Tuesday, November 7, 2017

#LeadershipTuesdays: My Greatest Mentor...Ursula Burns

"My mother raised us to think that if we worked hard, and if we put our end of the bargain in, it would work out OK for us."

--Ursula Burns, former CEO and Chairwoman

On Tuesdays, WOMENATLIBERTY presents Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. In 2009 Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox and in 2010 she became the Chairwoman of the company succeeding Anne Mulcahy. Ms. Mulcahy, a history maker in her own right, was the first female CEO of Xerox. She hand picked and mentored Ursula to become her successor. Burns characterized their relationship as a "true partnership".  A career that started with her working as an intern culiminated with Burns making history as the first African American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. In May 2017, she retired from the company after more than 30 years of service.

Anne Mulcahy as well as many others including her husband, Lloyd Bean, have mentored her; but when she talks about her mother, you hear the emotion in her voice and you understand the deep respect this native New Yorker holds for the woman she calls her greatest mentor. Olga Burns was a hardworking single mother who believed that education would be Ursula and her two siblings' passport out of the housing projects into a bright future. She says her mother was right and she is eternally grateful for her mother's sacrifices.

Olga Burns

In today's #LeadershipTuesdays feature, Ms. Burns goes back to the place where she grew up and went to school to share with CNN Money's Cristina Alesci how her humble beginnings shaped her, helped her make decisions about her life and prepared her to become the well respected leader that she is today. 
To see the video, go to womenatliberty.com. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays or WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here. 

*You can also view the interview by clicking here.

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