First Black Female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company – Black Scholars and Professionals Comment

27 May


With Ursula Burns being recently appointed as the first Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the Black community had a lot to say.  Most importantly, Black women and men in academia, law, and the professional world shine light on various points of view that should be considered as the nation celebrates the achievements of Burns and the Xerox Corporation.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux – President of Bennett College for Women:

“Glass ceilings are shattering and sisters are celebrating this amazing milestone. After the dust clears, let’s focus both on the glass ceiling and the sticky floor that suppresses the wages and salaries of most working women.”


Dr. Mary Stoddard, Attorney at Law – Stoddard,  Parks & Associates, PLLC:

“Having the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company is greatly past due. The value of a segment of the population that has been the fundamental cornerstone to the growth and development of this country is long due our nation. Because one black female has been bestowed the job, that does not remove the many who are qualified and denied the opportunity because they are a black woman.”



Dr. Debbie Stroman – CEO of the L.A.S.E.R.™ (Life After Sports With Effective Results) Institute and Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

“Burns’ hire is inspirational and very strategic. With Pres. Obama’s seat at the highest table, it has now become prudent and most practical to allow one’s best and brightest to shine. This move is an example of how affirmative action can really work to positively affect change. All we ever need is just an opportunity. Also, much kudos to Mulcahy (the former CEO of Xerox) for demonstrating the power of ongoing support for Black leadership in business. Back to back now has another meaning besides its usage in basketball!”


Kimberly Reed

Kimberly S. Reed

Managing Partner, Reed Development Group LLC

“Today is an historic day for many, specifically for Hispanic and African American women. We salute and congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Ursula Burns, two dynamic leaders who some say have reached the pinnacle of professional endeavors. We still have to work harder, smarter and more strategic than our male counterparts. Diverse leadership is a business IMPERATIVE and Xerox has shown the US that an African American woman is now being valued and elevated for the strategic leadership, strength, knowledge and business savvy it takes to run a Fortune 500 company.”


Dr. Carlous Caple (President/CEO – Caple Global Associates LLC – an IT and management consulting firm in NC):

“The announcement of Ursula Burns as President of Xerox Corp is significant in that it strengthens the legacy of Black female entrepreneurs, and demonstrates the power of perseverance in overcoming obstacles when confidence and expectations are practiced in any household, under any circumstance.”



Tessie Clements, Attorney at Law – Tuscaloosa, Alabama:

“Women have to keep pushing for equality in all professions. We cannot and will not settle for the status quo. She is just another sign that women have no limits in our capabilities. We must continue to demand our seat at the table.”




Dr. Kendra Harris, Assistant Professor of Marketing, North Carolina Central University:

“This occasion is unequivocally, a cause for celebration. That said, this kind of “first” nearly a decade into the 21st century is a sad testimony to systemic lack of awareness of the talent among the ranks of minority women.”



Sheri Mitchell – Democratic Candidate for Cicero NY Town Clerk and mother of a Black female student at Columbia University:

“It is wonderful to see one of our own breaking yet another barrier. I am sure this is just one of may firsts for Ms. Burns. With each obstacle she overcomes that is one less our children will have to encounter.
Where some might become complacent with a Masters in Engineering from Columbia University, Ms, Burns has continued to be an inspiration to young African American women. We look forward to see where else she leads us.”


8 Responses to “First Black Female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company – Black Scholars and Professionals Comment”

  1. Doria Scott May 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm #

    People need to understand that Black Concerned employees of Xerox Corporation help to make this possible. Back in the 60’s, 70’s amd 80’s there serious efforts to make Xerox responsible for the goals and aspirations of their black employees. Xerox made major strides in their affirmation action policies and as a result Black employees were promoted into some major positions, like Barry Rand, who was a president in the corporation, and is now the CEO of AARP. There was also a black brother on the west coast whose first name is Bernard, (his last name escapes me) who was also a president with Xerox. One of the participants of the Concern Black Employees movement wrote a book about the Xerox experience. I am not sure of his name either, but I know you can look it up. So when I learned that Ursula Burns was the first Black Female CEO of Xerox, I was pleased, but not surprised.

  2. Anonymous May 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    I am very glad to know Xerox looked into Ms Burns qualifications, her hard work and her down to earth honesty to respectfully promote her to a position well deserved of a Black female of whose color justifies the fact the lost opportunities many companies have neglected to venture into because of color and not what is in the brain.

  3. Doria Scott May 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Sorry to have been so vague on the names…the person who was president on the west coast was Bernard Kinsey and the name of the brother who wrote the book called Black Life in Corporate America in 1982 was Glegg Watson, then a manager in Xerox Corp. I remember when I came to Xerox in 1973, both Bernard Kinsey and Barry Rand were sales managers. I am very proud of Ursula Burns, and I know she is qualified, but I believe she would not hold this position if it had not been for the groundwork laid by hundreds of employees who worked dilligently to help formulate Xerox’s affirmative action programs.

  4. Renee June 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Its about time! Our time has arrived!


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