Opening Keynote: Marisa Rivera

Core Competencies: Communications, Fiscal Management, Human Resource Development, Intercultural Proficiency, Leadership, Management, Planning
December 3 – December 6, 2013
Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Fla.

Owning Your Leadership: A Call to Action

Thriving as a Woman Leader

 Marisa Rivera, President, Mpowerment Works

Marisa RiveraWomen represent the majority in the world with 51% of the population, but are not equality represented in leadership positions. We must celebrate women’s accomplishments during the last century, and at the same time, work on the urgency of preparing and stepping into leadership positions today—as a call to action! Women are transforming the way we do business, the way we run politics, and the way we run higher education at the global and national levels.

Women have had to fight and work in male-dominated industries most of their lives, and we have learned to thrive in constantly changing environments. With international competition, rapid technologies, and changes in our economies and the globalization of industries, the new times require new leadership and women are the perfect candidates to fill that leadership! Are you ready?

Learn about the status of women globally and nationally and discuss how to thrive as a woman leader: having a vision, having the courage and inspiration to speak up and ask for what you want, becoming an agent of change, and empowering yourself to lead are the topics of this presentation! Learn proven strategies that overcome major challenges women still face in achieving visibility, building support, setting boundaries, and influencing decision-makers.

Remember: Stepping into leadership and creating your own success is you choice! The time is now! 

Marisa Rivera is the president of Mpowerment Works, a consulting firm designed to impact global change by empowering people and focusing on empowering the majority: women. Rivera is a social entrepreneur. Currently she is producing Latina Voices: Leadership Journeys, an educational video showcasing Latina leaders sharing their secrets to success.

Her extensive work experience in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors have always been used to resolve justice and equality issues facing the world today. Rivera has over 30 years of combined educational, consulting, international, community development, and leadership development experience. Prior to starting Mpowerment Works, Rivera was president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), the top leadership program for Latinas in the United States.

Before leading NHLI, Rivera worked in higher education as the special assistant to the president for diversity and community relations at Black Hawk College in Illinois and at Western Illinois University managing the Hispanic Program for Educational Advancement as well as the Learning to Lead Program for Hispanic students.

Her work experience also includes several assignments overseas, including working for the U.S. Information Agency, the U.S. Embassy in Panama, and as a consultant in organizational development in Spain. She has been invited as a U.S. State Department speaker to Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, and Curaçao and teleconferencing on programs on women’s empowerment in Bolivia and Mexico. She served as an international elections observer in Honduras. Rivera has also participated in a fellowship to Israel and Puerto Rico with the American Jewish Committee and Project Interchange. She recently traveled to Africa to work with women’s groups in Kenya and Rwanda with the World Pulse Organization.

Rivera is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor's in communications from American University and a master’s in education administration from Western Illinois University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard University JFK School of Government Executive Program, the Center for Creative Leadership Institute, the Gallup Leadership Institute, the HACR Harvard Business Executive Program on Corporate Governance, and the Mexican American Solidarity Foundation.

Rivera is the recipient of the Cesar Chavez Community Service Award given by the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, and she was awarded as one of the "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women’s eNews. She is also the recipient of the Huesped Ilustre Medal from the city of Ayacucho, Peru, the Women Helping Women Award by the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association, the Trailblazer Award by Latina Style Magazine, the Global Impact Leadership Award from the Hispanic Women’s Corporation, the Superior Honor Award from the U.S. State Department, the Administrative Excellence In Promoting Multiculturalism Award from Western Illinois University, and the Illumination Award from the City Club of the Quad Cities. Rivera has been featured in Hispanic Magazine, Woman MBA Magazine, the TV show Hispanics Today, Lifetime Television for Women, Champions of Change, LatinaStyle Magazine,, and the Soy Latina, Soy Unica SAMHSA website.

Rivera has extensive community service and volunteering experience. She served on the board of the U.S. Committee for United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Currently she is on the board of World Pulse, a nonprofit organization that addresses global issues through women’s eyes. She was appointed by Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia to the Commission on the Status of Women and was a board member for Habitat for Humanity in Northern Virginia.

Updated Oct. 15, 2013