Do you know why ambitious women have flat heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley says they have been patronized so often that they are flat from being patted on the head.

Dame Stephanie Shirley is a British businesswoman and a TedTalk speaker who is simply riveting.  In today’s video link below, she shares some inspiring tips about wealth creation and success.  Her bio taken from the TedTalk video hints at the trailblazing success in the technology industry where women were excluded:

“Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve,” how she upended the expectations of the time and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women.”

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Like the women featured on WS, Dame Stephanie challenged the conventions of her time. She was willing to do just about anything to make success a reality, including changing her name from Shirley to Steve just to get her foot in the door before people recognized she was a woman.

Her humble startup business was small and financed by borrowing against her house.  She sat around the dining room table and decided how she could do something great to employ women and provide a service in the economy.

Her method for hiring women that worked at home was simple: they needed the use of a phone and she trusted her staff.  Her company was one of the earliest adopters of a fixed price for work projects that she contracted out, and slowly their business began to grow.

Who would guess that her small company did the programming for the black box flight recording devices for the Supersonic Concords? All of the programming work was done by her women.  When it came time to establish programming standards, her teams would gather together and make lists and develop flowcharts.

Today, all she does is philanthropy and jokes she can never get lost because her charities would also know how to find her!  But in all seriousness, Dame Shirley created a company valued at 3 billion, with 70 employees reaching millionaire status.

A beacon of light and story that needs to be heard by men and women, Dame Shirley shares two secrets to success.  First, surround yourself with first class people that you like; and secondly, choose your business partner very, very carefully.

A self-proclaimed workaholic, Dame Shirley believes in the importance of meaningful work and humility.  Her parting words stressed the need for each of us to harness each day because “tomorrow will never be like today and today is nothing like yesterday.”  So welcome change.

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

More posts by Rose McInerney

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