At the Southwest Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala I attended last summer, the entertainment lineup included Aurora Badia, who was slated to sing. When I read that on the program, I thought, “I didn’t know Dr. Badia [a prominent pediatric dermatologist] was a singer.” It turns out she wasn’t; the performer was her daughter, who has the same name. The 13-year-old Aurora sang beautifully, much to the delight of the guests. Later, I learned that Aurora had landed an appearance this month at Carnegie Hall. Her mother, founder and owner of Florida Skin Care Center, had recorded two a cappella songs on an iPhone and submitted them to the American Protégé International Vocal Competition, which attracted thousands of entrants from around the world—including Europe and Asia—to compete, and about 150 were chosen. (Young Aurora is one of two from Florida.) Aurora was selected to perform two solos: One in the category of Opera—O Mio Bambino, which she will sing in Italian; and Folk—Somewhere Over the Rainbow. She can now add that performance to the many she’s given in Southwest Florida. Aurora, who is an eighth-grade honor-roll student at Canterbury School in Fort Myers, has sung in school performances and at the chamber; she also writes her own songs. “I never expected something like this,” her mom says of the American Protégé appearance. “But she’s a natural, and I am very proud of her.” Aurora will make the trip to New York with her mother, twin brother Daniel and grandparents. “I just love to sing, and am very excited for the amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to get to Carnegie Hall!” As for her future ambitions? “I want to be an artist and a plastic surgeon when I grow up.”
40 under 40: Where are they now?
About a year after Erica Queenie Castner was named a 40-under-40 honoree in 2010, she left Lancôme Cosmetics at Dillard’s in Fort Myers, where she served as business manager, to become director of member concierge services for the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. Four years later, Erica left the chamber to launch a business coaching and consulting company called Queen of Results Coaching & Consulting. Erica also has an iHeartRadio podcast, Power Factor Biz Chat, in which she interviews business leaders about their best practices to help others become more visible to their market.