Zayda Rivera is a seasoned Latina journalist and public relations executive who began her company 3L Communique in 2015 after a successful 18-year career in newsrooms, TV studios, and public relations agencies. Creating her company was a way for Zayda to focus on what she was truly passionate about–being authentic, giving back to her community and inspiring the next generation to do the same.
3L Communique focuses on event production and partnerships for Latino, African American, and LGBT communities, combining all of Zayda’s expertise acquired in her past career in entertainment journalism and public relations.
The company began when Zayda noticed that she rarely saw women leading production behind-the-scenes—and even rarely were they Latinas. “I wanted to fill that void,” she explains. “Secondly, I wanted to take charge of my life and career.”
She began by utilizing her network of connections to produce major events– such as black tie galas, award ceremonies, summits, and conventions– for nonprofit organizations and corporations in 2016. From there she then went on to create inspiring public relations campaigns to raise awareness about social issues which disproportionately impact communities of color such as the rental housing crisis and preventable illnesses.
Proving self-worth a main obstacle in a Latina journalist and entrepreneur career
“I still find it difficult to be taken seriously by some,” she says. “I takes time to build a rapport with clients, especially when you’re on your own, a woman, trying to succeed in a male-dominated industry.”
Despite her qualifications and expertise it has still been a challenge to gain credibility in a world saturated with “overnight success stories,” self-described experts, and the multitude of “President and CEO” titles found on professional networking sites.
“It’s difficult to decipher the real from the fake,” Zayda explains. “It is likely that if I worked for a major public relations agency or well respected publication, people wouldn’t second guess my expertise. It’s why being authentic is so important to me. Authenticity goes a long way in a world of posers.”
Not only does Zayda value authenticity when it comes to clients, but it is also the foundation of her relationships with her colleagues in the workplace. As a strong team leader she believes in building people up and celebrating them while giving them direction on how best to grow.
“Creating a work environment out of fear does not work. I know first-hand that when people feel crappy about going to a thankless job, they are less productive,” says Zayda.
Instead she fosters an open environment where everyone’s work is valued and each person can learn from each other. Her career and her way of leading others has been inspiring to many.
Changing lives by inspiring others
She shares a story of how when she was first starting out with her company, she was approached by a young Latina woman at a holiday party for Hispanic journalists. This woman told Zayda how her career had inspired her to pursue her own dreams and goals. This revelation that her work as a Latina journalist could influence someone so much completely blew her away.
“It was hard for me to conceptualize how many people my work was reaching from behind my computer screen.”
During this time, Zayda was searching for someone to help her with her business. Ideally this person would be a woman and even more ideally, a Latina. That young woman who approached her at the party just so happened to be exactly the strong, intelligent, go-getter she was looking for. Since then they have worked together on various projects. Zayda describes that the best part of this partnership, however, has been seeing this young Latina excel in her own career and reach new heights through her experiences working with 3L Communique.
“I want to create hundreds and thousands and millions of stories just like this. Knowing that I’ve had something to do with the success and overall development of a younger woman of color, who isn’t afraid of challenges and hard work, is priceless to me.”
Inspiring other Latinas to go after their goals
She says, “Being a Latina entrepreneur, who faces challenges daily, is my way of giving back, simply by showing others that anything is possible with determination and hard work.”
Despite the struggles, Zayda believes it is important to always keep moving forward, to get back up after one stumbles and leave behind footprints for others to one day follow. Additionally she believes one should always be a student of life and never stop learning.
“Not just within your craft, but also in learning all the tools you need to be a strong business owner,” she says. “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Gain knowledge about what it takes to run a successful business. And keep moving forward.”