NEW YORK — With headlines about sexual harassment sweeping Silicon Valley, the previous CEO of Xerox has a message for women: Don’t keep away from the tech business.
“Go into tech. They will hire you,” Ursula Burns advised Poppy Harlow at CNNMoney’s American Opportunity breakfast in New York final week.
Burns, the primary Black feminine CEO of a Fortune 500 firm, stated that tech corporations know they will’t simply maintain hiring and selling males. That means for women, it’s a “time of power” that would assist have an effect on actual change inside the business.
“We have to own our position in the world and be strong and aggressive about it,” she stated.
At a younger age, Burns was informed she had three strikes towards her: she was poor, she was Black and she or he was a lady. But professionally, Burns discovered she might use the latter two classes to her benefit.
“By the time I got to work, I was very used to being around a whole bunch of men who were fairly uncomfortable with difference,” stated Burns, who held the CEO title at Xerox from 2009 to 2016.
Burns, 58, stated that since she was “very comfortable with them,” that gave her the higher hand.
On whether or not male enterprise leaders have an actual want to have an effect on change within the office, Burns was frank.
“They generally don’t give a hoot,” she stated. “They care about women, but we’re asking them to do some pretty hard things here.”
She famous that there was not one lady at a current assembly in Washington, D.C., on women’s health issues, leaving out a “clear voice in the room.”
Just like in Washington, she stated companies are nonetheless made for males as a result of they’re nonetheless structured to be run by males.
“They don’t have a clue what ‘structurally made for women’ is about,” she stated.
Burns additionally mentioned how necessary it’s for women to discover a partner who will help them excel professionally and handle issues at house.
She met her husband, Lloyd Bean, whereas she was working at Xerox. Twenty years her senior, Bean stayed house to assist increase their two youngsters whereas she was climbing the company ladder.
“You should find a great partner,” Burns stated. “Man, woman, whatever it is — you have to find a good one.”
Both mother and father also needs to be ready to take parental depart, she stated, and corporations should present that choice to each fathers and moms.
“Men have to say something [to their bosses] like, ‘My wife is having a baby. This isn’t a one person job, this is a two person job,’” she stated. “If they tell you they can’t give you leave, quit and find another job that will.”
Burns admitted that elevating youngsters isn’t straightforward (she and her husband have two youngsters). But not having extra youngsters is one among her largest regrets.
“I actually stopped too soon,” she stated. “My kids are such a joy.” — (CNN)