If I was given a template to success, and it was to follow the footsteps of Ursula Brown, I must admit I would probably shrink from the challenge. From a her upbringing in the Lower East Side’s harsh, bleak housing projects to pursuing her dreams through a white male dominated industry, and finally proving her worth as CEO of Xerox– Ursula somehow persevered.
She gives full credit to the no-nonsense teachings of her mother– a rock solid, hard working woman determined to see her daughter carve out a better future for herself through education. This hit home for me thinking back to how my mother gave up everything she had to instill the love and importance of education, then helped get me through college so I could always self-support and be an independent woman. It puts a fire in your soul to live up to such sacrifice. In Ursula’s case, she took that fire and found the courage to travel the hard path, and even break new ground against all odds.
Ursula Burns represents that a self-made woman can integrate toughness with grace, intelligence, strength and confidence. I see her as a tremendous role model for all women– any race, any age, any talent, any dream or personality– to summon the courage to believe in our convictions and blast through our goals!
In her words: “The best way to change it is to do it. Right? And then after a while you become it, and it’s easy.”