Women in Technology -- Nancy Rivas
This year, we’ve kicked off a Women in Technology blog series focusing on some fantastic women in leadership roles here at the Sage Intacct office of Sage. These women come from all walks of life, and are mentors, moms, bosses, and even beekeepers. Their stories and wisdom inspired me, and I trust you’ll find the same.
This latest profile is on Nancy Rivas, the Community Director at Sage Intacct. Here’s what she had to share…
Brittany Benson: Hi Nancy! Thanks for joining us for the Women in Technology blog series. Could you tell me about your role here at Sage Intacct?
Nancy Rivas: Absolutely! I am the Community Director, which means my mission is to help our customers improve their use of the product by connecting them with their peers, providing them resources, and enabling problem solving via the Community (online). In addition to the community resource, I lead our Meetups program, another opportunity for customers to connect with one another (in person), improve their product experience and knowledge; as well as our User Groups, the MVP program, our customer newsletter, and customer reference program.
Brittany: Could you tell me what the customer meetups entail?
Nancy: Our meetups are events for customers, channel customers, and partners to meet in person in their local cities. We bring our experts to that city, allowing folks to network with each other and learn more about the product. In this three-hour meeting our agenda is packed with great information. After each event, we diligently listen to attendee feedback and incorporate survey suggestions to ensure our customers and their feedback is always front and center at our meetups.
Brittany: Can you tell me about your path to Sage Intacct and how you even got involved in the world of technology?
Nancy: I began my path with Sage Intacct five years ago! Prior to that, I began my career in the public sector then moved to the nonprofit sector. I had a solid community and employee relations background. I landed my first role in high tech where I continued to focus on employee relations and community relations. I then moved into public and analyst relations at Cisco, where I continued to build my solid foundation. My roles kept evolving and venturing into a new sector, high tech, was a natural progression to my career. I was open to exploring and was willing to learn what I needed in the tech industry.
Brittany: While working in different sectors and in the tech industry, was there any particular woman that inspired you?
Nancy: One of the women that inspired me is Dr. Carol Dweck, who wrote the book The Mindset. It was instrumental to me in recognizing that at any point in your career, you should be learning. Whether you’re 15 years into your career or one year; there’s always an opportunity for you to learn something new. The thesis of the book focuses on two mindsets: growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Growth mindset has a desire to learn while the fixed mindset doesn’t see learning opportunities! Her book shares multiple examples of where your mindset influences your decisions and outlook. Whether with your family, relationships, career, sports, etc. a growth mindset can create a learning environment while a fixed mindset can limit you.
The second inspirational woman would be Brene Brown who also has written several books, but more important, her research around courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy has empowered many leaders. Vulnerability means strength!
Brittany: After reading all these books and getting motivational insight, what advice would you give your younger self?
Nancy: The first piece of advice I would give would be to take regular time off and vacations to slow down. You can’t be inspired or creative when you’re running on empty. You can only be inspired when rested! Early in my career, I was going at a rapid pace and taking days off felt like it would set me back (fixed mindset!). I should have taken time off to rest and rejuvenate.
Brittany: I love and agree with what you’re saying about taking time off to be inspired and creative. What are some things you do that inspire you and allow you to come back to work more inspired, creative, refreshed, and driven?
Nancy: The number one thing for me is reading great books. Examples include Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, or The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Reading these books put me in a posture of learning and that is something that I always benefit from.
The second thing for me is completely disconnecting. No technology, no checking emails. It gives my brain a break and allows me to be completely present while on vacation!
Last, but not least, I’m a runner. I’m also a multi-tasker at heart, so running and listening to podcasts is a win-win for me. Podcasts topics I enjoy range from business acumen, leadership insights to crime stories. There is something for everyone.
Brittany: Do you have any specific podcasts you’d recommend to people interested in getting inspired, or are feeling stagnant?
Nancy: Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast is at the top of my list. He does a phenomenal job of putting out podcasts that focus on business and leadership. Specifically, striving to become a better leader. He brings in guest speakers and authors who inspire the listener. The topics are insightful like ‘Eliminating Distractions’ and ‘Understand your Four Forms of Energy” or ‘When it’s Right to be Wrong.” A very close second is the ‘Dream Big’ podcast with Bob Goff. Are you in need of inspiration? Look no further. He recently interviewed Lex Gillette, a Paralympic Track athlete who is blind and won both a gold and silver medal in the long jump! Lex’s motto “There is no need for sight when you have a vision.”
Brittany: What advice would you have for a woman pursuing a career in technology or more specifically, a role similar to yours.
Nancy: First, I would encourage you to recognize what your strengths are, if you’re introverted or extroverted, and research the type of environment you want to work in. There are many factors to consider with a career in technology, but the most important is figuring out your strengths and not limiting yourself based on a job description.
Look at this from a growth mindset lens! Be willing to learn and always grow.
Brittany: What do you think is the best part of your job?
Nancy: The best part is the interactions that I have with our customers. Whether it’s via the online community while responding to questions, or in person at a meetup or our Advantage conference. I have the wonderful opportunity to interact with and guide our customers. In addition, I get to hear about their journey, what their family is doing, or what adventure they’ve been on!
Brittany: Do you have a vision or goals for the future where you may see your life or career?
Nancy: My next goal would be pursuing my advanced degree. I believe I’m in a season where that next degree is going to give me additional skill sets and help me explore new industries.
Brittany: And do you have any goals with your family?
Nancy: Yes, absolutely. We’re a very active family. I have children in soccer, cross country, and one that was involved in volleyball. Sports and outdoor activities are a big part of our lives.
I’m also very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. It goes hand in hand with playing sports and being active.
We also love traveling. We love exploring and our motto is to always have our passports ready to go. The next travel adventure awaits us!
Brittany: We already touched base on this topic, but are there any other off work passions that you care about, such as charities you’re involved in?
Nancy: I am very passionate about volunteering with children and have gone on a few service trips to India and Honduras. I’ve taught English and spent time with kids that are orphaned or living far below the poverty line; yet, filled with joy and a desire to learn. I also volunteer with our kids at my local church here in San Jose.
I had a Sunday School teacher that poured into me when I was eight years old and I still think about her and am thankful for her time. I want to do the same!
Brittany: Do you have any closing words?
Nancy: Something that I’ve learned is that there will always be setbacks in our lives. What we need to remember is that there will also always be opportunities. A Chuck Swindoll quote you’ll find on my desk at work, “We are all faced with series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
To check out the other blogs in Sage’s Women in Tech blog series, view:
- Women in Technology -- Melody Williams
- Women in Technology -- Stephanie Kleber
- Women in Technology -- Carmen Cooper
- Women in Technology -- Stefanie Maragna
- Women in Technology -- Amy Platt
- Women in Technology -- Aravinda Gollapudi
- Women in Technology -- Meg Deering
- Women in Technology – Wanda Pansky
- Women in Technology -- Nancy Sperry
- Women in Technology -- Kathy Lord
- Women in Technology -- Tina Wang
- Women in Technology -- Victoria Keeshan
- Women in Technology -- Susan Vincent
Brittany Benson is the Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Sage Intacct.