75 most powerful women in business: from technology to finance, these professionals are changing global business.

Author:Lott, Annya M.
Position:SPECIAL REPORT
 
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POWER. IT TRANSFORMS INDUSTRIES, MOVES organizations forward, and breathes life into new ideas. It's why diversity at the highest rungs of an organization is so important to the growth and evolution of industry. A Harris Interactive survey conducted for The Executive Leadership Council in 2008 of 150 senior corporate executives showed that 82% of them believe that having minorities in senior roles is good for business, and 75% believe that diversity at that level also drives innovation. Unfortunately, access to such power has eluded many women in corporate business--women who undoubtedly have the talent and the training, but perhaps missed important cues, operated in isolation, or lacked the necessary mentorship and sponsorship to help highlight their achievements, These challenges, among others, have kept black female representation to a mere 1% of C-suite executives and corporate officers.

The watershed event in July 2009, however, may have signaled the beginning of a new era. Ursula M. Burns was named CEO of Xerox Corp., becoming not only the first African American woman to run one of the largest publicly traded companies, but also being placed among the world's most...

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