The Oxford Internet Institute is excited to welcome Dame Stephanie Shirley to share the story of her career and personal life.

The Oxford Internet Institute is excited to welcome Dame Stephanie Shirley to share the story of her career and personal life. A short drinks reception will be held at the OII after the talk.

This event is at capacity. A waitlist option is available and we welcome those on the waitlist who do not get a space to come at 5:10 pm and if there are any no shows you will be able to take a seat. Please note there is no guarantee you will be able to join the event. The event will be filmed and available online afterward.

Dame Stephanie Shirley (84) was appointed one of the rare Companions of Honour earlier this year for her entrepreneurship and philanthropy. She will tell the story of her career and personal life, starting as an unaccompanied child refugee from Nazi Europe in 1939.

She studied at evening classes to get her London maths degree and is an honorary doctor of over 30 universities including that “cold, dark place in the Fens, founded by a group of people thrown out of Oxford”.

People laughed when she founded her software house as a company of women, for women. Starting with the today equivalent of £100, its ultimate success led to her philanthropy.

To date this includes £15m support for IT projects such as the Oxford Internet Institute and over £50m for autism (her late son’s disorder).

Her TED talk has been viewed nearly 2m times and her memoir Let IT Go is being made into a film.

Her book Let IT Go will be available for purchase for a donation of £10.

About the speakers

  • Dame Stephanie Shirley


    Dame Stephanie Shirley is a successful IT entrepreneur turned ardent

    Having arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939, she started what became Xansa plc (now part of the Sopra Group) on her dining room table with £6 in 1962. In 25 years as its Chief Executive she developed it into a leading business technology group, pioneering new work practices and changing the position of professional women (especially in hi-tech) along the way. Her Dameship in the Millennium honours was for services to IT.

    She has served on corporate Boards such as Tandem Computers Inc. (1992-7), the John Lewis Partnership plc (1999-2001) and AEA Technology – previously the Atomic Energy Authority (1992-2000). Her philanthropy is based on her strong belief in giving back to society. She focuses on IT and autism (her autistic son Giles died age 35 in 1998).

    Her charitable Shirley Foundation has made over £67m grants and initiated a number of projects that are pioneering by nature, strategic in impact and significant in money terms. Current activity is targeted at national strategies for autism.

    She was awarded the Order of Companions of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2017.

    Aged 83 she remains married to her first husband.

    To find out more about Dame Stephanie, see her memoir Let IT Go.

This page was last modified on 25 October 2017