By Kristin Messerli
From Nuria Rivera’s humble start in life, she has always valued hard work and motivation. By the age of 32, Rivera has achieved the American Dream by most standards, and is the owner of Novation Title, located in Salt Lake City, UT. However, the rise to the top has not always come easy, and Rivera hopes to share her insights and empowerment with other young women.
Nuria’s dad is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and her mom is from Barcelona, Spain. The family lived in Mexico until Nuria was 11 years old when they moved to the U.S. to pursue the American Dream. Her dad believed that this country held opportunities for them that his country could not provide.
She did not speak English when they first moved to the U.S., but Nuria says she was such a talkative child, that it wasn’t long before she had learned the language. Still, she and her family faced many challenges assimilating into the culture of their chosen home.
Nuria describes her childhood as “wonderful,” but, like many immigrant children, she felt the impact of the family’s financial constraints. They often had limited funds, and she could rarely participate in extra-curricular activities. “I remember wanting to do dance, play basketball, and so on, but there was never enough money,” she reflects. She believes, however, that the experience shaped her hard work ethic and value for generating her own money. “I always knew I wanted to make money for myself. So, even at the age of 14, I was babysitting in the neighborhood, cleaning houses, and cleaning cars. I learned at a very young age that if I was going to have money, I was going to make it myself. That’s where my ambitions came from. I’ve never been afraid to do anything in order to take care of myself.”
Nuria paid her way through college, where she earned an Associates of Science Degree. “I believe in education whether it’s through college or just through life and books and mentors. I feel like you always need to be in a learning place to be able to grow.”
It’s this hustle that has kept her motivated and moving forward since she entered the mortgage industry in 2006. At the age of 22, Nuria received encouragement to apply for a position at the title company where her dad worked. They were in need of an escrow officer fluent in Spanish. Nuria was not licensed and had no experience in escrow or title, but at the initial interview, her enthusiasm for the opportunity was clear, and she was a good fit for the position. So, she took the job as an assistant and processor while she studied for the licensure exam, which she would pass six months later. Nuria grew and expanded her technical expertise with the title company for the next nine years until she opened the doors to Novation Title in August 2015.
“I had this big vision of creating a place where it was just a different type of environment; where people wouldn’t feel like numbers; where employees could feel like themselves; could have fun and get rewarded for the good work they do.
“I wanted to create something powerful in this world and empower people to go for their dreams. That’s my big purpose, and I get to live it through this company.”
While she is committed to her community in Salt Lake City, she is also focused on growth. Rivera plans to take Novation Title nationwide, starting with a move into California within the next year.
What made you decide to go out on your own?
I just really felt like most title companies were very much the same; they were very traditional. I felt like there had to be something more to this industry other than just pushing paper. And so I really focused on redefining that experience for people. I had this big dream, and then I just felt like I really wanted to create something in this world, you know, and so that’s what made me want to launch. I finally had the guts to do it, and it’s been the best thing that I’ve ever done so far.
What do you feel is most rewarding about having started your own business?
That’s such a good question. I feel like I found my purpose in life a few years ago, and that is to help other people accomplish their goals and their dreams. And within my business, I’m able to do one-on-one coaching with my employees. I also have built these amazing relationships within the real estate industry and mortgage industry. I want to be empowering and an inspiration to other people, helping them learn what I’ve learned and share information to help them reach that dream and impact their life. That is why I wake up every morning. That is what makes me excited to be creating all of this. That’s the deeper meaning and the real purpose behind it all.
Are there any practices that you put into place for yourself or for your company that help keep you on track for success?
Yeah, it’s all about the mindset. I’ve been a big follower of Tony Robbins and Darren Hardy. [My team] reads books together and we talk about them once a week. When I wake up I do my prepping every morning. I meditate, I do my affirmations. It’s really all about the mindset and who am I surrounding myself with, what am I thinking about, what am I listening to. You can have all kinds of challenges as an entrepreneur or just in the business, and it’s all about how you are able to overcome that or respond to it all. So, the mindset is a huge thing for me. Coaches and mentors have also helped me keep my mindset in the right place.
Can you share what some of your greatest challenges have been and how you have overcome challenges as a young female in the industry?
Yes, one of my challenges has been finding a good balance between finding good talent and the talent that aligns with our purpose and our vision. Because I’ve found talented people, but they’re not in alignment with our culture and they’re not in alignment with the vision. So, although I feel like maybe it’s taking me a little longer to build, I’m realizing that finding that balance is what’s more important in the long run. That is the best thing for Innovation Title.
Also, people just telling me that I shouldn’t start my business, people telling me that I’m crazy for wanting to do something, but when you find something that is bigger than you and you really feel it, it doesn’t matter what people tell you and it doesn’t matter if you get the no’s and you get the push-backs. You have to believe in yourself and know that whatever decision you’re making, that if it’s from that higher self, you’re making the right decision, and things will align for you. It doesn’t matter that you get the push-back from others.
Are there other things about managing millennials that are important, maybe specific to the generation or just as a whole that you’ve found to be very helpful?
Yeah, there’s a lot of misconceptions. Everyone thinks that we’re not loyal and that we’re lazy, that we job hop, and that we don’t believe in home ownership. None of that is true, so just learning and understanding why our generation thinks or behaves a certain way is very important.
We just want there to be a meaning and a purpose behind [what we do]. If you create some sort of environment that there’s a deeper meaning for it, that will attract millennials. Secondly, we really crave authenticity. Lastly, understanding the desire for flexibility. If you’re able to accomplish it, you can do it working remotely, working from a coffee shop, it doesn’t matter. So, you have to be open minded in understanding that we want to live our lives now and that we really want to enjoy life now, not 20 years from now.
Is there anything that you would share with managers or industry professionals to help raise up more successful, young females?
For the managers, I would say be of empowerment to these young girls. I don’t believe in the old way of ‘I’m the boss and you all do as I say’ type of leadership. I believe in leadership as empowering from underneath and building up. So, encourage them, empower them, be strong. We as women are very nurturing and we are also very powerful, so knowing that you have both and you can still be in your feminine essence and still be powerful. So be nurturing and be bold, definitely empowering the girls and helping to push them into believing that they can accomplish much more than they think they can.
What piece of advice would you give to young women in the industry?
I very much believe in coaches. I’ve had a coach ever since five or six years ago and recommend that highly to others. Secondly, be yourself. That’s something I would tell everybody. The more that you find yourself and you find your truth in who you are, people will start attracting themselves to you.
I’m super passionate about the youth and letting you know that you can accomplish anything and don’t let the old school mentality and the old stories that are dying of people telling you that this is a man’s world and we don’t want you to succeed. That’s old! Let’s create a new story. We can accomplish whatever we want and we are very powerful. And if you’re not in the right company that allows for that space for you to be able to really be yourself and be the best self, there are many companies today that do empower that and believe in that, so maybe it’s not a good fit. You, yourself, are able to accomplish whatever you want, so dream big.
Kristin Messerli is the Managing Editor for Mortgage Women Magazine. She can be contacted at