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Ximena G. Vaca
|Alma mater||Texas State University|
|Occupation||Chairman & CEO Pinnacle Group|
|Years active||1996 - Present|
|Board member of||Comerica Inc Kohl's Corporation Cinemark Holdings|
Nina Vaca is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and civic leader. She is best known as the chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group, which was named the Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Business in the United States in 2015 and 2018. She currently serves as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) through the United States Department of Commerce and sits on the boards of three publicly traded companies. Vaca is part of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows, from the Aspen Institute, a new generation of leaders to positively impact society. The story of Nina Vaca and Pinnacle Group opens the Entrepreneur chapter of the McGraw-Hill textbook, "Understanding Business". Vaca is part of the 100 CEO Leaders in STEM publication by STEMconnector, in an effort to identify, showcase, and honor STEM leadership.
In 2017, Vaca was named a Woman of Distinction by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and honored as a Trailblazing Woman in Labor and Business by the National Women's History Project. Vaca has been recognized as one of the top 100 most influential and notable Hispanic Professionals in the Information Technology Industry by the Hispanic IT Executive Council.
Early life and education
Vaca was born in Quito, Ecuador and is the third of parents Amanda and Hernan Vaca's five children. The family spent the majority of Vaca's childhood living in Los Angeles, California where her parents owned several small businesses and encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit in Vaca and her siblings. The family moved to Texas in 1990 following Hernan Vaca's death. Vaca credits her mother's example as being a major influence on Vaca, and a key reason for her strong civic involvement.
Vaca began college at Texas State University shortly after relocating to Texas and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and a minor in business administration. She later completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School – Corporate Governance Executive Program, Tuck School of Business, and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Vaca was named a Distinguished Alumna of Texas State University in 2012, and was the youngest alumna in university history to be honored with this award. Vaca also holds honorary doctorates from Northwood University, Mount Mary University, and Berkeley College.
Vaca began working at a young age in her family's businesses. Following their father's death, she and her sister, Jessica, ran his travel agency to prepare it for sale. After college graduation, Vaca moved to New York City to begin work in the IT industry and then relocated to Dallas, Texas to work at Computer Development Services, Inc.
In 1996, Vaca founded Pinnacle Group with $300. What started out as a one-woman IT staffing business grew to become the fastest-growing women-owned business in the United States in 2015 and 2018 with a gross revenue of around $1 billion.
Civic leadership and philanthropy
President Obama appointed Vaca as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) in 2014. The goal of the program is to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad. In this capacity, Vaca traveled with Secretary of State Penny Pritzker to Ghana in May 2014 to promote entrepreneurship globally. Vaca served as chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 2010 to 2012.
In July 2018, Vaca was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Javier Palomarez, former president of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Palomarez claims Vaca orchestrated a campaign to destroy his reputation because he ended an alleged affair between the two. Vaca has denied the charges and filed a motion to have the case dismissed.
As a PAGE Ambassador, Vaca has spoken at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley. She also participated as a panelist at the Women's Business Enterprise National Council's Conference and Business Fair, which Pinnacle co-chaired. Vaca was invited to speak at the Milken Institute's 2016 Global Conference, and at the Inc. Magazine 5000 Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018.
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- Markelz, Michelle. "Nina Vaca: Reaching for a Pinnacle". Hispanic Executive. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "100 CEO Leaders in STEM" (PDF). STEM connector.
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- Pabst, Georgia. "New U.S. Hispanic Chamber chair to give commencement". Latino Connection. Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Abril, Danielle. "Cover Story: The DBJ Interview with Pinnacle Group's Nina Vaca". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Kohl's. "Nina G. Vaca Elected to Kohl's Corporation Board of Directors". BusinessWire. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- Cinemark. "Cinemark Holdings, Inc. Announces New Board Members". Cinemark. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Castellanos, Melissa. "Nina Vaca, CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources, Champions Entrepreneurship Worldwide". Latin Post. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Jean, Sheryl. "Dallas' Nina Vaca named chairwoman for U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Scandal surrounding alleged extramarital affair of former U.S. Hispanic Chamber leaders from Dallas moves into court". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "Vaca, Nina". ges2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- "PAGE Video Series: Pinnacle Technical Resources' Nina Vaca". GES2016.
- "Nina Vaca Co-Chair". wbenc. Retrieved 25 July 2016.