By SHIRLEY J. VELASQUEZ
For Nina Vaca, the CEO of Dallas-based Pinnacle Technical Resources, a $650 million staffing and IT service provider to Fortune 500 companies, success means seeing other Latinas at the table.
At 25, the Ecuadorian immigrant launched Pinnacle from her living room floor where she made her first client calls. With only $300 in savings and a few years’ experience at a tech firm under her belt, Vaca built the company from the ground up.
Years later, with two infants only 16 months apart, it would have been easy to quit when Pinnacle hit hard times after 9/11. Her peers advised her to liquidate. Instead, she bought out her business partner and changed her company’s strategy. “I’m just a little bit stubborn,” she says. “I have a failure-is-not-an-option attitude.”
In 2010, Vaca, a devoted member of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was named its first female chairman in a decade. Change came swiftly. The Chamber became a major influencer—it now represents Latino businesses that generate over $468 billion in revenue—and was even invited to the White House last year to co-host the first ever Hispanic Business Leaders Forum!
Vaca, a 42-year-old mother of four, sits on the board of Kohl’s and Comerica Bank. And she longs to see more women in strategy meetings. Last September, Vaca (who is now Chairman emeritus) and the Chamber kicked off At the Table, an initiative to help Latina professionals find mentors, create a network, and secure business funds. “If we aren’t providing resources or examples, how can we leverage Latina women’s influence into something meaningful? I want o badly for it to be a perception that we are an asset to this country.”
To learn more about At The Table, please visit www.ushccfoundation.org