Tag Archives: 1939

Dame Stephanie Shirley

Stephanie Shirley boarded a train at 6 years of age to escape Nazi Germany in 1939. At the age of 29, an all women IT company was formed by Stephanie “Steve” Shirley as a crusade against the many glass ceilings that exist(ed) against women in tech. Keep in mind that in the 1960s, women needed their husband’s permission to open a bank account in the UK. Operating as a home-based IT firm, Xansa plc was able to scale by providing traffic light services and other technical solutions for stock pricing etc. In the mid-1970s anti-gender discrimination meant that Shirley had to open up her company to men as well. She risked her house via collateral in building up her company: Xansa plc (now part of the Sopra Group). By the time, her company was acquired, it was worth $3 billion USD. You need 24/7 commitment and love your work and be willing to take risks.