World-renowned philanthropist Melinda Gates has built an empire since beginning her career at Microsoft in 1987.

She quickly moved up in the tech company’s ranks, becoming general manager of information products before marrying Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates in 1994.

Together, they created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is worth more than $50 billion and has helped improve health and education in over 130 countries.

If that weren’t enough, Melinda also donated $560 million in 2012 to improving female contraception in impoverished areas.

From her altruism to her social entrepreneurship to her desire to advance technology worldwide, Melinda’s unicorn ideas have inspired many and made her a powerhouse figure across the globe.

Here, discover 10 inspiring facts about Melinda Gates.

1. Melinda wasn’t planning on working at Microsoft

When Melinda finished her MBA at Duke University, she was offered a job at IBM.

She had worked for the company for several summers, so it only seemed natural to start her career there.

An IBM hiring manager, though, ultimately steered her away from the Dallas-based job.

“I told the recruiter that I had one more interview — at this young company, Microsoft,” Melinda said in an interview with Fortune magazine.

“She said to me, ‘If you get a job offer from them, take it, because the chance for advancement there is terrific.’”

After talking with the recruiter, Melinda took a marketing manager position at Microsoft.

2. Technology has always been a big part of Melinda’s life

As the daughter of an Apollo-program engineer, Melinda remembers watching an endless number of rocket launches.

According to The Wall Street Journal, she was mesmerized by the “moment of lift” just before the spacecraft took off.

This, along with her parents’ Apple computer, piqued Melinda’s interest in technology.

3. She is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Melinda has sat as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charity, since its founding in 2000.

Melinda has said she was inspired to start the now $50.7 billion organization after visiting Africa to see the wildlife in 1993.

“It was incredible … But what really touched us, actually, were the people, and the extreme poverty,” explained Melinda during a TED Talk. “We started asking ourselves questions. Does it have to be like this?”

Since that moment, Melinda has spearheaded multimillion-dollar donations — most recently giving Emory University a $180 million grant to fund child mortality research.

4. Melinda has planned to give away her fortune

Melinda and her husband have decided to donate a vast majority of their money to charity.

This idea gained popularity through her and Bill’s 2010 campaign the Giving Pledge — in which billionaires can promise to donate their fortune to philanthropy.

Along with the Gates, Giving Pledge co-founder Warren Buffett has stated he will be putting more than 99 percent of his wealth toward philanthropy.

5. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016

Thanks to Melinda and Bill’s charitable character and dedication, they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016.

The former President cited the Gateses’ thriving foundation as a reason for bestowing both Bill and Melinda with the highest civilian honor possible.

6. Melinda created Pivotal Ventures to drive America’s future

While Melinda is doing her part to heal international inequities, she also wants to push America to be more a more prosperous nation for all citizens — that’s why she created Pivotal Ventures.

Founded in 2015, Pivotal Ventures aims to “grow understanding around issues, expand participation, encourage cooperation, and fuel new approaches that substantially improve people’s lives.”

Melinda’s company has invested in businesses that advocate for paid family leave, provide exemplary mental health services to teens, and aim to demolish the gender gap in tech.

7. Melinda is №6 on Forbes’ list of most powerful women

Melinda has graced Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Powerful Women for years.

In 2018, she ranked sixth, following world leaders such as Angela Merkel and Theresa May.

In the past, Forbes said Melinda has made huge strides in women’s health across the globe, using her foundation to push maternal deaths down 57 percent in Ethiopia over the past 30 years.

8. She created an online community of optimists to create a better world

Melinda doesn’t want the conversation around global innovation to end with her.

To get people from all walks of life involved in improving the world, she created the online platform Evoke.

“I like to think of us as a community of possibilists — people who believe the world can get better and are committed to doing our part to improve it,” says Melinda on the company’s website.

9. Melinda balances her life with family and meditation

“I’m a morning person,” said Melinda to the Cut during an interview. “I like to get up around 6:30 a.m., and I spend that first hour in ‘quiet time.’ I do meditation, some stretching, yoga, and I always do some kind of spiritual reading, like Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening.”

When Melinda isn’t meditating or planning her busy schedule, she’s taking time to sit down with her youngest daughter, Phoebe, and Bill to eat dinner in their Seattle home.

10. In 2019, Melinda released her first book

Along with being a successful founder and a role model, Melinda is now a published author.

In April 2019, she released The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

Melinda weaves personal anecdotes from her philanthropic career with facts about the world’s most pressing issues.

“I have been meeting men and women around the world now for 20 years in the foundation’s work, and so many women have shared the stories of their lives with me,” said Melinda on PBS NewsHour. “And by sharing their story and a bit about my personal journey, I hope to call other people to action for empowering women around the world.”

If you want more facts about Melinda Gates, you should definitely pick up The Moment of Lift.

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About the Author

Larry Kim is the CEO of MobileMonkey — provider of the World’s Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. He’s also the founder of WordStream.

You can connect with him on Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.

Originally posted on Inc.com


10 Inspiring Facts About Melinda Gates was originally published in Marketing and Entrepreneurship on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.