Her efforts behind the scenes at a local latin television station have earned her several awards, including this year's Businesswoman of the Year. As part of Hispanic Heritage month, we honor Lilly Gonzalez and her dedication to the Tampa community.
She's not in front of the camera, but Gonzalez is still one of the most visible women in our local Hispanic community.
"The other leaders, they tell you, oh Lilly, she's been there for us, for the Latino community, she's very involved, so that makes you feel good," said Gonzalo Alvarado, the anchor at Univision in Tampa.
Lilly helped start up Entrevision in Tampa back in 1987. The company now heads up local operations at Univision, Telefutura and LATV. She now serves at the Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Solutions, but she has certainly worked her way up the ladder.
"I ran the books, I answered the phones, I filled in to run the commercials on the air, I wrote commercials, I did whatever was needed."
Not surprising, considering the hard work ethic she got from her parents, who came to Tampa from Cuba on New Year's Eve 1960.
"It was very important to me that we be a voice for the community. When my parents arrived, there wasn't a voice."
Lilly has been that voice - empowering hispanics in the community through knowledge and activism.
"We have been able to surpass Hispanic registration goals in our area, so we're very excited about that," she said, when describing their voter registration drive.
She also helped start up a scholarship program for Latinos.
"The best thing about this is you get students that come back to you and say hey, I was honored back in 1990 and I remember you, that feels wonderful."
The woman who's always quick to recognize others Is getting well deserved awards this year, including being named Tampa Bay Business Journal's "Businesswoman of the Year."
"It has been an incredible year. In spanish, we call it 'broche de orro.' It's been an incredible close to the year."
One of her proudest moments was receiving the NFL's Hispanic Leadership Award, which gave her a chance to donate $3,000 to the charity of her choice. She picked the Hispanic Services Council.
"The award was great, but the donation was priceless," she said.
The Cuban spirit lives strong in Lilly Gonzalez and shines bright in all she does for the Latino community.
"I'm passionate about what I believe in and there's nothing that will extinguish that fire."
Lilly says she hopes the awards are a way of showing her children that all the hard work and sacrifices always do pay off.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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