Melinda Gates

Opening Session
Date: Friday, January 25, 2019 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Melinda Gates Image

Melinda Gates

The Moment of Lift Book Cover Image

A conversation with Melinda Gates and Nancy Pearl,
Author and Former Executive Director of the Washington
Center for the Book, Seattle Public Library.


Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Core to her work is empowering women and girls to help them realize their full potential. She has said, “if you invest in a girl or a woman, you’re investing in everyone else.” 

For the last twenty years, Gates’ mission has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live.  And her journey’s discovery has made one thing undeniably clear—if you want to lift a society up—invest in women.  

In April 2019, Gates will debut The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment.  The candid and inspiring book traces Gates’ awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies.  It introduces us to Gates’ heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data, and shares some of the moving conversations she’s had with women all over the world.  Gates details the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change, and she provides simple and effective methods that each of us can use to make a difference.

After joining Microsoft Corporation in 1987, Gates helped develop many of the company’s multimedia products. In 1996, she left Microsoft to focus on her philanthropic work and family. In 2015, she created Pivotal Ventures, a Seattle-based investment and incubation company to support women-led businesses. In 2017, Gates was named Forbes’ "Third Most Powerful Woman in the World." She received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Get details and add to your schedule.

Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers

Nancy Pearl Image






The New York Times calls Nancy Pearl "the talk of librarian circles”. Pearl’s life has been shaped by her love of books. Inspired by her childhood librarians, she decided on a librarian career and worked in the Detroit, Tulsa, and Seattle public library systems. After retiring from the Washington Center for the Book, Seattle Public Library as the Executive Director, she wrote the “Book Lust” series, four titles filled with recommendations of the best reading, new and old.  She has also authored George & Lizzie: A Novel and Girl Discovers Reading Then Discovers Life: A Journal.

Pearl is a regular commentator on NPR's Morning Edition and other public radio stations. She also speaks about the pleasures of reading to literacy organizations, libraries, and community groups throughout the world.  She has received the Woman’s National Book Association Award and was named “Librarian of the Year” by Library Journal.