74. Ursula Burns: From Poverty to the Fortune 500

Ursula Burns was raised by her single mother the notorious Baruch housing projects on the lower side of New York City. Her parents were Panamanian descent who moved to the United States search of a better life. What they found drugs, gang violence, and impoverished living conditions. She told the New York Times that she lived Baruch, "when it was really bad, when the were there, when the drug addicts were there." these humble beginnings, Burns has risen to become first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 .

Despite not having much money, Burns' mother insisted get a good education and somehow managed to her to a private Catholic School. She attended High School, and hoped to study mechanical engineering. , when she went to college, she felt out place, and intimidated. Her mother told her that could not let where she came from define she is, and Burns followed that advice her life. She said people told her from early in life that she had three strikes against . She was Black, poor, and female, but that 't deter her. She credits her mother for being driving force behind her success.

Burns first worked Xerox Corporation as a summer intern in 1980. the years, she has worked her way up corporate ladder to become the company's Chair, and Executive Officer. She became CEO in 2009, and her tenure she transformed the company from a copy machine company, to a -rounded, full-service company. It has, not only survived, but in a world that is quickly becoming paperless. has been listed by Forbes several times as of the most powerful women in the world, No. 22 in 2014.