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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