How do you get from the projects to the top of a Fortune 500 company? Xerox CEO Ursula Burns will tell you: Speak your mind. Be fearless. And when your dreams are big, chase them.You might have seen Burns in the recent Makers documentary, where she talks about her path to success, or heard about her remarks at the 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference, or read her profile in Fast Company magazine.
Her story is an inspiration to women and men who aspire to lead.Burns got her start at Xerox as a summer intern while she was still a student of mechanical engineering at NY Polytechnic. Since then, she has moved all the way up the ranks, helping to turn her company’s financial performance around. Now, she is pushing Xerox to evolve from a printing equipment manufacturer to a leader in the digital age.This forward-leaning approach has earned Burns many kinds of accolades, from a profile in Fast Company to opportunities to lead the White House’s Export Council.
But it’s her approach to the workplace that may be most enlightening for women. Under Burns’ leadership, Xerox employees are encouraged to be more outspoken about the things they know best.Earlier this year, she told the Wall Street Journal that balance should be achieved through the span of a lifetime, not a week, day or month, and sometimes that may mean putting personal needs ahead of career and family. And sometimes it may mean the opposite.
She also urges young women to stay encouraged, even when they feel like they don’t fit in, and to be unafraid to ask for help. As she wrote in her personal story for Lean In,
Dreams do come true, but not without the help of others, a good education, a strong work ethic and the courage to lean in.
For not only demonstrating courage in her own career, but encouraging other women to do the same, WomenLEADInc recognizes Ursula Burns as a Women Who Leads in Engineering and as a F500 CEO .
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