Marisela Riveros, forward thinker in the media world

Marisela RiverosHow did you get to where you’re now at IBM and with your own company.

It’s been a long road, but there is a lot more left to walk…

Like most of us in broadcast media, I started building my career from the ground up. I got my feet wet as an intern at CNN in New York City, where Patricia Pedraza, my first mentor, showed me the ropes in the world of television news.

Then, after graduating from college I landed my first job as technical operator at Bloomberg Television. There, I climbed through the ranks. I worked in both radio and television as a production assistant, writer, reporter, and lastly as senior producer. At Bloomberg I had the opportunity to learn everything there is to learn about making live television news. From satellites and fiber optics, breaking stories that move world markets, to delivering an objective and accurate message to the public.

I have always been interested in technology and in learning how things work from the inside out. So, when the opportunity presented itself to go back to school to pursue an MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons, I seized it. Making the decision to go back to school was not easy, and it wasn’t in my immediate plans, but if asked, I would do it again. At Parsons I was able to update my skills in media. My focus was transmedia; web and mobile development, and my thesis on reinventing the television production process integrating the television connected to the cloud, to create a rewarding interactive experience for audiences in real time.

My well-rounded media background opened opportunities I never imagined, among them, landing my current position in the digital content strategy team at IBM.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a woman in an American corporation?

Throughout my career in broadcast media and technology I am often the only woman, or the only “other” woman in the room. But, I never considered that being a challenge. I see that as an achievement. I’m a small-city girl from Venezuela who has worked at three of the largest media and technology companies in the world. I am where I am because of my dedication and hard work.

What advice do you have for other women who have unusual (or challenging) career goals?

The path to success is not supposed to be easy. It would be very boring if it were. The hardest part is to have a goal, a purpose. Once you have it set, all you have to do is focus. Nothing should stop you then.

Have patience. You do reap what you saw, and your hard work will be noticed, even though sometimes it takes longer than we would like. Be confident in yourself. You know what you are good at, and you should focus your energy in being the best at what you do. Be a forward thinker.

Give us an example of how you’re currently helping other women advance professionally or fulfill their career goals?

I recently finished my master’s degree and graduated with a group of young women. I encourage them to define a career goal for themselves based on what contribution they want to give to their profession, their community, the world. I also advised them to consider the current economy in their plan. Having dreams is key to keep moving forward, but we also have to have a realistic plan on how to achieve them.

Could you mention one or more women who have helped you get to where you are now?

Annette Arocho-Bautista, Program site director, NJIT.

Annette held my hand through the maze of applying for college. Thanks to her I applied to Montclair State University where I studied under an amazing team of professors who gave me all the right tools to navigate the broadcast world.

Patricia Pedraza, New York Bureau Chief, CNN en Español.

Patricia was my first mentor. I will always look up to her as one of the best television news producers in our times. She showed me the ropes for how to “make it happen” in the edit room, the studio, and in the field.

Joan Renner, Digital Marketing Manager, IBM

Joan is my current mentor. Every day I learn from Joan. She has given me the opportunity to grow professionally in the digital media world as we shape the future of the Web.

You can connect with Marisela through social media: Linkedin and Twitter.

Kelly Dooley, BodyRock

Kelly DooleyHow did you get to where you are professionally today?

I always say that I started BodyRock on the day before my first marathon, which was The Walt Disney Marathon in Orlando. I kept searching for a fun and funky sports bra with a pocket at the expo where I went to pick up my race number. I couldn’t find anything and that led me to my aha moment where I thought, “I should create a line of sports bras that are equally fashionable and functional for women like myself.” I headed back to NYC after the race and began conceptualizing and designing exactly what I believed a sports bra should look and feel like. I knew that I had to make something functional since I am so active but I knew I needed and wanted to create pieces that were still very feminine and stylish. I believe I’m a born entrepreneur. Starting a company would happen once I had the right idea…something that I absolutely couldn’t resist. I knew that my father founded his own company (Dooley Enterprises) with that same enthusiasm towards what he loved; he couldn’t find the right air scope he needed to race boats and from that, he subsequently revolutionized the racing industry. BodyRock was essentially born from me realizing a void in the active wear market and having the determination to be the one to fill it. Though he passed when I was seven, I feel as though that spirit is embedded in me. Thus, BodyRock was born out of a void in the active wear market because I could not find the perfect sports bra for one of my races.

Share with us your biggest challenges as a woman in business and how you overcame them.

A challenge for me is letting go. BodyRock is my baby and just as a mother is with her child, I want to be a part of every aspect of the life that goes into this company. It’s a very personal thing for me and it’s challenging at times to let others take the helm on certain things but I know that it’s a very important part of running a successful company and being a well-rounded and successful businesswoman.

Any advice you may have for other women in pursuit of exceptional professional dreams. What motivated you?

My motivation and inspiration is from all the powerful and inspiring women in my life and in this world. There are so many strong, and incredible women and have beat the odds in many ways. Having them share a part of what I’m passionate about motivates me immensely. For young women, regardless of what field they work in and are passionate about, I would always tell them to follow your instinct, treat others the way you wanted to be treated, always work hard, dream big, never give up and stay true to yourself. It’s also important to surround yourself with positive and inspiring people; don’t burn bridges because you never know who you might need and swallow your pride so you can learn from your mistakes. Remain the unique person that you are; that’s what is going to distinguish you from everyone else. Do you!

How do you support other women?

I have a collection of ‘Empower ‘Em’ bras that are mastectomy bras and are my way of giving my own special something back to the women who are battling and have survived breast cancer. A portion of the proceeds from each bra from the collection that’s sold goes to the American Cancer Society. I am a big believer in charity and this is a part of BodyRock that means so much to me. Also, each BodyRock bra is named after a strong woman— someone I personally know or otherwise. I’m a big girl power advocate and I believe in celebrating the beauty that lies in each and every woman.

You can connect with Kelly on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Also be sure to check out her store BodyRock Sport!

Ana Flores, inspiring Latinas to blog and raise bilingual kids

ana-flores-lgAna Flores is a well-known blogger, entrepreneur and a recently published author of the book, Bilingual is Better which she co-wrote with Roxana A. Soto about raising bilingual kids. She’s one of the most beloved personalities in the Latino blogosphere, always open to support other women by making sure not only that their voices are heard but that they are compensated for their writing. Something a lot of people have given up on when it comes to writing online.

Tell us how you got to where you’re now with Latina Bloggers Connect.

Latina Bloggers Connect was something that happened very naturally for me and was a succession of events that made it clear that I had to launch it. Back in 2010 the group of Latina bloggers was still relatively small and very few of us were actually making money out of it. My other blog,, was a year old and was barely starting to receive attention from brands in the form of compensation, but it was still minimal. We knew a real industry existed because there were a handful of blogger networks creating sponsored campaigns for bloggers, but there wasn’t one that was creating strategies that were culturally relevant to Latinas, much less in Spanish.

By then I was consulting for a couple of major brands on how to craft culturally relevant campaigns and to help them identify who the Latina bloggers were. At the same time, I was very entrenched within my community of bloggers and we had created private online groups to help elevate each other and learn together. A very influential mom blogger who was not Latina, noticed this and urged me to create a blogger/brand network and make it a business. So I did. Within three months I had launched, all on my own and with zero financial backing, what is now Latina Bloggers Connect. We were the first ones in the space to start creating campaigns. From day one we embraced Latina bloggers from every niche. We launched in November of 2010 with a brand ambassador and a bilingual Twitter party campaign for Sprint and followed up with Clorox.

Two years later, our network has grown incredibly, as has the Latina blogosphere, and our client list includes mostly Fortune 500 companies, with most of them coming back for repeat campaigns.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a woman entrepreneur?

I don’t think too much of my challenges exist because I’m a woman. My biggest challenge is actual financial and business acumen. I’m always thinking that I should have listened to my mami when she urged me to compliment my Bachelors in Communications with a minor in Business Administration. I was way too necia and had a huge fear of numbers. I wished I would have just embraced that fear back then!

What advice do you have for other women who have unusual (or challenging) career goals?

To ask for help. Always ask for help and learn to delegate from day 1. When you launch something all on your own it feels good to get those first checks and want to cash in on them because you most likely need them since you’ve been investing your own. I learned that since I’m bootstrapping my business, I have to continue to reinvest in hiring more people, outsourcing what I can, and grow.

Give us an example of how you’re currently helping other women advance professionally or fulfill their career goals.

I’m a connector by nature. When I know that someone is looking for a job or a specific opportunity and I can see their qualities upfront, I somehow always end up making a valuable connection for them. Many times the key has been that these women have swallowed their pride and have asked for specific help. That puts them front and center for me and I’m better able to help them.

Also, when I launched LBC it was amazing the amount of emails and comments I got from bloggers that had never made a penny from their blog and how great it felt to get that first payment from us. They finally felt validated and that was a huge motivation.

Could you mention one or more women who have helped you get to where you are now?

So many! My SpanglishBaby partner and friend Roxana Soto for embarking on the crazy blogging journey with me. Jennifer James, responsible for giving me that initial push to create LBC.

Natalie Judd for believing in my talent and giving me my first social media consulting gig.

Ana Roca Castro for creating a space for Latinas(os) to have a powerful voice.

Susan Stipcianos of The Dream Team Agency for being a friend forever and opening doors.

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