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Ursula M Burns is the serving chairman and CEO of Xerox, making her the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Rated by Forbes as the 22nd most influential woman in 2014, Ursula Burn’s total earnings in 2013 was around $13 Million.
Ursula Burns was born in September 1958 to a single mother in one of New York’s low-income localities.
She and her 2 siblings were raised by her mother, who did laundry work and cleaning for a doctor for financial support.
Her Catholic school teachers advised her to pursue a career as a nun or a teacher, but she did not listen to them.
She joined Xerox in 1980 as a Summer intern and was hired permanently on completing her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Through the 1990s, Ursula Burns worked in multiple product development functions in Xerox.
In 1999, Ursula Burns became the vice-president for global manufacturing and progressed to the position of senior vice-president in the next few years.
In 2009, she became the CEO of Xerox Corporation, making her the first woman to take over from another female CEO.
As CEO, she oversaw her company achieves a revenue of $22.4 Billion in 2012, while her earnings that year touched $13 Million.
In addition to Xerox, Ursula Burns has served on multiple company boards, including Exxon Mobil, American Express, and the MIT Corporation.
She was also picked by the US President as one of the founding members of a national program aimed at improving STEM-based education in the United States.