Latinidad DFW: How Nina Vaca’s ‘learner’ mindset allowed her to build a multi-million dollar company from humble beginnings

Hispanic Heritage Month

Nina Vaca’s business started from humble beginnings, as so many do. She started in her living room with a couple of hundred bucks and is now the CEO of Pinnacle Group, one of the largest IT staffing firms in the world.

Vaca says she was destined to be an entrepreneur, however.

She is the child of immigrants, her parents having moved to the U.S. from Ecuador. And it’s her parents she says that showed her how to be successful in life and business. “In very short order, they recognized that entrepreneurship was their vehicle to the American dream,” she says. Vaca also attributes her mother with instilling in her a sense of civic leadership and entrepreneurship.

It’s from this foundation that Vaca developed what she considers a vital component to her success. Being the CEO of a multi-million dollar IT staffing firm requires not only the technical knowledge but also the know-how to run such a large business.

How did she get both of those skills? From what she calls a learner mindset. But even with the right outlook, it hasn’t been easy for Vaca as she grew her company. “It hasn’t come easy, particularly when you join an industry where you don’t see people that look like you,” she says.

Vaca acknowledges the importance of role models, saying her own motto is ‘see it, be it’.

The business road itself has often been tough, as Vaca dealt with business hardships over and over. Not to mention the rejection experienced when trying to get new customers and clients. Again, she attributes her weathering these challenges to her ‘learner’ mindset, as opposed to a ‘knower’ mindset.

She says “that learner mindset really prevented us from ever giving up.”

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