Ursula Burns Essay

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“Where you are is not who you are. That’s a quote from her mom that Ursula Burns CEO of Xerox Corp remembers and lives by day to day. My essay is on Ursula Burns, who started off as an intern at Xerox Corp that eventually rose through the ranks to become the first African American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In this essay, I will discuss her career, her business leadership and her many other business strategies. During a talk at the annual awards conference, Burns talked about how her mother, who raised Ursula single, in one of the worst New York City Public Housing Projects, loved to give advice. Ursula was the middle sibling among three. Her father was not around, but her mother was a confident woman who always expected great things from her kids. She taught Ursula how to strive and move up. Her mom always knew her way around a good deal and therefore she hustled to put them in private school. She also traded cleaning services for a neighborhood doctor to make sure her kids had good healthcare. Ursula adds that her mother was her biggest influence for joining Xerox. Her mother Olga was pragmatic, focused and extremely practical, but was the ultimate self determining person. In 1980, Burns first worked for Xerox as a summer intern. Throughout her schooling she was exceptional at math. She eventually earned an engineering degree and went on to a graduate degree. Xerox Corp helped pay for her tuition. She permanently joined a year later in 1981 after she earned her Master’s degree. She did various odds and ends jobs with the company. In 1991, her career took an unexpected turn. Wayland Hicks, who was then the senior executive, offered Burns a job as his personal executive assistant. This excelled Burns and she quickly rose through the ranks. Ursula graduated with her Master’s over 30 years ago; when women CEO’s were not imaginable and black women CEO’s

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