Dame Stephanie Shirley CH


Pioneering IT entrepreneur, businesswoman, philanthropist, author and TED speaker; founder of The Shirley Foundation for research into autism

Dame Stephanie Shirley came to the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. After encountering the glass ceiling during her early career as a computer programmer, she set up a successful IT business employing part-time working mothers, adopting the name ‘Steve’ to help her in the male-dominated industry. Since retiring in 1993, Dame Shirley has dedicated herself to philanthropy and to her foundation. Her many honours include an OBE in 1980, a DBE in 2000, and a CH (Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour) in 2017 for services to the IT industry and philanthropy.