Madison, WI

The richest person in Madison, Wisconsin

Luay Rahil
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"High heels hurt. Stockings — stockings are probably like ties. They constrain your thinking." -Judy Faulkner

As soon as I heard the above statement, I had to learn more about the person who said these words. Her name is Judy Faulkner, and she loves to defy the status quo. Her ability to challenge the norm made her one of the most influential people in the healthcare industry. Her wealth exceeds $6.7 billion, making her the richest person in Madison, Wisconsin.

Judy Faulkner is a billionaire and founder of America's leading medical-record software provider, Epic. Epic Systems is a suite of software that changed how health care is administered by refining how medical information is collected, reviewed, and relayed.

Judy Faulkner was born in August 1943 in New Jersey. Del Greenfield's mother graduated high school with straight A's at age 15. However, she didn't attend college because she couldn't afford it. Her father, Louis, was a pharmacist. Faulkner was raised in New Jersey. She earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Dickinson College in 1965 and a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1967.

Faulkner started Epic Systems in a basement.

In a tiny Wisconsin basement in 1979, Judy Faulkner used her computer science knowledge to launch Epic Systems with the help of two part-time assistants. As a result, Epic has since become the leading provider of integrated healthcare software.

Today, Epic supports the medical records of over 250 million patients and is used by top medical centers such as Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Faulkner has attained all of this success without raising any venture capital or making an acquisition. The company also develops all its software in-house and invests 32% of operating expenses in research and development.

People go to work for six reasons.

Judy Faulkner took a class in college that focused on an interesting question: Why do you go to work? Everyone agreed on five reasons during that class, but Faulkner added one more.

  1. Individuals want to earn a paycheck.
  2. Employees want to do something meaningful.
  3. They want to meet and work with interesting people.
  4. Employees want to serve others and meet customers' expectations.
  5. They want to compete with others and work on challenging projects.
  6. People want to work for organizations that have impactful missions.

She committed to giving 99% of her wealth away.

"Many years ago, I asked my young children what two things they needed from their parents. They said 'food and money. I told them 'their roots and wings. My goal in pledging 99% of my assets to philanthropy is to help others with roots - food, warmth, shelter, healthcare, education - so they too can have wings." - Judy Faulkner

She is married to Dr. Gordon Faulkner and lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with three children. In 2015, she committed to giving 99% of her assets to philanthropy.

If you had Faulkner's money, what causes would you support?

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