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Nina Vaca, fourth from right, with the honorees at the AL DÍA Women's Summit on Nov. 2, 2018. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick / AL DÍA News
Nina Vaca, fourth from right, with the honorees at the AL DÍA Women's Summit on Nov. 2, 2018. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick / AL DÍA News

Nina Vaca: Leading the way and doing her part

Nina Vaca shared the power of her personal triumphs and struggles as they have formed her professional journey in her speech at the AL DÍA Women's Summit. 

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Nina Vaca, CEO and Chairperson, Pinnacle Group, talked about her personal and professional story — and the ways in which those two are inherently intertwined — during her keynote speech at the AL DÍA Women’s Summit in Philadelphia, PA, on Nov. 2.

Vaca, who has found success heading Pinnacle Group, the fastest-growing woman-owned company in the nation, emphasized throughout her speech the ways in which the struggles, accomplishments, and growth of her company were intertwined with the personal challenges and joys that have made her who she is.

Vaca noted that her path as an entrepreneur, in some ways, first began with the death of her father, when she was 17-years-old — “the worst day of my life,” Vaca said.

In the face of that struggle, she became focused on a college education, which she saw as the best way to be able to support her family, who immigrated to California from Ecuador when she was a child.

Through ups and downs in founding Pinnacle Group, her own global IT acquisition and workforce solutions company, as well as the birth of her four children, the financial struggles of her company in the wake of the national tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and a major health crisis, Vaca has never stopped focusing on her role as both an entrepreneur and a leader capable of giving back to others and advocating for Latina women and all women in the corporate and entrepreneurial world.

“You know that you have to bring your best self,” said Vaca of being an immigrant in the United States.

Her desire to give back, to ensure she serves as a mentor and supports others, is something she said is rooted in her mother’s guidance and wisdom — a wisdom encapsulated in what her mother told Vaca in the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck her native Ecuador in 2016.

Her mother asked her what she was going to do about those suffering from the earthquake. Though Vaca protested that she was one person in the face of a massive national catastrophe, her mother told her to not worry about putting the whole country on her back; instead, she just needed to “do her part.”

Vaca responded by using her passion for triathlons to work with others to fundraise enough money to rebuild homes for 40 families in the town of Alegría in Ecuador. And, she said, it’s a lesson that applies to all of those gathered, as Latina leaders.

“I’m not asking you to put the Latino community on your back,” Vaca told the nearly 50 attendees gathered at the AL DÍA Women’s Summit. “I’m asking you to do your part.”

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