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Women in Technology: Ursula M. Burns, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox

Some may or may not know that the woman behind HollyDayBeauty has another love, and that is Information Technology.  While I love makeup, skincare, natural hair care, and all things related to beauty. I also love technology. The technology field for me has brought forth opportunities to learn new things, has been a constant challenge of will, strength, and determinations (yes, if you work in IT you know what I mean). Information Technology has also helped in building my problem solving skills; it permits me the chance to meet and learn from other women in the field, and let’s not forget my personal favorite work with the new and upcoming technological advanced equipment and software.

During my morning ritual of getting dressed, putting on my makeup, giving the kids a list of things to do before I get home, and thinking about my marketing mid-term exam, or whatever stress trigger going back to school as allotted me (you know multi-tasking).  I came up with an idea to feature a woman that has made a career in the male dominated technology field.

And we will call it…

“Thursday’s Women in Technology.”

Okay, maybe I will work on the name, but until then here is the first person I thought deserves a mention;

Ursula M. Burns, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox

Ursula Burns who grew up in New York City’s Lower East Side, began her career at Xerox in 1980 as an intern after receiving a Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering. As stated by a NPR staffer Renee Montagne, “Burns rose through the ranks to become the company’s CEO — and the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company — at a time when less than 20 percent of corporate executives are female”.

From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Burns, was an essential leader of several business teams, this includes the company’s color business and office network printing business. After being name chief executive officer in July 2009, Ms. Burns made the largest procurement in Xerox history, the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.

In the NPR interview, Burns states:

“As you move up — as you engage more and more people in the company and take on broader roles — this idea of quote-unquote “looking the part” becomes more and more of a challenge when you don’t look the part.

“But there’s nothing I can do, or wanted to do, about being a black female — I kind of like both of those things. So at the end of the day, the people who were around me had to do a little bit more adjusting than I did. … And if you’re faced with people who can’t deal with it, there’s not much I can do.

Burns concludes, “Now, I got beat up for doing bad things or not moving fast enough, but never for trying stuff or for being a woman or for being black. It’s just not a part of the way that we operated.”

When asked, what are the three most important professional characteristics that helped in becoming a CEO? Ms. Burns’ replies, impatience through bold actions, hard work, and values-based leadership.

Ursula M. Burns, fashionable, beautiful, educated, and a women in technology.

BTW: did I mention naturally curly 🙂

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