Episode 9: Inspirational Speech, Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley CH

This week in place of our weekly livecast/podcast, we’re sharing the story of Dame Stephanie (Steve Shirley), our founder Joy Foster’s hero!

Dame Stephanie Shirley arrived in Britain as a Kindertransport child refugee. When realising her life had been saved she vowed to make hers ‘a life worth saving’.

In the ’50s, Shirley built computers from scratch and wrote code. She took evening classes for six years to obtain an honours degree in mathematics.

After experiencing sexism in her workplace, “being fondled, being pushed against the wall”, she wanted to create job opportunities for women with dependents, and predominantly employed women.

She adopted the name “Steve” to help her in the male-dominated business world, given that company letters signed using her real name were not responded to.

Shirley retired in 1993 at the age of 60 and has since focused on her philanthropy. She has donated most of her extensive wealth to charity.

We broadcast Dame Shirley’s inspirational speech LIVE on Friday 18th October at Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol.

This is a speech not to be missed! So as to aid your enjoyment we have improved the audio and made a few adjustments to our initial video.

Apologies for the wifi glitch in the middle -these things happen!

We hope you enjoy this video, let us know your feedback.

Many thanks to Dame Stephanie Shirley CH for sharing her story at Enterprise Nation’s Festival of Female Entrepreneurs.

You can buy her book ‘Let It Go: My Extraordinary Story – From Refugee to Entrepreneur to Philanthropist’ here. Alternatively, as I have, you can download the audio book, here.

If you felt inspired and her story made you feel like you wanted to contribute towards autism research, then please follow this link to Autistica. Thank you.