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Date posted: 16th February 2021

16th February 2021

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Irma Olguin Jr

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Irma Olguin Jr

Irma Olguin Jr, CEO & founder, Bitwise Industries

Irma has put the well-being of her employees and the community at-large first above immediate profits. She moved to have her employees pivot to remote working‚ among one of the first businesses to do so in California. She has used the company to create technology that would help people through the difficult time that the pandemic has caused for so many. This was only done because of her continued commitment to the mission of the company. She continues to fight to provide opportunities to people from marginalized communities by providing on-ramps into the technology industry with Shift3 being one of the vehicles that accomplishes that mission.

Moreover, in an effort to put the well-being and safety of her team first, she reduced work hours by 40% without cutting salaries or using any employee vacation time. By working less, employees are better able to deal with the many stresses of living, working, parenting, educating and caring for family members during this pandemic. She has paved the way for innovative solutions and been a leader to the community.

While Irma may come from humble beginnings, she is determined to change the world for the better and has already changed the lives of thousands in such a meaningful way. And Irma won’t admit this if you asked, but recently she closed escrow on her first new home. Upon finding out a family had been displaced due to the recent fires, she offered her home to the family, no questions asked and no timeline given, while she stayed at a friend’s home. Leading with humanity is all she knows and every employee strives to one day lead as she does. With heart. With humanity. Striving to be inherently good.


“[Irma] is an inspiration to women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ community. People that felt like they had to conform to be successful can look to Irma as a person who has remained authentic and still achieved greatness in the business world. I’ve seen the light in young people’s eyes when they hear how her background is similar to theirs, and they see what she has achieved. [As] COVID-19 has spread throughout the country, Irma has demonstrated what true leadership looks like. She cares deeply for employees at every level of the organization and created new initiatives to help people who may be isolated during this time. […] Irma is beyond a shadow of a doubt worthy of being honoured as one of the Inspiring Leaders.”

About Inspiring Leaders

The extract above is taken from the Inspiring Leaders 2020 initiative which recognised exceptional leaders during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can download the full eBook with all the leader stories here.

Inspiring Leaders was created as a vehicle to recognize people who stepped up to help individuals, teams and organizations navigate personal and business challenges, and make a contribution to make their business, their community and the world a better place.

Due to the success of IL 2020, we have brought it back in 2021. We are now open for nominations. For more information about how to enter Inspiring Leaders, dates and fees – click here.