Melinda French Gates
Melinda French Gates is a woman who has distinguished herself in the business world and is now beginning to apply her leadership skills in the non-profit arena.
Born and raised in Dallas, she has Bachelor Degrees in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University in 1986 and an MBA from Dukes Fuqua School of Business in 1987.
In 1997, Governor Gary Locke appointed Ms. Gates co-chair of the Governors Commission on Early Learning. The Commission is working to identify gaps in programs for children from birth to age five, as well as raise public awareness about the importance of early learning.
Ms. Gates joined Microsoft in 1987. And in her various management positions there, she played a leadership role in the development of many of Microsofts multi-media products including Expedia, an Internet travel product; Encarta, an encyclopedia product; and Cinemania, a movie guide.
Shes worked on programs and products some of which have become household words. They include Microsoft Word for MS-DOS and for Windows; Microsoft Works; and Microsoft Publisher.
Two years after she married Microsoft Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Bill Gates, she retired from her position as General Manager of Information Products in 1996 to care for her first child and to contribute her technological talents and leadership experience to the community.
Shes involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors that take in fields of service from the arts and social services to education with a particular devotion to her alma matter Duke where she is on the board of trustees.
She serves on the parent-teacher technology Committee for Sacred Heart Catholic School on Clyde Hill. She is a past board member at the Village Theatre in Issaquah and she devotes much of her time to the William H. Gates Foundation she and her husband started.
Melinda Gates also is co-founder of the Gates Learning Foundation which is dedicated to bringing computers and Internet access to patrons in public libraries in low-income communities. In addition, the William H. Gates Foundation was established by Bill and Melinda Gates in 1994 to support initiatives in areas of particular concern to them. Those broad fields include support for institutions of higher learning, local capital campaigns, access to technology, and world health and population.
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