Made in the 956: First Hispanic female CEO paves the way for young girls

By: Trey Serna

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At a young age, Cris Rivera knew she wanted to go into health care. But at that age, she didn't know just how far it was going to take her.

On this week's Made in the 956, find out how she's making history and paving the way for other young Hispanic girls across the Valley.

“I'm originally from Edinburg, Texas, so I'm a Valley girl, born and raised,” Rivera said.

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It was at a young age that Rivera knew what she wanted to do.

"Since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be in healthcare in one form or fashion,” Rivera said.

She made that dream come true. Rivera is currently the CEO of Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen.

"But an interesting story: My background is that back in 1982. when this hospital first opened its doors, I started working here as a lab supervisor,” Rivera said. “I then expanded my career, moved and worked in different markets, made a full circle and came back home 10 years ago."

Rivera is also the first Hispanic female executive to hold this position.

"I really never thought about it other than when I did get here, I realized the history of the hospital, and I knew at that time that there had not been a female executive for this hospital, and then much less a Hispanic executive, but thank goodness for the foresight of my mentors, of my HCA leaders that helped me along the way to achieve this position, and then gave me the opportunity to serve for the community that I love so much,” Rivera said.

The future is looking bright for Rivera, and the hospital.

"I worked in the Houston market for many years, so my vision here for the Rio Grande Valley is to bring Houston to the Valley as far as health care is concerned so that our people don't have to be traveling,” Rivera said. "We need to be able to continue providing quality care here, which we do, every day, but we also need to work on expanding that care. So that hopefully in doing so, my vision of bringing Houston to the Rio Grande Valley will come true."

And her advice for those wanting to follow in her footsteps?

"I think that the best advice is to listen to your heart and be able to pursue something that you really, really love," Rivera said. "And then when you realize that love and passion, then start to work on the needs to fulfill that dream, to fulfill that vision. Get a good education. That's what's extremely important. It's the best differentiator that anyone can have, a good education."

Cris Rivera: Made in the 956.


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