TED@UPS Speaker: Esther Ndichu

Can hunger be solved and the poverty gap bridged?

Humanitarian Supply Chain Director Esther Ndichu argues that hunger is a logistics issue – that food often rots miles away from the people that need it most.

By solving the logistics problem she asks: can the world’s hunger problem be solved in our lifetime?

Esther Ndichu

Esther Ndichu

Esther Ndichu is responsible for the UPS Foundation’s global humanitarian engagements, where she manages solutions, operations, and support resources for external partners as they prepare for and respond to disasters.

In her 10 years at UPS, she has held a range of positions, from air network planning to industrial engineering and revenue management.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Ndichu understands first-hand some of the challenges the humanitarian organizations face when delivering aid and relief, which has grown into a vested interest in seeing UPS expand into Africa and the humanitarian sector.

She holds a bachelor’s in international relations from the College of Wooster in Ohio, and an MBA from the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta.

Esther speaks English, Swahili and French.

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Q&A with Esther Ndichu

1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

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I get my best thinking done in bed around 3 a.m.

A Chef!!

2. What was your first job?

I worked in my father’s auto spare parts shop in Kenya….selling tyres, indicator lights, carburetors, starters, brakes…you name it

3. Where do you get your best thinking done?

In bed at around 3am!!!

4. What’s your favorite TED Talk?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – “We should all be feminists” AND “The danger of a Single Story”  Her talks address serious issues but she uses humor referencing her Nigerian relatives that I can totally relate to.

5. Favorite quote?

‘’If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.”- From an ancient Greek guy

6. What book are you reading right now?

I am probably the last woman in the corporate world to read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. And because I can’t focus on one thing, I am also reading “Who is picking me up from the airport, and other questions single girls ask” by Cindy Johnson.
Sheryl Sandberg's new book, "Lean In."

7. Living or dead, who would you invite to dinner?

My Father and Oprah Winfrey

8. What cause are you most passionate about?


9. Last weekend on earth – where would you go?

A resort in Bali

10. What is the best gift you have ever received?

My first cookbookcindy johnson

11. Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Sandra Bullock…….? Ok maybe not

12. Favorite activity after work

Catching up with my friends and family on the phone


More from Esther

Article: Esther recalls her visit to Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Esther volunteering at Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Kenya

Esther volunteering at Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Kenya

TED@UPS If there’s one thing every UPSer has in common, it’s that we have an irresistible desire to figure it out and get it done. And that leads to some amazing ideas. TED@UPS explores both the destination and the journey of ideas – big and small – that inspire us, challenge how we think or feel and even change the world.

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.