Like most people, Evelyn M. Rivera spends eight or more hours with her colleagues every day. But it’s her management approach that makes her unique — she treats her team like her “day family.” As a General Manager at Rollins’ HomeTeam Pest Defense, which is heralded for its great professional development benefits and commitment to female mentorship, Rivera has serious support when it comes to taking the interests of her team members seriously. And helping others reach their goals has made her career feel meaningful every step of the way.
Recently, Rivera shared how her caring approach to leadership drives team success, and how Rollins Inc. amplifies her efforts to empower her team. She also shared the characteristics of the best managers she’s ever had and told us the career advice that keeps her going, even on tough days.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I have been a General Manager for one and a half years. Prior to that, I was the Sales Manager at our Fort Myers-branch location for 3 years.
What is the one career move you made that you are most proud of?
I am proud of moving into the sales manager position even though I had many people tell me I would not be successful. It has been my greatest pleasure proving them wrong.
What is your favorite career mistake?
At a young age, settling for what I thought a woman should be paid or the type of job she should have. I learned quickly that I am worth more and that I am able to do more.
What is the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?
Every day is different and rewarding. New challenges and new goals that all need to be met with excitement.
What is something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) do not know about your company that you think they should?
This is an amazing company is interested in investing from within. HomeTeam takes the time and financial resources to offer development programs for our employees, such as our Management Development and Branch Management Training, along with Master’s degrees in your field programs (such as a Master’s of Administration, Sales or Service). Our Womens Leadership Council offers mentorship to women in our company.
What is the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
The first thing I do at work is greet my employees and check in with my managers. I find it’s important for them to realize that I truly care that everyone is OK. At the end of the day, I circle back around to the management team to make sure we have updates and that they do not need anything additional from me, then I thank them for a great day. After all, these are people we share 8 hours a day with — they’re our “day family.”
What is something you are especially good at… at work?
Wow, that is hard to answer — I had to ask my direct reports. Listening and giving honest feedback, even when it is not positive. I believe even when there is constructive criticism to be administered, delivery is everything. The object is to improve and make teachable moments, to inspire change and the desire to strive for better. I maintain approachable, honest and caring when I have these conversations.
What about outside of work?
Outside of work, my family is of utmost importance. Spending as much quality time with them is a focus. They are my reason to keep striving for more.
What are you trying to improve on?
I am building a team of managers that can communicate effectively. I work towards helping them be motivators and leaders instead of just a manager.
What do you love most about your job or your company?
I love that I am able to impact 42+ employees in different ways every day.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
I am reading “The Heart of Leadership” and “A Woman’s Book of Grieving.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
We are no longer limited to gender-exclusive jobs, careers and placement. If you want to find a career in a not traditionally “female” industry, don’t think about it too much. Go for it. This is an amazing time for women.
Who is or was the most influential person in your life and why?
From 1995 through 2000, I worked for a company that was lucky enough to have a VP of operations who was a woman. I admired her professional strength and confidence. She was smart and knew how to earn the respect of her male counterparts. I said to myself at a young age: “I want to be just like her.” In my personal life, it would be my dad. He constantly reminds me of how strong I am and that I can do anything.
What is the most memorable piece of career advice you received?
It was actually from a male lawyer I worked with years ago. He said: “Evelyn, you won’t ever be any company’s or executive’s Monday through Friday girl. You have so much potential.”
What was the best quality of the best boss you ever had?
My best supervisors took the time to invest in my development. They taught me how to highlight my strengths and consistently work on areas of improvement. We all have opportunities for growth and development.
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