Amanda Rivera is a marketing professional from Costa Rica and is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Accenture. It’s no secret that mental health became a global topic in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amanda shares how meditation helped her in finding a balance between work and personal life. Let’s learn more about her. Oh and by the way, she makes a delicious cheesecake – if ever you should need a pick me up!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, AMANDA. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born and raised in rainy Costa Rica and lived part of my teenage years in Iowa, USA. Most of my childhood memories involve running around playing hide-and-seek in a coffee plantation. We had a lot of fun outdoors climbing up trees to get fresh fruit from the guava, mango, and jocote trees.
I remember heading to the beach with my entire family for some very chaotic yet exciting camping trips during school vacation.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I’ve always been a very dedicated and focused person. For me, excelling in my studies was a priority. I was the kind of student that would pay attention, take notes and hated sitting next to the loud and popular kids.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Oh, it’s dessert! I love sweets. Anything that involves velvety chocolate, a good quality ice cream, or a delicate pastry would fit the criteria.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Needless to say, a well deserved 30-day family vacation will hit the top of the list. Once that’s taken care of, I would invest time and money in setting up my own business. What exactly the business would be is yet to be decided, but being an entrepreneur has always been a dream of mine.
And the $10 M wouldn’t be well invested without creating a scholarship based foundation for college/university students from my parents’ hometown (Cot de Oreamuno, Costa Rica) where very bright, yet financially challenged, young adults struggle to obtain quality higher education.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
I can lift anyone’s spirit with my white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake! Being the sweet tooth that I am, it only made sense for me to find recipes for desserts that I’d love and could make over and over again.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
The human brain has always intrigued me. Marketing provides me with the opportunity to be curious about why people make certain buying decisions and have certain behaviours. What I love about this profession is that it allows me to be analytical, inquisitive and creative.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I’ve been #teamtea for many years and had truly made an effort to avoid becoming #teamcoffee; however, the smell of my husband’s morning coffee has slowly persuaded me into becoming both!
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
We hired a nanny!
I have a little boy. The pandemic hit right when I was coming back from maternity leave. We tried to manage without a nanny but soon learned we needed help. I also started to learn how to meditate and have been incorporating it as part of my daily routine. I usually pause for 10-15 min a day to do a short meditation to bring some perspective back and reset my mind.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
If we can focus on the positives brought upon us from the pandemic, I’ll have to say I’m grateful for how it forced everyone to think outside the box. In Costa Rica, for example, many companies and especially governmental institutions were still very ‘old school’ when it came to telework.
Bureaucracy and other roadblocks got in the way. The excessive amount of commuters was exhausting our roads and our people. The severity of the pandemic called for rapid change; it proved to many how telework could become a reality. Yes, with its challenges and costs, but possible.
As someone living in a third-world country, I’m excited to see more professional opportunities available to all.
There’s a large amount of talent now available to companies worldwide who at one point may have limited themselves to their country/region.
On a personal level, I’ve adapted quite well to working remotely (that is after hiring the nanny!). I’ve become more efficient by managing my workload based on ‘sprints’ where I work intensely for periods of two hours and then take a short break to check on the baby or take care of a house chore.
Trusting that the people around me (nanny, husband, mother) will do their best also gives me peace of mind and allows me to keep focused. At the moment, what I miss the most is having face time with colleagues or people outside my inner circle. And, although wearing joggers is a nice treat, I also miss taking time to fix my hair, put some make-up on and get into a professional-looking outfit.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
As a working mother, what I appreciate the most is flexibility. The typical eight or nine-hour work schedule is tough for many mothers who need to split their day between work, household chores and assisting their families with their necessities.
Having our work be measured based on result, as long as these are reasonable and achievable—rather than the number of hours spent at your desk is a great relief.
Additionally, positioning more women and mothers in leadership roles would also be critical to creating the necessary environment and shift in mentality needed for change to occur. It’s easier to empathize with others when you’ve lived through similar experiences.
2021 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
2021 has been an interesting year.
A year of turbulence, change and adaptation both personally and professionally. Experiencing the pandemic with a baby and watching him grow with minimal social interaction is not how I saw us raising our child. It’s paid a toll on his social skills; at times, I can’t help but feel powerless.
On the other hand, it’s been a year of great professional and spiritual growth. The change was waiting for me right around the corner and although I wasn’t initially thrilled about it, I decided to go with the flow and adapt leading to a recent promotion at work.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Have a little bit more fun and explore the world!
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
I want to have a business of my own. Not sure yet when what or how it’ll happen but I keep it top of mind.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
I have great admiration for Michelle Obama and Melinda French Gates. Their confidence, positive influence and interest in the well-being of others are contagious.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I’m not an avid reader, to be honest. I prefer watching documentaries and e-learning; some of my favourite topics are mindfulness, parenting, digital marketing, entrepreneurship and baking.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
You’ll find me looking forward to the next season of Working Moms and Virgin River. I love binging on anything brain/babies/wellness/food documentaries.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
Lately, I’ve been wondering about the same question myself and I’ve come to realize I would’ve been a great doctor or neuroscientist.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETEERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
I’d like to be remembered for my commitment and integrity. For me, doing what you say you’ll do is extremely important. When someone welcomes you to join the party, you have to give it your all.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I had a great mentor about three years ago who I haven’t connected with for a while. I loved her sense of humour, her ease at managing stressful situations, and her teachings on user-centricity. She made my life at work a joy and a great learning experience.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Fuel your desire to learn. Marketing and tech go hand in hand. If you keep an open mind and willingness to learn, you’ll keep your opportunities open.