Who is Melinda Gates?

The married mom of three is an author, philanthropist and steadfast advocate of female empowerment

Businesswoman, author and prominent philanthropist Melinda Gates met her longtime husband, Bill Gates, while working as a product manager for Microsoft, according to a Business Insider profile.

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After teasing the Microsoft co-founder for his lack of spontaneity – he asked if she was free for a date “two weeks from tonight” – Melinda gave him her number and expected it would take days before she heard from him, the outlet reported.

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He reportedly called that night instead and quipped: “Is this spontaneous enough for you?

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That was 1987, and they have since been married for 26 years.

Much has changed since the '80s. Bill Gates stepped back from his role as chair of the tech and cloud-software behemoth in 2014, and he and Melinda Gares now have three children together.

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Born Melinda French, she was raised in Dallas, Texas, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Duke University.

Now 55, she left Microsoft in 1996 and became a member of Duke University’s board of trustees from then until 2003, according to her LinkedIn page.

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The Gates formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, where both serve as co-chairs, according to the foundation’s website. It strives to "reduce inequity across the globe” and is the "largest charitable foundation in the world," Investopedia reported.

Melinda Gates (Associated Press) 

Twenty years later, Melinda Gates, 55, still co-chairs the foundation and appears to maintain a very hands-on role. She often shares related photos and updates with her large social media following.

In 2015, Gates founded “investment and incubation” hub Pivotal Ventures, which recently pledged $50 million toward the Gender Equality in Tech Cities Initiative to support women in the technology industry, Crunchbase.com reported.

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A steadfast advocate of female empowerment, in 2019 she published her book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.”

She was ranked the sixth-most powerful woman by Forbes in 2019.