Last Flight From Havana

Last Flight From Havana is a riveting journey of Marie Quintana’s life beginning with her family fleeing Cuba during the tumultuous rise of Fidel Castro.

Marie’s memoir details her harrowing escape to an unfamiliar land. Amid historic upheavals, the Quintana family’s commitment to faith and heritage unfolds against a backdrop of assimilation challenges in the United States. Marie’s story, a testament to human tenacity and the universal quest for belonging, reveals a poignant metamorphosis from girlhood to womanhood, including the power of a mother’s love to carry family forward. This captivating narrative showcases resilience, diversity, and the enduring search for one’s true home.

Last Flight from Havana


Praise for Last Flight From Havana by Marie Quintana

“Wonderful, inspirational and heart-warming.”

Indra Nooyi
Former Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

“The Last Flight from Havana is a wonderfully written book about the experiences of a young lady, her younger brother, and mother leaving Cuba during the final days before the Communist takeover under Fidel Castro. The author was a young girl at the time, and she walks you through the heartbreak of leaving family, friends, and a way of life seriously different from the flight’s destination in the U.S. She faced the challenges of learning a new language, making new friends, adopting new customs, and recognizing with hope in her heart that opportunities did exist for her in this new world. A must read for anyone who appreciates the United States and what this country has meant to so many people over the years.

David E. Johnson
Reader from Gulfport, FL

“My sister’s book is a gentle reminder to all of us that wonder ‘what could have been,’ yet realize that our lives turned out just as it should have been.” 

Raul Quintana

“Marie Quintana’s story made my heart break, then fill up with love so many times that I can’t wait to read it again. This book is a celebration of strength, triumph, family and hope. Marie’s story will inspire you. Her wisdom and perspective will change you.”

Fawn Germer
Bestselling author of nine books, Global Leadership Speaker

“Marie’s story is inspiring and courageous, strong and faith-filled. Her book should be required reading for all young adults to show them that with faith in God and determination, anything in life is possible.” 

Colleen Early Hoover

About the Book

Marie Quintana’s profound life experiences shared in Last Flight From Havana offer empowering lessons that can be implemented in your own life immediately. Here are just a few:


In life, you may encounter unfathomable challenges. In those moments, you can find meaning amid confusion and struggle. It’s here you can learn to discover the remarkable essence of your resilience, enduring and emerging stronger than ever.


Discover true harmony by embracing your authentic self. As an immigrant or outsider of any kind, you can learn to navigate challenges and assimilate by shedding the protective layers you’ve created so you can authentically engage with your life’s purpose.

Starting Over

Life thrusts you into unforeseen circumstances, sometimes demanding a fresh start—a new beginning. Learn to embrace your rebirths, reinvent yourself, hold onto hope, and courageously face an uncertain but empowering future.


Let hope and faith illuminate a path forward to a brighter tomorrow, even in the darkest of moments. Trust in divine support, finding alignment with your purpose through spiritual encounters, navigating life harmoniously with a higher power.


Our roots are entwined with family bonds. Guided by love, warmth, and grand celebrations of Cuban heritage, we learn how separation in early life has a lasting impact and how we can rebuild by creating new connections and recreating our own traditions.


In every breath, you weave your legacy. Embrace your purpose, living each moment to the fullest. Tomorrow is uncertain; today defines your mark.

Embark on a compelling odyssey alongside young Marie Quintana, whose life takes an extraordinary turn as her family escapes from their beloved homeland during the tumultuous rise of Fidel Castro’s regime. Through the gripping pages of this memoir, join Marie on the last flight out of Cuba, a harrowing journey that thrusts her into an unknown and foreign land at a young age. In her quest to maintain family bonds and carve her identity as an American, she discovers her own resilience.

Set against a canvas of historic upheavals, this memoir paints a vivid picture of the Quintana family’s unwavering commitment to their faith and heritage while adapting to a new life in the United States. Experience the emotional rollercoaster of leaving behind all that was familiar and embracing the uncharted path of assimilation, growth, and self-discovery through Marie’s perspective. Guided by her faith and a profound sense of purpose, Marie forged a remarkable career, attaining executive leadership positions in Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 corporations.

As she navigates the labyrinth of cultural adaptation, witness a poignant metamorphosis from a young girl to a woman, her narrative resonating with the universal pursuit of belonging. Last Flight From Havana stands as a testament to human tenacity, a tribute to diversity, and a gentle reminder that, regardless of distance, the heart unfailingly finds its true home.

Last Flight from Havana

Purchase Last Flight From Havana

Last Flight From Havana stands as a testament to human tenacity, a tribute to diversity, and a gentle reminder that, regardless of distance, the heart unfailingly finds its true home.

About the Author

Marie Quintana, a nationally acclaimed business leader and inspiring speaker, boasts a distinguished 30-year career in Corporate America, holding key positions at renowned companies such as Tenet Healthcare, PepsiCo, Perot Systems, and IBM. Recognized among the Top 50 Hispanic Women in Business by Hispanic Business Magazine, she has also been honored as one of the Top 50 Women in Grocery by Progressive Grocer and named one of the Top 5 Latina Executives by Latina Style Magazine. In 2022, she received the prestigious Latino Leaders Maestro Award for Professional Achievement.

Committed to fostering the growth of future women leaders, Marie actively mentors and co-founded the PepsiCo Women of Color Alliance. A founding board member of the Network of Executive Women, she served on the Board of Directors for Fetch, a leading shopper app, and Catholic Charities of Dallas.

Marie earned her B.A. from Louisiana State University and Master’s from Tulane University. She lives in Dallas with her family, a wide circle of friends, and her cherished dogs.

Marie Quintana

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