Personal Development

Dr. Maryam Malek: Making real impact coaching midsize business executives

Maryam at dinner with a CE group

“I guided Fortune 500 companies around the world. But serving as an executive coach to midsize business leaders is my most fulfilling chapter yet.”

Editor’s Note: This profile is part of a series highlighting Vistage Chairs — executive coaches who help guide CEOs and leaders of small and midsize businesses to make better decisions for their companies, families and communities.

Early in her career, Dr. Maryam Malek was a senior executive with IBM, Xerox and Gallup, working with CEOs and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. She also founded a consulting practice, Corporate Development Consulting and Center (CDCC) for Applied Emotional Intelligence based in southern California.

As she excelled in her career, Maryam became a Vistage member — twice. She first joined in 2001, then again after working as the president of a leadership development organization in Australia in 2012.

Vistage Chair Dr. Maryam Malek

Vistage Chair Dr. Maryam Malek

Looking back at her long career with IBM and Gallup and mainly working with multibillion-dollar organizations, “I found that large organizations take a long time to implement change. And it was hard to see the difference you can make right away,” she says.

Maryam’s experience as a Vistage member made her wonder if coaching small and midsize businesses would be more satisfying. Coincidentally, her Chair at the time felt the same.

“I was so glad he asked,” says Maryam, who became a Chair in 2013. “It was my dream come true because I love working with medium-sized businesses.”

From 2-time Vistage member to CEO coach

Unlike billion-dollar organizations, small to midsize businesses can quickly implement new ideas and, as a result, can experience fast results because changes can be implemented rapidly. Being able to guide companies to that success is what Maryam is most passionate about.

“There are ups and downs in corporations, mostly driven by leadership,” she says. “Leadership impacts the company culture. There is a ‘cascading down effect.’ It’s easier to make an impact in smaller companies rather than large corporations.”

Chairing also offers Maryam space to do what she loves, such as travel. Both her roles as Vistage Chair of 5 peer groups (including 2 CEO groups) in California and as a speaker allow her to globally share her expertise as an executive, an industrial organizational psychologist, and an author to guide other business leaders along their path to success.

“Chairing is also a learning experience,” says Maryam, a former professor of organizational behavior at Pepperdine University’s Gradiazio School of Business MBA Program and professor of the Organization Leadership Masters Program at Chapman University.

“I’m a lifelong learner and love meeting new people, having deep, intimate, human conversations,” she adds. “It’s rewarding being present for ‘a-ha’ moments and helping people become holistic individuals.”

Independence with Vistage

Thanks to her work as Vistage Chair, Maryam says her days are fulfilling and her life has meaning. Members of her peer groups are more than members — they are friends and trusted clients. As each individual grows, she grows through deep, meaningful conversations.

Maryam with one of her CE groups during a retreat

Maryam with a CEO group during a retreat.

In addition to her work as a Vistage Chair, Maryam has authored two books: “The New Currency of Leadership: A CEO’s Blueprint for the New Economy,” an Amazon bestseller that details her 16-point plan for measuring, improving, and expanding the intangible parts of business, and “Role of Emotional Intelligence in Conflict Management in The Workplace.”

She was also the host of a live radio talk show on KRLA, “Work Doctor,” and additional television programs in southern California.

“I like having independence with the support of Vistage, which takes care of all the back-of-the-house tasks I don’t like to do,” she says. “I can be as busy as I want to be and don’t ever have to retire if I don’t want to. Coaching also allows me to be my authentic self. There are no politics, just the opportunity for impact.”

Explore more coaching journeys

If this coaching story interests you and you’d like to see more, learn more about Chairing and how it could lead to the next chapter of your life.

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About the Author: Vistage Staff

Vistage facilitates confidential peer advisory groups for CEOs and other senior leaders, focusing on solving challenges, accelerating growth and improving business performance. Over 45,000 high-caliber execu

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