Dorene Domínguez is not only an example and role model for Latinas and minority women, but she also sees that it is part of her responsibility to empower them to be the best they can be.
“I would say that I am nothing if I don’t help the ones behind me,” said Domínguez, who is the chairwoman and CEO of Vanir Group of Companies, Inc. and its subsidiaries Vanir Construction Management, Inc. and Vanir Development Company, Inc. “And I am so proud that Vanir Construction Management is 60 percent women and minorities and that is a huge percentage in my industry.”
The Vanir companies are national leaders in program, project and construction management and real estate development. Vanir has delivered over $23 billion worth of projects from its inception.
Domínguez oversees 17 regional offices throughout the United States and employs a growing staff of more than 400 talented executives, architects, engineers, construction managers, developers, contractors and support staff across those offices.
In addition to her leadership of the Vanir companies, Domínguez serves or has served on various corporate boards of publicly traded companies.
Domínguez, who is currently a director on the CIT Group and CIT Bank NA boards as well as the KB Home board and is a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee for each company, was awarded the Latino Spirit Awards on May 6 from the Latino Legislative Caucus for achievement in business and philanthropy.
“I am very excited about this award,” said Domínguez, who is a minority owner of the NBA Sacramento Kings and has been listed by FORTUNE as one of The 50 Most Powerful Latinas of 2017 and 2018. “It is an award that means a lot to me because it empowers Latinos. And talks about our heritage, and who we want to be and who we are going to be in the United States.”
Domínguez, who spends half her time in Sacramento and half in Los Ángeles, had her general counsel, Melinda Guzmán, who is an attorney as well as her director of human resources Esmeralda Peña, “both women leading in my industry” attend the Latino Spirit Awards ceremony with her as well as Steve Whitehead, president of Vanir Construction Management and Andrew Freeman, chief operating officer.
Domínguez also keeps busy with her philanthropic activities, that includes a long-term commitment to helping others achieve the American Dream by working with and inspiring underserved elementary and high school students that aspire to attend Universities that “may seem to be out their reach,” according to her company’s bio.
Domínguez is the founder of “The Domínguez Dream”, a foundation in memory of her late father, which serves elementary schools in underserved communities by empowering children to achieve their full potential in Literacy and S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).
“Because that is the trajectory of tomorrow’s future. Its S.T.E.A.M, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math,” said Domínguez, whose foundation’s efforts of implementing fifteen programs in seven partner schools has serve more than thirty-five hundred students. “There are currently a million job openings in the engineering fields today.
“So, if that is today, you can imagine what is going to be tomorrow, and the next 10 years,” said Domínguez, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Finance and holds a Certificate in Corporate Governance from Harvard University.
And Domínguez said it is important to start early when it comes to S.T.E.A.M and Latinos and Latinas youth.
“We start with third, fourth, fifth graders and teaching them science, engineering, arts, math, because it’s so important that they also are familiar with technology,” she said. “So, when they do take their exams, or when they are working with robotics, that translate into jobs in the future.”
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of profiles of the Latino Spirit Award recipients.