Our vote for "Business Person of the Year" goes to Lola Gonzalez of Ocala, Florida. Ms. Gonzalez owns and operates Accurate Background Check, an employee screening firm. I first learned about her story while reading the business section of USA Today several weeks ago.
Facing tough times, and not wanting to lay off any of eight employees, Gonzalez laid off herself. She took a job as a community facilitator and mitigation specialist. Gonzalez researches the background of clients facing the death penalty to find circumstances that might cause a judge to be lenient. This is according to Florida Trend magazine who named her a Florida Newsmaker of the Year.
USA Today reported in November 2010 that Ms. Gonzalez stopped taking a six-figure salary and got a job as a social worker at less than half the pay.
While business is picking up at Accurate Background Check, Gonzalez has no plans to return to work there until the economy is on more solid footing, perhaps in a year, she says.
Her generosity also showed up at Christmas time with employees receiving bonuses.
Undoubtedly there are other owners or principals who have reduced their income or stopped paying themselves altogether during this great recession. They are to be commended for doing whatever it takes to save jobs.
Lola Gonzalez took sacrifice to another level and should be recognized as "Business Person of 2010."
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23 December 2010
Years ago we were watching the Tonight Show with the late Johnny Carson. His sidekick, Ed McMahon, who passed away in 2009, made a comment that was likely offhanded but stuck with me throughout the years.
"Take care of the people who take care of you."
McMahon, who fell on tough times in his later years, was saying to Carson that it's important to remember people throughout the year but especially at Christmas. These are the individuals who make life possible. From those who deliver our newspaper in the early hours of the day (we still get the paper each morning) to the mechanics who keep the car running well. To doctors and nurses. To those who repair the A/C and fix the roof.
Some you know well.
They are part of the family. Others are anonymous. All prove invaluable. Make a list and see just how many individuals make life possible in 12 months. If you are a frequent traveler this might include housekeepers, front desk, and bell staff. In better times McMahon was able to do more than in later years.
But his point made long ago on a late-night television program is well-taken. It's hard to make it through a single year, let alone a lifetime, without help from countless others who move in and out of our lives--at just the right time.
I heard this while in college and it took some time for the idea to settle in my own heart and mind.
Finally, I decided an intentional expression of gratitude should be part of the holiday celebrations. To this end, I changed my Christmas card list from a perfunctory tradition to communication of "thanksgiving."
I want to convey appreciation during the year, but especially now. Thanks for reading our posts. Merry Christmas!
(C) Bredholt & Co.