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August 4, 2020 24 min
“Let's start talking about this. How are we going to diversify our boards? How are we going to diversify our management teams? How are we going to diversify our entry-level pipeline? How are we going to work in a community to make it better? … In the last three weeks, four weeks, it's been amazing. And I am really working to make it not stop, because there's a chance that we can be better.” When Ursula Burns became CEO of Xerox in 2009, she was the first African American woman to reach that position at a Fortune 500 company. The daughter of a single mother growing up in New York City public housing, she rose through the ranks to also become that company’s chairman, and then held the same positions at VEON. In this wide-ranging conversation, she discusses a different way of thinking about equity. “If you really want to do this, you're going to have to give up something. The world is not zero-sum. … So even though we act like ‘Oh my God, if we give that person a little bit too much food, we will have less.’ Never happened. We found that if you give people opportunity, the world gets bigger, not smaller; it gets him better, not worse.”
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