September 20, 1958 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University
|Occupation||Chairman and CEO of Xerox|
|Salary||US$18.7 million (2014)|
I don't think paper will go away. I do believe that the value of paper will change, and Xerox is working on changing that value. Consider a color page. Actual life is in color, but you keep reproducing it in black and white. You remove value. It's a bad thing to do.
The best way to change it is to do it. Right? And then after a while you become it, and it's easy.
I realized I was more convincing to myself and to the people who were listening when I actually said what I thought, versus what I thought people wanted to hear me say.
Fresh out of college, you tend to join a company because it's a job. But, you tend to stay because it becomes a career; you start to feel at home. In the beginning of your career, you're focused on you: 'I like this place because I'm doing rewarding work; they take good care of me; the people are nice; there's runway for me,' etc.
CEOs resign when the internal dynamics of the company and the external dynamics of the company actually come together to say it is appropriate. When the internal dynamics ask you whether you have a replacement. I think the transition from CEOships have also become cartoonish.
Admiration takes on a whole new level when you appreciate just how complex it is to run a modern business.
The world is full of opportunities – every day there's something new that you can do. For example, you could make dirty water potable. Why does anyone not have potable water? Because it's a problem that hasn't been solved yet, but it can be.
Xerox is really good at managing documents, and we're definitely good at managing through a process.
Kids are pretty resilient. You don't have to be at every volleyball game. We can't guilt ourselves.
Long time ago, people would make the Bible, right? The guy said it, somebody wrote it down. And then if you wanted another copy of it, another human being wrote another one. It took a long, long time. Somebody created this thing called mimeograph paper and so you said, 'OK, we'll do it that way.' And so you could get three of them.
My perspective comes in part from being a New York black lady, in part from being an engineer. I know I'm smart and have opinions worth being heard.
Xerox manages the infrastructure of E-ZPass for a large number of states. So when you say E-ZPass, and get some bill from E-ZPass, or call and ask a question about E-ZPass, you're talking to a Xerox person.
I don't want to overemphasize this, but not a day goes by when I don't think about my mother and what she would think about what I just did. I often adjust my approach.
If you go to Norway, Finland, Russia or Australia, you'll see Xerox or Fuji-Xerox people, not just the name on the door. We have human beings who live and work and serve customers everywhere around the globe.
My mother was pragmatic, focused and extremely, exceedingly practical, and she was the ultimate self-determining person.
My mother raised us to think that if we worked hard, and if we put our end of the bargain in, it would work out OK for us.
Race and gender definitely came up, occasionally, in my life at work. But the bigger challenge that I had was age. I took roles earlier in my career than people expected, and so a lot of what I got was, 'Do you actually know enough to do this?'
I've had many mentors, but the one that has the most impact was my mother.
As I've progressed in my career, I've come to appreciate – and really value – the other attributes that define a company's success beyond the P&L: great leadership, long-term financial strength, ethical business practices, evolving business strategies, sound governance, powerful brands, values-based decision-making.
I'm less concerned about whether being a good corporate citizen burnishes a company's reputation. That's just an added benefit. I believe it's a responsibility, and there is no negotiating on responsibilities.
This old notion that work is drudgery is nonsense. Most days, even back when Xerox was under siege, I could not wait to get to the office.
My mother was amazing. I guess, in our community, if you wanted to get by you had to work hard. So she cleaned offices. She did everything that you could imagine. We were really poor. But she would say, 'Where you are is not who you are.'
Crankiness is a human attribute that, when people walk in the door of Xerox, they remain human. The best way to get the best out of people is to not force them to be something other than they naturally are. Now what do they have to be? They have to be respectful. You can't be ridiculously disrespectful.
Find something that you love to do, and find a place that you really like to do it in. I found something I loved to do. I'm a mechanical engineer by training, and I loved it. I still do. My son is a nuclear engineer at MIT, a junior, and I get the same vibe from him. Your work has to be compelling. You spend a lot of time doing it.
I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. The three things that they focused on were reading, writing, and arithmetic. My goodness, this is a novel idea in this modern society. I was really good at all three of these things. I was particularly good at math.
I'm a black lady from the Lower East Side of New York. Not a lot intimidates me.