"My job is to anticipate outcomes and always be prepared” says Manny Gonzalez, HPF’s 2014 Counselor of the Year, “but I wasn’t prepared for this. I was blown away when I heard the news about receiving this award”.
Each year the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) recognizes one outstanding housing counselor who goes above and beyond to help homeowners. Manny is a housing counselor at Novadebt and was chosen out of the nearly 400 counselors for his commitment to consumers and his profession.
A native from San Diego, Manny graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. He dreamed of serving his community as public servant but his career took an unexpected turn after college. Manny took a temporary position at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco and fell in love with housing counseling. “I didn’t know about housing, finance or debt but I had a gift for understanding people’s problems and advocating for that in need. After day one, I was hooked.”
Now, nearly four years later Manny’s life has changed but in many ways it has stayed the same. He is married, returned back to his hometown of San Diego and is still helping those who need help the most. From helping homeowners get a mortgage modification to giving tips on budgeting, Manny finds a way to leave customers feeling knowledgeable and empowered. By providing real-life scenarios to clients, Manny’s relatability and creativity helps to make financial success accessible. Tips like inspecting shopping aisles and taking into account the difference between store brand and name brand products, has helped customers not only cut corners on grocery bills but become creative with their finances.
One of the biggest motivations in Manny’s career is his fellow counselors who he describes as “best in class”. “They motivate me to do my best. They drive me, every day, to be the best I can be.” Manny also has a lively outlook on counseling. He simply has fun. “I enjoy going to work. It’s not just a 9-5. It’s a part of who I am.” Manny continuously participates in trainings and keeps up to date on what is happening in the industry so he can better serve his clients. He is known as a trusted resource in the community and often spends his spare time at foreclosure prevention events. Manny loves his career and want to get others involved in the industry. He is developing a program that recruits college graduates into the field.
Through his tireless efforts to provide exceptional service to his customers, it’s no surprise to everyone but Manny that he is HPF’s Counselor of the Year.