A Hispanic Leader In Innovation- Video Series

Latino immigrant leaves Cuba for the U.S. and becomes one of the nation’s leading innovation visionaries.


Episode 1: A journey from Cuba to the world of science and innovation.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s parents left eastern Europe for a better life. His father set off for Cuba in the 1920s. It was there he met and married his wife in the 1930s. Irving was born in Cuba and spent most his childhood there.

After many years of hard word and long hours, Irving’s father became the proud owner of a modest but profitable retail store. When Fidel Castro came to power all businesses were designated state property. Their dreams of a better life were crushed. With their store nationalized and an uncertain future, Irving’s parents were naturally concerned about what was next. Like many Hispanics their immediate plan was to ensure that their children had more opportunities and a chance for a better life.

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Cuba was the only country Irving had known but his parents knew he would be better off in the U.S., so at age 15, they sent Irving and his sister to live with relatives in Chicago. Excelling in his junior and senior years of high school, he went to college, got his masters and doctorate degree in physics from the University of Chicago. Irving’s next big move was to join IBM.




View View Episode 5: Irving Wladawsky-Berger on STEM, Small & Medium Business here





View View Episode 4: Irving Wladawsky-Berger on Big Data, Analytics, Small & Medium Business here


View View Episode 3: Irving Wladawsky-Berger on Mobile Technology, Small & Medium Business here


View View Episode 2: Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s Career In Innovation here








Irving Waldawsky-Berger
Irving Waldawsky-Berger
Irving Waldawsky-Berger, born in Cuba, retired from IBM on May 31, 2007 after 37 years with the company. Since then, I have collaborated with colleagues at IBM on a number of initiatives including Cloud Computing and Smarter Planet. In March of 2008 I joined Citigroup as Strategic Advisor, working on innovation and technology initiatives including the transition to mobile digital money and payments. In April of 2012 I became a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal. Emigrated from Cuba and entered high school, followed by the University of Chicago graduating with a PhD in physics.

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