Melanie Perkins, the Australian technology entrepreneur, has become a symbol of inspiration for aspiring business leaders worldwide. Perkins's journey from humble beginnings to building a billion-dollar company is nothing short of remarkable. 

Perkins was born in Perth to an Australian teacher and a Filipino-Sri Lankan Malaysian engineer. From a young age, she displayed an entrepreneurial spirit by selling handcrafted scarves at local stores and markets. Her experiences as a young businesswoman ignited a lifelong love for entrepreneurship.

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She pursued higher education at Western Australia University, studying communications, psychology, and commerce. During this time, she even tutored graphic design students privately, recognizing the need to simplify design processes. This realization would later lay the foundation for her groundbreaking venture.

In 2007, Perkins and her co-founder Cliff Obrecht established Fusion Books, a company offering a drag-and-drop tool with design templates to create personalized school yearbooks. While the idea found success, she had a grander vision to revolutionize the graphic design industry itself. 

They faced numerous challenges, and despite rejection from over 100 Perth investors, they persevered. Their breakthrough came when they met investor Bill Tai, who recognized the potential of their idea and connected them with essential talent, including Cameron Adams, Canva's third founder and CPO.

Canva's rise was meteoric, transforming into a "unicorn" startup—a privately held company valued at over $1 billion. Under Perkins's leadership, the platform grew exponentially, expanding its reach worldwide.

As one of the youngest female CEOs of a billion-dollar IT startup, Perkins has been a staunch advocate for diversity in the tech industry. She actively promoted gender equality, which helped Canva achieve 41% female representation within the company, despite only 2% of venture-backed companies having female CEOs.

Her hiring policies are characterized by a commitment to eliminating biases and fostering an inclusive environment for all employees. Her vision is to inspire more women from diverse backgrounds to dream big and pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Outside the business realm, Perkins enjoys kite surfing, a hobby she shares with her husband and co-founder, Cliff Obrecht. The couple's love for adventure extends to their philanthropic efforts, as they have pledged to donate most of their wealth to charitable causes.

Simple and giving back-focused, their engagement in 2019 featured a $30 engagement ring. In 2021, they tied the knot on Rottnest Island and pledged half their assets to charity, displaying their commitment to making a positive impact on society.