You’d never think of an Albertson’s Supermarket as the place to meet your future wife, but that’s what happened in 2002 when former Denver Bronco, media personality, motivational speaker, author and respected community advocate, Reggie Rivers serendipitously happened to be shopping at the same time as his wife to be Stephanie. Needless to say, the attraction was immediate, and Reggie and Stephanie Rivers are now living a fruitful and busy life raising their 8 year old son Malik.
The kind, polite and extremely smart Mr. Rivers can morph from serious to seriously funny quickly… You can see his comic side when he is hosting a nonprofit event – or just see the attached video!
Having the right attitude and a great work ethic has always been a big part of who Rivers is. Sharon Cooper, friend and publicist says: “Reggie is one of the most decent, honest, sincere and genuine people you would want to know. He is a hard worker who believes that people are basically good - and he looks for, and brings out, the good in others. Reggie is a 20 on a scale of 1-10!”
Reggie has written five thought-provoking, highly diversified books and is excited about his latest book, “The Colony – A Political Tale.” He’s also totally psyched about his newest business venture “Automated Flipcards.”
Reggie should be considered a role model for all young athletes. They could learn from him about broadening your horizons beyond professional sports. Knowing that sports might not always be a viable option for you in life, Reggie encourages people to develop all their talents and interests and then seize the good opportunities as they come your way.
Football hasn’t been what defines him, and he’s not stuck in the (as wonderful as they are) memories of his six year football career with the Denver Broncos. Reggie’s other passions have always included writing and public speaking – and now being a great father and husband.
Reggie Rivers, because of your positive attitude and how you live your life, you have become everything you hope to be remembered for.
Reggie, which nonprofits have you worked with through the years? I’ve supported numerous charitable organizations including D.A.R.E, the ACLU, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Colorado Center for the Book, United Way, Kiwanis, Rotary, American Red Cross, Partners Inc., The Children’s Hospital of Denver, Punts with a Purpose, Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, American Heart Association, Food Bank of the Rockies, the Hospice of Saint John - among others.
When did you first have an idea that football might be the sport for you? I really didn’t think that much about playing in the NFL. After college, I was encouraged to try out as a running back with the Denver Broncos; and I was considered a free agent long shot. Every year for six years, I worked hard and fought for my place with the team. All along though, I had an affinity for the power of the written word and writing and speaking became my primary passion.
What sports do you partake in now? Cycling.
One of your first jobs in journalism was writing obituaries for the San Antonio Light. You were such a young man at the time, was it difficult doing that? You were put into an uncomfortable situation dealing with grieving families who just lost a loved one. It did teach me a lot about life and was good training for other writing jobs to come.
What is your favorite childhood memory? The day I took my driver’s license test. I remember my dad giving me a pep talk about how everyone has to pass this test to move forward in life; and I realized that it was my first true accomplishment that would open the door to independence and freedom - because I could go out and do things on my own.
How much do you credit your parents with helping you become successful? I appreciate them so much for their consistency, guidance and commitment to raising five children with values. They never took a day off and taught us that how you chose to respond to challenges could have consequences. How they had the energy to raise five kids blows me away! I thought I invented my speaking style, but I realized I’m actually mimicking my dad who is a minister in Georgia.
You created two speaking programs: “Overcoming Obstacles” and “Dare to be a Leader.” How has the current economy changed your speaking approach to your groups? Because there are so many out there looking for jobs, struggling and in need of feedback, the message has become more relevant because it is so competitive out there. People now want to know immediately what to do to stand out among other applicants. I still base my programs on the importance of focus, attitude and effort.
Besides your family, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I'd say authoring five books is my greatest accomplishment. It takes a lot of commitment, writing, re-writing, writing, re-writing, writing and re-writing to publish a book. I'm proud to have survived that process five times.
How did the idea for the book – your first - about former Bronco teammate Vance Johnson “The Vance: The Beginning and The End” come about? Vance and I were workout partners during the 1993 off-season workout program, and he told me a lot of amazing stories about things that he'd done in his life. One day, I said, "Have you ever thought about writing a book?" He said, "Yes, I've thought about it many times." I said, "How about if I write it for you?" And that's how I embarked on my first book.
You are quite the prolific writer. Tell us about your latest book: “The Colony – A Political Tale.” It’s an allegorical satire about two warring ant colonies where the more powerful colony dominates the weaker one. It gives you a new perspective of our own global community and how we might improve it. You can get the book by going to my website: www.reggierivers.com
Aside from family, who do your most look up to and admire, and why? I deeply admire President Barack Obama. I'm not in love with all of his politics. I agree with some of the things that he's done, but disagree with a lot of it--particularly regarding the economy. But as a human being, as an educated, accomplished, ambitious person, as a thinker, as a speaker, as a husband, as a father, and as a leader President Obama is a rare individual. He's an amazing human being. Whether he turns out to be an amazing president is still to be seen, but as a human, he is truly inspirational to me.
What is something we will never see you buying in to? Politics. I dislike what it has become, but love the process of governance.
If you could go back and do something differently, what would it be? Nothing. Obviously I’ve made mistakes, but I believe your path in life is unique, and if you changed even one thing, you wouldn’t be where you are right now. I love my family, my house, my career and my life. All my experiences have brought me here today.
If you ran the world, what is the first thing you would change? I’d get rid of all the mind-numbing politics.
Oprah Winfrey says: "Things don't happen by accident, there is always a reason or purpose." What are your thoughts on this? I somewhat agree, but not totally. We are humans and can turn any event into a lucky accident.
Tell us about your new computer project “Automated Flipcards” that is really catching on? It’s a data integration tool for maintaining college football and basketball information that is handed out in the press box. They have been done manually, and now with our automated, web-based application, we can upload all of the data with ease and fewer errors. Our first client was the University of Colorado and then came, Howard University, Utah and Colorado State University. It’s really catching on, and there is lots of interest out there.
What's a typical day for Reggie Rivers these days? I’m working out of my home on “Automated Flipcards” from around 8 to 5 programming and talking on Skype with clients. Then I take time to be with my family and play with my son until he goes to bed. After that, I may continue to work until 2 a.m. I’m really excited about this new company! I still fill in at CBS Channel 4 and do some reporting for the Mountain Sports Network.
Reggie, in our conversation, we talked about the differences between someone’s legacy and how one is remembered by others. So how do you want to be remembered – and what will be your legacy? I want to be remembered as a nice person and a good, smart, kind human being. My son is my legacy, and everything we are teaching him is similar to what my father taught me. What I do as a husband and father is important because he’s watching everything I do every day. He will try to imitate what he sees. I always remember I have a son, so being a respectful, considerate person is how I always want to carry myself.