IAM1897 – COO Turned CEO Helps Organizations Achieve Operational Excellence

Podcast Interview with Bonnie Ortiz

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the IAMCEO podcast, Bonnie Ortiz, the founder of O2 Consulting Group, is the featured guest. Bonnie started O2 Consulting Group, a professional services firm, after nearly a decade as Chief Operating Officer for The Partnership Federal Credit Union.

Bonnie is renowned in strategy formation, process improvement, and project management. She now provides her clients with a comprehensive operational toolkit to align people, processes, and systems with corporate goals.

Throughout her career, Bonnie has worked with a wide range of entities, both commercial for-profit and non-profit, across various industries. Additionally, she has shown her leadership skills by managing substantial budgets and personnel within diverse organizations, from startups to multi-billion-dollar firms.

As an expert in achieving operational excellence, she guides executive teams in different organizations to advance their priorities and achieve their desired outcomes. Outside of her consulting work, Bonnie serves as the Commodore of Herring Bay Yacht Club and Vice Chair of Dream Queen Association Board of Directors, effectively utilizing her experience to mentor the next generation of leaders.

Bonnie shared valuable insights, including:

CEO Hack: She advised the use of Mission Control for appointment scheduling and the significance of Crucial conversations.
CEO Nugget: She emphasized the importance of work-life balance to avoid burnout. Activities like going to the beach, volunteering, etc. can help maintain this balance.
CEO ReDefined: For Bonnie, a CEO's role extends beyond vision creation, it also includes execution.

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Bonnie Ortiz Teaser 00:00 So discovering and data gathering and making recommendations that are doable, that are doable in a realistic time period. And that are accompanied by training, coaching, and mentoring for the staff who will end up doing the job when I leave.

Intro 00:18

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the IAMCEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:44

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year.

And we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call the CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on operations. The systems will set you free. So think about systems, think about flow, sustainability, potentially working out in your morning routine, waking up early e-commerce, and different business models. Think of the operations in the models that basically set up the foundation to allow the creativity within organizations, but also to make sure the trains are running on time and things are going as they should.

Now, this is extremely important because we often can run Turn to the sexy parts of business and forget about the operations and how important that is. So I really want to focus this month on this specific topic. So sit back and enjoy this special episode at the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today I have Bonnie Ortiz of O2 Consulting. Bonnie, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Bonnie Ortiz 02:03

Thank you, Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 02:04

Awesome. What I wanted to do was read a little bit more about all the great things that Bonnie has been able to do and accomplish so that you can learn a little bit more about her.

Bonnie Ortiz formed O2 Consulting Group, a premier professional service firm in 2017 after spending almost a decade as the Chief Operating Officer for the Partnership Federal Credit Union, a recognized expert in strategy formation, process Improvement and Project Management.

Bonnie now provides her clients with a comprehensive operational toolkit aligning people, processes and systems to corporate goals. She has worked with commercial for-profit and not-for-profit entities across numerous industries and has managed substantial budgets and staff as a leader with organizations of various sizes, from startups to multi billion dollar firms.

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Bonnie's expertise is rooted in the achievement of operational excellence and focusing the organizations executive team on advancing their priorities and achieving their desired results. Bonnie currently serves as a Commodore of the Herring Bay Yacht Club and as the Vice Chair of the Dream Queen Association Board of Directors, giving her time and expertise to cultivate the next generation of leaders.

Bonnie, are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Bonnie Ortiz 03:19

I sure am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:20

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. The first question I had was just if there was anything additional you wanted to let us know about your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Bonnie Ortiz 03:27

I think that the only thing that I would add Gresham is that over the years I have worked with some incredible CEOs and all of those CEOs have had vision, creativity and a passion for the businesses that they were in and the goals that they wanted to achieve.

I find myself in the best situation ever when I can partner with those CEOs to help them execute on that vision and to realize the passions that they have.

Gresham Harkless 03:53

Awesome. And that's really great because you get the opportunity to leverage your strengths, so to speak. So could you, talk a little bit more about like how you get to partner with those CEOs and how you help out the clients that you work with.

Bonnie Ortiz 04:03

Sure. Many years ago, I realize that my organizational skills and my penchant for details made me the perfect candidate to really develop an operational plan and to execute on that plan in the time frames that my bosses, supervisors had desired.

And as I progressed my career. I found myself being partnered with folks who were leading efforts around growth, around process improvements and around projects.

And so I have from time to time been placed in situations where I've been called upon to give my expertise to the leader of the group. And always it has been because of the ability to build and execute on those operational plans.

In the early 80s, I became a certified project manager both domestically and internationally. And so many, many, many times as a project manager, I find myself teamed with very senior executives in companies as large as AT& T and as small as some of the smaller credit unions in the industry today.

Gresham Harkless 05:11

Awesome. Awesome. And that's obviously something that is not sometimes realized from a business standpoint, just how important operations are and how that makes everything flow and go smoothly and helps the business to run efficiently.

So, I wanted to ask you, could you explain what a little bit more about what you feel like makes your business and organization unique?

Bonnie Ortiz 05:28

O2 Consulting Group was formed out of my own passion to support others as I was supported when I was coming up in my career. And as a result, I absolutely love to come into an organization and roll up my sleeves.

So I'm not a consultant that comes in, meets with the CEO, conducts a gap analysis and presents a report. that costs a tremendous amount of money and really doesn't tell you how to do it. Rather, my differentiator is in my ability to be able to execute on the recommendations I make.

So discovering and data gathering and making recommendations that are doable that are doable in a realistic time period and that are accompanied by training, coaching and mentoring for the staff who will end up doing the job when I leave.

I have always believed that as a consultant, it's not my responsibility to stay and become a part of the organization. It's rather my responsibility to teach Amanda fish and let them go.

Gresham Harkless 06:31

That's powerful. And it's huge because a lot of times, sometimes you have consultants that say, okay, this is what I think is wrong. This is my diagnosis. So here You try to fix it, but you give them the information on in the tools really to make sure those solutions are taken care of. And they're also able to continue on and be more efficient and effective. Also, when you leave as well.

Bonnie Ortiz 06:53

That's correct. I've actually developed an operational toolkit that you referenced in my bio and every piece of that toolkit from the project plan to the communication plan, to the risk plan, to the quality plan, to the test plan is left behind as a template for folks who are in those positions to follow and to be able to use them over and over again with a small amount of tailoring.

Gresham Harkless 07:17

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I love the concept and the idea of that because again, like you said, teaching a man or a woman to be able to fish for themselves is insanely important. And a lot of times why people go into business anyways or start their organization anyway.

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So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And one of the things that, I'm excited about, getting the opportunity to ask you about is a CEO hack, and that might be a book. It might be an app, but the idea is just something that you use on a regular everyday basis that makes you more efficient and effective as a CEO.

Bonnie Ortiz 07:46

Okay. There are actually two tools that I use every single day, and I learned them and adopted them very early in my career when I was working for another consulting firm in the health care space in the public health care space.

One is called Mission Control, and Mission Control is actually the Technique to place every one of your appointments, whether they're personal, professional or otherwise into your calendar. And that includes not only just meeting with people and calling people, but also the work you have to do.

So, the deliverables that are required after those meetings are over and while my calendar looks like a chaotic mess every single day. I know each and every day exactly what I have to accomplish and how I need to move those throughout the week to be able to be completely successful.

And at the end of the week, every single Friday, I look at that list and I determine whether or not I need to move things to the following week to work just a little bit more over the weekend. Complete some really critical things, or if I'm on track and it gives me an opportunity to be able to balance my professional and my personal life.

The other tool that I have used for a long, long time is something that I learned through a vital smarts course called crucial conversations. Crucial conversations really allows you to be as straightforward and honest as you possibly can. Keeping and maintaining a safe space for you and for the person or persons that are talking to you.

Always allowed me to cut through all of the crap, as you might say, often do these political dances. And I just don't think that we have any time for that in today's fast paced world. Particular program has taught me how to not only be straightforward, but not blunt to do it with heart to really provide an opportunity for individuals that are working alongside of you to know that you have integrity and to be consistent in the way that you talk with them all the time.

And so it engenders loyalty and engenders teamwork, and it really builds on relationships. And it's allowed me to maintain some really significant relationships for many years.

Gresham Harkless 09:58

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, those are definitely two great tools. And especially like with the mission control, I think sometimes and often most entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs have so many different things going on and that, you have 100 things to do, but you have no idea what they are.

But to be able to map it out and play it out and plan it out, I should say. Helps take that burden off because, you're a little bit more in control.

And one of the next things I wanted to ask you was for a CEO nugget and this might be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice that you might have for other like entrepreneurs and business owners. So do you have a CEO nugget you can provide for us?

Bonnie Ortiz 10:28

I probably have so many of them that it's ridiculous. But when I was thinking about this, the first thing that came to my mind is that burnout is so easy, to get yourself to, especially when you are an entrepreneur and you want to do it all and you have great ideas and a strong vision and you can execute fast and furiously.

I think the tendency sometime is to take on way, way too much. In a short period of time, and you either end up only living in a professional world and not getting an opportunity to go off and smell the roses. So, as you can see, by my bio, I have deliberately begun engaging in a lot of outside activities, such as the Yacht club.

I still can provide my leadership there by being the President and Chairman of the board with the Dream Queen Association where I get an opportunity to work alongside of adult and team gals that are looking for that mentoring and leadership that they often need to gain their confidence in a secure path for themselves.

And so I would say to every CEO, especially those who start out late in life and want to have their own business, you have to create a balance. And that balance can come in a lot of forms. It doesn't necessarily have to be sitting on a beach reading a book.

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It can be using your strengths, opportunities in ways that remind you of what you're most passionate about, that it gives you a different avenue without the stress of your everyday job and building your own organization.

Gresham Harkless 12:03

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And sometimes you forget, in the day-to-day minutiae that you know why you're doing what it is that you're doing. And like you said, your organization that you're able to be a member of and play a pivotal role in that kind of helps you remind you of exactly like why you're doing what you're doing and what your strengths and how you can contribute to the overall society.

And one of the my favorite questions I should say is get an opportunity to figure out like what being a CEO might mean to you because we have different types of quote unquote CEOs on this podcast.

We're gonna have different types of guests from different roles and kind of business walks of life. I wanted to ask you specifically, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Bonnie Ortiz 12:38

Being a CEO to me means the freedom to develop both the vision and execute it. It gives me the opportunity to become visible among an organization of fabulous individuals, whether it be in the healthcare industry and the telecommunications industry and the financial industry network alongside of them, gather ideas and collaborate at a level that I can then bring back to my own organization.

And, because I have always been more inclined towards the chief operating officer role and the execution of the CEO's vision, this is the 1st time that I have had an opportunity to take my own vision and then execute on it. And I think it's gonna be very interesting over the next few years to watch that grow and to see how it can expand.

So, instead of fulfilling on someone else's vision. I'm getting an opportunity to fulfill on mine.

Gresham Harkless 13:42

Awesome. Yeah, I love that perspective. And then you also obviously have the experience and tools to understand, like from operational standpoint, exactly how to execute that. So being the CEO and having the kind of the technician skill set as well to is a good mix to have and how to execute and carry out those visions that you have.

So, Bonnie, I truly appreciate you taking some time out of your schedule. What I wanted to do was give you the mic, so to speak, one more time to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know. And then also to like how best people can get ahold of you.

Bonnie Ortiz 14:13

Sure. Thank you. I think finally, what I would say is that throughout my entire career, I have always placed a tremendous amount of emphasis on people. On the relationships that you build and the way you give back, paying it forward is an incredibly powerful concept. And I know that I cherish all of the little notes and emails that I get from younger folks who are just starting out in their career or people that I have mentored.

And as they've retired and are looking for opportunities in consulting that they come back around to me and still end up seeking my advice. So I would just say that we should never lose sight of the fact that even though we're in a world of automation, we're in a world of social media. The person and the contact with the person is really still the most important thing.

Gresham Harkless 15:07

Awesome, vital and very strong words. And for those people that might be listening to this, what's the best way for them to get ahold of you, Bonnie?

Bonnie Ortiz 15:13

They can either call me on my office line, which is 571 334 9185. Visit my website at or they can email me at or at

Gresham Harkless 15:36

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Bonnie, for all the awesome things that you're doing, all the things you're doing to impact, obviously, from a consulting standpoint, but also from a giving back and paying it for standpoint. So I appreciate you for everything you do, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of The day.

Bonnie Ortiz 15:52

Thank you so much, Gresh, and thank you for having me.

Outro 15:55

Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us at five star rating. Grab CEO gear at This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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