Irma Olguin Jr Makes Fast Company Queer ...
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June 3, 2021
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NEW YORK, June 3, 2021 — Leading business media brand Fast Company today announced the winners of its second-annual Fast Company Queer 50, a ranking of the most influential and innovative queer women and nonbinary people transforming the world of business, tech, and beyond. Produced in collaboration with Lesbians Who Tech & Allies, the world’s largest LGBTQ technology community in the world, the Queer 50 celebrates some of the most accomplished—yet most underrepresented—leaders from the Queer community.
Irma Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder of Bitwise Industries, joins winners spanning all sectors of business, entertainment, technology, and media, including Janelle Monae, Lena Waithe, Black Lives Matter’s Alicia Garza, WNBA’s Layshia Clarendon, Reddit’s Jen Wong, and JoJo Siwa.
Irma founded Bitwise Industries in 2013 in Fresno, Calif. to create a bridge between people from underserved and underrepresented communities and the training and resources needed to enter the tech industry. As part of the Bitwise mission in the last 12 months, Irma led the company in creating the software platform OnwardUS, which has connected over 600k Americans to vital resources during the pandemic and currently serves one-third of the country. She is spearheading Bitwise’s expansion outside of California, beginning with Toledo, OH, announced in February alongside Bitwise’s $50M Series B raise. This is Irma’s second year on the Queer 50 list.
Fast Company editors and a panel of judges compiled the list of leaders and thinkers based on five criteria: the size and growth prospects of each person’s business or organization; their place in the broader business and social conversation; the impact of their contributions during the unprecedented events of the last 12 months; their career trajectory over the past 12 months—and potential for growth; and their activism and advocacy for the Queer community.
“The visibility that my queer and non-binary peers are bringing to the tech industry, especially in intersection with race, ethnicity, age, and ability, is a vital part of making our industry a more accepting and innovative one,” said Irma. “I am proud to lead a company that is utilizing public/private partnerships to create tech apprenticeships specifically designed to upskill under-represented humans and diversify the workforce.”
“Fast Company has always looked to celebrate leaders, especially those of underrepresented communities,” said Fast Company Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Mehta. “Thankfully, more companies are having conversations about and celebrating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Lesbians Who Tech & Allies to add to these important discussions.”
“After the success of last year’s inaugural list, I am thrilled to see it continue and highlight more leaders making a difference,” said Leanne Pittsford, founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies. “It’s yet another opportunity to encourage companies to build a more inclusive environment.”
As a way to celebrate the list and the month of Pride, Lesbians Who Tech & Allies will also be honoring the winners during the (Not IRL) Pride Summit from June 21-25. Information regarding the summit can be found online at https://lesbianswhotech.org/virtualpridesummit/.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact [email protected]
Fast Company’s Queer 50 list is now available online at fastcompany.com/queer-50/2021. The hashtag is #FCQueer50.
Fast Company is the only media brand dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company’s editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta. It is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with sister publication Inc., and can be found online at www.fastcompany.com.
Lesbians Who Tech & Allies is the largest LGBTQ technology community in the world — committed to visibility, intersectionality, and changing the face of technology. We are 60,000 LGBTQ women, people of color, nonbinary and trans people, and allies in tech in 40+ cities worldwide. Over 6,000 women and gender-nonconforming people in tech attended our 2019 San Francisco Summit, making us the largest professional LGBTQ event in the world.
Bitwise Industries creates a bridge between humans from marginalized communities and stories of systemic poverty to skills and resources necessary to access opportunities in the tech industry. By leveraging public-private partnerships, Bitwise provides paid apprenticeships to students to learn tech skills, connects them to meaningful tech opportunities, and builds vibrant buildings in underestimated cities to house their work. By upskilling disenfranchised humans, it empowers them to change their own lives — which ignites and transforms the regional economies of the cities in which Bitwise serves.Bitwise has raised more than $100M in support of this important work; expanded its model to serve five cities (Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, Oakland, and Toledo); and built a tech apprenticeship engine that will drive national jobs/economic recovery in 2021. To learn more about Bitwise Industries, check out www.bitwiseindustries.com.
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