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Sandy Lerner

Co-founder of Cisco Systems and founder of makeup brand Urban Decay, Sandy Lerner is an inspiration to us all. She was raised by divorced parents, one who lived on farmland and the other who lived in Beverly Hills, so both of these drastically different experiences shaped who she became today!

Lerner attended California State University in Chico, finishing her undergraduate degree in 2 years then going on to Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Lerner married her husband who was also interested in computer science and was also a ‘hacker type’ and together they created a local area network, linking the entirety of the school’s computer system at Stanford. From here, they founded Cisco which marketed the first commercially viable router that allowed computers network one another.

In the late 90’s Lerner was enraged that makeup supposedly put women in a ‘box’ of pink and girly things. She founded Urban Decay, which promoted dark, sultry, gothic colors and looks. Lerner is an inspiration to women in technology and also women in business. She encourages entrepreneurs to be angry at the market– because that is what motivated her to start some of her most successful business practices!

3 Things We Love About Sandy:

  • She has always encouraged women to never try to fit any type of stereotype, or shove themselves into a box they don’t feel comfortable in!
  • She is a long-time philanthropist, advocate of animal rights, and wants to restore organic farming and the local food chain in her area!
  • She is Chairman and Trustee of the Centre for the Study of Early English Women’s Writing in Chawton, Hampshire!


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