Woman Crush Wednesday
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, MFR is a Co-Founder of Sahel Consulting and serves as its managing partner. She has 23 years of experience in international development, and through her work with Sahel has shaped agriculture strategy and policy in West Africa for a range of clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Ndidi Okonkwo was born on March 22, 1975 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria to a Nigerian professor of Pharmacology, Paul Obuekwe Okonkwo and an American professor of History, Rina Okonkwo. She was born the third of five children. She grew up in Enugu, where she attended primary school at University Primary School. She attended secondary school at the Federal Government College Enugu from 1986-1991. From 1991-1992, she completed a bridging program, combining her final year of high school and freshmen year of college at the Clarkson School in Potsdam, New York.
Nwuneli attended The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1992, where she concentrated in strategic management and multinational management. She is a recipient of the Albert A. Berg Scholarship and was also selected to become a member of the Friars and the Onyx Senior Societies for her outstanding leadership efforts. In addition, she was the president of the Penn African Students Association, and a member of several societies including the Penn Gospel Choir and the Black Students Union. She was also an intern at Mitchell & Titus and Arthur Andersen. In May 1995, at 20 years old, Nwuneli graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.
She is also the co-founder of AACE Foods, a social enterprise which processes nutritious food made from the best of West Africa’s cereals, herbs, pulses and spices. She is the founder of LEAP Africa which works across Africa inspiring, empowering and equipping the next generation of dynamic, principled and innovative young leaders.
Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg Offices. She was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honour – Member of the Federal Republic from the Nigerian Government. She was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power African Women by Forbes.
Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an undergraduate degree with honours in Multinational and Strategic Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and a 2018 Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.
Ndidi serves as a director for Nestle Nigeria Plc., Nigerian Breweries Plc (Heineken). Godrej Consumer Products India, Fairfax Africa Canada, World Vegetable Center and on the Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands. She is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” published by Routledge. She is a TED Global speaker and her work has been featured on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg and a range of other international and local media outlets.