TED@UPS Speaker: Laura Lane

What qualities are crucial to leading effectively in our most difficult moments?

In 1994, Laura Lane helped more than 250 Americans escape Rwanda during the start of the Rwandan Genocide.

Through a harrowing story of great personal courage, Laura explores the qualities that are crucial to leading effectively in our most difficult moments.

From 1990-1997, Lane was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, stationed at the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, from 1993-1994.

She led the evacuation effort of American citizens in April 1994 with the outbreak of civil war.

Later, she returned as a political advisor to U.S. forces, providing humanitarian relief to Rwandan refugees.

Lane currently serves as president of global public affairs for UPS.

Prior to joining UPS, Laura was the head of international government affairs at Citigroup and VP for global public policy with Time Warner.

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Q&A with Laura Lane

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

I wanted to be an Ambassador representing the United States in the conduct of our country’s  foreign affairs.

2. What was your first job?

My first real job was as a waitress at a Bob Evans and I am still in touch with a couple of the families that I served over 30 years ago.

3. Where do you get your best thinking done?

I get my best thinking done while I’m swimming, biking or running.

4. What’s your favorite TED Talk?

Vincent Cochetel’s : I was held hostage for 317 days; here’s what I thought about.

5. Favorite quote?

“Never give up”

The-Princess-Bride_book6. What book are you reading right now?

The Princess Bride – because it reminds me to remember that there is always love, adventure, mystery and drama and most importantly miracles in the world.

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

Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa and Walt Disney

8. What cause are you most passionate about?

Ending human trafficking

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

Pullquote share icon. Share

As a kid, I wanted to be an ambassador representing the U.S. in the conduct of our country’s foreign affairs.

Lead from wherever you are in any organization, don’t wait for a title.

10. Proudest accomplishment?

Finding the love of my life with a marriage going 22 years strong and becoming a mother and finishing an Ironman race in spite of the odds

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

Disney World to ride “It’s a Small World” one more time

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

A cure for Alzheimer’s

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

A hug from the people I love

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

Julia Roberts – I should be so lucky

15. Favorite activity after work

Hanging out with my husband


More about Laura:

Interview: Laura speaks with Frontline about her experience in Rwanda.

Video: Laura presents at University of Denver’s conference on the China-U.S. Economic Relationship.



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.