Four FIU Business alumni among “40 under 40” honorees.

Each year, South Florida Business Journal selects 40 business leaders who “have all achieved impressive career success and contributed to their community before reaching age 40.” The most recent group included seven alumni of Florida International University (FIU), four of them graduates of the College of Business Administration. Judges looked at hundreds of nominees’ positions within their companies as well as their responsibilities, career accomplishments and community service.

Brian Clay (MSF ’05, BBA ’97), Daniel D. Diaz (BBA ’94), Monique Hamaty-Simmonds (BBA ’96) and Juan Ruiz (MBA ’08) were among the winners recognized at a gala award ceremony on July 28, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six.

This year’s South Florida Business Journal’s “40 under 40” honorees—four of them graduates of the College of Business Administration—were recognized at a gala award ceremony on July 28, 2011.

Lively photographs and bios bring winners to life.

The honorees personalities were captured in photographs by Mark Freerks. Along with the images, each had the opportunity to answer conventional questions about his or her background, and unconventional ones that gave readers more insight into them as individuals.

In ten years, 35-year-old Brian Clay, executive vice president/business banking director, BankUnited, sees himself as the bank’s president, and says that the best advice he received is “Use your talents to the fullest (or else).”

Daniel D. Diaz, senior vice president/market manager, TotalBank, who attributes his success to “hard work and honesty,” finds a valuable lesson in the caution: “Accept people for who they are. They rarely change.”

Monique Hamaty Simmonds, president and CEO, Tortuga Rum Cake Co., wants “to create a family legacy by building a $100 million-plus global business centered on authentic Caribbean products.” She credits her grandfather with reminding her that “the only place ‘success’ is found before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.”

Juan G. Ruiz, vice president, Flagler Real Estate Services, wants to “use the market knowledge and earnings made in the brokerage business to invest in my own income-generating properties,” and says that he will measure his success “knowing I did my absolute best every day and being able to sleep like a baby every night.”

To read the full biographies of all 40 winners and to learn more about the award, visit


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