How Dame Stephanie Shirley broke the rules of work

Leadership lessons from Britain's top tech entrepreneur (that you've never heard of).

by Sarah Ellis

Dame Stephanie Shirley is one of Britain's top entrepreneurs and philanthropists – and yet few people have heard of her.

She founded the software company Freelance Programmers (now part of the Sopra Steria Group) in the 60s. It grew to employ 8,500 people and was valued at $2.8bn (£2.3bn) when she sold it. Retiring in 1993, she has since given more than £67m away to charitable projects.

Her relatively low profile may soon be a thing of the past. Her book, Let It Go, has been re-published by Penguin, and a film of her life is in development.

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