“When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” ~ Melinda Gates, Cofounder of the Gates Foundation

Summary: Melinda Gates took a job at Microsoft Corporation in 1987 and married her boss, Bill Gates, in 1994. That year, she and her husband co-founded what was later to become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2006 she restructured the organization. In 2012 she pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in poor countries. Although the foundation’s initial goal was to place computers and Microsoft products in libraries all over the United States, over the years Melinda expanded the organization’s vision to include worldwide improvements in education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts also came to address global poverty and health issues. In 2016, Gates and her husband Bill were recognized for their philanthropic work when they received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Nationality: American

Industry: Philanthropy

Q: And you’ve had some things to say about how even educated and affluent women hold themselves back? on time.com

A: They doubt themselves. Women don’t tend to see themselves as ready for the next role, as they ought to. I think it’s up to the managers—men or women— to reach down and pull those women up and say, “No, you are ready for that promotion,” or, “You’re at least as qualified as the men.”