The Road Ahead, Part 11

Published: September 26, 2018

Written By: Hannah Dalla Riva

Have you ever been told that you wouldn’t ever amount to anything? Have you ever been told that your dream job wasn’t a real job? These are two things I’ve been told my whole life. I’m Hannah Dalla Riva, and I want you to know that your dreams will come true if you believe in yourself and work extremely hard.

I grew up in a very low-income family in Cleveland, Ohio. I was abused by both of my parents,

and when they told me “You’ll never amount to anything,” I thought it was true. It made me believe that I would always be living on welfare and not living the life I dreamed of. Growing up, I also constantly switched schools and got bullied by other kids. I was bullied so much to the point where I wanted to take my own life. I had been spit on, beat up and told to kill myself way too often.

 Although I had a lot of hurdles to overcome at a young age, I started finding my passion for sales. I used to wear a headband with a pipe cleaner and pretend that I was a sales agent. I even started calling people in the phone book to sell Hannah’s Plus Clothing—a business I created on a piece of paper. I would obviously always get hung up on. Then, I started making dog treats and phone cases and sold them on Instagram.

 A few days before I started high school, I moved to Charlotte with my grandmother. I didn’t know anyone and I was a shy girl with little confidence. I always had a hard time making friends and letting my voice be heard. I had a wonderful guidance counselor named Ms. Boeche, who supported me every step of the way throughout high school. She is like a mother to me and she’s the one who first recommended the Road to Hire program as a potential post-graduation path.

At that time, I was working long, stressful hours at a job that I knew wasn’t for me and I had to drop out of college for financial reasons. I felt like I had let everyone down, but I knew college wasn’t for me. Ms. Boeche had called me about some career and technical education classes I took in high school, and we talked about my next steps. On the phone she said, “Hannah you need to join Road to Hire. The program pays you to learn and you are guaranteed a job.” I honestly didn’t believe her, but she helped me apply and I was so worried about getting in. I would constantly email Chandler Martin – the program’s director – and annoy him with emails about how soon I could start. Chandler played a big role and helping me gain the confidence I needed.

 I started the Road to Hire program on May 29, 2018 at its Camp North End location. I was so nervous because I knew I had to stand out among the 17 classmates I had, and I sure did! I got invited to go to Coca Cola Consolidated during my first week to check out some awesome jobs that are offered there. Throughout the program, Road to Hire has helped me learn even more about some amazing companies that I could potentially work for. But since my heart was set on working at Red Ventures, I worked hard enough to get a job at the company.

 Throughout the program, I received so much great feedback to help my professional and personal growth. I always remind myself that I had to learn how to take risks and not be afraid. Before the program, I was never able to give a presentation or let my voice be heard. In high school, I would purposely miss school to avoid giving a presentation. Now, I can successfully give a presentation in front of 15 superiors without being super nervous. I’ve also met some amazing people, and even got a mentor!

 Without Road to Hire, I have no idea where I would be today. I finally feel confident and know that there’s much more success in my future. The program has changed my life completely, and has unleashed the powerful woman that I am today. In the future, my goal is to become a mentor, obtain a Master Sales Agent role at Red Ventures and eventually become a Road to Hire instructor. The program has completely changed my life, and I would love to be a part of changing someone else's life too.

 If you believe in yourself and work hard enough, you too can make your childhood dreams come true.