For Russ Shaw, BSBA ’85, the founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, achieving the honorary title Commander of the British Empire (CBE) was a shock. “When I received the congratulatory email last November, I fell off my chair,” he says.
The highest Order of the British Empire award below knighthood or damehood, it is a high-water mark for Shaw’s storied tech career. “It inspires me,” he says. “I’ve been given this honor, and I’m humbled, but I need to keep building.”
Shaw’s professional career began after graduating from WashU in 1985. He worked for two years at Ernst & Whinney (now EY) in Los Angeles before earning an MBA at Harvard, where he met his wife, Lesley Hill. In 1992, the couple moved to her native London “for a few years.” Three decades (and three sons) later, Shaw is engrossed in the London tech ecosystem.
He first moved into tech at Virgin Media, before becoming the CEO of later-stage tech-startup Mobileway.
After favorable exits from executive positions at UK mobile operator O₂ (which was acquired by Telefónica of Spain) and Skype (which was acquired by Microsoft), Shaw was ready for a change. So, he decided to become a champion of the professional community that he had been such a big part of. “The London tech sector was expanding; what was missing was a group of diverse leaders coming together to support the startups and scaleups,” Shaw says.
I think a key reason why I give time to the University is, I had such a positive experience myself. I loved my four years here. The academics were great. The student life was wonderful, and it’s just great, being an alum, to be able to come back and give back to the University.Russ Shaw, BSBA ‘85