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Shayla Rivera      

Hispanic Actor; Comedian; Awareness Expert; Cancer Survivor; STEM Education Advocate & Former NASA Rocket Scientist

Shayla Rivera is an aerospace engineer and former rocket scientist with NASA turned salesperson, corporate trainer and now keynote speaker, TV host, emcee and comedian.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rivera draws from her life experiences, observations and interests to deliver keynotes on subjects such as leadership, diversity and inclusion, education, STEM, stress management, communication, and self growth. Rivera also talks about the subject of ABC, or “Awareness Begins Change," saying that there is only one wonderful requirement for living unlimited possibilities and that is to know what you believe.

Rivera left NASA to pursue her abiding interest in psychology, trying to figure out what makes people tick. Later, she began giving motivational speeches and discovered her knack for comedy. Rivera became a regular at comedy clubs nationwide. Based on her personal experiences, she created 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.

Rivera went on to host the 13 episode TV series “You’re Not The Man I Married” for Lifetime Real Women Network, and has appeared on television shows such as "Comics Unleashed," "Xtreme Fakeovers," "National Lampoon’s Funny Money," “Funny is Funny" and many others.

She has been a guest on the “The Dennis Miller Show,” “The Roseanne Show,” "The Martin Short Show,” was featured in the "Paul Rodriguez Latin All Stars" and was part of the Comedy Central special, “Comedy Rehab” with Paul Rodriguez. She has headlined on entertainment programs for Univision, Galavision and on “The Latino Comedy Jam” for Telemundo. She was once named "Funniest Latina Comedian."

In 2018, Shayla spoke at the TEDx conference at Texas A&M University. Often, she applies her expertise to host/emcee fundraising events for non-profits, educational programs, Award Galas and Conferences.

Shayla Rivera has been speaking and performing in both English and Spanish for over 27 years and has a broad appeal to men and women of all backgrounds. Her clients around the world include Fortune 500 companies, national and regional organizations, as well as students and faculty from elementary schools to colleges.

Speech Topics


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.

Her other topics include:

Motivation, inspiration, leadership, diversity, education, STEM / STEAM education, Women & Girls in STEM, female empowerment, awareness, personal improvement, communication, stress management, the importance of humor and her life story

Empowerment STEM / STEAM

“I was a typical youspeakerng girl, conflicted with insecurities and shyness. Yet in possession of a challenge driven determination that has not quit to this day,” she says. Shayla understands the importance of the voices that either encourage or discourage and has always chosen to be a source of belief and inspiration. “Truth is, if I could do anything, anyone else also can.”

Helping young women believe in themselves and their potential in STEM & STEAM fields is a driving force in Shayla’s purpose. She travels around the globe encouraging girls to see the truth of their potential. And speaks to women to help them remember the incredible strength of their nature. “I have never met a woman who was not fierce in some way, even though they could not see it. All I want to do is remind them of just how amazing we truly are.”

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