Mali Phonpadith is the CEO of the SOAR Community Network, #1 International Bestselling author, speaker, workshop and retreat facilitator, marketing strategist, podcaster and the Executive Producer/Host of Tea with Mali Cable TV Show. In 2015, Mali was selected as a Belief Team community partner through Values Partnership for the Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network BELIEF initiative.

She has been nominated for several awards including Heroines of Washington D.C. Award by the March of Dimes, twice for the Women of the Year Award by NEW – Network Executive Women and recognized as the iBoss Capital Navigator in 2018 for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive.

As the CEO of the SOAR Community Network, Mali leads a dedicated team of experts who provide customized solutions to develop strategic plans, authenticate brand messages, map shared values, develop conscious leaders, align teams, assess operational/IT efficiencies, and implement programs that ensure sustainable growth and healthy corporate cultures. SCN does this by facilitating educational forums for leaders and entrepreneurs to lead with intention, supporting talent management initiatives to drive positive corporate culture and implementing marketing strategies to help clients SOAR in the global marketplace.

Mali has over 20 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. She is a community champion for several local non-profits. Mali runs the SCN Leadership Breakfast series, is the Founder of the SOAR Community Summit and producer/host of the SOAR Community Podcast. Mali is a four-time author, including A Million Fireflies, her 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. In 2017, Born to Be Me, a compilation of authentic stories written alongside 18 international female authors, made Amazon’s #1 International Bestseller List. In 2018, The Balancing Act also hit the #1 International Bestseller List. Both compilations were published by Creative Publishing Group in Canada.

Mali has shared her insights at TEDx Ashburn, The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, University of Maryland, George Mason University, SAIC, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Lao American Writer’s Summit, American Association of University Women, Northern VA Women’s Business Conference, VA Health and Wellness Conference, Network Nova Women’s Summit, Vistage, and many other organizations. Huffington Post,,  Better Business Bureau (BBB) Trusted Magazine, BBB PodcastAdvisor Today Magazine, Asian Fortune Newspaper, WJLA DC, Radio Free Asia, WHUR Radio, Voice of America, Bliss Magazine and numerous blog talk radio programs have featured her work and journey.

The Personal Journey

Mali and her family escaped war-torn Laos in 1979 and lived in a refugee camp in Thailand until a church in Maryland sponsored her family to come to the United States. She was five years old. She did not grow up with money or privilege. Her parents worked two to three jobs to support their family. She began working when she was fifteen to help with family finances while also saving for her college education. She graduated with degrees in International Business, Spanish and Marketing.

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 6 months thereafter, suffered the sudden death of her father who was battling with cancer. Soon thereafter, her best friend passed away from suicide and then she later lost her uncle and grandmother – all of this – taking place within a 6 year period. The constant grief took a toll on the body, heart and mind but it also gave her a new and profound perspective on the preciousness of time and the value of our existence while here on Earth. Her life lessons fuel her passion for the work at SCN.

Seeing, Owning, Articulating, and Releasing (SOAR) her journey is the inspiration behind the mission of the SOAR Community Network. As she continues to shape her own legacy, she is dedicated to leading a company that helps others uncover and share theirs. With her leadership, SCN has mapped the visions, missions, values and corporate direction of hundreds of business leaders so they too can SOAR in business and in life. Their annual SOAR Community Summit attracts hundreds of business owners, corporate executives and community champions each year to the Washington, D.C. area. The summit’s mission is to develop great leaders into legacy driven leaders who build successful and socially responsible organizations. 

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