Let IT Go, by Dame Stephanie Shirley (Steve to her friends) is an amazing personal story of a wartime child immigrant who made millions in the burgeoning computer industry and then gave it all away to charity. Just imagine. A little German girl of five years old put on a train to England with her favourite doll. Her parents took this heartbreaking action to save their daughter from a life under the Nazis in wartime Germany.
This was Steve Shirley’s amazing start. With not a word of English, she had to learn the language before being accepted into school.
Brought up by foster parents, she had a fairly traditional schooling before getting her first job at the Post Office, which gave her exposure to primitive computing machines such as ERNIE of premium bond fame.
Woman in a man’s world
As a woman in a man’s world, she quickly started to bump into the ‘glass ceiling’ and solved it by forming her own computer services company employing only women! This of course fell foul of the Equal Opportunities Commission and she had to employ men!!
FI Group became one of the most respected and successful companies in the UK information technology industry.
She married Derek Shirley, a brilliant research scientist who she met at the Post Office, and they soon had baby Giles. This family bliss was shattered when Giles was diagnosed with severe autism.
Steve’s book covers how she balanced her life as a technology entrepreneur, wife and mother of a profoundly disabled son.
She discovered firsthand the shortfalls of the National Health Service, and pioneered the role of philanthropy to enable Giles, and many others like him, to have a decent and fulfilling life.
She founded The Shirley Foundation, with a primary focus on autism, and built a special needs school at Prior’s Court. She became Master of the IT livery company – Worshipful Company of Information Technologists – and made a major grant to establish a Hall for this organisation. This will enable her charitable vision to support future generations.
A “must read”
Steve became ‘Dame Stephanie’ and was appointed as the Philanthropy Ambassador to the UK government.
This is a ‘must read’ for all who want an insight into the philanthropic world, and for those who want to read a very well written human story.
Buy your copy at Waterstones now through Give as you Live and they will donate an extra 18p to charity, at no extra cost.