TED@UPS Speaker: Kelly Lepley

The things we choose to hide — or embrace — can ultimately define who we are.

Pain can make us selfish, while truly becoming oneself has the potential to make us selfless in ways we never imagined.

Kelly Lepley

Kelly Lepley

In this deeply personal talk, UPS pilot Kelly Lepley considers how the things we choose to hide – or embrace – can ultimately define who we are.

With a steadfast commitment to a single path that is rarely seen, Kelly Lepley has grown from pointing at pictures of airplanes in every book she could find to flying one of the largest cargo planes that UPS holds.

In stark contrast, her personal life follows a complex and twisting path.

Riddled with the shadows of deception and self-doubt, she is familiar with the painful stops, starts, and questions that come with becoming who you are.

With immense love for her two daughters who she adopted from China, Kelly Lepley profoundly understands the complexity of chasing the longings that consume us.

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Q&A with Kelly Lepley

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

An airline pilot.

2. What was your first job?

Sorting bottles and cans for recycling.

3. Where do you get your best thinking done?

On the beach.

4. What’s your favorite TED Talk?

Sherly Sandberg. “Why we have too few women leaders.”

5. Favorite quote?

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -Steve Jobs

6. What book are you reading right now?

follow your heart“Follow Your Heart to Discover Your Life Purpose,” Kelly MacLellan

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

Lady Di for her love of people who were less fortunate.

8. What cause are you most passionate about?


9. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

“What you dare to dream, dare to do.”

10. Proudest accomplishment?

Adopting my daughters.

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


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10 years from now, I see myself spending time in third world countries empowering young women.

12. What’s something you see happening 10 years from now?

Spending more time in third world countries empowering young women.

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


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

Angelina Jolie

15. Favorite activity after work

Showing my daughters the world.



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.