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Throughout history women have prevailed to create positive change during times of hardship. This year, we asked four women at RIVA to share their experiences and advice that have helped shape their careers. 

Join us as we acknowledge and celebrate these RIVA trailblazers! 

Meet Farrell — 

Farrell is RIVA’s Executive Vice President of Growth. Farrell has played a pivotal role in taking RIVA from idea to impact—growing the company from a niche digital services agency into a rapidly growing, large-small business over the past 12 years.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Farrell: It’s so important to reflect on the female contribution, especially as we emerge from a year-long transition to virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hard enough to advocate for new ideas, innovation, and employee connection in an office environment. This month we are able to highlight the women at RIVA who persevered, connected, and achieved the “new normal” from one Zoom meeting to the next. 

What do you wish you could tell your younger self? 

Farrell: Be yourself at work. It’s your uniqueness that will help you connect with others and stand out from the crowd.

How do you achieve work/life balance? 

Farrell: Good question. I’m still working on it 🙂 Some things are meant to be automated. Grocery shopping? There’s an app for that. Creating systems and structure at home means I can balance work and quality time with my family during these very special years.


Meet Kaye — 

Kaye is a portfolio manager responsible for client delivery on multiple agency accounts. She embraces agile methodologies and leverage data and metrics to help decision-makers. 

Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.

Kaye: I look up to women who are able to succeed in the workplace without giving up themselves or their family life. It is ALWAYS great to see successful, confident women, but as a working mom, I am always appreciative of successful women who do not apologize for having other obligations and are able to separate their work life from their home life, demonstrating that it’s possible to thrive in the work world without giving up time with your family and time for yourself.

Do you have a mentor?

Kaye: Yes! I have been fortunate to have both male and female mentors that have had a tremendous impact on my career. It has been very important for me to have female mentors because it makes it easier to see how someone with similar personal and professional responsibilities can succeed and juggle all that women have to deal with in the working world.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Kaye: If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.

What advice would you give to women in your field?

Kaye: Be confident! Women often tend to be more soft-spoken or deferential, especially in technical fields, and I often see it take longer for women to gain their confidence in the workplace as they grow in their careers, but once they do, it is amazing to see what they can accomplish.


Meet Alex — 

Alex is the Director of Marketing responsible for ensuring that the RIVA brand reigns supreme.

Why did you choose your profession?

Alex: I spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book and always dreamed of growing up to be a writer. In college, social media was just gaining traction and as an early adopter of platforms like Twitter, I ended up managing and building social media portfolios for a number of organizations. I always assumed I would end up in a creative role but I had never really thought about marketing as a career. Armed with a lot of experience in a budding field, I kept finding myself in digital marketing roles almost by default because no one else knew how social media worked. I stepped out of the field for a bit and shifted into management consulting but I pretty quickly found myself back in marketing. Stepping away made me realize marketing really was the career for me and I’ve leaned into it ever since.

What do you wish you could tell your younger self?

Alex: People’s reactions and actions say more about them as a person than you. Throughout my life and career, I’ve held many leadership positions. Being a leader is really, really hard. On a daily, sometimes hourly basis you are forced to make decisions that ultimately will piss off or disappoint at least one person. When you are met with harsh judgment or criticism, more often than not, you’ve just become the target of someone’s personal internal frustrations. While you cannot control someone’s reactions, you can control how you respond. Reminding yourself to always be coachable but not take things personally is a hard but critical lesson to learn. 

How do you achieve work/life balance?

Alex: Now that home and work are one, it’s even easier to become unbalanced. While I’m still guilty of clocking in extra hours each week,  I am really good at setting boundaries on my calendar to make space for non-negotiable time away. For me, this looks like an hour block around lunchtime to take a long walk with my dog and eat food away from my desk. It also means blocking off two hours starting at 4:30 on the dot for CrossFit. No matter how crazy my day is both of these activities are critical to my mental and physical wellbeing and ultimately help me reset and gain a fresh perspective.    

What do you think is the key to success in a role like yours?

Alex: TL;DR – speak less, listen more. 

I think active listening is a critical skill for everyone, not just marketers. Active listening requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond, and remember what is being said. Active listening is a learned skill, humans are naturally not good listeners. Humans strive to be relatable, we do this by responding with stories and instances when we found ourselves in a similar situation. When you think about it, we’re not really listening, we’re always finding ways to make the situation about ourselves. When you practice active listening, you’re able to learn more at a deeper level, provide better insights, or create a better product, whatever outcome you’re chasing.

Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

Alex: Luck has a lot less to do with what happens to you and more to do with how you act and think. Make your own luck. Don’t wait for an invitation or a seat at the table. Actively seek opportunities to put yourself in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. 


Meet Tyann — 

Tyann is a Sr. PMO Support Specialist. She supports eight (8) engineer’s and handles the procurements and invoices aspect for the development and sustainment of the ESPDS portion for NOAA – SETS. 

Which woman most inspires you and why?

Tyann: It would be my cousin, Michelle. She passed when she was 27 and I was 17. She had a lot of health issues growing up. Two kidney transplants, dialysis and finally a heart transplant right before she passed. Through all of that she remained happy. She still laughed as much as possible, she cooked, she drove, she experienced marriage and pregnancy, she prayed and she attended college. She was my best friend! She never let her situation get her down. She kept going until she was done. This year will make 17yrs she’s been gone but she is still my inspiration to keep going!

Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?  

Tyann: My advice would be to know what you want to do, where you want to go, what you would like to achieve in your professional career, add a cup of positivity and let that be your guide to being successful in the workplace. Everyone may not see your accomplishments or what a great asset you are but they won’t be able to deny your dedication, professionalism and positivity that you carry whenever your name is brought up.

What do you wish you could tell your younger self?

Tyann: “In due time, just wait. You’re going to be ok.” When I was younger (teenage years) I wanted to be like the other girls, with the body and the flowing hair…the abundance of friends and who boys liked. I was really fair skinned and people questioned my ethnicity. I wasn’t the cute type and my gap in my teeth caused me to be teased a lot!! My confidence was non-existent. I couldn’t wait to grow up! But now I’m here [all grown up] and my confidence is out of the world! I learned to love me! There isn’t anything anyone can tell me about me! I’m awesome!


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