[quote style=”boxed”]Be a Sponge. Absorb knowledge, experience, and advice from mentors and experts. It will save you time and money, and hopefully prevent you from making unnecessary mistakes.[/quote]
Being raised in a family of three “first-generation” American boys, Ron Gonzalez learned the importance of hard work, resilience in defeat, and having a never-quit attitude from a young age. Involving Ron in sports and activities helped nurture that competitive attitude and drive. His parents’ unwavering devotion to these life lessons paved the way for making Ron’s American Dream a reality. After a decade of personal experience in the health care industry as a registered nurse, Ron tasked himself with creating the first online pre-employment testing company exclusive to the health care industry – NurseTesting.com. From the basement of his first home, to a national operation, NurseTesting.com evolved into Prophecy Health Care – the only validated, pre-employment assessment solution in healthcare , that accurately predicts the likelihood of success of nurse candidates and other health care professionals. Ron earned his Nursing Degree from Lewis A. School of Nursing in NY and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix.
Starting his health care career as an registered nurse at a local community hospital, Ron then pursued a challenging position as a Nurse Recruiter for a large Regional Health Care Staffing firm in NY. Ron joked “being a Nurse Recruiter is super challenging, and I bet its the second hardest job behind being an Alaskan King Crab Fisherman!” Ron rose through the ranks and became Director of Health Care Operations for another NY Based Health Care Staffing Firm. It was at this employer, where Ron realized Health Care Staffing firms across the country were not doing an adequate job in evaluating the skill set and and job fit of nurses being placed at client facilities. The “light bulb” turned on, and the rest is history. Ron brings a well-rounded thought process to the importance of health care competency testing. Aside from his health care expertise, Ron specializes in leading and motivating teams, creating unique corporate cultures and brands, developing successful sales strategies, and optimizing resources for Internet start up. As an entrepreneur, Ron focuses on figuring out what he loves doing and then creating ways to take those skills to the next level.
What are you working on right now?
SSSSSssshhhhh…its a secret. No seriously, it is. Ok, currently, we are creating strategic partnerships with Prophecy. Our data actually has various implications for use. Our soon to be released Predictive Index could be integrated into various health care IT Solutions, to enhance and make them better. For instance, as part of a Learning Management System, a candidates’ exam results will actually provide educators with recommended course work to enhance and streamline the candidate’s orientation or learning plan. As part of an Applicant Tracking System, our scorecards provide valuable hiring data, so that interviewers ask the right questions, and select the best candidates. There are also implications for Vendor Management, Human Resources, and many more. We consider ourselves a Research Company as well, possessing the largest standardized competency database for nurses and health care professionals, in the country.
Where did the idea for Prophecy Healthcare come from?
After pulling shifts as a registered nurse in a variety of different settings, I began working from the health care staffing side of things, as a recruiter. During this time I realized how verifying the skills and abilities of the people I was placing, was nearly impossible. We were using NLN exams for employee selection, but I realized very quickly, those exams were not meeting our needs. I believed there had to be a better way. So I hired Clinical Nurse Consultants to develop clinical job knowledge exams in various specialties. Health Care organizations who started using our service reported an immediate improvement in the quality of clinicians they were hiring. That’s when I knew I had something.
What does your typical day look like?
Well, if I had to call one day “typical”, I would say it’s a 6am wake up to get my girls ready, fed and on the bus. Then I take a quick glance at my calendar and “to-do” list. Make sure I have my meeting notes and agendas set for my calls. I then connect with leadership throughout the day to get a pulse on current items related to sales, marketing, clinical, financial and special projects. I then review our current strategic vision, evaluate partners, snoop on the competition, and try to figure out ways to continue to improve what we do.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I usually take the Nike motto into effect – Just do It! If it were only that easy. I actually put a lot of thought behind new ideas. I use to think everyone thought like me, but it appears market research is important, and voice of the customer can actually give you valuable feedback before you spend too much money on new ideas. When you have a viable idea, persistence and teamwork are the two most important attributes in bringing ideas to life. Consistent, focused determination, and good people will help you get there.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Mobile health care technology is evolving so much. Health Care, historically speaking, is slower to technology innovation than most sectors. But recently, there has been some great trends, specifically in analytics and research. Businesses that can leverage their business information in real time, and take action on that information, will win.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I solicited donations for an environmental organization, door to door, after only one hour of training – it was awful. I was never so scared in my life. I learned that you need to be prepared, and actually like what you do, if you want to be successful.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again, I would focus solely on testing. During the evolution of our company, we strayed at times from our core business, hoping to capitalize on hot markets. This could have potentially slowed our growth.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be a Sponge. Absorb knowledge, experience, and advice from mentors and experts. It will save you time and money, and hopefully prevent you from making unnecessary mistakes.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think it was launching a product without doing much market research. As an entrepreneur, you sometimes get absorbed in product development, that you forget to ask people what they think about it. By the time you launch, you realize, it doesn’t work, nor will it ever work, because it stinks, and nobody was able to tell you it stunk. I’m just keeping it real.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
TimeStamp is an app that will notify thousands of users of a special event they are attending (concert, sporting event, new years eve celebration, etc) to snap a photo at the same exact moment in time, and post it to a site. I’ll take a 2% royalty on anyone who makes that happen, and monetizes that.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would try to help solve world hunger, or even hunger here in the US. There is SO much food waste in our country, that it saddens me when I know how many people die from starvation every day. My proposed solution: If there was a service that could flash freeze “leftovers”(and not necessarily food that has been eaten, but food that could not be served because of strict ‘expiration’ date guidelines, or food that restaurants prepare/cook but have excess of at the end of the night) and overnight them to food banks and soup kitchens around the country, that could probably help feed the hungry. I just know, from my mom owning a restaurant, that a lot of food gets thrown out at the end of the day if it’s not served.
Tell us a secret.
I have the Dunkin Donuts app on my phone and I’m not afraid to use it.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
1. Hello Fax is the best electronic signature/fax tool online that makes document management so simple, it sickens me.
2. Google Hangouts helps our company get connected and stay connected. Because the majority of our employees are out of state, it helps us all feel closer together, and collaboration is seamless and effortless.
3. YouTube is seriously underestimated as an online resource. It is so much more than music videos and friendly pranks “caught on tape”. I learn quite a bit about companies and industry segments from YouTube. I’m definitely a visual learner, and videos help me absorb information better.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson, was a great read. I am a student of business and really enjoyed learning how Steve Jobs executed his vision, strategy and love for negotiation. I think other entrepreneurs would get a kick out of Jobs’ interactions with employees, and the stories they shared about him.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@Jack – Founder of Twitter and Square – super insightful, with great business anecdotes
@BryanWempen of PeopleClues – deeply immersed in Human Resources market, providing super intelligent content for recruitment market
@GonzoNurse – that’s me. I provide and share interesting information about Healthcare Market, specific to clinical topics on competency, Talent/Performance Management and Employee Selection.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Yesterday, with my 9 and 5 yr old daughters, We were watching the new animated film, Hotel Transylvania. Sometimes I think they make the movies more for adults.
Who is your hero?
My mom. Despite not knowing the language or having a support system, she was able to raise and guide her 3 sons down a successful path. She instilled values that helped us make the right choices, all while working 2 jobs. And my dad helped too…he worked 3 jobs. Thanks Mom and Dad!
How do you measure success?
That question is probably the most difficult one to answer. Success means different things to different people. Success to me means a few things:
1. Being happy doing what you do.
2. Making a positive impact on society with the product or service you create.
3. Working on a great team with great people!
What motivates you?
People motivate me. Ideas motivate me. Technology motivates me. Strategy motivates me. Business motivates me. But most importantly, my team motivates me, to do more, work smarter, and strive for excellence.
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Ron Gonzalez on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/gonzonurse
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.