Mali Phonpadith is the Founder and CEO of the SOAR Community Network, author, speaker, marketing strategist, podcaster and the Executive Producer of Tea with Mali Cable TV Show. Mali has over 19 years of marketing, sales, and business development experience. Mali also ran a financial services practice for seven years where she created and implemented risk management strategies for hundreds of clients. We discussed how important it is to have a community in both your personal and professional lives.
As the Founder and CEO of the SOAR Community Network, Mali leads a dedicated consortium of business experts in helping small and mid-sized businesses expand their market reach by operating as their virtual marketing and IT department.
In 2015, Mali was selected as a Belief Team community partner through Values Partnership for the Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network BELIEF Initiative.
In 2016, the SOAR Community Network became an official Ambassador for the RiseUp Movie and Movement. RiseUP is a culture-shifting documentary film that Dr. Kate Malone and her team are producing with John Mackey, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Blake Mycoskie (CEO TOMS Shoes), Tony Robbins, Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos), Alanis Morissette (Grammy Artist), Tom Chi (Innovator, Google Glass) Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), along with other with key social innovators and thought leaders.
Mali is a community champion for several local non-profits. She is the co-founder of the Young Professional Leadership Group and the cohost of Creative Entrepreneur Buzz Podcast (NamedNew and Noteworthy and What’s Hot on iTunes in 2014). A Million Fireflies is Mali’s memoir about her voyage from war-torn Laos to America.
She is also the coauthor of Seen and Sustained: Best Practices in Communication that Increase the Visibility of Small and Diverse Businesses, a professional workbook written with Akia Garnett, Jane Lovas, and Tamecia Bradshaw.
She has shared her insights at The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, University of Maryland, George Mason University, SAIC and other national venues.
Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Advisor Today Magazine, Asian Fortune Newspaper, WJLA DC, Radio Free Asia, WHUR Radio, Voice of America, Intentful Magazine and numerous blog talk radio programs have featured her work and journey.
Mali’s Personal Journey
Mali and her family escaped war-torn Laos in 1979 and arrived in the United States when she was just five years old. She did not grow up with money and privilege. Her parents worked two to three jobs to support their four children. Mali and her siblings learned early in life, the importance of hard work and determination. She began working in a fast-food restaurant when she was fifteen years old to help with family finances and put herself through college. She hasn’t stopped working since. Stress, worry and fear of “not having” ruled most of her young life. This “conditioning” continues to be a part of her life but with coaching and personal development work, her awareness guides her to live more calmly and with a sense of freedom that she wasn’t able to tap into as a child.
When Mali turned 27, she began facing a series of terrible tragedies. In 2003, she lost her fiancé and a family member in a drowning accident. Two years after this painful event, she lost her godfather and six months thereafter, suffered the sudden death of her father to a 3-week battle with cancer. Two years later, her best friend passed away, then her uncle to cancer and most recently, she said goodbye to her grandmother. She has weathered seven major losses in less than 10 years. The constant grief took a toll on the body, heart, and mind.
Healing is a lifelong journey. Sharing her journey and releasing the pain through writing, poetry, and music helped to move her forward. The freedom she found by Seeing, Owning, Articulating, and Releasing her story (SOAR) is the inspiration behind the mission of the SOAR Community Network. The gifts that came out of her grief include her deep appreciation for life and the importance of being present, living boldly and designing a life filled with passion and purpose. Legacy is created in the here and now. As she continues to shape her own legacy, she is passionate about helping to shape yours.
Check out her website below:
Tea with Mali YouTube link: