Dame Stephanie Shirley & Ray Ozzie

Dame Stephanie Shirley & Ray Ozzie receive distinguished fellowship from Chartered Institute for IT

Dame Stephanie Shirley & Ray Ozzie

Global IT entrepreneur and workplace revolutionary turned ardent philanthropist, Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, and software industry pioneer Ray Ozzie have been awarded Distinguished Fellowships from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

The awards are given to individuals whose contribution to computing is seen in terms of major importance to the overall development of computing, with substantial personal recognition through peer review over a substantial and sustained career.

Dame Stephanie arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939. In 1962, she founded an all-woman software company that pioneered remote working, upending the expectations of the time. It was ultimately valued at almost $3 billion and made 70 of her staff millionaires. Since ‘retiring’, her focus has been on philanthropy, and she has given away almost £70m to fund strategic projects in autism and IT. She joined the BCS as a student member on its foundation in 1957 and was its first woman President in 1989-90.

Ray Ozzie was formerly best known for his role in creating Lotus Notes. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1979 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he worked on the PLATO system. He began his career at Data General Corporation where he worked for Jonathan Sachs. Ozzie then worked at Software Arts and was later recruited by Sachs and Mitch Kapor to work for Lotus Development to develop what became Lotus Symphony.

After leaving Lotus Development in 1984 he founded Iris Associates to create the product later sold by Lotus as Lotus Notes. Iris Associates was acquired by Lotus in 1994, while Lotus itself was acquired by IBM in 1995. Ozzie continued working there for several years before leaving to form Groove Networks which was acquired by Microsoft in 2005. Ozzie became one of three Chief Technical Officers and in 2006, he took over the role of Chief Software Architect from Bill Gates. More recently, in founding Blues Wireless, he has been focusing on creating the infrastructure for digital transformation – connecting billions of commercial products to the cloud.”

Speaking about the award, Dame Stephanie said, “The human aspects of technology are a lifelong passion of mine and it’s a real honour to be awarded a distinguished fellowship by BCS for my contribution.”

Ozzie added, “It is a great honour to receive this award.”

“I have been very fortunate to have worked with and learned from many talented entrepreneurs and leaders over the years.”

“The computing and communications sectors remain ripe for innovation, and I hope that my work might also inspire others.”

They both join the BCS Roll of Distinguished Fellows alongside innovators such as Sophie Wilson, who received the award in recognition of her pioneering work – helping to design the BBC Micro and ARM architecture. Other distinguished fellows include Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Dame Wendy Hall, Vint Cerf and Martha Lane-Fox.


WeAreTechWomen are proud to announce Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, Avye Couloute and The Vocal Jewels as special guests for the TechWomen100 Award's Ceremony

TechWomen100 Winners Staggered Banner

WeAreTechWomen are proud to announce IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley CH; maker, coder, tech advocate and TechWomen100 winner, Avye Couloute; and live vocal duo, The Vocal Jewels, as our special guests for the 2020 TechWomen100 Award’s Ceremony.

Given the circumstances, the team at WeAreTechWomen are having to do things a little differently with our awards this year. We will be holding a virtual awards evening for all winners, sponsors and judges on the evening of 08 December 2020.

Over the course of the award’s ceremony, our attendees will be congratulated by our sponsors and special guests and hear from inspirational speakers and entertainers, who will all be endeavouring to create a truly magically experience. We will also include Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, techUK; Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter, Professor Sue Black OBE, Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist, UK Government Strategic Advisor, and June Angelides MBE, VC at Samos Investments, Entrepreneur, Advisor, Speaker, Writer.

Whilst we cannot give our winners the true physical experience of one of our award ceremonies, what we have planned will be an evening to remember!

Find out more about our special guests below:

Dame Stephanie ShirleyDame Stephanie Shirley

Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley CH, age 87, is a workplace revolutionary and successful IT entrepreneur turned ardent philanthropist.

Her life story begins with her 1939 arrival in Britain as an unaccompanied Kindertransport refugee. In 1962, she started a software house, Freelance Programmers, that pioneered new work practices and changed the position of professional women, especially in hi-tech. She went on to create a global business and a personal fortune shared with her colleagues; she made 70 of her staff millionaires at no cost to anyone, but herself.

Since retiring in 1993, her focus has been increasingly on philanthropy based on her strong belief in giving back to society. In 2009/10 she served as the UK’s first ever national Ambassador for Philanthropy. Her charitable Shirley Foundation has initiated and funded a number of projects that are pioneering by nature and strategic in impact, totally £67m to date. The focus is on IT and her late son’s disorder of autism.

Her memoir Let It Go was published in 2012. It has sold 30,000 copies and Penguin re-published in April 2019 with a view to distributing it worldwide – the first translated version launched in Germany in October 2020. A big screen film is also in the making by The Artists Partnership, with Producer Damian Jones and Director Haifaa al-Mansour. The shortlist for an actress to play Dame Stephanie includes Claire Foy and Emily Blunt. Filming is currently on hold due to Covid-19.

During Lockdown 2020, Dame Stephanie produced her second book, So To Speak, a collection of 30 of her speeches given over the last 40 years. The book was launched on 1st November 2020.

Dame Stephanie has been much honoured. In 2013, she was named by Woman’s Hour as one of the 100 most powerful women in Britain. In 2014, the Science Council listed her as one of the Top 100 practising scientists in the UK. In 2015, Dame Stephanie was given the Women of the Year Special Award. Her TED Talk in 2015 was to a standing ovation from more than a thousand of the world’s most recognised technical entrepreneurs, thinkers, creators and doers. It has received 2.1m views. In 2017, Dame Stephanie received a Companion of Honour, one of only 65 people worldwide to receive such a recognition.

Avye CoulouteAvye Couloute

Avye is a maker, coder, Tech Advocate, workshop leader and Social Entrepreneur.

She began attending coding & physical computing workshops at 7. Nowadays she is very active in the tech & maker community, dedicating a lot of her spare time to exploring & learning about coding & technology.

Among other activities, Avye leads regular coding & physical computing workshops for Coder Dojo at Kingston University & the University of West London and have entered and won competitions with the robots which she designs and makes.

Avye is enthusiastic about sharing her skills & experiences with others and she is an Arm ambassador, part of the GenArm2Z program which enables young people to talk to tech leaders about how technology is being used & shaped for the future.

Aware of female under-representation in STEM education & careers, Avye was motivated to found Girls Into Coding to encourage more girl involvement in tech, to offer them the opportunity to develop their digital and making skills. She has received the Diana Award, the Diana Legacy Award and the FDM EveryWoman Tech Award in the “One To Watch” category for her work to create opportunities for girls to engage with tech and for fundraising to provide girls with microcontrollers, physical computing kits & STEM themed books.

Julia Streets

The incredible Julia Streets will be hosting this year's TechWomen100 Award's Ceremony. Julia Streets is a champion of fintech entrepreneurship, innovation and diversity.

In 2007, Julia founded Streets Consulting, the business development, marketing and communications consultancy. She helped launch the Chi-X brand of international alternative stock exchanges, including Chi-X Australia. Since then she and her team have advised a wide range of firms in the world of capital markets, B2B and payments, and offering specialist technology including blockchain, artificial intelligence, cyber and more.

Wary that diversity and inclusion is fast becoming the latest corporate marketing jargon, last year Julia launched a podcast series, ‘DiverCity Podcast’. On each episode, industry luminaries shine a light on progress, call out areas requiring further focus and offer insights and best practice to help listeners drive change.

The Vocal JewelsThe Vocal Jewels

Cartier and Gemma are professional Musical Theatre performers with credits between them including Les Miserables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hair, Best of Wham, Buddy The Musical and HMS Pinafore. With vast experience singing at live events, launching The Vocal Jewels was a very exciting natural progression for them.

Cartier and Gemma have been best friends and singing together since they were 11 years old! They love performing together and are so excited to be singing for WeAreTechWomen for the amazing TechWomen100 awards and are delighted to offer our congratulations to all the amazing winners!


In November, WeAreTechWomen announced the winners of our 2020 TechWomen100 Awards.

The winners of these awards showcase remarkable women within the technology and STEM sector including 13-year-old Avye Couloute, who, aware of female under-representation in STEM education and careers, founded Girls Into Coding to encourage more female involvement in tech; Susan Jason, a Principal Systems Engineer and Head of Outreach at In-Space Missions, who led the final test phases of the Faraday-1 commercial rideshare nanosatellite; and Heather Black, who founded Supermums, which helps upskill mums (and dads) back into flexible work in the Salesforce ecosystem.

The winners include individuals from leading firms such as the BBC, Barclays, NatWest, Jaguar Land Rover, IBM, Trainline, Visa, Deloitte, Microsoft, Bank of England and Monzo Bank, amongst many more.

The awards received over 700 nominations from across the UK and Ireland and the nominees received over 35,000 votes of support from across the globe.

The 2020 awards are kindly powered by BAE Systems and sponsored by Accenture, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Oliver Wyman and OpenFin.

DISCOVER OUR 2020 WINNERS HERE


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WeAreTechWomen Conference Featured

WeAreTechWomen Conference 2018: In Words

Images from the We Are Tech conference. Etc Venues. 26NOV18

WeAreTechWomen, the technology arm of WeAreTheCity, hosted its third full-day conference for female technologists at etc. venues, St Paul's, London.

The conference, proudly sponsored and supported by Worldpay, saw over 400 attendees from across the technology sector and a range of companies including Amazon, BT, Credit Suisse, Dell, Dyson, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Santander, Sky, and Visa.

The conference was aimed at women in the tech sector who were looking to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their technology networks.

Images from the We Are Tech conference. Etc Venues. 26NOV18

Facilitator Julia Streets, CEO, Streets Consulting, kicked off the day and welcomed all the delegates. The opening address was delivered by our Baroness Joanna Shields OBE, former UK Minister for Internet Safety & CEO, Benevolent AI, who started the day with some inspiring thoughts for delegates to take away, saying, “I’ve worked my way up this male dominated tech industry with a child...”

"It’s about working together with women to encourage each other."

“We should all be proud of the women across the globe who are fighting for our empowerment.”

The morning began with a number of keynotes from speakers such as Rob McCargow, AI Programme Lead, PwC UK; Rachel Bale, Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships, Mastercard; and Dr Pippa Malmgren, Founder, H Robotics.

Images from the We Are Tech conference. Etc Venues. 26NOV18

Malmgren took the stage to talk about the holographi datasphere and how it affects the future of technologists. She explained why we shouldn't be fearful of technology, saying, "Robotics augment humans, not replace humans.”

She then went on to explain how the holographic data sphere, “gives us radical transparency and the ability to see the future.”

Across the day, delegates enjoyed listening to a number of high-profile speakers including Satnam Bhogal, Principal Consultant, Verizon; Kaijia Gu, Partner, Oliver Wyman; Ildefonso Olmedo, Head of Innovation - Blockchain Lead, Santander UK Technology;

There were also research spotlights from Scott Campbell, Director, Lead for Deloitte Ventures and Catherine Wallwork, Head of Innovation, Engagement & Mindset, Deloitte LLP, who spoke about how to adapt in order to thrive in the future world of work.

During the lunch break, delegates had a chance to attend 'soapbox' drop-in sessions and hear about such topics as wearable tech, online violence and abuse against women; and tech-enabled sponsorship. Attendees were also treated to refreshments and had the chance to meet the conference's very own robot, Eva the Sanbot. Eva can read every gesture and pose, and guess people's names, ages and genders with your fingerprint.

Delegates had the chance to enjoy drinks and network with sponsors, browse tables and stands of tech-related products, as well as connect with a number of not-for-profit organisations including, Your Future, Your Ambition, WomanKind, Autistica, Women's Engineering Society, Raspberry Pi, and TechSheCan.

Throughout the day, attendees heard about the cyber security, data and privacy, artificial intelligence, FinTech, holographic datasphere. Attendees were also invited to put their questions to speakers during a number of Q&A sessions. Topics ranged from career advice, increasing diversity in tech, flexible working and how to handle gender discrimination.

The afternoon consisted of delegates attending their chosen elective sessions to partake in hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Coding, payments, digital innovation, cloud technology, and diversity were just some of the topics covered within the sessions.

Delegates also had the opportunity to hear from our inspiring speaker, Dame Stephanie Shirley, IT entrepreneur and philanthropist. Having arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied child refugee in 1939, she started what became Xansa plc (now part of the Sopra Group) on her dining room table with £6 in 1962. In 25 years as its Chief Executive, she developed it into a leading business technology group, pioneering new work practices and changing the position of professional women along the way. Her Dameship in the Millennium honours was for services to IT.

Images from the We Are Tech conference. Etc Venues. 26NOV18

During her talk, Shirley said, "A healthy selfishness to ensure my own self preservation & development."

"I believe in the beauty of work when we do it properly & with humility."

"Making it happen requires self belief, energy and hard work."

Speaking about the next generation of technologists, Shirley said, “Girls have to understand the obstacles in front of them and know that they are surmountable...go round, go over, go under, go elsewhere”

Shirley also inspired attendees with her career advice, saying, “Find something that you’re really interested in, scares you a bit and go for it. Enjoy it!”

Concluding the event, delegates and speakers alike took part in a speed mentoring session, opened by Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTechWomen, who instilled the importance of mentoring.

Speakers and senior individuals joined delegates for an hour of mentoring to discuss career goals and ask specific questions.

You can also check out the conference buzz here.

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Women 5.0 Event | In pictures

On the 26th February 2015, 200 female technologists from all sectors attended the Morgan Stanley & WeAreTheCity Women 5.0 'The Changing Face of Women in Technology'
Women 5.0 Auditorium
Morgan Stanley Auditorium

With fantastic, inspiring and engaging speeches from;

  • Dame Stephanie Shirley, Technology Icon, British Businesswoman and Philanthropist
  • India Gary-Martin, Ex-Chief Operating Officer, Technology & Ops, Entrepreneur
  • Ulla Harker, Morgan Stanley, Executive Director

Panelists and Facilitation

  • Gerard Hester, Morgan Stanley, Managing Director
  • Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity
  • Amina Elderfield, Morgan Stanley, Executive Director

We would also like to thank all of our guests for their engagement as well as the logistic teams at Morgan Stanley and WeAreTheCity.   We look forward to seeing you at Women 6.0 next year.

See below for pictures of this fantastic event;