Nina Vaca

Nina Vaca’s Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success

Walking a virtual mile in Nina Vaca’s path to success and her personal rulebook is the value we gained from our Business Acceleration 2.0 event on Thursday morning.

Nina Vaca covered how she launched her extraordinary career, plus her entrepreneurial and charitable work, which all lead her to be an inspiration to countless entrepreneurs today. She offered GLO members insight into her own journey to success and her personal rulebook on how she made that happen.

Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success

In 1996, Nina Vaca started her company, Pinnacle Group, with just $300. It is now one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Vaca credits her “first big break” to growing up in the United States. She views America as a unique “country that supports and embraces entrepreneurship.” As immigrants, Vaca’s parents were deeply involved in their community and incredibly entrepreneurial. Upon moving to the United States, they started their own businesses, which “was the vehicle to their American dream.” Vaca has modeled her own company after the values they set for her: resilience, hard work, and discipline.

With GLO’s founder, Michelle Lemmons-Poscente facilitating the interview, we learned Vaca’s second key to success is having an unwavering support system to rely on in the process of building a business. For Vaca and Poscente, it was about marrying the right person. They both stressed that having someone who believes in you helps greatly to balance the difficulty and pressure of entrepreneurship. Her other advice was to find a community to support you, such as GLO. GLO provides entrepreneurs with a safe environment to find like-minded peers and to get feedback on their work.

How Small Businesses Best Face Adversity

Over Vaca’s 24 year journey of developing her business and brand, she has faced numerous challenges. She developed four steps for entrepreneurs to face adversity in their business.

1. Be a Realist

Vaca’s first business advice is to be transparent in difficult times. In the absence of information, people are inclined to believe anything. Therefore, Vaca’s core advice is to be grounded in reality to maintain external security and faith in your company.

2. Respond, Don’t React

In challenging situations, Vaca encourages entrepreneurs who want to grow their business; never react, respond. “The moment between the stimulation and the response can give you so much freedom… on how you can respond.” You have to discipline yourself in order to think strategically.

3. Have Unwavering Commitment to the Future

A leader must be able to have faith that better days are ahead. Vaca states that she has used this to get through any crisis in her life. This especially applies to your company. You have to know what your vision is and commit to it.

4. Adapt and Transform

The one thing you can depend on is change. Because of this, you have to be able to adapt to your new company and new future and stop looking at the past.

Customer Retention and Value-Based Partnerships

Pinnacle’s integral achievement to their success is customer retention. Vaca’s number one business rule is to “be crazy good at what you do.” As such, she always strives to do more than what she’s asked and has integrated that into her business model.

Pinnacle doesn’t call their customers “customers,” they call them partners. It’s not enough to deliver the product you’re providing, you have to give more in order to create a partnership. At the core of this is a values-based approach. First, you have to align your values, and then second, you have to engage in multiple layers of business together. Once you mobilize people around the same sentiment, you’re able to keep customers for decades.

Pinnacle’s Talent Platform

“One thing Covid has done is solidified that corporations moving forward will have the most distributed workforce they have ever had.” To address this, Vaca has created a private talent cloud called Progata to allow her customers to create a distributive platform to connect with candidates and employees. The platform streamlines a given company’s hiring process and is incredibly useful in an online world.

Happening “To Us or For Us?”

In terms of the pandemic, Pinnacle has moved completely online. Vaca views this as an incredible opportunity to do things they never thought possible. She never thought she would be able to move her entire company online overnight. However, the pandemic encouraged a tremendous improvement in creativity with her team. Vaca posed this question to Pinnacle: Is this happening to us, or for us? She looked for the silver lining and has found incredible opportunities for adaption and development.

Scaling Your Business

Vaca wouldn’t want to change anything about her journey. “Who I am is a compilation of everything I’ve learned in my life.” She wants entrepreneurs to know that they are part of something bigger than themselves. They are part of the economic engine that runs this country. Vaca stressed that there is no secret to scaling a business. There are tools, such as GLO, that will help you succeed. All you need to do is make the commitment.

If you’re interested to learn more, join GLO to watch Nina Vaca’s full interview.


Samantha Braffman

Samantha Braffman is a Philadelphia based writer for Global Leaders Organization. She is also an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, working towards a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English.

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