Noor Qwfan

Noor graduated with a BA in Political Science and Studio Art in 2012 and graduated with my Masters in Public Policy and Administration in 2014. I currently work for Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds part of the Wonderful Leadership Program. Outside of work I spend the majority of my free  time focusing on working in my community and shedding light on issues that afflict Muslim women. This includes running a mentorship program I co-found for Muslim female youth, Sisters of Azimah, and working on a podcast I launched on iTunes earlier this year, This Muslim Girl Podcast, which purpose serves as a platform to spotlight Muslim female narratives.
 
How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position after graduation? 
I got recruited into the position I am now through the BPA Department. So for the most part my graduate school experience helped connect me to the right network to have access to opportunities such as the one that led me to my current position.
 
What career advice would you give our students?
If you think it, do it. I saw this video once of a social experiment where a chalkboard was left out in public with the question “What do you regret?” and I found it so interesting that the majority of sentences started with “not” or “never”. It was always the things people didn’t do that they regretted, so I say put yourself out there, follow whatever ambitions you have, and know that most barriers are inside are head and not real. Being a student you are really able to take chances and it would be unfortunate to leave your academic career with regrets of not doing something.
 
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Was there a pivotal moment? 
When it comes to my professional career I actually got recruited and applied for the job. Never did I think I would work in agriculture yet here I am and I truly love it. I think this shows how dynamic life can be and you truly never know where you’ll end up; the more you do the more doors will open. As far as my community work, I think it was my personal experiences and of those close to me that inspired me to create a mouthpiece for Muslim women to speak upon issues that are often underrepresented or misunderstood within their communities and the media.
 
What do you attribute your success to? 
God, first and foremost, and the support of my family and friends who nurtured any and all of my crazy ideas.
 
How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization? 
I think communication and diversity is key. For example, The Wonderful Company values building their employees from the bottom up. They provide many resources that train all to be confident communicators and they encourage multilevel continuous improvement project that yield objective, innovative results.
 
What have you accomplished or overcame in the past that you thought was impossible at the time? 
To have the confidence to work on large scale projects with people from all over the world. I think sometimes we limit our capabilities because we think if it doesn’t land on your lap it’s not meant for us. So I think for me it was realizing that if I want something I’m going to have to go out and chase it.
 
What hardships did you face, and how did you overcome them?
As an Arab Muslim woman in the West it’s a constant struggle overcoming judgement from both cultural standards. I think I am still working this out but I feel I have come so far from the 14 year old who was naïve and felt that I needed to fit in one way or the other. Today I am happy to do what feels right in my gut and what I find spiritually makes sense and I hope to help other girls do the same.
 
Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life?
I find inspiration and motivation from stories not from a person. Women who have accomplished so much through adversity and who courageously risk so much for something positive they believe in. That woman is my role model.  
 
Which accomplishment are you most proud of? 
I am most proud of organizing and leading a campaign to provide a months worth of food baskets to feed families in Yemen. The original goal was $10k, and that was met within a few days so the goal was raised to $20k. By the end of the initiative, over $50k was raised providing food baskets for over 400 families in cities with high food insecurity.