In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, I’m putting Nina Vaca on the spotlight. Nina Vaca, whom others often describe as a “master of success,” is a Latina trailblazer empowering Latinas in business. With resilience to lead with courage, as well as an unwavering commitment to inspire the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs, Vaca embodies what many Latinas aspire to accomplish – a seat at the corporate table.
“Women are not just giving birth to CEOs; they will be the next CEOs” is a phrase that Vaca succinctly noted during the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (USHCC) recent annual convention.
Vaca, USHCC Chair Emeritus and Chair and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources, delivered compelling remarks at the Women in Business & Leadership Luncheon, where she urged Latinas to reach unimaginable heights and repeatedly reminded us that Latinas are the “drivers of the 21st Century economy.”
Vaca emphatically applauded women’s entrepreneurial growth in the last few decades. Indeed, if women-owned businesses were part of their own country, they would have the fifth-largest gross domestic product on the globe.She was also vocal about the stark lack of diversity in corporate boardrooms, especially when it comes to Latina representation.
When a mere one percent of Latinas are in managerial level positions in businesses they do not own, this serves as a glaring reminder that Latinas are not even making it to the corporate boardroom.
Vaca pledged to support programs to empower and mentor the next generation of Latina entrepreneurs. Although women overall haveincreased their economic participation, specifically in the labor force, opportunities for them still lag well behind that of men. These factors play a significant role in the wealth and opportunity divide.
The lack of representation of women in influential decision-making positions is woefully inadequate. Women – regardless of ethnicity – make up nearly half of the labor force, but only 1.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are Latino.
As one of the most accomplished Latina entrepreneurs, Vaca understands the importance of having a Latina voice at the corporate table.
Vaca’s commitment to empower Latina women is extraordinary. Her efforts will incentivize the next wave of Latina entrepreneurs, corporate boardroom executives, and other high-ranking business leaders who will not only give birth to CEOs, but be the CEOs themselves.
- Wendy Rivera is a Staff Attorney and Director of Hispanic Affairs for Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, where she focuses on telecommunications issues that have the greatest impact on the Hispanic Community. She is also the Executive Director of the Multicultural Education Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on increasing student achievement and improving educational opportunities for students. You can follow her on twitter: @WendyRivera_3 and @MEA_Org.