Dame Stephanie Shirley: Interview with a Technology Pioneer and Diversity Champion


Manage episode 239805909 series 2286264
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Dame Stephanie Shirley's life has been described as one "without limits".
Born as Vera Buchthal in Germany, 1933, she was five years old when she escaped Nazi Germany to Britain as a Kindertransport child refugee. The trauma shaped her early life and drove her to curating her own future: from a lover of mathematics and computing she rose to becoming a successful - and well-known - businesswoman in 1960s Britain, founding an all-female information technology company under the moniker "Steve" Shirley.
It would become known for its pioneering employee packages - flexible working, zero-hour contracts, and working from home as standard. Over 11 years, Dame Shirley even gifted her employees 25% of the business, making several people millionaires in the process. It was just one of her philanthropic ventures, alongside numerous contributions to autism charities and initiatives, as well as founding the Oxford Internet Institute.
For these reasons, Dame Shirley's voice and experience are a vital touchstone when considering today's purposeful business movement.
In this interview with Peter Stojanovic, Deputy Editor of HotTopics.ht, understand how Dame Shirley capitalized on her gender in a male-dominated industry, championed a healthier, more respectful work-place culture for her employees and views today's batch of energized entrepreneurs.

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