Marcia Barry-Smith personifies hard work and dedication materializing into self-actualization and personal fulfillment. However, the Jamaican-born executive director of BankAtlantic Foundation and Women in Distress board member, has had her full serving of challenges and pitfalls. An only child, Barry-Smith was born to Jamaican parents who worked in the corporate environment. This afforded her a somewhat indulged childhood, which was regulated by her father’s relentless insistence on proper manners and class. “The difference between class and style is that you can buy style,” he instilled in the young Barry-Smith. In 1980, after attending St. Andrew High School in Jamaica and later Trinity College of the University of Toronto in Canada, she moved to the United States.
Dr. Stephanie Young-Azan is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has made giving back her life’s passion. The Jamaican native migrated to the United States in 1979, yet her heart has always remained with the less fortunate in her homeland. It is her passion to “make a change in the world for the better in the time we are here.” She calls herself “fortunate,” benefiting from her father’s sacrifice. Now Young-Azan’s dream is that “every human being can be afforded the right to an education, healthcare and the dignity of a life without abuse and denigration.”
It is hard to pinpoint exactly when Maggie Pelleyå’s life changed.  Perhaps it was in 1960 when she moved to the United States with the first wave of Cuban exiles, or when she changed career paths from working in the airline industry to WDNA Public Radio. Though hard to pinpoint, the changes in her life have served her well. And Pelleyå’s current position as general manager at WDNA is a dream come true. She has fond memories as a young girl in Cuba visiting her father at his partly-owned radio station.
Monique Hamaty-Simmonds is president and chief executive officer of the Miami-based Tortuga Imports.  Also known as the Tortuga Rum Cake Company, the organization handles worldwide distribution, mail order and online sales for the Tortuga Rum company based in the Cayman Islands. Born in Kingston Jamaica, Hamaty-Simmonds came to the United States in 1980, and in 1996 she earned a degree from Florida International University (FIU) in business administration. She is a second-generation entrepreneur. Her father Robert Hamaty and his wife Carlene started the Tortuga Rum Company in Grand Cayman in 1984.
At a time when being black in Florida meant being subjected to Jim Crow laws and limited opportunity, 26 African American youths from the Fort Pierce/Vero Beach area broke the mold by forming a loosely organized group of entrepreneurial artists that came to be known as the Highwaymen.