Dr. Xellex Z. Rivera also known as “Dr. X”, a native of the Bronx, New York, and a graduate of Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY, with a double Master’s Degree in Counseling and Mental Health Counseling. A proud HBCU graduate, Xellex attended Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC with a major in Liberal Arts, English. Initially, with the dream of becoming a journalist, Xellex quickly realized her life calling was going in another direction. In 2019, she was conferred her third Master's Degree from Walden University in Philosophy. Xellex previously worked as the Senior Director of Homeless Programs at Urban Resource Institute, New York, NY. Her primary clients were families with children that are struggling with homelessness, as well as being severely mentally ill or drug-addicted. She completed her doctoral work at Walden University with a concentration in Social Policy Analysis & Plan. Featured in Forbes Women and on Bronx Network, her dissertation, “Experiences of Long-Term Stay Among Homeless Millennials in New York City Shelters”, explored the experiences of long-term stay millennials, 25 to 34 years of age, residing in single adult NYC shelters to understand how they explain and interpret their extended stays.
Xellex is motivated to work to advocate and develop programming for vulnerable populations – particularly the homeless in NYC. Her work has also been featured on Fox News, CBS News, and NBC News. Xellex is a published contributing author of the Ministry that Impacts book released by the Re-Thinking Church Summit. Xellex continues to educate and facilitate workshops on homelessness in NYC. In addition to her work, Xellex is an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching a trans-continental course between the New Jersey and Vancouver, Canada campuses.
Raised by a single mother, Xellex is a quick learner and has an unyielding drive to be successful. Following her favorite bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13), Xellex does not believe in the word “No” and works until she has what she wants. Growing up in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Xellex is no stranger to hard work, dedication and has been involved in numerous positions. Currently, she serves as a member of the Connectional Young Adult in Christian Ministries (YACM) and Eastern Region YACM Chairperson. She is also an active member of the Tau Upsilon Alpha National Honor Society and serves as the President of the Alpha Chi chapter, the National Society for Leadership and Success Honor Society, International Association of Women (IAW), and Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity – Alpha Theta Lambda Chapter, which includes members such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In May 2016, Xellex decided to stop procrastinating and develop her mentorship organization with the hopes of launching a city-wide mentorship program. With the undertone name of Caterpillar Girls, Inc. and under the umbrella of the Rivera Sister’s Foundation – Xellex started a Women’s Empowerment Seminar/Organization entitled #iAmSHE. This non-profit organization prides itself on the advancement of minority women and girls. With the devoted mission to provide a holistic approach and mentorship to bring women and girls together to build positivity and strength. With the succession of the #iAmSHE Women’s Empowerment Conference, the organization has gone from 25 women to 75+ women – with the anticipation to continue to grow. Traveling state to state to promote the message of Sisterhood, Healing & Empowerment – through personal mentoring, transparency, and motivation. #iAmSHE is more than a brand, it is a model towards a positive lifestyle.