Noam has spent most of his recent years in the Michigan area. He began at University of Michigan where he wanted to become a doctor. One summer, however, he did an internship involved in public health, resulting in him getting his degree in the area. Instead of taking the road well travelled in becoming a doctor, Noam decided he wanted to follow his gut and do what he felt was right. He wanted to develop a more preventative system in public health. As opposed to addressing the effect, he instead focused on the cause. This resulted in his starting Fresh Corner in 2010, a 'mission-driven food service provider working to contribute to a fresher, healthier, and even more delicious Detroit.' One of the central goals in Fresh Corner is to make sure every Detroiter has access to healthy food. Noam was recently selected for the Forbes ‘30-under-30’ list for his work.
In interviewing Noam, I wanted to get a sense of what he learned throughout his professional experience, and what gems of wisdom he would pass down to others. A key theme came up. It was the power of community. Often times I think it is common for us to see the leaders in the world we live in and assume they were entirely self-driven - in other words, they did it on their own. Noam, however, highlighted how important it has been for him to have a group of people with diverse perspectives to support his efforts. In this light he stressed the importance of humility and open-mindedness- the need to recognize that a higher education doesn’t necessarily mean better. It doesn’t guarantee success and credibility. He spoke about a time in 2011 working with RECI Detroit, an intercongregational effort to unite the east of Detroit. Noam, Val (his fellow co-founder), and 18 middle-aged black women worked together. He recognized the need to adapt and learn from those around him. Flexibility, humility, and understanding were essential pillars in being able to work within this new environment. He also mentions how this flexibility and empathy has remained relevant on a daily basis- he now recognizes that everyone works differently. It is important to note the differences in how people function, and that one way is not necessarily better than another. This sense of humility within community has been a key factor in Noam’s success and is something that I will remember as I navigate through my own life.