the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainties.  

“The State Star Award is given out to an individual that has gone above and beyond to help small businesses in NJ,” said Kelly Brozyna-Manning, chief executive officer and state director of NJSBDC at Rutgers University. “Another aspect of the award is being a mentor and a team player with others in our Network. Jackie has been a tremendous asset and has stepped up to help others for the betterment of our organization. We are thrilled that she won this award by peer review, and we are fortunate to have such an amazing person to work in the community helping others.” 

Enthusiastically welcoming new challenges, Dr. Mejias-Fuertes’s work for NJSBDC involves formulating strategic solutions to client issues. In addition, she shares her knowledge, experience, and entrepreneurial spirit with the small business community in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to ensure they achieve their desired levels of success from business development, management, and maintaining their business for years to come. 

“Although I wear many hats, one that brings a great deal of joy to my life is being the regional director of the NJ Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College,” said Dr. Mejias-Fuertes.  “Additionally, I would like to thank my MOSBDC team. I would not be able to do my job without their incredible support.” 

Not new to receiving awards, under Dr. Mejias-Fuertes’s leadership, America’s SBDC at Brookdale Community College has been the Silver Gull Economic Development Award recipient and the national pitch plan competition winner at America’s SBDC National Conference. She was instrumental in developing and producing the Award-Winning Video “Transforming a Problem into an Opportunity: Alumni to the Rescue.” In addition, she was the recipient of the first Women in Business Award presented by the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce. Finally, she received the New Jersey Minority Achievers Award for her outstanding professional development and community involvement. 

She holds a BA from Hunter College, an Entrepreneurship Certificate from Brookdale Community College, an MBA from Ashford University specializing in entrepreneurship and a Doctorate in Management from the University of Maryland.

Since 1979, the Monmouth/Ocean Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College offers training and counseling for small business owners and entrepreneurs. For more information, complete a Consulting Request Form or call 732-842-8685.