felecia-hatcher-web.jpgMIAMI SHORES — More than 300 supporters gathered to salute 100 of South Florida’s most accomplished black community leaders recently at the ICABA Honors recognition event for black professionals and entrepreneurs.

During the forum, held at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship on Nova Southeastern University’s Davie Campus, ICABA unveiled its inaugural Community Leader and Entrepreneur of the Year recipients, Germaine Smith-Baugh and Felicia Hatcher.

“Promotion does not come from the east or the west. It comes when God rises up. To whom much is given, much is required,” said Smith-Baugh, president and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County, upon receiving the ICABA’s first Community Leader of the Year honor.

“Make sure that whatever you do in 2013, be impactful,” she said. “We can’t take our excellence with us. We must share it.”

Hatcher, ICABA’s first Entrepreneur of the Year, is co-founder of Feverish Gourmet Popsicles and Ice Cream, a desert café’ and ice cream manufacturing business in Midtown. Hatcher also called on the audience to remember to serve others, thanked her parents for their support, and made a special plea promoting economic advancement through increased technological skill sets.

“My husband (Derick Pearson) and I founded our community with a commitment to fight youth unemployment in South Florida and throughout the nation,” she said. “We can literally change the world with our laptops.

Technology can be our ticket out of poverty, just like football and singing are for some people,” she continued, to
applause during the Dec. 14 event.

ICABA, which promotes opportunities to identify and engage black professionals through its publications, website, social media platforms and signature events, identified the honorees through public nominations, advisory board recommendations and editorial research. Each was selected by the public through an online vote.

ICABA commemorated the success and contributions of each honoree in a full-color, interactive DVD and digital publication that is available online at icabaworld.com. The publication includes forewords by Bill Diggs, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and Patrick Franklin, president and CEO of the Urban League of West Palm Beach.

Noted honorees include U.S Representative Frederica Wilson, U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, noted real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles, and entrepreneur and former athlete Dwight Stephenson, among other distinguished individuals.

“We were inspired by the quality of their service,” said Jerome Hutchinson Jr., ICABA president and CEO, in applauding the contributions of the honorees, “and that led us to showcase the contributions of those who both serve selflessly and create economic opportunities for our community.”