Very Important Panther: Monique Hamaty-Simmonds ’96
Profession: President and CEO of Tortuga Rum Cake, Inc.
FIU degree: Bachelor’s in Business Administration
FIU affiliations: I am a Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association and remain in contact with a few of my professors. I always support FIU both financially and through product donation for the many galas and functions that are held by the College of Business Administration and the Alumni Association. I will continue to support FIU in any way I can. I believe strongly that education is the foundation for your life. Knowledge is power and nobody can ever take your knowledge away.
Q. What are your fondest memories of FIU?
A. My fondest memory was my Entrepreneurship course. I remember professor Martin Luytjes Jr. well – he had a profound impact on the path I chose for myself. Professor Luytjes inspired me to be creative and unique. The objective of this class was to create an idea for a business and present both oral and written business plans. I actually had an invention and refused to share my idea until the class and the professor signed a non-disclosure agreement. I was that serious, and so was professor Luytjes, who commended me on my work. His words inspired me to become who I am today.
Q. What advice would you offer your fellow Panthers?
A. Having an education is of paramount importance to your future. Continue to work toward obtaining your degree and, if possible, try to expand upon that degree. In addition, I would like to offer this bit of advice: It is not always easy to sit back and listen, but I find that I learn so much more by doing less talking and more listening. More importantly, perseverance is the answer to achieving any goal you desire. Never allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do it! “Can’t” is not a word I take kindly to; in fact, I believe it should be removed from our vocabulary.
Q. Why is it important to be involved with the
A. Every student should want to give back and create a better place for the next generation of students. After all, it was the generation before us that created a better place for us. Today, when I walk around the campus, I feel proud of the growth of FIU. The sky is the limit for FIU and I encourage the young alumni to get involved and support the university. I’m doing my small part and I hope to be able to do much more in the future.
Q. What is your proudest accomplishment?
A. My family. Yes, I am a proud entrepreneur, but without the love and support of my dear husband and our three children none of this would matter.