Noha Waibsnaider is the founder of Peeled Snacks, an organic fruit snacks company. She launched Peeled Snacks in 2004, to help people feel good about snacking with real food that provides a natural source of fibre and vitamins. The company has since been ranked on Inc. 5000’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies.
Ms Waibsnaider has a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies and an MBA from Columbia Business School, ranked number five in the FT Global MBA 2013 ranking. While at the school, she co-founded the Global Social Venture Competition, an initiative that provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses with a positive social and environmental impact. She was also awarded Columbia’s 2012 Distinguished Alumna Award.
In her spare time, Ms Waibsnaider enjoys cooking, reading, dancing and discovering new foods.
1. Why did you choose to do an MBA?
I realised that businesses have the potential to make a huge positive impact on society and I needed real business skills to join that world.
2. Who are your business heroes?
Madonna, the American singer and Oprah, the American talk show host, for their creative business savvy and ability to reinvent and remain relevant. And entrepreneurs Gary & Meg Hirshberg, for their incredible accomplishment in improving our food landscape and providing nutritious, organic foods via Stonyfield Farm, the organic yoghurt company and the Non-GMO project, the non-profit organisation committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food and products.
3. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
Take more negotiations classes. It’s the most important thing you do every day.
4. What is your biggest lesson learnt?
It always takes more time and money than you think, so hope for the best and create a back-up plan.
5. What advice would you give to women in business education?
There’s no good time to have kids, so don’t put it off till later.
6. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?
Be myself and try to boast more.
7. What is your favourite business book?
Meg Hirshberg’s For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs
8. What inspires you?
Thinking about how far our society has come in understanding food. People today shop at farmers’ markets and read labels. They care where their food comes from, how it’s made and whether it has added sugars or if it’s organic. We have a long way to go but we’ve made much progress since I started Peeled Snacks eight years ago.
9. How do you deal with pressure?
Focus on eating better, sleeping more and exercising so I can perform at my best. I also rely on my favourite book Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard.
10. What are your future plans?
Empower people to feel good about themselves and the food choices they make by providing healthy and tasty food everywhere, increasing awareness of the dangers of added sugars, preservatives and pesticides and getting sugar removed from the FDA’s GRAS (generally recognised as safe) list.