Why the PRISM Award Matters

Written by Jeff Jacobson
President, Global Graphic Communications Operations,
 Xerox Corporation

Ursula Burns Accepting PRISM with Guy Gecht
Photo Credit: ©NYU Photo Bureau/Debra Rothenberg

Accolades and awards are common occurrences for Xerox’s Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns – from being named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women to receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award.  But the award she received today in New York City holds a special place, as it took her back to her roots at Xerox.
The PRISM Award is presented to outstanding business leaders by the Advisory Board of the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies Graphic Communications Management and Technology. The award also reinforces the importance of educating students about the exciting career opportunities this industry offers.  Looking out onto the young attendees gathered at today’s event, I saw enthusiasm and optimism, making me believe the industry’s future is in good hands.
I credit the Advisory Board for presenting the PRISM Award to a CEO who shifted a company’s primarily historical focus on print production in a new direction.  Just as I hear from customers every day about the need to diversify, Ursula has set that direction for Xerox.
Xerox is now the global leader in business process and document management; offering services that range from claims reimbursement to automated toll transactions, to customer care centers and HR benefits management –  a long way from the sights ‘n sounds, and smells, of a print shop.
And while some may have questioned our commitment to the printing industry, Ursula has proven otherwise.  The forming of Xerox’s first-ever dedicated global graphic communications group is a sure sign that efforts are in place to support, improve and redefine our legacy production print business – in areas such as xerography, workflow, and inkjet, as evident with the Impika acquisition.
We’re fortunate to build from a past rich in technology and fearless innovation.  And Ursula has participated in many significant milestones, including the launch of the DocuTech Publishing System – which started the print-on-demand revolution – and iGen, our flagship digital color press.
Can you tell I am bullish on our industry? Why not? I firmly believe print serves as the key igniter to the overall multi-media marketing messages we see every day.
I suspect the Advisory Board saw in Ursula a tenacity to push the status quo and make bold and unexpected moves to preserve and transform.
For the graphic communications industry, leaders with those characteristics are setting the bar for print’s dynamic future.
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