30 Inspiring Things You Probably Didn't Know About Ursula Burns


Ursula Burns, the chairman and CEO of VEON, has a number of directorship roles in different companies like Teneo, Diageo, among others. She has also served on the board of numerous companies, including Exxon Mobil and Uber. Here are some really unique things to know about the American businesswoman:

  1.  She became the first African American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company, when she took over as the CEO of Xerox, an American global corporation in the year 2009.
  2.  She is also the first female to accede to the position of CEO of such a company in succession after another female.
  3.  She has been constantly listed as one among the most powerful woman in the world, by several magazines including Forbes.
  4.  She was the leader of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition, by the U.S. Pres. Barack Obama from 2009 to 2016.
  5.  From the year 2015 until 2016, she headed the President's Export Council that serves as the principal national advisory committee on international trade, though she had been a member since the year 2010.
  6.  She has been awarded with additional honorary degrees from several institutions including the New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Howard University, The City College of New York, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the University of Rochester, Xavier University, and Georgetown University.
  7.  She has also been listed among the Top 50 Women in Tech in America and the entire world, since 2017.
  8.  Ursula M. Burns was born on September 20, 1958, in the Baruch Houses, a New York city housing project to parents who were Panamanian immigrants.
  9.  She was raised by a single mother Ogla Burns, who operated a home day-care centre and took up extra jobs like ironing and cleaning jobs in an effort to earn extra money.
  10.  She first attended the Cathedral High School in New York, before going to Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, which is now known as New York University Tandon School of Engineering.
  11.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in the year 1980, following which she graduated with a master of science in mechanical engineering from Columbia University a year later.
  12.  She first started her career as a summer intern for Xerox in the year 1980, but permanently joined the company following her master's degree.
  13.  Her career got the big break, when she was promoted to be the executive assistant to Wayland Hicks, then a senior executive of Xerox, in January 1990.
  14.  However, she had to return home after around just nine months to get married. She became executive assistant to then chairman and chief executive Paul Allaire in June 1991.
  15.  She was named senior vice president of corporate strategic services and began working closely with soon-to-be CEO Anne Mulcahy in May 2000.
  16.  She took over as the President of Xerox in 2007, and became the CEO in July 2009, with Mulcahy remaining as the chairwoman until May 2010.
  17.  Burns, as the CEO of Xerox, led the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services, an information technology services company.
  18.  It was under her tenure that the Xerox company was split into two independent companies - Xerox Corporation and Conduent Incorporated, in the year 2016.
  19.  Throughout the process of separation, she remained as the chairwoman and CEO of Xerox, and was later appointed as the chairwoman of the standalone document technology company.
  20.  She remained as the chairwoman of both the companies, until May 2017, when she left Xerox and all her responsibilities with the company.
  21.  Burns is said to provide leadership counsel to several non-profit organizations such as the FIRST, MIT, National Academy Foundation and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others.
  22.  She was elected as the chairman of VEON, the 11th largest telecoms service provider in the world, on the basis of subscribers, in July 2017.
  23.  She was made the executive chairman pending a selection process in March 2018, following the sudden departure of the company's CEO, and was appointed as CEO in December 2018.
  24.  On April 2, 2018, it was announced that Burns would join the board of directors of Diageo, a beverage company. She also serves as a senior advisor in Teneo, an international C-suite advisory firm.
  25.  Till date, she reportedly serves as a board of director for the companies including American Express Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Datto Inc., and Nestlé.
  26.  She is reportedly the founding board director of Change the Equation that aims to improve the U.S.'s program STEM.
  27.  She is married to Lloyd Bean, who was her co-worker at Xerox, since the year 1988. The couple have a daughter named Melissa, who was born in the year 1992.
  28.  She also has a stepson named Malcom, born in the year 1989. He is said to have attended MIT. The family resides in Rochester, New York.
  29.  Burns is known to have delivered the commencement address at universities including the Georgetown University, Xavier University, MIT, Williams College, University of Rochester and Howard University.
  30.  She has been famous for her philanthropic activities, especially concerning to causes related to young girls. She is listed as a major donor to Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women in New York.
  31.  Ursula Burns Net Worth: $15.5 Million

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