Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Smarts & a Scholarship

Smarts & a Scholarship

More From Ursula

In this video

Scholarships and underestimated smarts allowed Ursula Burns to find her way to college and eventually Xerox.

Ursula's Biography

Cause of Choice: Change the Equation
Early Career Ambitions: Mathematician or scientist
First Job: Cashier at Woolworth's
Three Words to Describe Herself: Fearless, passionate, and fast

"I'm a black lady from the Lower East Side of New York," Ursula Burns told Fast Company in 2011. "Not a lot intimidates me." It’s a stance that has served Burns—and her Xerox Corporation colleagues and shareholders—well. Armed with engineering degrees from Columbia and NYU, she has rolled up her sleeves to reinvent the famed copier corporation for a post-copier age. Burns’s 2009 ascension, as Chief Executive Officer of Xerox and as Chairperson of its Board the following year, made her the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 Company. And in taking the Xerox reins from her mentor, predecessor and “true partner” Anne Mulcahy, she demonstrated that female leadership in the highest corporate reaches can be more than a novelty.
 
Forbes consistently rates Burns as one of the most powerful woman in the world. She’s a board director of the American Express corporation while providing leadership counsel to FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the National Academy Foundation, MIT and to the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2009, Burns was appointed by President Obama to help lead the White House national program on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). She was appointed vice chair for the President's Export Council in March 2010. 

Related Videos

Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher
Journalist

In her junior year of college at Georgetown University, Kara Swisher became incensed with an article she read in The Washington Post. It was full of errors, even spelling mistakes,...

Angela Salinas
Angela Salinas
Major General, US Marine Corps (Ret)

Angela Salinas is a retired Major General of the US Marine Corps and a role model for women in the armed forces. Raised by two Mexican immigrants, Salinas was the first in her fam...

Hope Solo
Hope Solo
Professional Athlete

Hope Solo is an American soccer goalkeeper, currently playing as a goalkeeper for the Seattle Sounders Women. Born in Richland, Washington, Solo showed an affinity for sports at an...

Dee Dee Myers
Dee Dee Myers
Political Analyst

Dee Dee Myers is a groundbreaking political analyst and former White House press secretary. After graduating from Santa Clara University, Dee Dee Myers took on a full-time role on...