Corporate leaders -- with their soaring salaries, fat cat bonuses, and ridiculous perks -- have become a lightning rod for public outcry over recent years. Once upon a time, we may have admired the kind of prowess that takes an executive to the corner suite, but these days it's hard to muster a warm feeling for any one person earning millions while so many search the job ads.
Or is it?
What if we told you that the woman leading Xerox grew up in the projects on Manhattan's Lower East Side? That her mother used to keep her motivated by reminding her, "Where you are is not who you are." And would you be surprised to learn that Ken Langone's school principal thought it'd be a waste of money for his blue-collar parents to send their son to a university? Even Ken Lewis, the outgoing CEO of Bank of America, learned the value of a part-time job -- in his case, selling Christmas cards -- when, at age 12, his father walked out on the family.
Here, we present the 10 most astonishing examples of corporate leaders who exemplify the dream. They started with little and worked their way to the top, accumulating status and wealth along the way.
How long does it take you to completely unpack after moving in?
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- 3 days – I'm an unpacking MACHINE!
- I need a full month just to figure out where to put everything!
- 3 months – I use the boxes as end tables!
- NEVER! I still haven't unpacked everything from the last move.