Judith Spires, the chairman and CEO of Kings Food Markets, was gracious and complimentary when she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business ceremony Monday night.
She accepted the award with equal praise for both the other honorees in the room and the state of New Jersey.
“Words cannot express my gratitude,” she said. “I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything after listening to what these 50 women who you have honored this evening. I am so humble. I am not worthy.
“I am honored to be a lifelong resident and honored to lead a fabulous New Jersey company. And I have to tell you, I love New Jersey.”
The Cherry Hill native has a unique story of working her way to the top from essentially the first job she ever had.
“I was born and raised in this state and I continue to benefit from everything it has to offer,” she said. “My first job I was a lifeguard at a camp in Blackwood, New Jersey. And then I was a cashier and worked my way up the ladder.
“I’m so fortunate that I have been able to turn my first real part time paying job into my lifelong career. My dream job, right here in my home state.”
Spires has led Kings in her current role since 2010.
The Board of Directors of the New Jersey Food Council salute Judy Spires@KingsFoodMkts for @NJBIZ Lifetime Achievement #Best50WomenNJ https://t.co/clPMwIy9GG
— NJ Food Council (@eatathome) March 21, 2017
“I’m so proud to be the chairman and CEO of Kings Food markets,” she said. “I’m so grateful. Over 2,500 citizens we employ and have the opportunity to grow and have great lives in this state.”
A state she saluted with two good stories.
Judy Spires, chairman & CEO @KingsFoodMkts, receives @njbiz Lifetime Achievement Award, from Larisa Perry @WellsFargo. #Best50WomenNJ pic.twitter.com/YpEpB4UTJX
— Feliciano Center (@FelicianoCenter) March 21, 2017
“In 1926, a noted Camden attorney by the name of Abraham Browning first coined the term Garden State and he likened it to a barrel filled to the brim of great things to eat,” she said. “Tonight, I say this Garden State is a barrel overflowing with incredibly talented women.”
And Spires closed with these words of encouragement.
“I’d just like to say that for the rest of us, our lifetime achievement is not over,” she said. “In the words of one of New Jersey’s favorite sons, Jon Bon Jovi, he said Map out your future, but do it in pencil, the road ahead is as long as you make it, so make it worth the trip.
“I say, make it worth the trip and support lots of fabulous and talented women along the way.”