Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon is a co-author, international speaker, consultant, and school social worker, inspiring and motivating individuals at local, state, and national levels. With over 20 years of experience, she’s dedicated herself to improving the lives of school-aged populations through advocacy, providing interventions and services to thousands at risk of educational failure.
Terriyln has held numerous leadership roles, including being elected as SSWAA’s 2023 President, the first Georgian and African American in this role. She’s a certified School Social Worker and trainer in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Mental Health First Aid, suicide prevention, and more. As a national/international presenter and co-author, she covers topics such as human trafficking, mental health, trauma-informed practices, and DEIB.
In May 2023, she received recognition in “Who’s Who in America” and co-authored “No More Bread Crumbs Sis.” Terriyln’s impact spans across education, social work, and advocacy.
Dr. Rivers-Cannon, a distinguished figure in Social Work, has received multiple recognitions. She was honored during Black History Month by the GA. Department of Human Services and GA. Department of Family & Children Services. In 2021, she received the Unsung Heroine Award from the 100 Black Women of Metro Atlanta and featured on FOX, NBC, and CBS News.
Her exceptional leadership in education was acknowledged when she was named the 2019 National School Social Worker, the first female African American and Georgia recipient, recognized by School Superintendent Richard Woods in 2020. Dr. Rivers-Cannon was also inducted into the Hall of Fame at Voorhees College.
She received accolades from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Florida State University’s “Distinguished Alumni Award” in Social Work Practice, and a special day proclamation from U.S. Representative Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr.
Dr. Rivers-Cannon is the Founder and CEO of “Soar with K.AT.I.E.,” a motivational speaking platform dedicated to Social Work, offering scholarships to students. She hosts “Dare To Soar with Dr. RC,” a syndicated radio/talk show on various platforms.
She ranks #5 among the Top 20 Social Work Podcasts nationally, collaborates on publications with organizations like the Georgia Department of Education, and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a military wife, and mother of two sons.
We had the amazing opportunity of sitting down with CEO/Author Dr. RC to discuss her entrepreneurial journey and plans for the future.
Think outside of business, books, and entrepreneurship—Who is Dr. Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon?
I am a visionary who is dedicated, determined, and resilient. I am also an ambitious, family-oriented individual who loves people and is always willing to help and assist.
You grew up in Savannah, Georgia. Can you tell me a little about the environment and how your city impacted who you are today as a creative leader?
Savannah is a city that some may consider as being a Southern Escape. It has cobblestone streets located right near the river, incredible parks for viewing and walking, breathtaking landscapes, and a rich history, not to mention the beautiful breeze that can be enjoyed as the sun begins to set. All this, along with my family, especially my paternal grandparents James and Hattie Mae Rivers, afforded me the encouragement needed to dream beyond the solar system.
You see, growing up on the West side and then moving to the South taught me the importance of looking beyond what was in front of me. My grandparents’ life lessons, along with the city’s view, taught me that it was perfectly fine to be different, as this is what makes us unique.
The leadership piece is attributed largely to my grandparents as they always displayed the meaning of true advocacy by being pillars of the community, extending a hand to those in need, and providing the guidance needed that enabled so many to clear a path for their true leadership calling.
In essence, allowing me to have a front-row seat to what it truly means to answer the call for action with tenacity and fidelity.
You have spent decades impacting the lives of school-aged students. Can you tell us how you got your start in the education field?
As I begin to reflect before responding to this question, I am silently smiling to myself. I do this while realizing that my formal introduction honestly emerged right before my eyes without me even realizing it.
Educational seeds were laid by my Uncle Dr. Stanley Rivers and Aunt Katie Mae Rivers Tindal, both educators who held positions that began with teaching and extended into administration on the K-12 and collegiate levels.
The planting began with droplets of language being introduced, leading to engaging questions being asked while I was being taught Driver’s Education (smile). This, of course, led to long conversations in my grandparents’ garage sitting area that caused me to be drawn in, as my inquisitive mind took over with an overwhelming desire to obtain more knowledge about the field of Education and Social Work.
Life has a way of coming full circle before you can even realize it, like having an awakening. One drew me in, and the other drove it home so much that it led to a profession that I passionately love today—the field of Social Work.
You have served in several leadership roles over the years. How has each one prepared you to lead and run your own business effectively?
Each leadership role has allowed me to continuously expand my knowledge and growth opportunities, to gain knowledge that enhances my future goals and objectives, guiding me in my path to open and expand individual minds across this country both nationally and internationally.
You have now written several books. Can you share what message remains true within the pages of all your books?
Being a co-author and having the opportunity to write various articles allows me to share knowledge and truth. This exchange provides awareness to many who may have similar reflective thoughts but are afraid to ask the question. Giving context that can be later researched or even being transparent in my journey helps thousands realize that they are not alone, nor do they have to live or feel ashamed about current, past, or present experiences. Many can embrace the unknown by asking for help or support, and that is what is considered growth and courage.
Looking back over your successful career, what would you say has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
My greatest accomplishment thus far would be that God continues to grant me grace by allowing me to guide, uplift, and empower individuals through my various platforms. This is done by inviting many to participate in an opportunity to share their stories, talent, expertise, and voices.
What message do you hope women take away from your platform?
I hope that all women will take with them a message that says it is perfectly fine to embrace your dreams and remove your fears, to stand tall and up for what you believe in, to speak your truth because it may help other women who are afraid, uncertain, or just fearful of coming from behind the curtain. Also, to never allow anyone to tell them that they do not deserve to utilize their voices by pulling up a seat at the table where innovative and creative ideas are discussed every day on all levels across the globe.
Tell us about your talk show “Dare to Soar with Dr. RC.” What can women expect when tuning in?
“Dare To Soar with Dr. RC” is a syndicated radio talk show that airs every Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. EST. During the show’s hour-long broadcast, I, along with my guests, will share real-life and research-based information that impacts educational success on the local, state, national, and international levels. Opportunities are given for discussions and open dialogue to be obtained through techniques and resources, along with delivering information about appropriate interventions related to services that help youth/young adults who are at risk for educational failures. Additionally, I share invaluable lessons learned through my work experiences.
What is next for you and your brand?
I am continuously building a national and international program that removes the stigma of mental health and encourages individuals to embrace the unknown. I’m writing a memoir that encourages individuals across the nation who may have previously or are currently traveling the very same road to understand that all hope has not been lost. My goal is to let individuals know that everyone has an opportunity to turn things around, often reminders must be given about how important it is to “Keep Moving Forward.” I would also love to have international billboard advertisements and be offered my very own Netflix show.
How can readers support your mission?
Readers can support my mission by donating to my scholarship, Soar with K.A.T.I.E. (Karing Actions Towards Inspiring Eagles) Scholarship, that allows both BSW and MSW students to obtain funding that decreases the cost of financial obligations while attending college. They can also purchase college items via Amazon that will be transformed into gift baskets/College Care packages for students preparing to up their college dorm rooms. Furthermore, I appreciate support on my national/international speaking platform.
What words of encouragement/inspiration do you have for the next group of entrepreneurs?
Never be afraid to allow yourself to “Dare To Soar” by reaching for new heights. Allow yourself to reach beyond the solar system because it offers endless opportunities when you allow yourself to dream, imagine, and visualize.
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?
A Pretty Woman Who Hustles is a woman who is determined and ambitious, recognizing the importance of taking care of her physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional well-being. These women should know and understand that it is okay to pause, but it is critical to their future well-being to never stop moving forward. There is a blessing on the other side of through.
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