Myra A. Duke
Dr. Eddie Montgomery
Leadership and Organizational Behavior
June 9, 2013
It is rare nowadays for a person to become the top ranking executive at the same company they intern with. Ursula Burns did just that by doing a summer internship with Xerox Corporation, and going on to become the CEO twenty-nine years later. Ursula Burns was the first African-American women to be name CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and first woman to succeed another woman as the leader of a Fortune 500 company. Ms. Burns had very meager beginnings, she was raised by a single mother in a New York City housing project with two siblings. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 1980, the same year she went to work for Xerox as a summer intern. One year later in 1981, Ursula earned a master’s degree of science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and was hired permanently at Xerox. During the 80s Ms. Burns worked in different roles in product development and planning. Her career took a turn in 1990, when she was asked to be executive assistant to Wayland Hicks a member of the executive team, initially she did not want to take the position fearing it would be a dead-end job, but later decided to take it anyways and quickly climbed the corporate ladder. In 1991, Ursula became the assistant to Paul Allaire chief executive and chairman. In 1999, she was named vice president of global manufacturing. In 2000, Ms. Burns went on to be named senior vice president. In 2007, she was named the president, and in 2009 went on to succeed Anne Mulcahy as the CEO.
Ursula M. Burns is widely known as a straight shooter, she strongly beliefs in standing up for what is right and not afraid to say what she believes is wrong. She demonstrated this early in her career while still an intern in 1980, she spoke up at a company meeting, essentially disagreeing with
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