Ursula Burns, Xerox
Position: Chairman and CEO
Family: Married with a daughter and stepson
Ursula Burns is used to being the first. She was not just the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company — Xerox (NYSE:XRX), that is — but also was the first black female CEO of Fortune 500 company.
And she worked all the way up from being an intern.
Her secret to success? Well, not being fearless, for one. “I’m a black lady from the Lower East Side of New York,” she once said. “Not a lot intimidates me.”
Another helpful factor for Burns on the family side of things: marrying an older man. Her husband is almost 20 years her senior — something that, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “proved advantageous when Burns’ job later required her to travel frequently and leave their two young children at home.”
She also recommends, for women trying to follow in her footsteps, not being afraid to take some time to yourself and to avoid feeling guilty when it comes to missing time with your kids. They’ll be fine.
Tough love is the best love.