“Starting so young taught me a lot of things.”
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Noor AlObaid, aka @noorthatbakes. I am a human rights activist, a food and beverage consultant and a student. At the age of 14, I founded a non-profit organization called ‘Bake and Educate’ and became the youngest Kuwaiti to start a non-profit organization. That led me into a whirlpool of different human rights and youth activist groups such as Equait, Spread the Passion, Loyac and other campaigns advocating for the rights of those without voices. Bake and Educate is now recongnized by the UNDP in Kuwait and the Ministry of Youth. I’m currently continuing my path as a Human Rights Activist as well.
Tell us about your education.
My educational background is quite mixed. I spent my life in a private American school (ASK) and graduated only to go and study Architecture in Leeds, UK. Due to some family health problems, I took a year off and this is where I began to doubt my career path in architecture. When I went back to the UK a year later, I realized that my true passion was not architecture, but politics and communication. Due to the regulations of the Kuwait scholarship program, I transferred back to AUK’s International Relations program with a minor in Mass Communication and I will be graduating in the spring of 2020.
Tell us about your career journey.
My career journey started a lot younger than most. At the age of 14, no-one took me seriously in the field I was working in. However, with time and hard work, people started to see the substance and force that came with the cause I was working on. With the years, and the work I put in, I had covered 482 tuition fees for underprivileged students. It was an amazing feeling when Bake and Educate was recognized by the UNDP for all the work I put in. That’s when people began to take my work seriously. At the age of 19, I had achieved one of my lifelong goals. It was then that I grew to supplying desserts to cafes and restaurants and became a food and beverage consultant. Bake and Educate is still ongoing and working hard on multiple causes including Share the Road, which works towards the integration of Down Syndrome individuals into the Kuwaiti workforce. With all that going on, I’m in the process of finishing my degree in International Relations and Mass Communications and also applying to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
My days tend to be hectic, and time management is a struggle for me. I organize my classes to be in the morning, starting at 8am, and I finish anywhere from 1pm-5pm. Then I continue with my day, including meetings and consultations for the work that I do. I organize my days based on my class schedule but it does get a bit mixed up sometimes. I’m never really off the job, weekdays or weekends.
What is your biggest strength?
I think my biggest strength is my passion and my drive. I don’t think I would’ve gotten to where I was if I was not as hard working as I am. It does tend to be an issue because I do get classified as a workaholic, but I enjoy every aspect of what I do.
Do you have any weaknesses?
Of course I have weaknesses, everybody does. I think my biggest weakness is my stubbornness and refusal to accept failure. Because I’m such an ambitious person, it’s very hard for me to fail at something, so I don’t know how to give up. You could call me a bit of a ‘sore loser’ when it comes to my work.
Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
I honestly think starting so young taught me a lot of things. I did make mistakes that I learned from and that made me stronger. Lots of people took advantage of the fact that I was so young and quite naïve at the time, but I learned from that and grew to know the ins and outs of my field.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was my age because people didn’t take me seriously as a young girl who was pushing for so much change that society was not ready for. Especially coming from a mixed background, having a Syrian mother, people tended not to take me seriously because of my outlook on life and the problems we face as a society.
How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
I get more driven. If someone says I can’t do something, I’ll work harder to do it. I tend to revert to two things when I’m struggling, my mother and God. Those are my comfort zones when I’m really struggling.
What do you do to relax?
As cliché as it sounds, I relax when I’m in the kitchen. It’s my getaway from stress and work. I get my friends and family together, cook a nice meal and host. That’s how I unwind.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment so far is definitely the recognition I got from the UNDP and the Ministry of Youth for Bake and Educate. To see all my hard work being recognized and the changes that I have fought for be implemented, having made a positive impact on society, makes me so proud and makes it all worth it.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is definitely failure. To see that I’m actually making a difference or doing something productive that makes a positive impact is vital. Failing to do this haunts me constantly.
What is your favourite quote?
I have two quotes that I live by:
و اصبر على مااصابك
Which means: and be patient over what befalls you.
فان بعد العسر يسرا
Which always helps me feel better when something is going wrong that good will come after.
Name one item in life you can’t do without.
Definitely my phone, it’s the only thing that keeps me connected with everyone in my life when I’m in the rush of work and life.
Best advice you have ever taken?
Pay it forward. When you do something with a good intention, it’ll come back to you. Always do good and never harm anyone.
Share three books on your nightstand.
Walls Built on Sand; Migration Exclusion and Society in Kuwait.
Three Daughter Of Eve – Elif Shafak
Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man
In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
Passion, ambition and confidence.
What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
Tackling the political scene in Kuwait. There are a lot of unheard voices and struggles that people are not aware of. Making these voices heard and raising Kuwait’s already high reputation to an even higher level of advance and diplomacy.
What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
Be strong, don’t give up easily. Being a woman in all fields is a struggle, but there’s always a difference that you can make. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. It’s a struggle but it’s worth it when you make it to the top and achieve your goals.
How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
It’s such an honor to be awarded with CP’s Woman of Substance. To be recognized for making a difference and doing something inspiring only makes me want to work harder and make more of a difference on an international scale!
Your message for the team at CP magazine:
Thank you CP magazine, this is such an honor and I can’t wait to work on more projects with you. It’s such an honor and a blessing to have such a supportive team that brings recognition to our part of the world! To bigger and better things for us all!