Starting out as an intern at Xerox Corp, she soon carved out a name for herself as the first Afro-American female CEO of a Fortune-500 firm.
In a candid talk at Catalyst's Annual Award show, held in March, the eponymous CEO reminisced her rise to glory. Unlike some Black kids who lack opportunities and support, her mother, according to her was the real strength in her younger days. She recounts her mother's words “Where you are is not who you are. Remember that when you’re rich and famous”.
Taking this further, she herself is a standing example of success and entrepreneurship for many aspiring ladies.
When she was asked for some real time wisdom, here's what she handed out:
1. Find a Good (old) husband-
Surprising to get a marital advise when looking for a career? Well that's probably the most common dilemma every career-oriented women has to face some time or the other. Well jokes apart, the serious issue is that working women need a lot of support from family and the spouse. Burns states her own example. She met her much older husband Lloyd Bean, a scientist and researcher, at Xerox. This age difference helped as he retired early and took over the responsibility of the kids while Burns could advance her career goals.
2. Redefine Work-Life Balance-
Doing the juggling act between home and work is practically a "fool's journey" that most women aspire for. There is nothing like perfect balance so to say. What is achievable though is setting a comfortable mindset to "have balance, on average, over time – not in a day or in a month."
3. Be Selfish Sometimes-
Most women are prone to stress, not necessarily due to work but the erratic dissociation with their families. Burns' straight advise to such women is be selfish and check out their needs first. “Think about your health, physically and mentally,” she says, so as to multi task at different fronts.
4. Don't Take Life Too Seriously-
Burns is a proud mother and grandmother too. An active member of the community around her, she feels that career and home are seperable. Most working women are mothers who dwell on guilt for missing out on important moments of their kids lives. But this guilt is bad. "Kids are pretty resilient" she opines. Moreover,its okay to be crazy and not too serious all the time; that kills self innovation at all levels.
We really like the simple and tete-e-tete handout of her wisdom. Hope you readers like it too, especially our aspiring female entrepreneurs.
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