27 May 2019

Lawrence Jones MBE and Dame Stephanie Shirley

At five years old, Dame Stephanie Shirley was whisked away from her family and loaded onto a Kindertransport train with just her nine-year-old sister and a small suitcase behind. Escaping Nazi Germany, she was determined to make hers a life worth saving.

A mathematician, Dame Stephanie worked at the birthplace of the Bletchley Park Mark II computers, Dollis Hill. However, after hitting the glass ceiling she set up her own software company dedicated to creating flexible working for mothers, who were able to code from home. She even changed her name to Steve to combat the sexism the faced running her own company in the 1960s.

Despite personal tragedy and heartache, relentless sexism and barriers because of her gender, Steve has persisted.

Steve is now a philanthropist, employing more than 1,000 people across three autism charities that she founded to provide care and support for people with autism like her late son, Giles.

It’s an extraordinary journey, that’s soon to become a Hollywood blockbuster. I am incredibly proud to share this interview with a truly extraordinary character.

Key takeaways:

  • Overcoming the toughest challenges that life can throw at you.
  • The changing tech industry – what needs to change to fix the gender gap.
  • The importance of great culture in business.
  • “Go over, go under, go around or go elsewhere.”
  • “Every generation thinks the rate of change is the fastest ever but it will never stop. The future will see even faster pace of change than we can imagine.”

Host: Lawrence Jones MBE

Guest: Dame Stephanie Shirley

Listening time: 40 mins

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