Nurit Ben joined PeakBridge with 16+ years of experience in global news media, across TV broadcasting, print, and podcasting, from CBS News to CNN and The New York Times. Her background ranges from anchoring live global news, to interviewing high-profile newsmakers, field reporting from New York to Bahrain, running newsrooms and content, and moderating global innovation summits. She’s drawn on that 360° experience to work with startups and founders to help tell their stories on the page and in person; today, with PeakBridge.
What drew you to make the switch and get into FoodTech?
In short, purpose. A few years back I was hosting an innovation summit in Dubai that featured a series of impressive and inspiring companies in food and ag tech. It was the first time I had real exposure to these startups – to the scale of the problems they’re trying to solve, the meaning behind their work and the passion they have for it. That sparked a bit of a shift in my thinking, and long story short…here I am.
What’s the common thread between international news, and working with startups?
At the core, I think it’s one key thing: taking complex, sometimes abstract issues and breaking them down in a way people can understand and ultimately connect with. It could be explaining the war in Syria to the average American or how geopolitical shifts can trickle down in ways you wouldn’t expect. In the end, people should understand: what is happening, and why does it matter?
The same is true for startups. Maybe you’ve developed incredible technology, with a strong team and major potential. But if you can’t convey what you do, why, and why your audience should care, you’re selling yourself short. Zooming out further, the problems in the food system are massive and affect all of us, and real solutions are out there. Communicating that effectively and in the right places is crucial.
What can anchoring live TV news teach people about pitching & presenting?
Quite a lot. Bottom line? Preparation and adaptability. Anchoring live TV means being ready for things to fall apart, sometimes all at once – and to seamlessly carry on. To make the audience feel like you’re with them, no matter what. The prompter fails. The guest is late. A new guest casually walks right in front of the camera (yup). Major news breaks 5 minutes before you’re on, and you have to throw out everything you built in one fell swoop. Improvising in all those situations means relying on yourself: on your knowledge, research, and ability to convey information simply – without blindly relying on materials to support you.
What does that have to do with presentations? I think we often rely far too heavily on materials to support us. For example, overloading slides with information and counting on them to lead the way, instead of you. If all goes well technically, your audience can get lost in a sea of information, and you read off a page instead of just talking to them. If something goes wrong [who here has never had a PowerPoint go wrong?], well…you know. In both cases, you’re in the driver’s seat; you’re guiding your audience. The materials are only there to back you up and drive your points home. And everyone can get there with preparation.