Two accomplished young alumni and a ground-breaking health care entrepreneur were honored at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration 12th annual Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame ceremony, held at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables.
Over 300 alumni and friends of the university gathered for “The Magic of Entrepreneurship.” The event also recognized winners of The Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, sponsored by the College of Business Administration.
Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam presided at the induction of Monique Hamaty-Simmonds (BBA ’96), CEO of Tortuga Rum Cake Company, who received the Builder Award; Algerto Aghion (BBA ’99), COO and co-founder of Zumba Fitness, LLC, the Founder Award honoree. Benjamin Leon Jr., chairman and founder of Leon Medical Centers Inc., was honored as South Florida Entrepreneur of the Year.
Groundbreaking medical business recognized
FIU President Mark Rosenberg cited Leon Medical Center’s focus on quality medical care under one roof for South Florida seniors as “a national model of how to take care of people”; praised Hamaty-Simmonds’ stewardship of her family’s company and her creation of a product that stands as the top take-home gift on cruise ships and in many Caribbean ports; and called attention to Algion’s success in taking Zumba “from a single class to a global phenomenon,” now available at more than 90,000 locations worldwide.
Accepting the award for South Florida Entrepreneur of the Year, Leon said, “I tell entrepreneurs, always do the right thing when no one is looking.”
Michelle Joubert (MBA ’10), the college’s assistant director of alumni relations, noted that the venue had brought alumni together in a collegial, intimate setting, and made for excellent networking opportunities.
“It is rewarding to see so many accomplished FIU Business alumni gathering to celebrate our accomplishments and look toward the future,” she said.