Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction. Together, Melinda and Bill meet 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 the last twenty years, Melinda has seen first-hand 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, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States. She is also 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.

Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas, as the second of four children. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and an M.B.A. from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1987.

Melinda spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft, and was later appointed General Manager of Information Products, before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work.

Melinda lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Bill. They have three children, Jenn, Rory, and Phoebe.

Summits Attended: 2020 Debug

Diverse representation is a priority for us. We're proud to say that our Summit speakers are 80% queer women, 50% women of color, 25% Black & Latinx, and 15% transgender and gender nonconforming.