AL DÍA Women of Merit Honoree: Siria Rivera
Siria Rivera is one of the AL DÍA Women of Merit honorees, in the non-profit field.
The AL DÍA Women of Merit event is a celebration of women who are breaking barriers and emerging in leadership positions across the nation.
Siria Rivera, Executive Director at Providence Center, is one of the honorees at the event, in the non-profit field.
In the lead-up to the event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees about their biggest career challenges and accomplishments, gender equality in their industries and their of advice for other women looking to make their way into their particular field of work.
Here are Siria Rivera's responses:
The most important challenge and achievement in my career is not directly related to any one job or task I've accomplished but, instead the common thread of breaking through generational curses and allowing my career to be evidence of that. I want my journey from high school dropout to Executive Director to inspire others, and I think that it has. Ultimately, I want to help pave the way for the generation behind me as many have done for me because that impact is invaluable.
I have seen a notable increase in female representation on boards and in leadership positions across the city over the last 10 years. While we still have a ways to go, we should not underestimate the influence of seeing someone who looks like you in these roles when you are a young professional. I was fortunate to have worked under and with exceptional women early on in my career who positioned themselves to have a voice at the table before it became trendy. I like to think that we, as a city, are moving towards gender equality in representation not because companies have boxes to check off but because women of color bring insight and a perspective that is needed and valued.
The fight for equal pay must continue, and I am grateful to those who have dedicated their careers to this cause. Likewise, we need to close the funding gap for nonprofits lead by women of color created by a gender and racial bias within the philanthropy world. This means that a Latina CEO/Executive Director is likely underpaid and underfunded. At the bare minimum, it means we have to work twice as hard to raise half as much as our white male counterpart. We need equity in funding.
My message is, there are no rules. How something was done 15 years ago may not work now and you are not wrong for challenging that. If it is for the good of the community, if it will increase impact or influence change for the better, challenge it but be prepared to also do the work. Likewise, I'd say don't be afraid to create your own path. there is nothing wrong with taking the road less traveled.