The award, for services to business and entrepreneurship, was announced in the New Year’s Honours list 2015. Shaa was joined by James Caan, Mary Quant and Trevor Baylis among others also being honoured.
Originally from California and now living in London, Shaa is one of the Institute of Director’s Top Six Most Connected Women.
Speaking about the honour, Shaa said: “I’m incredibly proud to be awarded an MBE for services to business and enterprise. I’m already thinking about how I can put it to good use. Life’s too short to be stuck doing unchallenging, unenjoyable work, so I intend to use my MBE to help even more people take control of their lives and build businesses they’ll love.
“When I first moved to this country, I lived in a hostel for the homeless. Now I’ve been to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE. If I can do it, so can you.”
Shaa is the founder of Smarta, the business support and advice network for start-ups, small business owners and entrepreneurs, which she established in 2009.
Prior to founding Smarta, Shaa established Bright Station Ventures, the London-based investment vehicle with $100 million of capital, having sold her lifestyle website, MyKindaPlace, to BskyB. She had previously been a founding director of the travel website, Deckchair alongside Sir Bob Geldof.
In 1994, Shaa started her own PR firm, which managed the launch of the vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, helping the business achieve 60 per cent UK market share in three years.
Shaa studied at the London School of Economics. During this period, she won a competition with Cosmopolitan Magazine to interview the boxer, Chris Eubank. At the interview, Eubank invited Shaa to become his assistant and manage his PR. While still studying, she promoted Eubank’s fight with Nigel Benn. This was the biggest fight ever to take place in Britain, with a live audience of 48,000 and a further 18 million people watching at home. Shaa went on to become the only licensed female boxing manager, helping to manage 12 world title fights.
In 2012, Shaa launched her first book, Stop Talking, Start Doing, which was the number 1 bestselling business book in WH Smith for 14 consecutive months. Shaa’s second book, How to Work Smart and Live Life Your Way, will be published in May 2015 by Penguin.