Nina Vaca is the founder, chairperson, and CEO of Pinnacle Group, the largest Latina-owned IT Staff Augmentation and Managed Services provider in the country. Pinnacle delivers workforce solutions across the telecommunications, financial services, transportation, and technology industries in the United States and internationally.
Vaca, who also serves on the DRC Board of Directors, talks career and the biggest challenges facing women in the DRC’s on-going Q&A series for Women’s History Month.
What female figures have had the biggest influence on your life?
The women in my family are incredible and have made a big impact on my life. My mother immigrated to the U.S. as a young newlywed and became a lifelong entrepreneur and civic leader. My aunt also became an entrepreneur in Ecuador, which in many ways, is more difficult than doing it in the U.S. My sisters have also become entrepreneurs, and my cousin came to the U.S. after college and is now a senior executive in a large corporation. These women continue to inspire me because I know all the challenges they’ve fought through along the way.
What are the biggest challenges facing women today, and what can employers do to help their female leaders excel professionally?
The impact of the pandemic on women leaders has been significant and disproportionate due to the role women naturally take on as caregivers. Whether it has been caring for children at home or elderly parents, many women have been carrying that additional responsibility for the past two years. The best thing employers can do is support us. We want these responsibilities, and we want to do our jobs, too. Flexible schedules, working from home, and expanded benefits packages are all helpful, but most importantly, we want our peers to understand and embrace our dual role as both leaders and caregivers. We can do both!
What is the one piece of advice you wish you received before you started your career?
Be bold. Entrepreneurship is difficult. It completely takes over your life in ways that are both wonderful and very challenging. It’s important to take chances. I don’t know where I’d be today had I never pursued entrepreneurship. Also, remember that family comes first. My family and my business are inextricably linked, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you could write you autobiography, what would its title be, and why?
“Crazy Good!” It’s my heartfelt message to other entrepreneurs and women leaders. It’s my way of trying to give them the freedom to not only be great, but to inject their own personal craziness into whatever it is they do. None of us will ever be exactly like anyone else, so don’t fight who you are. It’s only by embracing our true selves that greatness will follow.