Born in Texas in 1964, Melinda earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics, as well as her MBA in 1987. With her qualifications in hand, she joined Microsoft where she not only met her future husband, but also participated in the development of many of the company’s multimedia products including Publisher, Encarta and Expedia. It was evident from the onset that Melinda was going to be much more than the wife of a billionaire – she had her own goals in mind and despite raising a family of three children, she was very committed to making a difference in the world.
Using her wealth and public status, Melinda has been praised for her countless charitable efforts. From giving back to schools and local hospitals, to worldwide efforts in the areas of health and education, she has both pledged and raised billions of dollars for the greater good. In 2000, she and husband Bill established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has gone on to be the largest private foundation in the world. With a focus on enhancing healthcare and reducing extreme poverty around the world, as well as expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology in America, the Foundation has changed the lives of thousands of people.
As a philanthropist, Melinda has well and truly proved her worth in global development with an estimated $3.9 billion in giving in 2014, and more than $33 billion in grant payments since she founded the foundation. She is a fantastic example of how an idea can turn into something which helps so many people, and has changed the way funders think about effective philanthropy. She summarised her work stating “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped”.
What do you think?
Overall, it is clear that Melinda Gates has had a considerable impact in the growth of her not-for-profit business. She demonstrates that with the right intentions, education and passion, some amazing results can be achieved. She has built the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation into one which offers highly targeted campaigns coupled with data-driven monitoring, changing the way philanthropists operate. I am interested in hearing what you think of Melinda Gates’ career– has she inspired you to engage in more socially responsible activities within your business? Comment below and share your views.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article:
London Evening Standard; Forbes; Wikipedia and Brainy Quote.
Image credit - London Evening Standard