Q&A with Melinda Gates

I am a big fan of the Gates foundation. These excerpts from Melinda Gates' interview with Pastor Bill Hybels says why.

I went to an all-girls Catholic High School. I used to go with the nuns to schools and hospitals.
I learned that the world was getting better despite the negative headlines.
I majored in Computer Science. The program was mostly men with very few women.
I actually loved working at Microsoft. I was invited to take many leadership opportunities and I had 1,800 people working for me when I left. I believe in the vision of the company. I loved creating products that didn’t exist. I loved managing teams and getting the best out of people.
I ran into Bill. He asked me to go out with him two weeks from the next Friday.
I told him to call me closer to that date.
Our values were that someone had to be home, especially in my children’s early years.
I wanted my children to have a normal family life.
When I start the day before I check email or go on my phone, I spend time in silence by lighting a candle, doing a spiritual reading and then in prayer. I don’t get to do this daily, but I find it especially helpful when I’m on a trip in tough places like Africa or India.
It’s important that every person gets the same start in life. If you grew up in America, then you are very lucky.
However, if you were born in Ethiopia, Malawi or Bangladesh, then it’s harder to have the same healthy start in life.
During my visits to the developing world, I often spend time sitting on mats with women, listening to them.
I go there to listen and to learn. If I stay long enough and listen with open arms, they start to talk about contraceptives.
At the end of the day, I felt like all these women were calling out and I couldn’t turn away.
Bill Hybels: You’ve been at this a long time now (16 years and counting) and yet you still choke back emotion when you describe the plight of under-resourced women. How do you refill your ‘passion bucket’ for this work if it ever runs low?

Melinda Gates: lt’s a huge privilege that God would use me to reduce suffering. It could have been me living that life.
One woman in the slums of Nairobi said to me that she wants to give every single good thing to her child before she has another child. That sums up our work in the world.

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