Until the age of 14, Denise Rivera always thought she was going to be a nurse. Then she candy striped, which cemented the fact that she didn’t want to become a nurse. From there, she went into the business side of things. Today her natural love for people and numbers has led her to her responsibility as the new director of human resources for Southwestern Adventist University.
“I think a good human resources director needs to be organized and I think he or she needs to have good people skills, but he or she also needs to have an understanding of the business sense as well,” says Rivera.
Graduating from Union College with a B.S. in business/accounting in 1988, Rivera brings these three traits with her into her new job as well as past experience working in human resources for Shenandoah Valley Academy.
Rivera recently relocated from Jacksonville, Florida where she owned her own business. Her husband took a job at Texas Health Huguley Hospital and they moved to Texas. Her job substituting at Burton Adventist Academy brought Rivera down to Keene during a junior high music festival, where she found out about the open position for human resources director.
In her job, Rivera deals with the non-student part of employment. “In a nutshell, I work with all of the benefits for the faculty and staff, prepare the legal forms for payroll set up, and process the employee expense reports,” says Rivera.
Rivera’s biggest challenge right now is prioritizing, especially when everything seems to be a priority, but she likes human resources for its versatility.
According to Rivera, the best part about her job is building and engaging in interpersonal relationships with the community of Southwestern. “I’m still adjusting to Texas, but I am excited to get to know the staff and be a part of the University.”