Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on B The Change and features an audio clip from Next Economy Now

Mary Waldner, founder of Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Mary Waldner holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She practiced as a psychotherapist for 26 years, helping others to manifest their truest selves so they could live full, happy lives. But when she was 43, a chiropractor figured out she had celiac disease. After cutting out all gluten, Waldner was happier and more energetic than she’d ever felt.

To make her dietary transition easier, Waldner began baking gluten-free goodies so she’d never feel deprived. They had to be organic and gluten free, but they also had to taste indulgent. Along the way, she realized her crackers also fed people’s hunger for something authentic and truthful in this processed and fortified world, so with Dale Rodrigues she co-founded organic, gluten-free packaged foods company Mary’s Gone Crackers in 1994.

Some highlights from the interview include:

  • How she battled deceptive investors who stifled her company’s vision and wanted to liquidate the value of its essence, and how she stuck it out and eventually triumphed.
  • Why she advocates strongly for worker ownership and for weaving in similar considerations at the outset of a business before investors can preclude those possibilities.
  • How she maintains the impact of the business despite the growing pains that come with scaling so rapidly.
  • Why she emphasizes the value of knowing your market while also considering what or who we want to serve and trusting intuition when anticipating people’s needs and what might be a value to them.

Listen to the whole interview at B The Change. You can also listen/subscribe to Next Economy Now on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting platform.

Interviewer Kevin Bayuk works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets next economy organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is a co-founder and partner with LIFT Economy, the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown and a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute. LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinbayuk or email him kevin@lifteconomy.com.

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