jessica

Associate Director

Jessica Posner Odede joined the Novastar Team as an Associate Director in 2018 bringing proven entrepreneurial skills, co-founding, building and scaling an organization that serves low-income communities in Nairobi.  In 2009 she co-founded Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) with her husband Kennedy Odede. SHOFCO is a non-profit comprehensive community services organization that transforms urban slums in Kenya through quality service provision (health care, economic empowerment, clean water, gender-violence programs), organizing/advocacy platforms, and education for girls. Today, SHOFCO serves over 220,000 people across Kenya’s slums pioneering this innovative model.

Jessica has a deep understanding of growing an organization in partnership with low income communities. During her time as co-founder and COO of SHOFCO the organization grew from 500 beneficiaries, and annual revenues of $10,000 to 400 employees, 183,000 direct beneficiaries, and $7.3M in annual revenue. Jessica understands from experience what it takes to capitalize, organize and execute a complex operation at scale in challenging settings.

Jessica graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in African-American Studies from Wesleyan University. She won the 2010 Do Something Award and was named “America’s top-world changer 25 and under”. Jessica also received the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship and was awarded the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, May 2016. 

Jessica and her husband, Kennedy, co-wrote a New York Times best-selling memoir, Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in An African Slum.  Jessica has been featured on multiple occasions in The New York Times, Vogue Magazine, on CNN, by TED and is an internationally acclaimed speaker, thought-leader and doer.