Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the foundation, she shapes and approves the organization’s strategies and overall direction, reviews results, and works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.
Through her work at the foundation over more than two decades, Melinda has seen firsthand that empowering women and girls can transform the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Her work has led her to focus increasingly on gender equity as a lever for change. In 2015, Melinda founded Pivotal Ventures, a company working to accelerate the pace of social progress in the United States.
Melinda is the author of the bestselling book The Moment of Lift, in which she introduces readers to the inspiring women she has met during her work and travels around the world and shares her own journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls.
The second of four children, Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics and an MBA, both from Duke University. She spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work.