Refugee – Entrepreneur – Philanthropist. Wow!
I recently read this amazing book by the incredible Dame Stephanie Shirley after she spoke at Techhub London last year.
Dame Shirley was a refugee on the Kindertransport to the UK during World War II and remained in the UK.
She had a flair for maths and technology, but in the 1950s these career paths weren’t really open for women so she had to forge her own path.
She worked at the famed Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill, building computers and code by day, and studying for an honours degree in mathematics by night.
In her second job, she realised that standalone software was the next big market opportunity in tech, so she set up Freelance Programmers Ltd.
Frustrated at the state of the workplace for women and also recognising the latent untapped talent that was available, she built her workforce almost exclusively with part-time, remote working ladies that she knew and trusted.
Over the decades she grew the business and successfully exited, making her millions.
However, this merely opened up the next calling for her, which was to fund research into autism and support for children with the condition. This vocation was created by the fact that her son Giles was himself severely autistic.
It’s an inspiring story and full of life and business wisdom. Get it and give it a read.