As president and CEO of Tortuga Imports, Inc., one of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private U.S. companies according to INCMagazine, Jamaican-born Monique Hamaty-Simmonds is responsible for the worldwide distribution, mail order, and online sales of her family-owned, Cayman Island business. Under her leadership, a result of more than a decade of experience, the company has opened new markets and developed its international business. Today, Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes have become the No. 1 export of the Cayman Islands and were recently named Best Cruise Souvenir for the seventh consecutive year by Porthold Cruise magazine. Hamaty-Simmonds and her husband were recently honored as finalists for the 2011 Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards, which recognizes successful entrepreneurs in the Jamaican diaspora.
The impact of Hamaty-Simmonds’ leadership has been far-reaching. Tortuga International Holdings has been included on the INC Magazine’s INC5000 list of fastest growing private businesses in U.S. for four consecutive years. Tortuga products are sold in gift and specialty food departments and gourmet stores throughout the Caribbean and North America, in onboard gift shops of nearly 100 cruise ships, and shipped to 70 countries around the world.
Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes have been widely recognized in numerous gourmet, travel, and lifestyle publications since 2000. As a testament to the product’s success and popularity, Tortuga products have been featured on such renowned television networks as the Home Shopping Network, the Food Network, CBS, and MSNBC. Tortuga Rum Cakes have also been included in gift bags for various high-profile celebrity events, including the Extra TV Awards Lounge for the Oscars (2006), 2006 MusiCares Person of the Year gala during GRAMMY Week, the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children charity event (2006), Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night charity events for Parkinson’s Disease (2007, 2009, 2013), and the Kentucky Derby’s Grand Gala (2008, 2009).
Among Hamaty-Simmonds’ many accolades are being named the 2012 ICABA’s South Florida’s 100 Most Accomplished Caribbean Americans Honoree and being recognized as one of the 2009 Commonwealth Institute and Florida International University’s (FIU) Top 50 Women-Led Businesses in Florida. Her early success has led to many awards for young leaders, including the 40 Under 40 Awards by South Florida Business Journal (2011), the Charles E. Perry Young Alumni Visionary Award from the Florida International University Alumni Association (2011).