Sandy Lerner received a master's degree in statistics and computer science from Stanford University and went on to co-found Cisco Systems in 1984, developing the first commercial router. An animal rights campaigner, in 1996 she co-founded Urban Decay Cosmetics, which does not employ animal testing in the development and creation of its products. Lerner now owns and operates an organic farm in Virginia. She supported the restoration of Chawton House, an Elizabethan manor house in Hampshire once owned by Jane Austen's brother, Edward Austen Knight. Chawton House Library is now The Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing, 1600–1830, running educational programs with the University of Southampton.
"Austen is very precise in her language, and I think for someone who's been in the sciences and mathematics, there is an extraordinary beauty about that."