Without confidence you are twice defeated in the race of life, but with confidence you have won the race before you have even started.” This quote from national hero Marcus Garvey is Diva Riley’s life philosophy. Diva was born in the parish of St. Ann but grew up in Manchester with her mother and stepfather. She is proud of her ‘weird name’ and claims that it has brought her in contact with a lot of people.
Riley describes herself as a people pleaser and declares that she is motivated by the people around her and what they expect from her. She is inspired by the mistakes and experiences of both bad and good people. Despite being a people pleaser, she admits that her biggest obstacle is dealing with people as there are a variety of different personalities.
Riley works through this by realizing that we are all different and individually unique; but accepting various flaws, characteristics and personalities and working with people in spite of that, makes it easier to deal with people. She is working on improving her consistency as consistency yields good results. She admits that she is low on that aspect, but she is working on being more consistent in everything she does.
Though she studied Communication Studies at the Northern Caribbean University, Riley is a paralegal at Kleisha Rhoden & Co. Attorneys-At-Law, and the job coincides with her minor in Political Science and Law. She is also the founder and leader of JWEN: Jamaica Women’s Empowerment Network. JWEN was conceptualized as sort of an extra-curricular activity or “wanting to do something more than my 9 to 5,” as Diva Riley put it. It was created by women for women and their issues. One of the aims of this organization is to foster individual growth and development through social and outreach programmes.
JWEN caters to the woman’s sense of self-worth and her right to have the power to control her own life both within and outside of the home. It’s three zones of empowerment are work, home and community.
Her hopes for JWEN is that it will be a big name for civilians and dignitaries with issues relating
to women. She admits that they are still building the foundation for her business, but nevertheless acknowledges that her small organization is successful. Riley shares that this organization has taught and cemented leadership skills and has pushed her to be included in every part of whatever she sets her mind to: “In everything I do and anything that I am a part of, I learn every aspect of it.” With her organization being a big influence, she admits that she has to practice what she preaches. It has taught her composure and ethical values.
Her visions for the future include becoming a lawyer and being a public figure who will be a positive influence for women. She hopes to be successful in achieving her law degree and becoming a great attorney-at-law. She proudly says she has mastered being a paralegal so much so that she is ready to be a lawyer and hopes to pass the bar when she takes the test in the near future. She sees herself having her own office and using her mass communication background to do something different in the world of law.
Some words of inspiration that she would give to others are, “Ensure that everything you do you are purposefully driven, and you are not just doing it for doing it sake. I think that is a waste of time.
With everything you do, have a reason behind it because when you have a purpose, then it
will be meaningful, and you will get it done correctly.”If you are interested in voluntarism, empowerment and development, you can get in contact with and be a part of Riley’s organization by sending a message on Facebook at ‘Jamaica Women Empowerment Network’, on Instagram at ‘ja.women.empowerment’ or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. An application form and further information will be provided.