There are many reasons Bill and I remain inspired and optimistic about the work we do at the foundation. But one very important reason that doesn’t come up as much is this: It’s a lot of fun.
I recently spoke to a group of Stanford students—you can watch part of the session here—and what has stuck with me about that afternoon is that I just had a blast.
Usually, when I speak about the foundation’s issues, I’m focusing on something specific to advance our agenda in a given area, and I have particular points to cover in a particular order.
At Stanford, I didn’t have a defined agenda; I just talked and answered a wide range of questions from students about the foundation’s work. The students are so smart and their thinking is so ambitious. They care about what’s happening in the poorest parts of the world, and they have big ideas about how to make life better for the people there. Being a part of this conversation was incredibly invigorating for me.
Afterward, the professor who invited me told me the students enjoyed feeling like they got to know me as an individual, and not just a public figure. It was a pleasure for me, too.
Everyone with whom I connect—whether it’s a student at Stanford who wants to become an expert in vaccinology or a mother in Kenya who walks for miles to get her child vaccinated—makes this challenging work fulfilling, fun, and motivating.
Of course, it’s rewarding to see the end results, to meet people we’ve been fortunate enough to help. But the process—the intellectual challenge of working together to solve the world’s biggest problems—is also uplifting.