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2006 Women to Watch: M. Michele Burns

Mercer Human Resource Consulting L.L.C.

M. Michele Burns

Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer

Mercer Human Resource Consulting L.L.C.

New York

Age: 48



M. Michele Burns began her career as a senior tax partner at Arthur Andersen L.L.P. before joining Delta Air Lines Inc., where she last served as executive vp and chief financial officer. She then joined Mirant Corp., an Atlanta-based power company, and held several executive positions, including executive vp, CFO and chief restructuring officer. She joined Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. as executive vp and CFO earlier this year, and was appointed to her current position at Mercer last month.



Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?

A: "Listen more than you talk. Work hard. Show up mentally and emotionally. Show up and give all to what you are attempting to do. Stay focused on your goals and don’t be deterred."



Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?

A: "I had a college professor who inspired me to do more than I thought I could. My boss at Delta taught me how to take my drive and ambition and decisiveness and channel them into the corporate environment in a very meaningful way."



Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?

A: "I would not spend much time trying to change an industry. The industry is going to change and it is our requirement as business people to change with it."


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