Nina Vaca’s Three Keys to Success at Dallas Startup Week’s Women of Innovation Summit

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It was such a privilege to kick off the Women of Innovation Summit powered by Dallas Startup Week on April 3rd, which brought together top innovators, change makers, and entrepreneurs. These are the North Texas women launching ideas that will change the course of business and tech across the nation and beyond.

Personally, it was very meaningful for me to give this keynote at Ross Tower, where Pinnacle Group had its first office after moving from the living room floor of my apartment. Each of the women in attendance are charting their own paths as entrepreneurs and as intrapreneurs innovating within organizations. One day, they’ll look back on their own journey and see how life comes full circle. To get to that point, women must recognize that they have the power within themselves to overcome roadblocks and reach their goals, all while helping others along the way!

It’s always inspiring to see so many strong, driven women in one place – women who have pushed their own boundaries, broken through glass ceilings and opened doors for not only themselves, but for others in their industries. These moments remind me of a lesson I wish I’d learned sooner – that together, we’re part of something much larger than ourselves or our companies. We’re part of a huge economic engine propelling this country forward.

That gets to the heart of my talk – it’s all about perspective because it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you respond. Here are three of the key mindsets that have helped me through the years. My hope is that they inspire you on your own path to success:

  1. Be Crazy Good

Everyone is good at something, but nobody is good at everything. It could be doing math, it could be applying makeup, it could be any number of things. But find the one thing you’re good at and double down on it. Learn from your experiences and the people you surround yourself with who want to see you succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, find a coach, and take risks. Whatever it is you do, work hard to get even better, so you can be crazy good at it.

When I had my first of four children, I experienced challenges that I never wanted other women to go through. We took many efforts to alleviate those struggles, including designating specific rooms within the office that offered additional privacy, where new mothers could pump in peace. At the time, making sure we set the foundation to help all of our moms in the workplace was part of being crazy good. Today, it’s overseeing Pinnacle’s global expansion and the technologies that go hand in hand with it.

The common thread: Making decisions every step of the way that benefit the lives of our Pinnacle family members. As you approach important milestones in your life, you’ll find how your goals will expand and evolve. So, start now: Raise your hand and be Crazy Good!

  • Use Finesse

No matter how good you are, no matter what level you reach, you’ll always face unconscious bias or challenges from people. But women especially have a great opportunity to respond with finesse. In my own life, letting people save face and responding with finesse, as opposed to getting mad, has gotten better results.

This gets back to the idea that it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you respond. In tough situations, take a quick moment to gather yourself. Then class up and move on, so you can get to the important stuff: reaching your goals.

  • Think About the Long Game

What keeps you fueled? You have to answer this question so you fully understand what you’re doing it all for and why all the sacrifice is worth it. I always say, don’t beat yourself up, someone else will gladly do that for you. A long time ago, I started forgiving myself for missing the Valentine’s Day party and instead, focused more of my efforts on making sure my kids saw me be resilient and break glass ceilings because there’s nothing more powerful than a silent example. That is what keeps me fueled.

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