My interest in computers began when I was placed in an advanced math class in 7th grade.
I went to Duke University to study computer science and economics.
In 1987, at the age of 23, I joined Microsoft. I eventually became the general manager of information products.
In 1994, my husband and I began our charitable work. In 1996, I left Microsoft to focus on the charities.
In 1999, we had 3 different foundations, each worth billions. In 2000, we consolidated the foundations into the “Gates Foundation” with three divisions: global health, global development, and US community and education causes.
It is now the world’s largest charitable foundation. Through the end of 2018, we had distributed over $50 billion in grant payments worldwide.
I am a 16 year old from Austin, Texas, and I have built a lemonade business that has sold over 1 million bottles across the United States.
When I was 4 years old, I was stung by 2 bees in one week. I was scared of bees, but my parents helped me research them and what they do for our ecosystem.
Around the same time, my great grandmother sent me an old family cookbook featuring a flaxseed lemonade recipe. I added honey from bees to the recipe and started selling it at youth business events and at a stand outside my house, donating 10% of sales to save the bees.
In 2015, I went on “Shark Tank”, and got a $60,000 investment from Daymond John to take my business nationwide.
Now, my lemonade, called “Me & the Bees Lemonade”, is sold across the US at stores like Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and Kroger. I have also expanded to beeswax-infused lip balm. I still donate 10% of profits to bee conservation groups.
In college, I studied political science and eventually got my law degree and became a lawyer.
In 2010, I decided to run for Congress. I was the first Indian American woman ever to run. Although I did not win, during the race I was able to visit local schools. I saw a major gender gap in computer science classes.
In 2012, I founded an international nonprofit organization called “Girls Who Code”, which focuses on closing that gap and changing the perception and image of what a computer programmer should “look like” by inspiring and educating girls and women in computer skills.
In 2016, I gave a TED talk called “Teach girls bravery, not perfection” focused on how society discourages girls from trying new things because it might lead to failure. It has over 5 million views and has led to a worldwide discussion about how children are raised differently based on gender.
By the end of the 2019 school year, Girls Who Code reached over 185,000 girls across all of the US, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.