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American Protégé

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.

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