Melinda Gates steps into the spotlight
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 28, 2007
DAVOS, Switzerland - Melinda Gates has traveled the world with her husband, meeting with the rich and powerful and visiting its poorest in remote African villages. She and her husband share top billing at the world's richest foundation, but Bill Gates dominated the spotlight - until this year.
Taking the stage at last week's World Economic Forum for the first time, Melinda Gates addressed health, development and women's issues before a VIP audience.
Sitting in a comfortable chair beside Bill Gates for an informal conversation over breakfast Saturday, she told about 200 invited guests that she chose a more public role so people would realize that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a his and hers operation.
Melinda Gates, a Dallas native with an MBA from Duke, said she decided to keep a low profile because she wanted to be with her children, who are still very young - Jennifer, 10, Rory, 7, and Phoebe, 4.
"I was seeing so much in the developing world. But what was happening because I wasn't out talking about what I was doing, or what we were doing, is people started naturally to think, well, this is Bill's foundation. And that couldn't have been further from the truth," Melinda Gates said.
In 2005, she started speaking about the work of the foundation - which has a $32-billion endowment including $1.6-billion from billionaire U.S. investment wizard Warren Buffett - according to the foundation's Web site.
[Last modified January 28, 2007, 00:20:55]
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