Inspirational People - Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox has spent her career as a champion for digital technology. She was the co-founder of Lastminute.com, the travel website that was of the first dotcom boom, which floated at an over inflated share price. The boom then turned to bust, causing the share prices to crash. She then spent three years building it back up with her co-founder, Brent Hoberman, before selling it, making herself a cool £13m in the process!
Martha credits her insanely privileged education, an unbelievably loving home life and massive amounts of luck to her success. But she has also experienced more than her fair share of bad luck. In 2004, shortly after leaving Lastminute.com, she suffered a horrific car accident in Morocco in 2004. She was not expected to survive. She broke 28 bones, smashed her pelvis, suffered a stroke, spent over a year in hospital, and is still dealing with the ongoing health issues it’s caused. She is left needing to use a walking stick, with constant pain and has had 28 operations in total.
With a passion for social causes, she has thrown her energies into the deep and troubling inequality in this country, believing that technological inequality exacerbates social, educational and financial inequalities and is a leader of digital culture and access in the UK.
For three years Martha was the government’s digital champion, working for Gordon Brown then David Cameron and was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013. At 42, she is the youngest female member of the House of Lords; she celebrated her nomination by tweeting whether she’d get free cocktails and a set of nipple tassels (the Soho Society supplied the latter)! She is currently chair of Go On UK, a coalition of public and private sector partners that are helping millions more people and organisations online.
She has supported Reprieve for years as well as a children’s legal support charity, Just for Kids Law, and her own grant-making trust, Antigone.
In March 2014, she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. Martha co-founded and chairs Luckyvoice, revolutionising the karaoke industry. She chairs MakieLab, she is also on the board of Marks & Spencers and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, whilst being a member of the 30 Percent Club that aims to get more women on boards and supports women in business and technology. In 2013 Martha was awarded a CBE.
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