Author:Jordan, Judi
Position::Cover story

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Nina Vaca's legendary optimism is real, intense, and highly contagious. Genetically wired for success and coded for brilliance, this sparkling leader, triathlete, benefactor, mentor, scholar, mother of four, immigrant, presidential ambassador, and CEO of her thriving information technology services corporation, reconfigured the paradigm for achievement on her own terms. Vaca never held a corporate job, nor did anyone in her family; she grew up in a busy hive of entrepreneurs. "I came from a family of entrepreneurs; you could argue that it's all I've ever known. I grew up thinking that's what you do--you build your own company! It's my 'safe space!'"

The ultimate outsider made good, Vaca created her own mega corporation. Having discovered her calling early in life, twenty-one years in, Nina is very serious about Latinos accessing their destinies. "We have to create wealth in our communities where wealth does not exist. There are Hispanics in the C Suite, just not enough of us. There are Hispanics on corporate boards but again, not enough. There are Hispanic entrepreneurs but they're not scaling."

"Often times as I was climbing and finding success I was the youngest and the 'only,' I looked around and said it's not enough to be the 'only' or 'the first,' to me that is not acceptable. The higher we climb and the more opportunities we see at the table, the more I want my community to be there."

"The more successful Pinnacle becomes, the more opportunity, and frankly, the more bandwidth and financial ability I have to give back. What I do at Pinnacle feeds my family, but what I do in the community feeds my soul."

The Vaca family bond is tight, full of wisdom, moral support, and patriotism.

"My parents ingrained in our minds, that yes, we are immigrants to this country, but we need to give our best to this country. My dad worked three jobs, he parked cars; he had a night job and an afternoon job ... we were your classic immigrant family in LA." Nina's mother was a role model; Nina witnessed the power and strength in numbers. Now when she launches a big project she gathers her 'troops.' "I've been like that all my life, I'm the daughter of a real grassroots activist! All I ever saw my mother do growing up was gathering people together, inspiring them, taking action. It's in my DNA. I'm happiest when I know that I'm helping people. To me, this is how you build a legacy."

My secret to success? "I never do anything by...

To continue reading