How did the first Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company manage to balance her skyrocketing career and her growing family? In the latest GCP Podcast episode, Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox Corporation, tells us why this is NOT the question young parents should be asking. She explains why a perspective shift is overdue:
“I don’t understand work/ life balance. Isn’t work part of life? I mean, child rearing is part of life, it’s all part of life. So we have to figure out a way to balance it all. We can’t have this additional burden, this other aspect of our life that we’re trying to fit in. It’s all of our life and we have to figure out a way to make it play and make it play well. And I think we over index on models that don’t really apply to us, and particularly Black and brown women. I tell you what, everyone, particularly everybody who I grew up with, every woman had to work because they had no choice.”
Her thoughts on why the parenting model needs updating include this observation:
We owe it to men to allow them to do what we are expecting women to do. We expect women to come into work and say, I’m thinking about having a child. How are we going to change my work day, my work? We absolutely have to have men do the same thing.
She talks about how she and her late husband Lloyd Bean, a scientist, worked hard to focus on their family and their careers. In this thought-provoking episode which is chock-full of parenting wisdom, Ursula reveals how she was able to stay true to herself and her parenting goals as she and her husband raised their family.
We begin the episode with Ursula’s riveting description of the “masterful parenting” of her single mother, Olga Raquel Burns, a Panamanian immigrant. You’ll hear how her mother’s wise counsel and great parenting instincts guided Ursula’s own parenting journey. We get a sneak peek into some of the stories about growing up with her mom that she’s captured in her memoir, Where You Are Is Not Who You Are, which will be released next week on June 15th. This is an episode you won’t want to miss.