In October, Candace Rivera became a “Noogler,” a new Googler, when she started her job as Google’s executive and internal communications manager, providing communications support for the Core Data team.
“A typical day involves coaching executives on how to communicate different issues to their teams verbally and in writing,” says Candace. “I also devise creative, fun, and non-traditional solutions to help Google executives communicate the company’s strategy to their teams and the wider Google audience.”
Since she graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College, Candace has applied for her bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts to land positions at leading global organizations. After a stint as a freelance reporter, she joined the financial consulting firm KPMG as a public relations assistant and worked her way up to corporate communications senior associate. In that position, Candace appreciated the opportunities to use her skills and talents to celebrate diversity, a mission that has personal meaning for her.
“I sometimes found that I was the ‘only’ in the room,” Candace says. “The only Latina, the only woman, or the only young person. I am able to use my communication skills to shine a bright spotlight on those who are underrepresented, to inspire allyship and understanding, and to make Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) a part of the daily conversation in an effort to create change.”
While she was at KPMG, Candace also held a leadership position with the Association of Latino Professionals New Jersey board and was among a small group of KPMG colleagues to represent the organization at One Young World, a global forum for young leaders held in Ottawa.
In 2020, she accepted an offer to serve as the inclusion and diversity communications manager for The Estée Lauder Companies. She continued working in the DEI space as an employee communications manager at the Expedia Group before moving to Google.
The first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, Candace says that she has always enjoyed telling stories, whether it was performing in school plays or writing creatively in her journal. In her senior year of high school, she won a Halloween writing contest, earning her a grand prize of $5. She calls this her “a-ha” moment when she realized that her interest in storytelling could turn into a career.
“When I was ready to select a major, communication arts was an easy choice,” she says. “I wanted to take my passion for writing and use it for good to share important information that people needed to hear.”
As a student, Candace got a taste of the communications field both inside the classroom and through writing for the Voyager literary journal and the campus newspaper, The Thoma. In a part-time job at Pamal Broadcasting, she worked with radio personalities like K104’s Scotty Mac, and musical artists from the Goo Goo Dolls to Jason Derulo.
Her former STAC Professor Dr. L. John Durney said that every semester, he asked Candace to share her story with his classes and she never hesitated to return to campus.
“Candace was an excellent student, and she still is,” he says. “One of her fine qualities is that she’s a lifelong learner. She was, and is, a creative storyteller, a self-starter, and a diligent problem-solver… skills that Google will find to be real assets!”