Meet Our Diversity-in-Marketing Cannabis Marketing Intern, Erick Rivera

Grasslands’ Diversity-in-Marketing (DiM) program deepens our commitment to attract, develop and retain high-potential talent through internship opportunities for students and recent graduates who identify as being a part of historically underrepresented groups in the marcom industry. 

This program was inspired by our founder Ricardo Baca’s own diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)-focused internship at the Rocky Mountain News in 1995, which provided him with not only real-world journalism experience but a life-changing opportunity to develop a professional network. 

Because getting one’s foot in the door for a chosen vocation is challenging, this unique program offers a chance for young professionals to gain invaluable experience working in a fast-paced agency while building new relationships in the marcom space. Now, our first two DiM interns are settling in at Grasslands’ new Denver office, learning what it means to excel at both marketing and PR. Let’s get to know our new Cannabis Marketing intern, Erick Rivera.

Tell us about yourself—where you grew up, where you went to school and how you landed here at Grasslands?

I was born in Phoenix, but raised in the Denver area. I went to high school in Aurora, Colorado, at Smoky Hill High (go Buffs!), then went to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I studied Marketing and Business Administration at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder (a buff-4-life, SKO BUFFS!). 

I was drawn to the internship because of the intention behind its creation. As a first-generation student I have noticed the shift in corporate conversations about social responsibility and it was important for me to work with an organization taking meaningful action in addressing inequities in its industry, like Grasslands is in the field of marketing.

What inspires you about a career in marketing?

I’m inspired by leveraging the use of evolving technology in an effort to ensure clients are using the right tools at the right time, as well as using storytelling to portray brands in the right light, to the right people.

We work via Aristotle’s Modes of Persuasion (Logos, Ethos and Pathos) at Grasslands. Which mode speaks to you in a unique way?

To me, the pathos or emotional aspect is my favorite because it has the most power over me. I believe that I can use my emotions as a buffer to gauge connections with others. While emotions are a powerful manifestation of ourselves they are only one part of the whole; I also recognize the importance of ethos and how establishing rapport and a moral standing can aid in emotional connection.

Tell us about one modern marketing campaign that resonated with you.

You Can’t Stop Us by Nike. It really highlights the power that the Nike brand has. There is no mention of any of their products, yet this ad still creates an emotional appeal that is relevant to the Nike audience. The cinematography does a great job of bridging differences between athletes and emphasizing the passion shared amongst them, staying true to the brand mission of empowering all kinds of athletes.

Grasslands is a journalism-minded agency™. What does that descriptor mean to you?

To me, this descriptor means working with intention and purpose to use sources and facts to tell a credible story. Grasslands has this intention.

What do you hope to gain from this internship?

I hope to gain comfort in real-world experiences, such as exchanging ideas with new colleagues or being confident enough to share my advice to a client. I’m also ready to get experience in tackling and navigating obstacles that may arise while working at a major agency. 

What do you hope to give via this internship?

I hope to add more perspective to an already open-minded organization, and to foster innovation with the cutting-edge tools still being taught to me while I finish school. I want to contribute to Grasslands’ culture and values of inclusivity, compassion and dignity in my own way.

Let’s think five years in the future: Where are you, and what are you doing?

In five years I hope to be in a full-time position at an agency or a brand with a mission that is centered around helping the environment and community. I hope to be financially successful enough to be self-reliant but also to help my mother purchase the home of her dreams, something she has been putting off since I have been in school

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