Women CEOs: A Profile, An Achievement

By May 7, 2007General

Ursula Burns is the new president and expected future CEO of Xerox Corp., a recent appointment that puts Xerox in line to become the first Fortune 500 company to be headed by a black woman. Bloomberg reporter Gillian Wee profiled Burns and the state of women as corporate leaders in this article. The story happened to cross our screen via a news search because Wee quotes NAM President John Engler in it. We’re glad she did; it’s a great story.

Burns “is to business what Condi Rice is to government, in terms of someone who never grew up expecting to be a president of a major corporation,” said John Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan and president of the National Association of Manufacturers, where Burns is a director. “It’s hard, regardless of color and gender, to reach the high level of responsibility she’s reached.”

Which is right. Along with all of her perserverance and personal achievement, we were also struck by the education course Burns pursued that put her in position to climb the corporate ladder.

Burns received a bachelor of science degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. She joined Xerox 27 years ago as a mechanical-engineering summer intern.

Studying science and engineering opens many doors, indeed.

P.S. An essay by Richard Everett in the Rochester Democratc & Chronicle on the achievements of African-Americans in business cites Burns’ appointment.