Jason and Tawnya Rivera Finding Clarity

Born into a life of extreme poverty, drug addiction, and abuse, Jason Rivera has had to overcome staggering circumstances to get to where he is today. His story is one of resilience, determination, and having the humility to seek help – even after years of perceived “success.” With the founding of his own brokerage, CLARITY Real Estate, in 2020, with his wife, Tawnya, Jason is enjoying perhaps the best times of his life today and is poised to reach even greater heights.
A first-generation mainland Puerto Rican, born and raised in The Bronx in New York City, Jason looked up to his mother, who raised him and his two brothers in a one-bedroom apartment for most of his life. Although his father was a brilliant musician, he was also addicted to drugs, absent most of the time, and very abusive when he was around.
“The peak of [my father’s] domestic violence resulted in my mother being so severely beaten that she was overcome with amnesia. She did not know who she or we were,” Jason said. “This lasted until my teenage years. As an early teen, I was fed up with the abuse. One day when my father got violent with my mother, I charged him. As a result, I got beat. The next time he got violent with my mother, I charged him again and this time we went blow for blow. He proved superior. This happened another time, yet I almost prevailed. This time I told him that he would not be stronger than me much longer and I would soon get the upper hand. He never laid a finger on my mother, siblings or me after that.”
From a young age, Jason was determined to break the cycle of poverty for his family. Ever the entrepreneur, when he was about 8 years old, he started a neighborhood movie business, hosting a movie night once a week. 
“I would advertise the movie and the day and time via word of mouth. For $1, each attendee would enjoy a movie, popcorn, and a drink. I would get on average about 20 kids per show. I would make $20 after spending only $5. Not a bad ROI,” he said, laughing. 
Jason has always been outgoing and has a gift for making people feel heard, understood, and appreciated. In high school, he was voted the Most Popular Male for the class of 1992. Upon graduation, he was drawn to the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith and decided to tour their world headquarters, which was in Brooklyn, NY.   
“During the tour, I felt this increasing sense of belonging, more of a calling,” he said. “I decided that this is where I belonged. I shelved my plans to go to college and started working towards serving at headquarters. A year later, after applying to serve as a full-time volunteer, I was invited to the Special Order. I took a vow of poverty and worked in the Building Maintenance Department of one of the factories for 4 years. It was the best 4 years of my life. Here is where my work ethic, professionalism, and integrity were refined. It was the training received at Watchtower that served as the foundation and catalyst to my future life’s successes.”
Jason’s first “corporate” job was at Sears Home Improvement, where he worked as an Assistant Project Coordinator. Within a couple of years, he had worked his way up to overseeing the Windows & Siding division for all of Northern California. At the height of his success, however, the Regional Manager for his part of the country resigned. In less than a year of the new Regional Manager taking over, Jason was let go from the company. 
With no formal education, Jason only qualified for entry-level positions despite his successful track record. Needing the same income potential as his previous position, he decided to enter real estate. He first started as a loan originator in 2004 in Sacramento. While he loved numbers and stats, he did not like being enclosed in an office, so he transitioned to sales. 
While Jason experienced some success during this time, having set himself apart by offering full home staging to all his clients, when the 2008 market crashed, he could not sustain this. Instead, he returned to being a Project Coordinator for the Interior Design Department of the largest California architectural firm. A few years later, he got a job as a certified Trilingual Sign Language Interpreter for a virtual telecommunications company. 
In 2009, Jason was looking to make a major change. One night, he and Tawnya were lying in bed and considering what part of the country they would be willing to move to. “For me, what was most important was to get away from the cold, period,” Jason said. “The company I was working for at the time had an opening at their Hawaii branch. I called the Branch Manager the next morning and was offered a position on the spot.” 
Two weeks later, Jason and Tawnya hopped on a plane with their two kids, Nian and Eliana, and arrived in Honolulu, despite never being here before and without having a place to live. They stayed at an Air BnB for a couple of nights and with a friend two other nights before they settled into a rental in Kaneohe. 
By 2012, Jason was ready to get back into real estate. He joined Locations and began to find success again. The turning point for him, however, came during the COVID-19 lockdown. He and Tawnya were going through a separation at the same time. With the lockdown, Jason had ample time to reflect on himself, his childhood traumas, the decisions he was making, and his trajectory in life. 
“I came to question my mental health,” he said. “Knowing the hereditary nature of addiction, I began to see how it was manifesting in my own life. My life was defined by periods of highs and lows, reflected in personal achievements and destructive behavior resulting from a complete loss of self-control on the high side, and major depression and attempts of suicide on the low end.”
After seeking professional help, Jason was diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder. The diagnosis began to give him the clarity to see why things were the way they were and how they had been. “Thankfully, as a result of medication and therapy, my character as a human being and my relationship as a husband and father began to change. It is now the best it has ever been,” he said.
In commemoration of this newfound clarity, Jason and Tawnya opened their brokerage, CLARITY Real Estate in 2020. As a husband-and-wife brokerage, they are committed to providing their clients with “a unique, red-carpet experience.” They are very hands-on and protective of the service they give. In fact, Jason said he is not interested in bringing on other agents to the brokerage, because he will not be able to guarantee their level of service will be the same.  “Our pledge to promote and protect the interests of our clients defines everything we do,” he said. 
When Jason and Tawnya are not working together, they enjoy having cocktails by their pool, entertaining at their home, enjoying the outdoors, and traveling.
After years of perseverance, hard worth, and courage, Jason and Tawnya are enjoying the best times of their lives. With their dedication to their clients and to each other, there is no doubt they will continue to achieve great things together for years to come.