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

Two Historic Firsts

Two Historic Firsts

More From Ursula

In this video

Burns explains how her historic appointment as Xerox CEO was even more noteworthy than she first realized.

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

Donna de Varona
Donna de Varona
Olympic Champion & Sportscaster

At 14 years of age, Donna de Varona was the youngest swimmer to compete at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Four years later at the 1964 Tokyo games, she won two gold medals, setting an O...

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham
Writer, Director, Actor, Producer

Dunham began making films while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College. After she graduated in 2008, Dunham made Tiny Furniture, a film centered on the struggles of p...

Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell
Television Pioneer

Pat Mitchell is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of The Paley Center for Media in New York City and the former President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PB...

Maria Pepe
Maria Pepe
Little League's First Girl

It’s the three-game Little League pitching career “heard ‘round the world.” Maria Pepe was eleven years old when the neighborhood boys with whom she had bee...