It Girl | CLARISSA RIVERA
By: Danae Edmonds
If you have been following us for a while, you might be a familiar with Clarissa. She wrote for Speaking of Everything in the very beginning. Clarissa and I have been friends since middle school and I absolutely adore her. She is the kind of friend who pushes you to be your best and who constantly inspires me. Clarissa moved in with her parents after graduating from college. She worked her butt off and saved her money until she was able to afford to move to NYC to find a job. It is not only her relentless drive and determination that I admire, but also her grace. I keep hearing this phrase 'Steel sharpens steel" and when I look at my circle of friends, that couldn't be more evident. Clarissa is no exception and I am in constant awe of her.
Name: Clarissa Rivera
Job Title/Company: Full Time: Research Analyst, Viacom / Part Time: Social Media Manager, Virani Jewelers
Education Background: Bachelor’s in Mass Media Communications minor in Film & Journalism
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
I was born to Puerto Rican natives and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. Adding a southern charm with a feisty latina mix into the big city. I love to inspire, host friends, and all things creative makes my heart skip a beat. Grab some wine, and stay awhile!
2. What was your first job and how long did you hold that position?
The first job I had after college took 5 months to land. Within those 5 months, I picked back up painting and was overwhelmed by the positive feedback (and money) I was getting from this hobby of mine. It was my creative outlet. I simultaneously applied for jobs everywhere. You name it, I applied for it. That method wasn’t working so I had to switch up my strategy. I focused less time on the “Quick Apply” jobs on Indeed, and reached out to old friends, family members to see what would bite. It was after talking to an old HS friend that I was able to land an interview at his job with Headway Workforce Solutions; a Recruitment and HR firm. I was tasked with marketing available jobs to prospective applicants on social platforms and job boards. I learned the ins and outs of Facebook insights, and developed a taste for analytics.
3. What sparked your interest in what you do at Viacom and what you do with your side hustle?
My interest in Viacom started back when I would rush to get home from school in the afternoon just so I could catch TRL. Flipping channels between Carson Daly, the Rugrats, and Clarissa Explains it All, I immediately became obsessed with the media juggernaut and didn’t even know it at the time. Fast forward 15 years and I accepted a full-time research position with my dream company through merely word of mouth.
My side hustle, Virani, was chillin right under my nose. My bf was designing a website for a luxury jewelry company. Staying up late to bug him while he was working turned into me researching more about the company. A curiosity. I realized a gap they needed to fill was in their social media space. I inquired, proposed a strategy, and immediately became the social media manager.
4. What is a typical day like for you?
It usually consists of me hitting snooze 4 times, spend 25 minutes getting ready, speed walk to the subway (only to realize its delayed or packed), get off at times square where I am frequently dodging elmo for a picture.
Everyday I pull ratings for all Nickelodeon shows and write an analysis on how well it performed on TV based on data, then visually tell a story with the information. Executives use this to determine if they will continue with the series, or make production changes. 5:30pm hits and i’m off to my second gig at Virani. I’m constantly thinking of new ways to showcase the luxury jewelry on our social channels, how to target customers on Facebook, and be the creative mind behind our photo/video shoots. Coming to Virani at the end of the day gives me the chance to ignite my passion for creativity after a long day of data analyzing.
5. Can you share one of your proudest achievements with us?
At Viacom I conducted research on the show Ink Master on Spike. In particular, executives wanted to know what fans liked/didn’t like about the show. After a month of creating surveys, and being immersed in data, I was able to come up with a solution and see my suggestion in action on Season 8 of Ink Master. That’s why I love what I do, because people rely on the data I pull and make sound decisions by it. It's an intense, high stress environment sometimes but has a huge payoff.
At Virani, I pitched (and currently executing) an omni-channel strategy to the CEO on ways to disrupt the Diamond industry and how to extend Diamonds from just love & marriage, to women's strength and empowerment. Stay tuned for that big movement!
6. Who are you most influenced by?
My papi is the main reason why I am the hard worker that I am today. He’s constantly coming up with new ways to build his clientele and stay busy, all to provide for his family. I hope to fill those same footsteps.
7. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
Initially I wanted to become a broadcaster. After landing a news station internship, I quickly realized it wasn’t a fit. Instead of trying to figure out what role I wanted, I shifted my focused more towards the things i’m good at, and enjoy doing.
8. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from your work experience?
Don’t take everything personal.
9. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I’m in the process of studying for the GRE. Although I work with my dream company, education doesn’t stop for me. I hope to climb the corporate ladder even faster after getting my Masters and being the second one in my entire family to do so (Following my papi’s footsteps)
10. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process of pursuing your goals?
I realized that I am the only thing keeping me from getting to where I want to be. My nerves, my psyche telling me I’m not good enough, my fears-it all begins with me. The moment you learn how to change your thinking into positivity, you’re golden.
11. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Dress for the position you want, not the one you currently have. - A very stylish friend.
You never know who you may run into. Aside from looking the part, definitely be open to starting a conversation with anyone.
12. When do you get your best ideas?
My best ideas involve eating or wine.
13. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you learned from that failure?
Going into a meeting where I had to deliver a speech about the current state of Spike TV. I wasn't nearly as prepared as I should have been. I should have found out who my audience was and tailored my message around them.
14. How do you unwind?
I am an ambivert. I feed off of other people's energy and enjoy being around friends, however I need my time at home to recharge, drink my wine (do you see a trend?), and clean at home.
15. What would you tell someone else who is trying to find balance between working a 9-5 and working a side hustle?
Once in awhile, people will ask me how I do it all. The answer, in short, is that I don’t. I’m constantly shifting my priorities for the day/week. The clubs, the parties, the guys that waste your time, the laundry... sometimes those things can wait!
Focus on making your moves NOW to set up for your future and be the true Girl Boss that you are. Time and energy will be your largest obstacle, but if you use your calendar, and make time for healthy eating + working out, you’ll be in good shape (Literally and figuratively) plus maximize your efficiency.
16. What do you hope people take away from your story?
A lot of how I got to where I am today started with just a curiosity. I found gaps and started a conversation. Be inquisitive, meet people, and always have a hunger for success. The right people and opportunities will gladly reach you half way as long as you do your part.
17. Anything we missed that you would like to share?
If you’re ever in the NYC area, hit me up! I love meeting new people and exploring hidden gems in Queens.