This week I am sharing the story of an extraordinary woman via her latest TED talk, Dame Stephanie Shirley. Hers is one of those special personal tales that made history on many levels.
Below some snapshots from her inspiring speech followed by a quick intro and her TED talk. Invest your next 10 minutes here and enjoy!
“In the 60s in England women could not work at the Stock Exchange, fly an airplane, drive a bus or open a bank account without their husbands` permission.”
“Who would have guessed that the programming of the black box of supersonic Concorde was done by a bunch of women from their homes.”
“You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of their heads, they are flat on top for being patted patronizingly.”
“The two secrets of success? Surround yourself with first class people and people you like and choose your partner carefully.”
In the austerity of post-World War II England, jobs were few, and opportunities for women to earn a wage were even fewer. So, on her dining room table, Stephanie Shirley founded the kind of company she'd like to work for -- one that posed challenging, rewarding tasks, built around flexible work rules that made it possible to have a real life. Her software company, Freelance Programmers made her one of the richest women in England (and one of the few to have earned her own money). Initially employing only women -- Shirley often bid for contracts as "Steve" to compete in the male-dominated industry -- the company was eventually valued at $3 billion, while 70 of the staff became millionaires when it floated on the stock market.