Latin Times Magazine had the pleasure of catching up with well-known community leader Vivian Rivera-Hernandez recently -Vivian is one of our 2019 Latina Movers N Shakers! Latin Times Magazine: What part of Florida do you live in – are you from Florida? If not – what brought you to Florida?
Vivian Rivera: I live in Brookville, Florida, with my husband and son. I moved to Hernando County from NJ seeking a better environment and upbringing for my son, and the beautiful weather was a plus.
I was born to Puerto Rican parents in Newark, NJ in 1970 but moved to PR before entering school and was privileged to a beautiful childhood in the countryside of Caguas. I returned to NJ at the age of 13 before entering H.S.
LTM: Tell me about what you do for a living
Vivian Rivera: I have been a licensed health insurance agent for over 20 years serving the Medicare population with their insurance needs.
LTM: Tell me about what organizations you are a part of
Vivian Rivera: At this time, due to recent health issues, I only focus on the organization that I founded in 2012, Miss Hispanic Queen of HC, Inc. and our annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival
LTM: Tell us about the biggest highlights of your career
Vivian Rivera: One of my biggest highlights was to create history in our community in 2012 by have county commissioners signed the first ever Proclamation in our County recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month. This organization served as a step forward in the right direction of creating cultural awareness and recognizing diversity in Hernando County.
LTM: As a Latina leader in the community, business or other…what has been your biggest challenge and how have you been able to overcome it
Vivian Rivera: When I first moved here, it became clear the lack of cultural knowledge and diversity in this area as it regarded Hispanics. Some of our local Floridians even expressed interest and the curiosity of wanting to learn more. This contributed to my vision of giving back by creating an organization that would support education, music, art and can highlight four different cultures, heritage and traditions by celebrating the contributions of Latino Americans to the United States.
LTM: How important is being a Latina to you
Vivian Rivera: Being a Latina to me is part of my identity. My roots, values, culture, and heritage are a huge factor in molding my character, beliefs, and certain behaviors. Embracing it is accepting who I am.
God is good !!!
A year ago today I was diagnosed with cancer (sarcoma). At that moment time froze because we had so many questions and the road ahead was unknown. The one thing we did know is that we believe in a God of miracles who is faithful and that we were in this together as a family. Memorial Day weekend plans were canceled as we prepared mentally and discussions were had. With the love and support of my husband, son, family, and friends who are like family and who sat through hours daily of treatment, we were able to get through surgery, radiation, and chemo. A process that began June 1st and ended December 7th.
A year later, my head is full of hair, my nails are no longer black from meds and most importantly I feel Great and looking ahead to every day with more appreciation. To all who joined my family in prayer, we are forever grateful. To God, all the Glory for He is the God of miracles !!!
LTM: What is your favorite type of music, and what is your favorite song? Vivian Rivera: Although I am a lousy dancer, I do enjoy music in general. Any tune that can cheer me up, bring me to a time and place or get me singing at the top of my lungs in my car, is a great song. I can listen to Parranda music all year long because it brings back great memories of Navidad en PR
LTM: IF you can go back to let’s say 18-21, what are some of the pivotal decisions that you have made that you would do differently
Vivian Rivera: If I could go back in time and change a decision I made, it would alter the where I am right now and my path. Every decision made, good or bad has made me wiser, stronger, and a better me.
LTM: What do you think some of the best career choices are for young Latinas
Vivian Rivera: I encourage young Latinas to get an education and invest in themselves and their future. Pick a career that brings you joy and enhances your talents. A career you can love and feel passionate about years down the road still.
LTM: Tell us about what kind of projects you currently have going on
Vivian Rivera: I am on the road to recovery and looking forward to new projects for our organization in our community in the next few years. Enjoying what God is doing with the vision.
LTM: What is your comida favorita
Vivian Rivera: My favorite food is arroz blanco, pollo guisao con tostones y si hay un aguacate, pues mejor.
LTM: What did I miss? Tell me something you want us to know!
Vivian Rivera: (I put God first in all I do and enjoy spending time with my husband and son and creating memories. I enjoy a good conversation and still learning something new every day.)