Whether she was launching her own PR agency or overseeing social media strategy at digital firms like iCrossing and T3 or covering entertainers as a freelance writer, God-is Rivera has always been passionate about including people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds not just in the marketing industry, but in the creative work that agencies produce.

It’s that same drive that led Rivera to her current role as the director of inclusion and cultural resonance at VML, where she focuses on bringing diverse talent into the agency while also helping clients create messaging for a diverse audience.

“I don’t think that agencies are paying enough attention to resonating with cultures.

It’s not a tool you can buy,” said Rivera, adding, “As the advertising industry, we have to understand that we only have a sliver of the story.”

After joining VML in 2016 as an associate director of social media strategy, Rivera immediately began thinking of ways to ensure that messaging for brands ranging from Motorola to the NBA was speaking to consumers from all socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities.

About one year into the job, Rivera encouraged the agency to have an open and honest conversation about race and what it meant to be black in the U.S., helped to launch VML’s inclusion and diversity council, and gave a company-wide presentation on Black Twitter’s role in culture and what the agency could learn from it.

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