Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black History In The Making: Ursula Burns.

Black History Month officially began yesterday, and I celebrated the occasion by posting a video of a black man inadvertently pimpslapping his child while playing a game of XBox Kinect. Yep, I'm just progressive like that.

To atone for this oversight, I'm presenting the first of a new series called Black History In The Making. Sure, we all know about female trailblazers like Mary McLeod Bethune, Madame CJ Walker, and Shirley Chisolm. But black history is being made today by women other than Oprah Winfrey and Nicki Minaj Michelle Obama. A year or so ago, a black woman became the CEO of a Fortune 500 company for the first time ever. In postracial America, I'm a bit surprised that this accomplishment didn't get the attention it deserved, and I'd like to correct that today.

At age 51, Ursula Burns leads the iconic corporation Xerox, and in 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world. Not the country, the whole effin' world!!! Her bio, which was very well detailed in a 2010 New York Times piece, is a story of determination, hard work, loyalty, and keepin' it real. I know stories of success in the corporate world aren't nearly as sexy or exciting as talking about Lebron or even, God forbid, Gucci Mane, but reality is by the time she retires, Mrs. Burns (who makes about $12M a year in total compensation) will have probably outearned both of them.

Even better, her story is one that virtually anyone can replicate. She went to school, educated herself, and worked her ass off to rise to the top of her profession. It's attainable example of success that doesn't depend on singing well or standing 7 feet tall.

If you'd like to read an inspiring story of an amazing woman who's making black history everyday that doesn't include a single mention of the words "stripper pole", read this piece in its entirety, and print it out for every one of your nieces, and nephews for that matter.

Well done, Mrs. Burns.

Xerox’s New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture [NYTimes]

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