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Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley        

Highly Successful Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

Dame Stephanie Shirley is a highly successful entrepreneur turned ardent philanthropist.

Having arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939, she started what became Xansa on her dining room table with £6 in 1962. In 25 years as its Chief Executive she developed it into a leading business technology group, pioneering new work practices and changing the position of professional women (especially in hi-tech) along the way.

Since retiring in 1993, she has served on corporate Boards such as Tandem Computers Inc. (1992-7), the John Lewis Partnership plc (1999-2001) and the European Advisory Board of Korn/Ferry International (2001-4). But her focus has been increasingly on philanthropy based on her strong belief in business people giving something back to society. Her main interests are autism (her autistic son Giles died age 35 in 1998) and making better use of IT in the voluntary sector. She is also much in demand as a keynote speaker at international conferences.

Her charitable Shirley Foundation is now one of the top 50 grant-giving foundations in the UK with £50m grants given over the past seven years. It has initiated and funded a number of projects that are pioneering by nature, strategic in impact and significant in money terms. Current activity is focussed on Autistica in the UK and internationally, dedicated to fund research into the causes of autism and hence halve the global cost of the disorder by 2020.

Xansa was acquired by Steria in 2007.


Dame Stephanie Steve Shirley wants more women in STEM ...

Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley encouraged women to pursue careers in tech.

Dame Stephanie Shirley to deliver 3rd Annual Pembroke College Circle Lecture

Entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Dame Stephanie Shirley, will deliver the 3rd Annual Pembroke College Circle Lecture on Saturday 24 September 2016.

FDM Technology Lifetime Achievement Award for Dame Stephanie Shirley

Dame Stephanie Shirley was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the national FDM everywoman in Technology Awards at the Savoy Hotel in London on the 19th March 2013. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the significant contribution that Dame Stephanie Shirley has made to the industry, her game-changing influence and lifelong passion for inspiring and enabling women to achieve success in technology.

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