Our Black History Month woman of distinction today is Ursula Burns. She is the first African American female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. As the leader of Xerox, Burns is also the first female CEO to succeed a previous female CEO as she succeeded Anne Mulcahy, her previous superior in 2000. Born and raised in New York, Burns grew up in meager surroundings as the daughter of a single immigrant mother from Panama.
Burns graduated from Polytechnic Institute of NYU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and from Columbia University with a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. While in grad school, she interned at Xerox, quickly coming on board full time when she graduated from Columbia. She worked in various roles within product development and planning throughout her 20’s. Her path within the corporation changed drastically when she was hired on as an executive assistant to a senior executive. From there she rose through the ranks working with some of the top executives at Xerox – sharpening her skills with each new opportunity.
She has been the CEO of Xerox for 14 years now and was recently voted by Forbes as one of the most successful and powerful women in the business world.
We celebrate Ursula Burns for her tenacity, strength and her inspirational achievements as one of the foremost women in business.