God-is Rivera currently works as the Global Director, Culture and Community at Twitter and is responsible for better serving and engaging communities on Twitter all around the world through Twitter’s brand marketing, campaigns with partners, and events and experiences.
Internally, she drives strategy to make sure that campaigns and programs are connective, inclusive and reflective of the communities Twitter serves. Externally, builds on Twitter’s work in developing relationships and programs with community leaders, content partners, influencers, creators, partners and brands. Rivera sat down to speak about her path, inclusion philosophy and vast wisdom that she’s gained on her journey.
Goldie Chan: What has your career path been?
God-is Rivera: I am so grateful for the path that my career has taken over the years. What I am most appreciative of is that so little of what I am currently doing really existed as a career path when I first began my professional journey, so I have been so fortunate to be able to lay the groundwork for a lot of new focuses and I am quite proud of that. As a writer at heart I originally wanted to pursue journalism, but during a recession found myself in marketing and honestly quickly became enamored with it. I was fortunate enough to work for ad agencies working on social media strategy which I was extremely passionate about, as it felt like a new frontier where so many worlds could connect, and people had a voice (even then, Twitter was my favorite platform) .
During my time in the agency world, I was extremely vocal about some of the gaps I noticed in how the ad industry approached its creative work. How were we understanding and connecting with marginalized communities? How were we challenging ourselves to ensure the output of our work was inclusive? Ultimately, those questions that I raised to interrogate and challenge industry processes led me to an opportunity to create a new position that revolved around inclusive, strategic approaches to how we thought about connecting with consumers and the study of how brands connect with and specifically serve marginalized communities. All of this led me to the work I do today at Twitter.
Chan: What has been your favorite campaign or project that you’ve worked on?
Rivera: One of the projects I’m proudest of is the #TwitterVoices program. My team created this program to recognize, celebrate and connect with voices from historically marginalized communities who make Twitter so vibrant and unique. We wanted to take our time to build a program that would really resonate with these voices, build their trust with Twitter and address what they’ve said they needed from us as a service and as a brand.
Today, we have a community of hundreds of Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and disabled/differently abled voices that are part of this program. They are performing artists, authors, content creators, titles, educators, chefs, etc. and they each uniquely use Twitter to support, celebrate and advocate for their communities. Our #TwitterVoices efforts include connecting voices with paid brand partnership opportunities; giving them early access to Twitter features; amplifying their words/perspectives beyond the Twitter timeline; giving them access to Twitter leadership for questions and feedback; and creating opportunities for them to connect with each other in real life.
#TwitterVoices has become the bedrock and foundation of all of the work the Culture and Community team does. It allows us to better understand, serve and amplify voices from these communities in a way that I don’t think many other companies are thinking of.
Chan: What is a story that has resonated with you?
Rivera: I am deeply grateful for how much I am able to learn from voices every day. Voices on Twitter from the Disability community like @Imani_Barbarin (Imani Barbarin), @4WheelWorkOut (Tiara SM), @SFdirewolf (Alice Wong), @Freelove19xx (Raven S.) have shared so much about their personal experiences and what the world should know and consider about the experiences, rights and opportunities for disabled people. I have had the pleasure of working with some of these amazing women as well and they have helped our team expand our work in our mission to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. I think we can never stop learning about how to better show up for and include others.
Chan: How do you think about inclusion through the Twitter brand?
Rivera: At Twitter, our purpose is to serve the public conversation. When I think about what inclusion means within the context of our purpose, it makes me think about who has historically not been able to lead or influence the public conversation, and the way society was often shaped by that exclusion. Historically, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities have not had an equal opportunity to have their voices heard, to get a seat at the table, and to have their concerns or the realities of their lived experiences acknowledged and amplified.
With Twitter, everyone has the stage, the mic and the podium—they don’t have to wait for permission from an institution to speak or to be heard, and that matters. I think what’s been proven is that no matter your follower counts you can say something on Twitter that resonates deeply with people, that sparks a conversation, that starts a movement. The platform has given an unprecedented opportunity to historically underrepresented groups to have a chance to be heard. That’s the lens of inclusion that my team and I are focused on: how can we support and amplify the diverse voices that are participating in the conversation on Twitter. At the same time, I want to ensure that we are also listening to these voices about how they experience our service so we can continue to evolve it and consider their feedback.
Chan: How would you describe your personal brand?
Rivera: I’ve always had a passion for amplifying and uplifting other voices and perspectives. I think it’s extremely important that we all consistently challenge ourselves to learn about others’ experiences and continue to build empathy and allyship and push for equality for all. I value that both personally and professionally and I hope my personal brand reflects how deep and genuine my passion for this work is.
Chan: Describe what your job title “Global Director of Culture and Community” means?
Rivera: I’m grateful for the leaders who saw the potential of this work and gave me the incredible opportunity to craft exactly what this role meant and what it would focus on. I focus specifically on how we recognize, support, integrate and celebrate voices on Twitter from historically marginalized communities. This means there is a full ecosystem around how we do this, from 1:1 connections, events and experiences, to advocating for voices for opportunities, sharing feedback and perspective to enhance products or policies, or creating specific programs that serve these groups.
The practice of leading culture and community is bigger than just my specific role at Twitter; it’s a role that I’ve seen other brands create as well. And I cannot overemphasize how important it is that this focus exists within every business. Every company should be thinking about how to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding and connecting with historically marginalized and historically underrepresented communities. It is a necessary step to making products and services that are inclusive and accessible to the broad consumer group that we all belong to and that we all try to reach with our brand messages.
Chan: Any last branding or creative advice for this year?
Rivera: I will continue to shout this from the rooftops until the end of time: Listen to and include diverse voices and perspectives in every aspect of your strategic and creative processes and outputs. We need the industry to step away from creating messaging and content for communities of people who aren’t even included in the creative process. Instead, brands need to connect with these groups and include their feedback, their perspectives and their talent – and pay them for it, too.
This is something we really believe in, advocate for and practice here at Twitter. I am proud to be a part of that work which we call #TwitterPrism – it defines our ambition to help our advertising partners develop more inclusive marketing strategies and channel media dollars into diverse and historically excluded communities. We believe that we can leverage the power of advertising to build a more equitable and inclusive future, and we invite and encourage our brand partners and beyond to do that with us.