Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, CEO and president of Tortuga Imports/ Tortuga Rum Cake Company was honored by the South Florida Business Journal at the 2007 Businesswoman of the Year Awards luncheon held earlier this month at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.
She was recognised as a Businesswoman of the Year finalist in the Entrepreneur category and profiled in a special feature of the business journal.
A 1996 graduate of Florida International University, 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.
At 35 years old, Hamaty-Simmonds has over 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, ages five and three, and an eight month old son, Brandon, states a press release.
Today, Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes are the # 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. Also sold on over 100 cruise ships, Tortuga Rum Cakes were named 2007 “Best Cruise Souvenir” by Porthole Cruise magazine for the third consecutive year..
In 2004, the company introduced Tortuga A Taste of Florida Rum Cakes as a gourmet gift and souvenir for the 76 million annual visitors to the Sunshine State. These brightly packaged tropical treats are found in gift and airport shops throughout the state of Florida. The complete line of Tortuga Rum Cakes and Gourmet Products is available via mail order and online at www.tortugarums.com
Tortuga Rum Company, Ltd. is a family owned and operated business based in Grand Cayman, B.W.I. with 16 retail and duty free shops and three bakeries. Franchise bakeries are in Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas. Tortuga Imports/Tortuga Rum Cake Company handles worldwide distribution, mail order, food service and online sales from Miami, Florida.