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Today we welcome Dame Stephanie Shirley, known to business contacts as Steve because in a male-dominated business world she would sign letters with her pen name. She has an amazing book called, “Let IT Go” where she documents her life and starts with her experience as an unaccompanied child refugee at age 5 where her parents wanted to protect her from perishing in the Holocaust. Her early experience of the ‘glass ceiling’ at work because of gender discrimination encouraged her to set up her own business which, she did in 1962 with only 6 pounds. Dame Stephanie created one of UK’s first software startups. She forged the path for not only women but the whole computing industry. While planning to start a family, Dame Stephanie hit on the idea of offering part-time employment to professional women with dependants. Essentially, she had pioneered freelance driven business and wanted it to be woman-owned. The IT business prospered with a lot of hard work and, in 1996 the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange earning hundreds of millions of pounds and had employed 8,500 people. This wealth has enabled her to devote her time and resources to giving something back to society, Dame Stephanie ranks among the world’s leading philanthropists. In 2013, she appeared on BBC Radio and discussed why she had given away more than £67 million of her personal wealth to different projects. She has supported strategic projects in the fields of autism (her son, Giles was autistic) and IT. Her focus on autism is done via The Shirley Foundation. They facilitate scientific research aimed to understand what Autism is as opposed to what it looks like.



Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:10] Jeremy introduces his guest, Dame Stephanie Shirley.
  • [4:10] Dame Stephanie talks about caring for her son, Giles.
  • [9:00] What is the Shirley Foundation?
  • [11:20] How has the field of autism research advanced over the years?
  • [14:45] AI is the future.
  • [16:15] Why we should embrace the perspective of autistic individuals.
  • [19:50] Dame Stephanie’s high point in her career.

In this episode…

What does it look like to devote your wealth and influence to leaving a legacy through philanthropy? How do you choose which causes are worth your time and resources? On this episode of Inspired Insider, you’ll hear from renowned philanthropist and pioneer, Dame Stephanie Shirley. In her conversation with Jeremy, Dame Stephanie opens up about caring for her son, Giles, why she started the Shirley Foundation, how the field of autism research had evolved, why society needs to embrace the perspectives of people with autism, and so much more! Don’t miss a minute of this powerful episode featuring Dame Stephanie Shirley!

As a leader, you know what it is like to enjoy certain benefits and privileges because of your status and your position. Have you ever considered leveraging your privileges to positively impact the lives of vulnerable individuals in your community? Dame Stephanie Shirley has committed a significant portion of her personal wealth and resources to the field of autism research. Having raised a son with autism, Dame Stephanie became aware of the lack of resources and research allocated to understanding this topic. She founded Autistica in 2004 which has gone on to raise over £8.5 million in support of autism research. What can you learn from Dame Stephanie’s story? How will you leverage your position and power to help others?

What is the future of business? How do some of the most talented and successful minds in the business world view the future? When presented with this question, Dame Stephanie was quick to point to Artificial Intelligence. Having witnessed the rise of modern automation, Dame Stephanie is convinced that the future will only continue to build on these advances. Are you ready to embrace the future? Is your business prepared? Don’t sit on the sidelines, lead the way in your industry! Learn from the likes of Dame Stephanie and other leaders so you can maintain a competitive edge!

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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