(Metairie, La.) – Local businesswoman Teresa Lawrence has been honored as a “2015 Women’s Business Enterprise Star” by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). At the organization’s annual gala March 19 in Baltimore, Md., Lawrence was recognized before a crowd of more than 1,500 for her business achievements and leadership as a woman business owner. Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of WBENC, praised Lawrence for being “an outstanding leader who demonstrates how women’s businesses can drive innovation and fuel economic growth.”
Lawrence was selected out of 13,000 women-owned business for the national honor by WBEC South, one of WBENC’s 14 regional partner organizations. “Not only is Teresa Lawrence a very successful and determined entrepreneur, she is also very passionate about women’s business issues and a staunch supporter of WBEC South’s initiatives,” said Blanca Robinson, president of WBEC South.
Lawrence’s rise to business success was an unlikely one. At the age of 13 she immigrated to the United States from Cuba with her mother, brother and grandmother. She spoke no English and was held back two grades to catch up to her peers, but learned the value of persistence and hard work.
At 14 she got a job bagging groceries and eventually worked her way up to advertising account executive. Her college career was interrupted when she took a full-time position to help support her ailing mother. Then in 1988, she married David Lawrence, whose family owned a staffing business called Delta Temporaries. When David’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year later, she and David took over the struggling business, renaming it Delta Personnel. After many years working to restore the business, Teresa Lawrence became the sole owner and CEO in 2000.
Since then, Lawrence has grown Delta Personnel into a premier temporary staffing agency, supplying carefully recruited and screened skilled workers to businesses across the Gulf South. The company specializes in hospitality and industrial staffing, providing job training and recruitment to fill employment needs. Delta Personnel is an official service provider for the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans, and was instrumental in helping to recruit and place jobseekers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“Hurricane Katrina was devastating to our entire region and to our business,” said Lawrence. “But we persevered and I’m proud of the part we played in rebuilding New Orleans.”
Lawrence is a graduate of the prestigious Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and recipient of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana’s Excelencia Award for Small Business Leadership. She has been nominated for Executive of the Year by the Louisiana Minority Business Council and Advocate of the Year by WBENC.
Founded in 1997, WBENC is the leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, with nearly 13,000 WBENC-certified women’s business enterprises. The organization brings together thousands of WBEs and more than 650 member corporations and government agencies to develop business opportunities.