To begin the year 2020 with some fresh perspectives, I picked up the book « The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World » by Melinda Gates, an American philanthropist and former General Manager of Microsoft. Melinda Gates is also the other half to Bill Gates, and they founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
A Bit of Background
Admittedly, I had done some research on the foundation and their website since a few years ago. It was part of my work research process, while working on projects with Non-profit organisations, Charities or Social Enterprises (SE). We thought their communication strategy on the website was very clear, and concise. A quality many of such organisations lack – clarity.
Before I even started on the book, I was quite excited to hear from the female perspective. She was managing a tech giant in her previous role, and now running an organisation alongside her husband. The book did not disappoint.
The Moment of Lift for Me
It enlightened me on so many different perspectives. My thoughts were so naive, that it brought me back to Earth. Perhaps that was even my moment of lift – Melinda Gates brought us along her journey of discovering her purpose, her capabilities and her mission. I love the way she presented her narrative, as it becomes immediately relatable for many of us.
Every decision and contribution she has made, is only possible because of her team’s experience. It was brought out time and time again, how the experiences of others were shared, in order to learn the rights and wrongs. It was very important to understand that change does not happen overnight, and the work of the foundation was a lot focused on facilitating change.
They work with many developing countries and villages deeply embedded in traditions. We cannot simply introduce « change » just because we think that is what’s best for them. Real change happens when the villagers realised what the solution is. How does that happen? When organisations like the Gates Foundation encourage active discussions! The problems are highlighted during such conversations, and once that is defined, a solution is not that far away. This process can take months and years to complete.
I cannot recommend enough the power of this book. It made me more humble in my opinions, and encouraged me to speak up and participate more. I hope this book will inspire you like it did to me. I had previously written a book review of Becoming by Michelle Obama. They are 2 entirely different persons with different experiences. But the key takeaway is the same – all of us have the power to change. We simply need to speak up and engage our communities to do the same.