Dorene Dominguez (’85) discusses leadership and legacy as CEO of Vanir | News | Department of Political Science

Notre Dame alumnus and entrepreneur Dorene C. Dominguez joined the Institute of Latin American Studies for a public lecture Sept. 19 as part of Notre Dame’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration that takes place from September 15e to October 15e. Recognized as a national holiday, it serves as a way to celebrate Latin culture and history. At Notre Dame, the Institute for Latin American Studies has a tradition of hosting events to celebrate this important campus holiday.

Officially, Dominguez (’85) was also the headliner for the Institute’s annual Transformative Latino Leadership conference. However, in recognition of 50 years of women at Notre Dame, the title of the event has been changed to Transformative Latin Conference, honoring the unique perspective and accomplishments of Latinas at Notre Dame and in the community.

Dorene Dominguez (’85): CEO of Vanir and Administrator of Notre Dame

Dominguez is the CEO of Vanir, a property management and construction company in San Bernardino, California. Vanir has offices in eight states and approximately 400 employees. Additionally, Dominguez is also a board member of Notre Dame.

During the conference, during which she was interviewed by ILS director and professor of political science, Luis Fraga, she explained how she seeks to bring to the board the same values ​​that she instills in her business: inclusiveness, empowerment and collaboration. Such a work ethic raises, rather than silences, fresh and forthcoming voices.

Dominguez has won numerous awards, including the 2018 Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the 2019 Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Business and Philanthropy from the Latino Caucus of the California Legislature.

Outside of construction and real estate, she is a minority owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings franchise and is a member of Coca-Cola’s Hispanic Advisory Board.

During his public address, Dominguez provided insight into his background and upbringing in San Bernardino. She spoke of her educational struggles and how the mentorship of a local teacher led her to apply to Notre Dame. Being one of the first Latin women to attend business school prepared her to “enter male-dominated fields”, such as construction management and politics; it also fueled her passion for inclusivity in the professional world.

Dominguez stressed the importance for women to help other women, especially in the workplace. She referenced how “an abundance mentality is crucial.” You should spread your success to other women, “not fight for crumbs,” she told an audience of about 50 students, staff and community members.

Melissa Osorio, a first-year undergraduate science and business student, attended the conference and was moved by Dominguez’s advice.

“I felt a spark of inspiration hearing Ms. Dominguez’s story. Not only was she successful, but she had a positive impact on the lives of many students, Osorio said.

Indeed, Dorene Dominguez is a shining example of empowerment through education. As a first-generation Latina in business, her accomplishments are a driving force for generations to come.

Honoring Latin voices through the Transformative Latina Leadership Speaker Series sends a clear message: if it sucks.

As the university continues to make room for such achievements, we hope they will become the norm for Latinas in the fields of higher and professional education. Women deserve a place at the table and more.


Originally posted by Angela Olvera at on November 08, 2022.

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