Latin Times Magazine had the pleasure of catching up with Lizette Rivera recently, Lizette 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? LTM: What part of Florida do you live in – are you from Florida? If not – what brought you to Florida?
Lizette Rivera: I live in Tampa. I was born in Perth Amboy, NJ. My parents decided to move to Tampa when I was 5.
LTM: Tell us about where you were born and raised and where your family is from.
Lizette Rivera: I was born in NJ and raised most of my life in Tampa. My mother is Cuban, and my father is Puerto Rican.
LTM: Tell me about what you do for a living
Lizette Rivera: I am the Founder and President of Chef Inspired Popcorn Company. I am also the Principal Public Adjuster at Aaraya Claims Consulting.
LTM: What organizations are you currently involved in
Lizette Rivera: I am a part of a few associations. I am part of the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
LTM: Tell us about the biggest highlights of your career
Lizette Rivera: Creating and developing flavors for Chef Inspired Popcorn has really created some amazing opportunities for me. I think being mentioned on the Todays Show and watching Dean Cain (ex-superman) taste some of our flavors on national television was a blast.
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
Lizette Rivera: The biggest challenge for me as a Latina is for people to disregard your worth because of your ethnicity. We have made significant strides in this country and we are amazingly diverse, but we still have a way to go. I have been able to overcome it with a strong work ethic. I believe in what I do and I believe once people see your work and who you are as a person it breaks down those barriers.
LTM: How important is being a Latina to you
Lizette Rivera: Being a strong Latina woman is everything to me.
LTM: What is your favorite type of musica and what is your favorite song?
Lizette Rivera: That is a fun question. I enjoy so many different forms of music. Of course as a Latina I enjoy salsa so much. That is what I clean house to. Some old school Groupo Niche. Right now however, I am a BIG Post Malone fan, and my favorite song is Sunflower. If he only knew he had such a HUGE fan in this Latina.
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
Lizette Rivera: I am a fan of NO REGRETS but getting married so young would be something I would do differently.
LTM: What do you think some of the best career choices are for young Latinas
Lizette Rivera: That is a tough question. A career is something you need to be passionate about. I believe young Latina women need to focus on doing internships or volunteer in the areas that interest them to follow into a career. My advice to them is to find a mentor and do what you love.
LTM: Tell us about what kind of projects you currently have going on
Lizette Rivera: I have some great projects going on. I have a new alcohol infused caramel corn line. It is the BEST adult snack out there. The website should be up in a few weeks. I also have Fundraising with Flavor which I am very passionate about. This is my fundraiser line. You can use Chef Inspired Popcorn to raise money for sports, any non-profits, church groups etc. This is my way to give back to the community. As most people know I love sports and my daughter plays softball. I have experienced firsthand the expense of being on a travel team and want to help as many kids as I can find a sport that they are good at and excel.
LTM: What can we expect to see from you in the future
Lizette Rivera: You are going to see A LOT of Chef Inspired Popcorn. I can’t give away all my secrets, but we are growing, and so is our line.
LTM: What is your comida favorita
Lizette Rivera: Oh boy now you’re talking. My favorite meal is Paella. I can eat that every day!
LTM: What famous person do you most identify with and why
Lizette Rivera: A famous person that I identify with. That is tough. I will say that I have such a respect for Madonna. She came out on the music scene early and has had to re-invent herself multiple times, and I admire that so much. I spent a long time in the insurance industry, so learning to re-invent myself into a retail-heavy atmosphere was difficult. I enjoy that she really never cared who said what about her, she just kept doing what she had to do. One of the things that I can relate with her is her sense of being a mother and wanting to help children. Being a mother is a blessing and she has done an amazing job keeping her children out of the limelight.
LTM: What did I miss? Tell me something you want us to know!
Lizette Rivera: I don’t think you missed anything – but I will say this, keep an eye on Chef Inspired for some Latin infused popcorn flavors due out before the holidays, like Dulce de Leche, Guava con Queso and more!