Shayla Rivera

Shayla Rivera

NASA Engineer Turned Comedian
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Program Descriptions

Diversity is a hot button in America right now. I focus on giving the correct perspective on the 'issue' of diversity. We often approach this subject with fear because we don't realize that our differences are the very thing that make us the same . Once we understand this we can begin to welcome what makes us different from one another and this will change...everything.

Like everything else, Leadership begins with the individual. A leader is not defined by a title or a position of leadership but by their ability to inspire others to work towards a common goal. Traits of leadership such as having a vision, setting goals, charisma, communication skills, character, intelligence, and many more, can be found within every person. I focus on helping individuals recognize and strengthen these traits, first within themselves then give tools that will help them do the same for others.

"ABC - Awareness Begins Change"
Shayla Rivera believes, indeed 'knows', that anyone can accomplish anything they would like to. Her belief springs out of her own life experiences. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, her family moved to Texas where at the age of seventeen and fresh out of high school, Shayla attended Texas A&M University where she earned her degree in Aerospace Engineering. She not only had to learn 'engineering stuff' she also had to learn the English Language at the same time, and as she puts it, "learning to speak Texan is not easy". Shayla then went on to work for NASA in the Space Shuttle and Space station Programs, from there it was Technical Sales of environmental products for the Oil and Gas and Chemical industries, then onto Stress Management Corporate trainings and motivational speaking, finally onto Stand-up Comedy, all while teaching aerobics, and being a single parent bringing up two magnificent children. Her life is a reflection of what can be achieved if you are willing to open up to the possibilities and to listen to your own spirit. "Everything I have done, and have been, has brought me to the person I am today and I like that person. Nothing has been wasted and nothing is regretted".

There is only one wonderful requirement for living unlimited possibilities and that is, know what you believe. "As strange as this sounds the one thing I have learned is that our conditioning, spanning from cultural background, environment we grew up in, our peers and families will determine and influence our lives and our achievements. All we have to do is realize that we are on auto pilot about what we continually choose to do and believe. Once we become aware that we are in control we can then begin to change our direction and make choices that aim at the desired results for our lives". Shayla uses her training as an engineer, a motivational speaker, a comedian, a mother and as an aerobics instructor to help her audiences laugh their way to inspiration.

Why Book Shayla Rivera?

  • Shayla is a former NASA Aerospace Engineer turned Keynote Speaker, Seminar Facilitator, Standup Comedian, TV Host, Emcee/Host, Humorist, Actor, Writer, Producer, Panel Moderator and Awareness Expert.
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    Biography Read more

    Shayla Rivera is a former Aerospace Engineer with NASA turned Keynote Speaker, TV Host, Emcee/Host, Humorist, Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, Seminar Facilitator, Panel Moderator and Awareness Expert.

    Her keynotes include subjects which span motivation, inspiration, leadership, diversity, education, STEM education, awareness, stress management, communication, the importance of humor and her life story.

    Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rivera grew up with an avid interest in science, machinery and fixing things. Her family always encouraged her to go to college and have a professional career. Rivera attended Texas A&M University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Psychology. She joined McDonnell Douglas Space Systems at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, to work on NASA’s Shuttle and Space Station programs for eight years.

    Rivera left NASA to pursue her abiding interest in psychology trying to figure out what makes people tick. Her career took her through several years in Technical Sales of environmental systems and water treatment chemicals onto becoming a corporate trainer. Rivera began facilitating life-changing seminars on stress management for executives at companies around the country. Shortly there after, she began giving motivational speeches. She applies her expertise as a speaker to help many non-profit organizations, charitable and educational programs. She has spoken to clients across the country including corporations, national and local organizations, and students from elementary school to college. Rivera has been speaking and performing for 21 years and has broad appeal to men and women of all backgrounds.

    While she was conducting seminars, Rivera discovered she had comedic skills. She signed up for a weekend class on stand-up comedy, at the end of which she performed a five-minute routine. It was a personal turning point. “I knew I’d found what I was looking for,” Rivera recalled.

    Almost immediately, Rivera became a regular at Comedy Clubs nationwide. She used her experiences to create the hit one woman show “Rocket Science and Salsa,” directed by Debbie Allen for which Rivera earned a "Best Lead Actress" nomination by the NAACP Theater Awards, as well as a nomination for "Best Choreography" for Allen. Rivera hosted the 13 episode TV series “You’re Not The Man I Married” for Lifetime Real Women Network.

    She has appeared on television in “Comics Unleashed,” "Extreme Fakeover," "National Lampoon’s Funny Money," “Funny is Funny" and others. She was a guest on “The Dennis Miller Show,” “The Roseanne Show” and ”The Martin Short Show." Rivera was featured in the "Paul Rodriguez Latin All Stars" and was part of the Comedy Central special, “Comedy Rehab” with Paul Rodriguez. She has also headlined on entertainment programs for Univision, Galavision and on “The Latino Comedy Jam” for Telemundo. Rivera was named "Funniest Latina Comedian" by the organization "Latin 2015."

    In 2004, Rivera received the “Mario Moreno Cantinflas Award” presented by the city of Los Angeles in recognition of entertainers who "represent the Latino Community with the same humor as the great Cantinflas did" and for her involvement in the community. In 2007, Rivera received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service Participation. In 2010, Rivera received the Award for Excellence in Public Speaking by the Latino Speakers Bureau.

    Rivera performs live stand-up comedy nationwide and is very proud of her tours to entertain U.S. troops in Iraq and around the world. In recent years, Rivera has served as host/emcee for many events, such as award shows, gala’s, fundraisers and festivals. Shayla says, “My number one goal is to inspire, through laughter and my keynotes.” Shayla has seen, first-hand, the impact the Latino population and culture has had in all levels of American corporations, organizations and education and is focused on helping make this merge occur as smooth as possible. She jokes, “We are all the same only different...once we understand this, we will be able to seize the opportunities that lie in our seeming differences.”

    Shayla Rivera is not easily placed in just one category or class, she defines her own.

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    "Speak to Shayla about your population and the focus of your event and she can tailor her discussion with things applicable to your group. Her ABC (Awareness Begins Change) was amazing for our "at promise" female community college students and they are still talking about her support, encouragement and motivation. Shayla is friendly and amenable!"
    --Lone Star College-North Harris