Software Developer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Weili Dai is a true leader – she knows how to use her strengths. Born in China, Dai played semi-professional basketball in Shanghai before immigrating to the United States when she was 17 years old to attend college at UC Berkeley, where she studied computer science.
Dai worked as a software developer until she started a semiconductor business called Marvell Technology Group with her husband. Semiconductors are used to make electronics and computers. Dai is the only woman who has ever co-founded a global semiconductor company, and she is now the president of the company (one of the top five of its kind in the world).
Dai is now worth $720 million and is considered one of the top 100 self-made and powerful women in the world.
As she has used her business and networking skills to grow her company, she has also worked to figure out ways to use technology to improve quality of life and to increase access to technology in the United States as well as less wealthy countries around the world. She has also helped the U.S. work with her birth country of China in the areas of education and green technology.
Her company, Marvell, works with One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to develop tablet computers for schools all over the world. Marvell also has made donations to help the hungry and victims of disasters in Asia (Dai is on the board of Give2Asia, which connects donors with worthy nonprofit organizations in Asia) and Dai has personally given enough money to her alma mater, UC Berkeley, to have a building named after her and her husband.
Dai clearly has a passion for technology, and she believes that women and girls have the unique ability to design technology that will improve our quality of life:
“Women are the future of technology and today’s technology is fun and cool. It’s not just about developing ‘nerdy’ stuff it’s about turning technology into fashionable and user-friendly smart solutions. A woman’s natural talent is design, and the look and feel, and making these things fit into our lifestyles. I believe by embracing STEM and leveraging inherent strength of women—the sense of responsibility, passion, compassion, and pride we dedicate to family and community—and applying it to business can make women the X-factor in the new era of global growth and prosperity for the ‘Smart Life and Smart Lifestyle.'”