Four years ago, the Haitian Consulate in Miami started a yearly tradition consisting in recognizing the work of distinguished Haitian women making a difference in the community, through its Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award ceremony. This year was no exception, a list of powerful women entrepreneurs were bestowed the award. The ceremony was held on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Moca Café. The choice of the month was no coincidence as March is Women’s History Month.
I was humbled and honored to be among the women who received the award this year. This year’s 14 honorees are Caroline Prato Zenny, Béatrice Cazeau, Jessie Alkhal, Marie Louissaint, Jeannifer M. Bonnet, Nathalie Vertus, Sandra Pierre, Guerline Dossous, Carline Phanor, Murielle Leconte, Wanda Gilles, Kara Vaval Ferrier and Dorice Vaval. These women evolve in a wide variety of fields, from business to the law to entertainment.
Murielle Leconte, one of the honorees, dedicated her award to God without whom, she said, she would not be around 7 years after having been diagnosed with cancer. Ms. Leconte is the poster girl for grace, courage and resistance in the face of adversity both in the diaspora and in Haiti. Her hard-fought battle with cancer has been chronicled by different Haitian media outlets as an uncharacteristic tribute by a community which usually pays posthumous homages to its most deserving members. Another honoree, attorney Beatrice Cazeau, expressed her gratitude to the consulate and the community at large for this recognition, and said that this type of tributes help people like her wake up every day to go to work, knowing that an entire community values their contribution.
According to Consul Guy François, Jr, this annual event will remain dear to the Consulate General of Haiti in Miami. Francois went on to express him snd his team’s pride towards the Haitian women entrepreneurs and their accomplishments. It was always evident that their success stories needed to be told as a blueprint for those coming up who desire to follow in their footsteps. Furthermore, I felt it was important for these women to be recognized by their country of origin. To know the country is behind us supporting our work is very encouraging. Each of us were acknowledge for our impact in the community at large. The Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award ceremony is one of our proudest achievements to date.
The ceremony was well-attended by the honorees’ friends and family members, the consulate’s personnel as well as members of the community who wanted, by their presence, to express their appreciation to the honorees and the initiative.