Remembering Your Roots While Spreading Your Wings --- A Conversation with Carmen Rivera Ep: 51
There is little in Carmen Rivera’s background that would lead you to believe she would become a successful banker and a real estate entrepreneur. In fact, in many ways the cards were stacked against her.
She was raised in Paterson, New Jersey by her single mother along with seven brothers and sisters and six half siblings. Her mother did not speak English, and Carmen vividly remembers trips to the local welfare office. Carmen had no role model in business or entrepreneurship. These concepts were far removed from her experiences while growing up. While she knew little was expected of her, she expected more from herself.
A mutual friend described Carmen as “hardscrabble,” a term my friend used as a compliment. And Carmen’s life is a wonderful example of hard work, giving back and beating the odds. She began her career while raising her son, Sammy, and while attending the college—she was the first in her family to earn a college degree. “I knew what it was like to grow up poor, she said, and I love my mom. But I knew I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and do so much more with my life.”
Specifically, we chat about:
- What it was like to grow up poor
- Overcoming obstacles in your personal life
- How someone who grew up in a family without a bank account became a successful banker
- The challenges of raising a child as a single mom while working AND earning a degree
- What Carmen learned from taking boxing lessons
- The importance of finding a good mentor
- Why you may sometimes need to take a step back before you move forward in your career
- How to overcome the fear of taking a leap in your career
- How she learned to manage a team
- The importance of giving back to your community and how to pay it forward
- What it is like to start your own business while still working in a corporate job
- Why you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others
- What Carmen means by “Rivera Time”
- And so much more
Carmen’s personal journey and professional success are nothing less than inspirational. Despite her humble beginnings and the challenges of raising a son as a single mom, she has enthusiastically sought out to expand her career while starting her own business.
Others could look at her childhood and see only limitations. Instead, Carmen has chosen to rely on her close family and strong mentors to spread her wings and thrive.
It’s not where you begin; but rather, where you end up.
908-233-8502, Ext. 489
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