Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, CEO and president of Tortuga Imports was honored by the Commonwealth Institute and Florida International University at its 4th Annual Women-Led Businesses in Florida luncheon and award ceremony held on 4 June at Jungle Island. She was recognized as one of the top 50 women business leaders in the state of Florida.
The Commonwealth Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to help women entrepreneurs, CEOs and senior corporate executives build successful businesses.
A 1996 FIU graduate in Business Administration, Ms Hamaty-Simmonds is a second generation entrepreneur. Her father, Robert Hamaty and his wife Carlene started the Tortuga Rum Company in Grand Cayman, B.W.I. in 1984. Three years later they introduced the Tortuga Rum Cake, baked from a generations old family recipe.
As a teenager and throughout college, Ms Hamaty-Simmonds 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, also known as the Tortuga Rum Cake Company, in Miami to bring Tortuga’s ‘taste of the Islands’ to the American market.
At only 37 years old, she has more than a decade of experience in running a thriving import business and international gourmet food company. In 2002, she and Marcus, the chief financial officer for Tortuga Imports were recognized by Gourmet News with the prestigious, biennial 20 Under 40 Award.
DiversityBusiness.com, the nations’ leading multicultural internet site, has named the Tortuga Rum Cake Company to its list of the Top Small Businesses in the United States and the company has been recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the Top 5000 fastest-growing private US companies for two consecutive years.
The Simmonds couple also have management positions with the Tortuga Rum Company in Grand Cayman, where they live with their three children, Jada, Nadia and Branden, ages 7, 5 and 2.
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 has been named ‘Best Cruise Souvenir’ by Porthole Cruise magazine for five consecutive years.
Tortuga A Taste of Florida Rum Cakes and Rum Fudge 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