On the Rise: Stories of Growth and Success from Texas Entrepreneurs

February 28, 2013 | 5:30PM - 8:30 PM
The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa, Houston,, TX
Being an entrepreneur is no easy task. Join Inc. and Spark Business from Capital One for a memorable night featuring three Inc.5000 CEOs, each with a unique story about how they run one of America's fastest-growing companies. Hear some of the best lessons and tips they learned about maintaining a work-life balance, adapting to emerging trends, standing out against competition, and simply doing business better.

Event Schedule and Transportation Information

Event Schedule:

Lobby Level

5:30pm - Registration Opens/Cocktail Reception & Networking
**Includes open bar and passed hors d'oeuvres**
Location: Grand Ballroom Foyer
6:30pm - Program Begins
Location: Grand Ballroom II
7:45pm - Free-form Networking
Location: Grand Ballroom Foyer
**Includes open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres**
8:30pm - Event Ends

Parking Information:

Complimentary Self-park: Four levels underneath and two large parking lots outside of hotel
Valet Parking: $15 per car
Driving to the hotel.


Nina Vaca, Chairman & CEO
Nina Vaca is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources. A workforce management solutions provider that delivers staffing, payrolling/IC compliance, vendor management and vendor management systems (VMS) technology to recruit and manage contingent labor across multiple industry verticals. Under Nina’s leadership, Pinnacle has become one of the fastest growing firms in a $100+ billion dollar industry, with over 4,000 personnel working throughout the US and Canada. Ms. Vaca is a Director with Comerica, Inc. ™, Director with Kohl’s Corporation ™ and Chairman of the Board of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In 2011, she along with 7 other luminary entrepreneurs including Michael Dell, Magic Johnson and Tory Burch, was appointed as a founding Director of “Startup America.”
Jerry Lasco, Founder & CEO
Prior to pursuing his passion and entering the food and wine business, Jerry Lasco spent 13 years as a pilot - first with the United States Air Force, and then with Continental Airlines. After 9/11, he launched his career as an entrepreneur and developed The Tasting Room Wine Café; currently there are four Houston-area locations of this successful wine bar concept. In 2006, Jerry developed MAX’s Wine Dive – a unique restaurant that combines gourmet, chef-driven comfort food with wines from around the world. Today there is a MAX’s in all four major Texas cities. Jerry continues to “revolutionize the wine experience” with his latest restaurant, “Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden,” at the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio. He looks forward to the continued expansion of these unique brands.
Antonio R. Grijalva, Chairman and CEO
Tony Grijalva is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of G&A Partners, one of the largest privately-held PEO’s in Texas providing HR and Administrative Services to companies in 26 states and Latin America. Tony is an active member of the Houston business community and heavily involved in numerous civic endeavors. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, also served as a Director with the Center for Houston's Future, Sister Cities of Houston and Amigos de las Americas and numerous others. He currently serves in the executive committee of the Governor's Business Council. Tony has been recognized nationally for his commitment and contributions to the business community.
Maisha Walker, Founder and President
Maisha Walker is a 17-year digital marketing veteran who has been featured on both Fox News and NBC. Through her digital marketing agency, Message Medium, her column for Inc. and events with organizations like Chase, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, SCORE, Black Enterprise, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce and many others, Maisha has built Web sites and digital marketing campaigns generating thousands of dollars in revenue and taught thousands of business owners how to leverage digital marketing to accomplish aggressive growth.
WELCOME REMARKS: Sherry Pelkey Roper , Senior Strategist
Sherry Pelkey Roper is a Senior Strategist at Capital One, focused on innovation serving the small business segment. Previously, Sherry served in brand leadership roles at Owens & Minor, the nation’s leading distributor to hospitals, Reynolds Consumer Products, Warner Lambert Healthcare and Pfizer, where she launched several high-growth products and gained broad experience with a full-marketing mix. In her 20 years of working, one of her most satisfying experiences remains playing a leadership role in a Virginia-based startup, The Teaching Company. Sherry holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and a M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.