Former corporate CEO works to saves children

Anne Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox, gives a lecture about leadership to ISU students in the Sun Room on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Mulcahy began her career with Xerox as a field sales representative and assumed increasingly-important sales and senior manangement positions over a 33-year tenure.

Mindy Dickerson

Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox, spent 33 years building her career from the bottom, up to reach national renowned success.

Students had the chance to listen to one of the “Top 10 World’s Most Powerful Women,” on Wednesday night. Mulcahy spoke as the fall 2010 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics, and also as part of the World Affairs Lecture Series.

Mulcahy credits her amount of experience in the corporate world because she knew how the right decisions and choices to make. 

“We’ve been working with her since last spring [for a lecture] because of how she executed her career,” said Dianna Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman-Catt Center. “She started as a sales representative and [got] to CEO.”

When Mulcahy began working as the CEO and chairwoman, she was taking on more than the average amount of work.

“[The company] was literally on the verge of bankruptcy,” Mulcahy said.”It was not smooth sailing by any means. I reached a couple turning points where I thought I’d have to leave the business. Before I had the opportunity to do that the company helped me along the way.”

Throughout her struggles as a new CEO, Mulcahy learned a fact that would change her life and work for the better.

“The one difference between those who make it, and those who don’t, are the ones who ask for help,” Mulcahy said.

Besides reaching out for help, she also developed five fundamental things in order to rebuild Xerox. The list consists of: listening, having a clear vision of where they want to take the journey, set clear objectives, be authentic and set good values. 

“Humility always trumps hubris,” Mulcahy said.

During the latter end of the 10 years Mulcahy worked as the CEO and chairwoman, she began researching a new organization: Save the Children.

“I believe we all need to give back at some point,” Mulcahy said. “[Save the Children] had a long history, stellar reputation and 93 cents of every dollar goes to the kids.”

One of the reasons Mulcahy felt was most important was the organization’s focus on sustainability. The group works with children and people in need, and teaches them ways to different ways to survive without completely relying off of Save the Children.

“If you can change the mind of a young child, then that’s the way to go,” Mulcahy said. “I’m more inspired today [by Save the Children] than 11 months ago when I joined.”