As the third of five children born to Ecuadorian immigrants, I embraced my parents’ vision of the American dream: to create a better life through entrepreneurship and civic leadership. We saw in America that proverbial city on a hill, a beacon of light to all who searched for freedom and opportunity.
I grew up in Los Angeles and by the age of 17 was responsible for the family business. After graduating college—a family first—I moved to New York to start my career in technology. At 25, I founded Pinnacle from my living room in Dallas. Shortly thereafter, I married and had my first daughter, a millennium baby. Over the next few years, business continued to grow. During my next pregnancy, however, the September 11th tragedy brought the economy and our business to a virtual standstill. Two days later, my second daughter was born.
There I was with two infants, one remaining client, four employees, and a liquidation plan I had created at the urging of consultants. I lay awake many nights wondering what went wrong and praying for guidance. The first crossroads in my business came about when my partner offered to sell his stake of the firm. It was time to either lean in or lean out... so I leaned in hard.
To many, it appeared I had just bought 100% of nothing, but what I actually did was acquire one hundred percent of my destiny. I talked to my employees and they leaned in with me. Sometimes working for free and always hustling, we answered over forty proposals in nine months before we won a single one. I will never forget that momentous win and the people who helped make it happen; it was the beginning of Pinnacle’s renaissance.
I believe it’s not enough to want something in life—you must also prepare yourself to receive it. After so much hard work, we were ready to see results. And we did. Our revenues exploded—doubling or tripling for five consecutive years. Throughout this frenzied time of expansion, I leaned in to my dream of having a large family and gave birth to two sons only 16 months apart. Then, at the height of our success, we diversified into the software industry by acquiring a Silicon Valley-based technology company.
Leaning in through multiple arenas led to opportunities beyond my expectations. I served as the first female Chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in over 15 years, which was one of the most grueling yet rewarding experiences of my life. I also joined the boards of Comerica and Kohl’s and competed in the 2012 USAT Triathlon National Age Group Championships. I am a mother, entrepreneur, advocate, triathlete and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources, and I have been leaning in my whole life.