Video Transcript

00:12 Nina Vaca: So I started my own business at the ripe age of 25, Pinnacle Technical Resources out of my living room floor. Six months later, I recruited my sister. A year later, I recruited baby brother. Six years later, I finally got my husband. I mentioned my mother in the beginning, by the way, my mother is not on the payroll. She never has been and she never will be. But, you know, in the Hispanic community, unlike other communities where at 18 you're kinda on your own, in the Hispanic community, your mother gets to tell you what to do the rest of your life. This is why I had four children, revenge. So whether I sell the business, I'll always be able to tell someone what to do, right? So I started my business, and it was a time in the economy where like a great entrepreneur, I found a need and I filled it.

00:59 Vaca: But Pinnacle has gone through two recessions now. The first in 2001, and we all know what happened in 2001, and we all know what we're living here today. And in a span of, really, the last decade or so, we've been able to grow significantly. Pinnacle, today, stands as one of the largest and fastest growing companies in our industries, in the staffing industry. In fact, we're the 60th largest IT staffing firm in the country. And today, collectively, through all the failures, and through all the recessions, and through everything you have to grow, to grow a company from 2 million, to 4 million, to 6 million, to 10 million, to 40 million, to a 100 million. Today, this year, Pinnacle will have it's banner year of a quarter of a million dollars in revenue, 4,000 people across the United States and Canada, and happy to say, one of the largest companies in our industry.

01:51 Vaca: But that's not good enough. 72 local and national awards, Ernst & Young, faster than this, faster than that, is not good enough. Today, in this economy, there's always somebody who's gonna do it faster 'cause they know smarter. And our customers are asking us that question that makes everybody cringe, "Are you global?" "Are you global?" "Are you mobile?" "Are you global?" And so, a year ago, we figured out that we had an opportunity to purchase a software tool named Provade. Now Pinnacle provides contingent labor. Provade manages contingent labor. And so, as of last year, after our first acquisition in 15 years, after growing organically, Provade operates in 40 different countries, 12 different languages, and 10 different currencies. And it is, collectively, with billions of dollars under management, today, the Pinnacle Group of Companies now stands as the largest PMS enterprise tool in the world.

02:58 Vaca: Now, I'd like to sit here and talk to you a little bit about building culture, conservative financial planning, using technology as an enabler, doing more with less, and all the things inspiring people, and getting the right people, and surrounding yourself by smarter people than you are, but that's not the topic today. That topic is tomorrow. The topic today is to talk to you a little bit about doing it all with your family. And I could really sum that up in one word, respect. I'll talk about an emotional issue and then I'll talk about a pragmatic issue, so we can kind of put it into context. Respect. The only way that you can make things work with your family members is to have an unconditional respect for who they are, who you are, what your talents are, and what their talents are. You see, I've seen a lot of small businesses fail and I don't know why. This happens to a lot of women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses.

04:01 Vaca: They end up failing because they believe that the CEO has to be everything to everybody. And what I learned through my life is that leaders, true leaders, they understand that they, alone, don't have all the answers. And they know how to surround themselves by people that are smarter than them. And it sounds a little cliche but when you really think about it, that's what makes or breaks a company, particularly in a high growth scenario, surrounding yourself with the right people. In a high growth company, you've gotta have people that wear different hats. The positions aren't as narrow enough to provide for so many people. You've gotta have people that are willing to wear different hats. And so, for me, the fundamental respect and the acknowledgment that I, alone, don't have all the answers, has been critical to my success.

04:56 Vaca: The other is your client base. Your client base... You know when you're growing from two to four to six to 10, you're going really, really fast. And companies are in-charging you and enlisting you in millions of dollars of business, and they wanna know what your executive team looks like. They wanna know that you don't have a revolving door at the top. And for Pinnacle, you know, there was a time, I remember, when we grew by $100 million one year, that was probably one of the toughest years of my life. I still got the scars to prove it. But I remember when we grew that year, our customers needed to understand, at the top, that we are aligned on a common vision.

05:37 Vaca: And there was a time at Pinnacle when to be an executive at the firm, you had to have passion, you had to have leadership, and you needed to know how to change a diaper because most of the babies were born in the best... In the critical time where the company grew the most. So, not only is the respect factor the most important, I think, in working with your family the other aspect is the customer and how they view you. And they know your leadership team. And they know that you're aligned on one common vision. And for me, I've been working with family my entire life since I was 10 years old. So my siblings understand the power of working with family and we're aligned. And now my husband is aligned in that same vision, is we're not just building a staffing company. We're not just building a software company. We're doing something much bigger and much broader than that.

06:34 Vaca: In all my experiences in my life, I learned another really important lesson and that is that, everything in life is a matter of perspective. How you view yourself is directly related to who you will become. Let me say that one more time. Everything in life is a matter of perspective. How you view yourself is directly related to who you will become. So how do you view yourself? Do you view yourself as just a small business trying to slug it out in this country or do you view yourself as the real powerhouse that you really are? And do you really view yourself as the entrepreneurial engine that will lead this country into the recovery? To me, that's been one of the most important things. When you set out and work in your business day, when you set out and do what you do best is, how do you view yourself. And so thats become a critical factor to me.

07:48 Vaca: The second thing I want... The last thing I wanna leave you with is also related to family. I talked a little bit about not letting your kids see you sweat. I talked a little bit about respect within your siblings. And you know, I got to hand it to both my siblings and my husband, they probably get a lot of slack, right? "Oh, you're big sister. You're just riding on her coattails." "Oh, you're working for your wife." I think confidence is extremely important when you're working with your family. You've got to be able to have a tremendous amount of confidence in what you bring to the table and what you're bringing. Now remember that any company, whether it's staffing or software, it's run by people. People make things work. The IQ of those people is extremely important. But the EQ is extremely important particularly now in this day and age, the EQ and how you deal with people, how you manage people, how you use their strengths.

08:50 Vaca: Treating people with dignity and respect, giving them a larger vision, building culture has been other key factors that I think have helped me grow. But, again, I promised you I would be short and cover the essentials. I hope that in the short period of time, I've given you the opportunity to give some insight into a high growth company and what it really takes. And remember at the end of the day, you are what fuels this American economy. My father used to tell me, "Ocupa tu lugar," Translation, "Know your place in life." He used to say it all the time, "Ocupa tu lugar. Ocupa tu lugar," particularly when things went wrong. Know your place in life. As you leave here today, know what your place in this country is. And realize that small businesses will continue to be responsible as they always have been for the growth of the American economy, creating jobs, and paying taxes. And that it's the small businesses who are actually gonna take us out of this recession. So remember who you are and then act like it. Thank you.