Sandy Lerner

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Sandy Lerner
Sandy Lerner.jpg
Alma mater California State University, Chico
Claremont Graduate School
Stanford University
Known for Co-Founder of Cisco Systems
Co-Founder of Urban Decay
Spouse(s) Leonard Bosack (divorced)

Sandra "Sandy" Lerner (born 1955) is a co-founder of Cisco Systems with then partner Leonard Bosack. After leaving Cisco, she founded Urban Decay cosmetics, and is an advocate of animal welfare.

Early life and career[edit]

She received her bachelor's degree in 1975 in political science from California State University, Chico, a master's degree in econometrics in 1977 from the Claremont Graduate School, and a master's degree in statistics and computer science in 1981 from Stanford University.

In 1984, while working as Director of Computer Facilities for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Sandy Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems with her then partner (and now ex-husband) Len Bosack.

It is widely reported that Lerner and Bosack designed the first router so that they could connect the incompatible computer systems of the Stanford offices they were working in so that they could send romantic love letters to each other. However, this was a manufactured corporate legend.[1][2] In fact, both systems (SU-SCORE and SU-GSB) were TOPS-20 systems. The systems were the same and therefore obviously not incompatible, but the SU-GSB system was not on any network.

It has also been noted that the original router was designed and created by a group of people at Stanford, both students and faculty, rather than Lerner and Bosack alone.[2]

Lerner and Bosack brought in John Morgridge to be the third CEO of Cisco in 1988. On August 28, 1990, Lerner was fired; upon hearing the news, Bosack resigned to show his support for her. The two sold all of their stock and retired from Cisco.

Post Cisco[edit]

Lerner and Bosask divorced in the early 1990s.

Lerner placed a portion of her stock earnings into a start-up venture capital limited partnership called "& Capital Partners." Among the ventures funded was a new cosmetics company (1995) called Urban Decay Cosmetics, with the tag line "does pink make you puke?" In February 2000, Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the French luxury goods conglomerate acquired the firm. It was spun off from LVMH in December 2002.

Lerner early showed her predilection for English architecture by building a home in Los Altos, California for which she imported a 2 1/2 story glass garden tower and built an English rose garden. The home still stands.

Lerner is now involved in a number of high-tech and philanthropic activities. In 1992, through the foundation she shares with Leonard Bosack, she invested money into the restoration of Chawton House, the manor house in the English county of Hampshire that had been owned by Jane Austen's brother, Edward Austen Knight, making it a center for the study of English women's writing.

She started moving to Virginia in 1995. She primarily resides at her 800-acre (3.2 km2) estate, Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia, that she acquired in 1996. The circa-1912, 42-room Edwardian-style mansion of native fieldstone has since been restored and is used for a variety of social functions under Lerner's direction.[3] Ayrshire Farm's mission is to farm sustainably and profitably, promoting the benefits of locally produced, humanely-raised meats and organic produce to the consumer, the community, and children through education, outreach and example. The farm sells its products online[4] and locally from The Home Store[5] in Middleburg, Virginia.

Lerner also owns the Hunter's Head Tavern[6] in Upperville, Virginia.

In November 2011, she published a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice titled Second Impressions using the pen name of Ava Farmer (for A Virginia farmer); she plans to make it into a movie.[7]

Lerner was featured in the documentary film Something Ventured, which premiered in 2011. She was also featured in part 2 of the PBS documentary Nerds 2.0.1.

Lerner received honorary doctorates from Washington and Jefferson College, Goucher College, the University of Southampton in England and Shenandoah University.

On 19 November, 2014 Sandy Lerner was presented with the Technology Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer award at the United Nations. [8]


  1. ^ "Router man". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b Pete Carey (2001-01-12). "A start-up's true tale". Mercury News. 
  3. ^ Bellafante, G. (June 23, 2005). "All That Glitters Is Not Silicon". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Ayrshire Farm". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  5. ^ "HFHome". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  6. ^ "HHHome". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  7. ^ Julian Guthrie, "Cisco founder pens sequel to 'Pride and Prejudice'", San Francisco Chronicle, May 30, 2012 . Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  8. ^

External links[edit]