According to Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, it does. In fact, she says the ‘secret’ of her success was marrying a man 20 years older than her.
Burns’s husband Lloyd Bean also worked for Xerox as a scientist and researcher, but she was the real star. The engineering hotshot started as a summer intern at Xerox and rose rapidly through the ranks to become the first African-American female CEO.
It seems that Burns, who was known for challenging conventional wisdom at work, wasn’t afraid to do the same in her personal life. She saw her husband’s age as an advantage instead of an obstacle because, according to The Wall Street Journal, he ‘had already gone through this ‘growing up’ stuff.
Of course there are always issues in any relationship, but older men are biologically wired to be more nurturing. As someone raised by a single mom in a Lower East Side housing project, this was undoubtedly an important quality to Burns.
Other high-profile females have spoken out about the importance of choosing the right partner. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has openly praised her husband’s willingness to split childcare and housework.
And for some power couples like Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, whose neurosurgeon husband Griffith Harsh IV moved from Harvard to California when she became CEO of eBay, the secret seems to be prioritizing and compromise.
So for ambitious women, it seems that the most important factor isn’t a partner’s age. It’s his attitude.
Most successful people have learned the importance of picking the right person on the job. But since relationships can build us up or tear us down every day, the most important member of the team is the one waiting for us at home.
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