2013 Texas LEAD

Breakfast Keynote

Doug Arthur -  Co-Founder and Executive Director, INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati

Greater Cincinnati, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit collaboration of businesses and educators, founded by Doug from Atos, P&G, and UC in 2005 to "stop the brain drain” from Cincinnati. The INTERalliance has grown in 8 years to now include more than 75 regional high schools, 4 universities (UC, Miami, NKU, Xavier), and 90+ employers/sponsor organizations, including Kroger, Great American Insurance, GE, Fifth Third Bank, Citigroup, SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, Cintas, Toyota, Lexis Nexis, IBM, CSC, NetApp, EMC, Cisco, Verizon, Motorola, AT&T, Ricoh, and dozens more.  Since its inception, the retention rate of talent by Cincinnati employers has increased from 9% in 2005 to now more than 60%,  Doug is providing consultative services to bring this innovative model of facilitated community engagement to other cities around the country, and has successfully launched community engagement collaborations in Cleveland/Akron/Northeast Ohio, and in partnership with Atos North America in Fort Wayne, San Diego, with preparations to launch in Indianapolis, in addition to a partnership with ACT in Iowa City and many other cities around the nation.  

Doug provides facilitated community engagement consulting, organizational, and career pathways design and implementation through Transform Consulting, LLC, a women-owned services firm based in Cincinnati.  Doug recently ended ten years at Atos North America, the global IT services company headquartered in Paris, with 78,000 employees in 52 countries, and its largest North America operations in Mason, Ohio.  At Atos, Doug most recently served as Director, Alliances – Business Partners, as well as facilitated community engagement services, responsible for Atos North America’s "sell-with” partnership relationships with such companies as Microsoft, Intel, Citrix, NetApp, EMC, Cisco, VMware, and others.  

Doug’s bachelor’s degree is in education from Lebanon Valley College, with graduate studies in education and business at Towson University and Regis University. His diverse career(s) began as an award-winning middle-school educator in a suburb of Baltimore, with subsequent tours of duty as a professional musician/ composer/producer, recording studio and production company owner in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., manager of government contracts and Ohio Operations Manager for Roy F. Weston, Inc. (now Weston Solutions), an environmental engineering and management firm.  In 2000, Doug  founded "TweenPlace”,  a non-profit in Cincinnati offering values-based leadership training for middle-school students, after serving as Vice President, Business Operations for eSymmetrix, Inc., a custom software development startup in Baltimore that built and launched "Benelogic”, one of the world’s first online open enrollment benefits apps.  

Doug served for 10 years on the Youth Council and Emerging Workforce Council of the Workforce Investment Board in Southwest Ohio, and currently serves on the Advisory Council of the School of Engineering and Systems Analysis, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and on advisory boards of several of the high schools around Cincinnati. Doug is frequently invited to facilitate in-service and curriculum design sessions with faculties and staff around career pathways education, STEM, and "understanding the "digital learner” at many of the high schools around Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.

Advancement through Corporations 

Carla Pineyro -  Executive Director, Dell Latin America Marketing

Carla Piñeyro Sublett is the Executive Director of Marketing for Latin America. She has responsibility for all segmentation spanning consumers to large institutions. She and her team drive all facets of marketing in the region, from demand generation to overall brand health. In the spring of 2013 the organization will launch a year-long brand campaign in Brazil focused on driving awareness around Dell’s expanded solutions portfolio. 

Prior to this role she had responsibility for the Americas internal sales organization which helped achieve over 4B in annual sales. During her tenure, the organization underwent a significant transformation contributing to productivity growth, profitability gains and global best practices. In addition to this, she also started a fitness group across North America, Thrive, which focused on helping promote networking through exercise among team members. As a result, several participants experienced life altering weight loss and lifestyle changes.Carla has held a variety of roles at Dell over the course of the last 14 years, working with customers around the globe and in every major segment.

Carla is also a founding member and co-chair of Adelante – a Hispanic employee resource group at Dell. Adelante focuses on driving impact to the business, community and members. She is also the President-Elect for the board of the Austin Children’s Museum were she has served for over 2 years. The organization has just completed a 20 million dollar capital campaign to build their new facility in East Austin, providing Hispanic youth with access to science, technology, engineering, art and math. Carla is also extraordinarily proud of her loving and supportive family; her parents, who migrated to the US from Uruguay, her husband, Jeff, and two children, Quentin and Amelia.  . 

Advancement through Entrepreneurship 

Rita Howard -  Vice President Agency/Sales Services in the South Central Market, State Farm

Rita joined State Farm in 1991 as an agent in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She became an Agency Field Consultant in Irving, Texas in 1997 and an Agency Field Executive in 1999. She was named Director-Strategic Leadership at Corporate Headquarters in 2003 and was promoted to Executive Assistant the same year. Rita became Vice President-Agency in the Houston area in 2004 and in 2011 transferred to Austin in that same capacity.  In 2013, Rita became Vice President-Agency/Sales Services in the South Central Market Area.

Rita received a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and a master's from the University of Louisiana in Monroe. She earned the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation in 1998, the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 2001, the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations in 2002 and the Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL) designation in 200

Lunch Keynote

Nina G. Vaca, Founder, Chairman, & CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources 

Nina Vaca founded Pinnacle in 1996 as an information technology services provider to the Fortune 500.  Today, Pin­na­cle has evolved into a true 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 Vaca’s leadership, Pinnacle has become one of the fastest growing firms in a $100+ billion dollar industry, with revenues approaching $250 million and over 4,000 personnel working throughout the US and Canada. Pinnacle is one of the most widely recognized and honored companies nationwide with over 50 national and local awards over the past decade, including seven consecutive years among the Top 10 fastest growing firms in its industry, two recognitions as National Supplier of the Year by the National Minority Business Development Council, and global recognition by AT&T as one of its top six suppliers worldwide. In 2011, Pinnacle acquired Provade, which delivers the only enterprise Vendor Management System (VMS) for global workforce spend management.  The acquisition made Pinnacle the world’s largest minority-owned VMS.

Vaca has appeared on CNBC Squawk Box, FOX News, CBS Evening News and has emerged in Fast Company Magazine as one of the Top 25 Women Business Builders in America. She has also been featured in numerous magazines both domestically and internationally, including Forbes, Kiplinger, Entrepreneur, Latino Leaders, Vanidades, Ali, HISPANIC, and KERA CEO Review. Vaca’s story opens the Entrepreneur chapter of Understanding Business, a McGraw Hill textbook used for teaching entrepreneurship at universities today. She is also a recipient of the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Technology and Communications for the Southwest Region.  

She is a graduate of Texas State University with a B.A. in Speech Communications and Business Administration where she was honored as the youngest Distinguished Alumna in university history.  Vaca holds Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degrees from Northwood University and Mount Mary College; and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School – Corporate Governance Executive Program. Ms. Vaca has represented the U.S. internationally in numerous transatlantic leadership forums, including the German Marshall Memorial Fellow program and the British-American Project. 

In 2011, Vaca joined the Startup America Partnership as a founding board member offering strategic guidance on bringing the private sector together to provide startups with the resources they need to start and scale their organizations. Ms. Vaca is a Director with Comerica, Inc., a Director with Kohl’s Corporation, is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and has been recognized in each of the past three years as one of the 101 Most Influential Latinos in America by Latino Leaders magazine. 

Panel: Advancement through Education



Eli D. Mercer, Entrepreneur   

Eli is owner of Genesis Consulting in Austin, Texas- providing strategy, innovation and operations management consulting as well as customized training and development (professional and organizational) in the areas of global start-up and expansion, technology transfer and commercialization, cross-cultural management and negotiations, as well as business intelligence and competitive intelligence. In addition, Eli is Program Manager of Technology Transfer and Commercialization for IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. In this role, he is responsible for the design and delivery of technology commercialization programs to consult, train and partner with leading R&D institutions, government entities, universities, corporations and capital sources on innovation ecosystems and technology transfer and commercialization (TT/TC). Prior to joining IC2 Institute in 2007, Eli served Thunderbird School of Global Management as Global Enterprise Scholar and founding General Manager of the Thunderbird Center for Global Entrepreneurship (Now the Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship) where he managed the launch of centers for excellence in Global Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity, Corporate Venturing, Social Entrepreneurship, Family Enterprise, as well as the Thunderbird Business Incubator. Eli is a seasoned entrepreneur and consultant with 17 years of experience building and growing companies large and small. His experience includes leading successful intrapreneurial ventures in telecommunications, web services, digital media and print media in the US and Mexico. He has also served on the founding teams of entrepreneurial ventures in the US, Holland and Germany.

Eli teaches Foundations of Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business in the Business Foundations Program as well as University Extension. He also teaches Global Banking and Trade Finance, Import, Export and E-commerce in the International Business Institute at Austin Community College. Eli has been a trainer in executive education and worked with many organizations (universities, corporations, R&D centers, regions) around the world to develop and deliver customized training and professional development. He has also been a language tutor in English, Spanish, French and German. Eli holds a Master of Business Administration in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management with specializations in Global Entrepreneurship and Global Business Intelligence, a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Business, Spanish, French, and German from the University of Texas at Arlington.


Elias Sandoval, Entrepreneur

Marla Martinez, Associate VP Financial and Campus Services, University of Texas

Horacio Villarreal, IT - Austin Student Government President 

Is a senior history major with inclusion at the top of his agenda. As Student Government President, he works with his running-mate, Ugeo Williams, to represent as many student opinions as possible to the UT administration. Horacio previously served as university-wide representative in the legislative branch of Student Government and is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He grew up in Corpus Christi, TX, likes eating at Whole Foods Market and watching the movie Shutter Island. 

Nick Spiller, Founder of Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency (LEA)

Is a senior Rhetoric and Writing major at UT-Austin. He believes universities have the chance to democratize entrepreneurship for the next generation of leaders. As founding Director of LEA, he grew the agency from a piece of legislation to team of 41 student agents supporting student entrepreneurs. Before LEA he brought together ten UT-Austin entrepreneurial organizations to create UT Entrepreneurship Week, meant to celebrate Longhorn entrepreneurs past, present and future. 

Advancement through Civic Engagement 

Geronimo M. Rodriguez Jr.
Vice President of Diversity and Community Outreach
Seton Healthcare Family

Geronimo M. Rodriguez Jr. currently serves as Vice President of Diversity and Community Outreach with Seton Healthcare Family in Austin, Texas. He joined the Seton Family in June 2006 to help expand efforts across the healthcare system in the areas of diversity, inclusion, cultural competence, federal contract compliance and workforce development.

Mr. Rodriguez has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the LBJ School of Public Affairs teaching US Latino Policy Issues and as an Adjunct Faculty member at St. Edward’s University focused on Political Leadership, Political Management/Managing Crisis and Mass Media and Politics. Mr. Rodriguez has over twenty years of public service experience advising federal, state and local elected officials and helping manage presidential, gubernatorial, and attorney general campaigns.

Mr. Rodriguez also served in the White House Office of Congressional Affairs where he helped in legislative preparations for the Seattle Round of the World Trade Organization. In addition, he served as Deputy Associate Director and later Acting Associate Director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel where he was responsible for recommending a third of the President’s senior level appointments. He was also responsible for advising senior White House staff on appointments affecting the Hispanic community.

Mr. Rodriguez is currently Co-Chair of the Central Texas Health Industry Steering Committee, a collaboration between health care and academia focused on the nursing/allied health pipeline and inspiring the next generation of healthcare professionals. He is also a Board Member of KLRU-TV, the local public television station, the Seton Cove, a spirituality center, and the Impact Center. In addition, he serves as a Texas Advisory Board Member for Environmental Defense, and a Board Member of Leadership Austin, the Texas Democracy Foundation (Texas Observer), as a Director of the Texas Lyceum and a Tri-Chair of the AISD Performing Arts Center Task Force.

Mr. Rodriguez is co-author of the Diversity chapter in Hospitals: What They Are and How They Work. In September 2008, he received the Syracuse University Chancellor's Citation for achievement in public service. In May 2007, he was chosen one of 25 Young Americans to participate in the American Swiss Foundation Young Leaders Conference in Thun, Switzerland. In March 2007, he received the Austin Under 40 Award for Government/Political Affairs. He was named a 2006 and 2005 Rising Star by Texas Monthly. In 2001, he received the St. Edward’s University Alumni Achievement Award. Mr. Rodriguez also served as Student Body President of St. Edward’s University.

As a child, Mr. Rodriguez spent eight months of each year as a migrant farmworker traveling with his parents from South Texas to the Northwest United States following the harvest seasons. His parents continue to harvest crops in Oregon.

Mr. Rodriguez, a native of Alamo, Texas, graduated from St. Edward’s University with a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, where he received a four year academic scholarship and a College Assistance Migrant Program Scholarship. Mr. Rodriguez also attended the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Special Partner:


National Society of Hispanic MBAs