Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, CEO and president of Tortuga Imports/Tortuga Rum Cake Company was honoured by The Commonwealth Institute and Florida International University at the first annual Women-Led Businesses in Florida luncheon and award ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.
She was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Business Leaders in the state of Florida.
A 1996 FIU graduate in Business Administration, Hamaty-Simmonds is a second generation entrepreneur. Her father, Robert Hamaty and his wife Carlene started the Tortuga Rum Company in Grand Cayman in 1984. Three years later they introduced the “Tortuga Rum Cake” baked from a generations old family recipe. As a teenager and throughout college, she learned the business working with her father in his office during holiday breaks and school vacations. In 1997, she and her husband, Marcus Simmonds opened Tortuga Imports in Miami to bring Tortuga’s “taste of the Islands” to the American market.
Only 34 years old, Mrs. Hamaty-Simmonds has a decade of experience in running a thriving import business and international gourmet food company – and that’s not counting her many school years working with her father in Grand Cayman. In 2002, she and her husband Marcus, the chief financial officer for Tortuga Imports were recognized by Gourmet News with the prestigious, biennial “20 Under 40 Award”. They have two young daughters, Jayda and Nadia, and are expecting their third child in November.
Today, Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes are the No. 1 export of the Cayman Islands, shipped to 70 countries and sold in gift and specialty food departments and gourmet stores throughout North America and the Caribbean.