Most Powerful Mom in STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math)
Chairman and CEO of Xerox
Children: Malcolm, 21; Melissa, 17
When you think of the American dream, Xerox’s CEO Ursula Burns might spring to mind. She was raised by a single mother in a New York City housing project, went on to receive a science degree in Mechanical Engineering at New York University and then received a Masters of Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University. Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as an intern, rising through the ranks in various roles in product development and planning. Eventually she became president for global manufacturing in 1999, and senior vice president in 2000, working closely with then CEO Anne Mulcahy. Burns was named CEO in 2009 when Mulcahy stepped down. She is the first African American woman CEO to head a S&P 100 company, and the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a S&P 100 company. In 2010, she closed the company's biggest deal ever, when Xerox acquired Affiliated Computer Services for $6.4 billion, which helped increase profits by 25% that year.
As for what Burns is like as a mom? This high-paid executive often does laundry and grocery shopping for the house to set a good example for her kids. She told the New York Times, “There's a little bit of this childhood kind of poverty—you know, pragmatism—that you never can get rid of."
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