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Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam

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Entrepreneur, Author and Advisor

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About Marilyn

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Keynote speaker Marilyn Tam has had an extraordinarily diverse life, from her beginnings in a traditional Chinese family in Hong Kong to her meteoric rise through the executive ranks of the international business world to become an influential corporate leader, speaker, corporate consultant, author and respected humanitarian.

Keynote speaker Marilyn Tam has had an extraordinarily diverse life, from her beginnings in a traditional Chinese family in Hong Kong to her meteoric rise through the executive ranks of the international business world to become an influential corporate leader, speaker, corporate consultant, author and respected humanitarian.

Marilyn Tam’s distinguished background includes executive roles at numerous world-class companies, including CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel & Retail Group and Vice President of Nike. She is also a successful entrepreneur, having developed and built four companies in fields as diverse as a corporate consulting & training company, a web portal company, a supply chain software company and an integrated health and wellness company.

Marilyn Tam consults and speaks globally with Fortune 500 companies, governments and non-profit organizations and on leadership, diversity, change management and how to integrate social & environmental concerns into businesses profitably. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Us Foundation www.usfoundation.org, whose mission is to facilitate global action plans and dialogue to address social, economic and environmental issues. Us Foundation is one of the partners for United Nations Habitat-II, and was nominated as a candidate for the “Best Practice Award” from the United Nations’ Habitat II.

Marilyn is a director on the national board of SCORE Association, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SCORE is dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the development, growth and success of small businesses nationwide.

Ms. Tam also served on the international board of The Reebok Human Rights Awards, along with former President Jimmy Carter; renowned musicians Peter Gabriel, and Sting, Rafer Johnson, Chairman of the Special Olympics; and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center, and Paul Fireman, Chairman of Reebok International Ltd. In 1994, she was awarded The Reebok Human Rights Award for her humanitarian work.

Whether she is directly improving the lot of workers in her contract factories around the world, or developing and conducting seminars to train other entrepreneurs in business leadership programs internationally, sought-after speaker Marilyn Tam always gives back. She is committed to the belief that philanthropy is integral to and provides an essential balance and relevance to her work.

She regularly serves as producer and Master of Ceremonies for events around the world, including acting as the spokesperson and keynote speaker for Universal Forum of Culture’s conference on the Role of the Corporation in the 21st Century in Barcelona, Spain, presenting at the United Nations Habitat-II Conference in Torino, Italy, as well as organizing the inaugural Season for Non-Violence Event commemorating M.K. Gandhi and M.L. King in 30 countries.

Speaker Marilyn Tam was also an advisor to the country of Bhutan, working with the Ministers and government officials to transition the country into the 21st Century while retaining their cultural and environmental heritage.

According to Brand Channel, she is one of the four most prominent names in brand ethics globally.

Marilyn was recognized as one of the Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs in the USA by Fempreneur magazine. Jack Canfield detailed her work in his book on the strategies for success, “The Success Principles”. She is featured as in the best selling book, “Fearless Women, midlife portraits” by Alspaugh, Kentz, and Halpin. Daryn Kagan, former CNN anchor spotlighted Marilyn as one who dared to dream that they can make a difference, in her book, “What’s Possible”.

Keynote speaker Marilyn Tam was honored with the Artemis Award for her business and humanitarian work by the Greek government and the Euro American Women’s Council in Athens, Greece, with her likeness on a Greek postage stamp. eWomenNetwork presented her with their Lifetime Achievement Award. Marilyn is featured seven inspirational documentary movies including GLOW Project, The Compass, Vitality and The Gratitude Experiment for her remarkable accomplishments and inner wisdom. Marilyn is a lifetime member of Who’s Who World Wide and is listed in Who’s Who in American Women. Her latest book, “Living the Life of Your Dreams – The Secrets to Turning Your Dreams into Reality” won the eBook of the Year in the Inspirational/Visionary category at 2011’s Global eBook Awards.

Ms. Tam was honored with a Ph.D. in Humane Letters by Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.

See keynotes with Marilyn Tam

    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    How to Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want – Leadership and Personal Excellence: How You Can Achieve It

    • Whatever qualities you have, no matter how limited or broad that they may be in your own mind, global corporate executive, entrepreneur and humanitarian Marilyn Tam will show you how to use what you’ve got to achieve your dreams.
    • What seemed to be disadvantages in Marilyn’s life were in fact her keys to personal and professional success and freedom.
    • As someone who has broken the glass ceiling, she will share the leadership skills and character traits that really work.
    • Starting from where you are now she leads you to assess your own inherent talents and skills and how to utilize them to your benefit.
    • Hear motivational real life stories, determine your life mission, learn the four key Principles, and then apply the action steps to achieve your dreams.
    • She will show you how to maintain Life Balance and personal peace and happiness while achieving professional success.
    • You will learn from someone who has actual experience and can show you how to develop your assets and apply them effectively to your life mission.
    • The talk/session(s) are engaging and timely; and the results are immediate and inspiring.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    Diversity: How to Reap the Rich Harvest of Culture, Creativity and Community

    • Learning how to benefit from diversity and to be a leader in a more diverse and global world is a challenge and an opportunity.
    • Indeed, embracing and leveraging diversity is the only way to prosper and grow in the 21st century.
    • In Marilyn Tam’s interactive style you will hear stories, learn principles, and apply action steps from her global business, humanitarian and consulting experience to become a more successful global leader.
    • A key focus is on helping leaders and employees understand how to adapt and grow their leadership styles to foster a multicultural workplace and attract and engage employees from across the cultural spectrum.
    • How to benefit from the cornucopia of diverse cultures, knowledge and traditions to further the wellbeing of the organization and its standing in the market and community can also be covered.
    • Learn from someone who has actually “walked the walk”.
    • Marilyn shows you how to develop your assets and to maximize them to effectively advance your mission.
    • She discusses the four principles that helped propel her to lead several Fortune 500 companies, despite her challenging and unlikely background as a second daughter in a traditional Chinese family from Hong Kong.
    • If she can do it, so can anyone who applies her principles and action steps to achieve greater success and happiness for themselves, their companies and communities.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    Women in the Workplace and Marketplace

    • In today’s highly competitive and interconnected world, women are invaluable to any enterprise.
    • Women have specific strengths that are critical in today’s global economy and environment.
    • Yet there are cultural biases in both men and women, and many structural obstacles that may hinder a woman’s progress in attaining her highest potential.
    • This is a loss, for the company, as much as it is for the women who fail to fully contribute because of this.
    • Marilyn will discuss and share from her personal experience as a corporate leader, woman, business consultant and humanitarian, the development of personal awareness, interpersonal skills, strategy development, decision-making and other key factors in how to be successful as a woman in business and how to support the development of women in business.
    • Much have been made of glass ceilings, Marilyn will also discuss glass walls, which are oftentimes even more confining and hindering of one’s career advancement than glass ceilings.
    • She will share on how to move through them so that each person can excel.
    • Humor, interactive communication, networking, coaching, feedback and reflection are the common threads throughout.
    • The outcome is to increase each person’s ability and comfort in making a more significant impact in the organization and community through immediate application of a wider range of leadership knowledge and skills.
    • Additional benefits include increased employee and company satisfaction, productivity and reduced turnover.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    Life Balance: How to Juggle Work, Home, Personal and Spiritual Health

    • The conflicting expectations and conditioning that people, especially women, have been bombarded with makes them vulnerable to feeling unsatisfied, second rate and confused.
    • The current poor economic times, incessant marketing message of “you can have it all” and the hyper-speed of change is hitting people so hard that they are oftentimes reduced to feeling despair in being able to attain any semblance of a balanced life – and even more critically, economic sustainability.
    • The inner questioning of whether one can ever climb out of the hole of wanting and trying to gain some measure of financial stability, health, fulfilling relationships, inner peace, joy and a meaning for life is pervasive, however conscious or subconscious.
    • This hunger and fear is driving the collective unconsciousness.
    • “Life Balance: How to Juggle Work, Home, Personal and Spiritual Health” is packed with motivation, encouragement, and practical resources for a happier more satisfying life.
    • Marilyn shares from her own experience as well as from the numerous experts whom she has worked and collaborated with in her career and life.
    • The talk/session(s) are filled with stories and practical examples of both success and failures that lead to the development of Life Balance.
    • You will be inspired, relieved and also learn practical actionable principles and tools to be able prioritize, allocate resources and balance your life demands to greater success, inner peace and happiness.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    Leadership Excellence, How You Can Achieve It

    • To be a successful Leader in the 21st Century takes new skills and awareness.
    • Fresh managerial tools and talents are needed to deal with today’s global business and the tighter and more visible connections between all aspects of the development, production and consumption cycle.
    • Marilyn shares the secrets she learned from her international business and humanitarian experience – how to be the more effective and productive in business and life while creating collaborative and lasting relationships.
    • She will discuss how to define your mission and the principles and actions steps to ensure a cohesive, productive and energized team.
    • Strategy and outlook into how to plan and lead in today’s tumultuous and interconnected business environment will be covered.
    • Marilyn will help you review your personal leadership style and how to enhance it to increase effective communication and maximum sustainable profitable growth and development of your organization.
    • With real life and practical stories to illustrate the points, you will soak up the information and be able to apply them to greater business success and personal satisfaction.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    The Role of Business in the 21st Century

    • The 21st Century is a wired and interconnected world, which has modified the roles and responsibilities of business.
    • Business is no longer, if it ever was, only focused on the sole pursuit of the current Profit & Loss statement.
    • It is now an integral and dynamic part of the global community, economy, environment and culture.
    • For business to thrive in these circumstances, clarification of the mission and principles of the organization is needed.
    • Companies, non-profit organizations, sovereign nations and cultures are converging.
    • Businesses are becoming networks with far-reaching influence.
    • How do we ensure a healthy bottom line for everyone? What is our future?
    • Marilyn shares four defining principles for maintaining integrity in business and in life; principles that have helped her improve profitability and working conditions for many companies across the world.
    • Marilyn shares the insights and success secrets she’s gained from her global business and humanitarian work to guide you and your company on your path to prospering in this new environment.
    • With real life stories of wins and mistakes told with humor and lessons learned, you will take away key principles and action steps to better navigate in today’s fast changing world.


    Keynote by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    Global Business today, the Opportunities and Challenges

    • Business today is global.
    • The development, production and consumption chain stretches from wherever and however “local” the company is to all points of the globe.
    • To excel in this marketplace means that each person and each company have to understand and be proactive about the opportunities and challenges that come with globalization.
    • Marilyn shares from her global business and humanitarian experience in 120 countries about the benefits, ethics and pitfalls that come with working in a complexity of cultures, traditions, geography and time zones.
    • The increasing interrelationships between developers, suppliers, marketers, buyers and sellers mean that every business and organization need to operate with a much more expanded perspective of their market to be able to thrive today.
    • Learn from someone who has successfully managed companies and organizations in a wide variety of cultures and environments.
    • Marilyn share insights and principles learned from practical experience.
    • You and your organization will grow and prosper from her wisdom.



    Other Keynotes by Speaker Marilyn Tam 

    • Today’s Social and Environmental concerns and how to integrate them into a business profitably
    • Change Management: How to Increase Productivity and Morale in Rapid Change and Uncertainty
    • Mid Career Transitions, How to Reassess and Accomplish Your Dreams
    • Corporate Humanity: The Benefits of Community Service
    • Enlightened Productivity: Bottom Line Benefits of a Values Driven Organization

Interview with Marilyn Tam

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

The message I hope they take away from my presentation is that they can live happily fulfilling their highest potential! Whether it is for success in their career, personal life, health or most accurately the combination of all of the above, my mission is to give people the inspiration and tools to achieve the life of the their dreams. When I speak at business events, people realize quickly that when they align their personal and company missions together, everybody wins. I can show them how.

Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

There is a point in my presentation when the audience’s eyes light up and they are inspired to move forward with more enthusiasm and practical knowledge than they’ve had before. I love that experience. It is very rewarding to witness the participants’ integration of new, motivational and useful information into their work and lives.

What is a successful speaking engagement for you?

I am successful when my client feels that they have received more value from my presentation than they hoped for. This is what I plan to do every time I speak and I am grateful to say that it is usually the case.

How are your keynote presentations unique?

Keynotes set the tone, inspire and energize the audience at any gathering. My presentations of course do that. And because I share from experience with personal stories, principles and actions steps, people get in addition, practical and lasting ways of applying the inspiration. They are empowered and able to make a positive difference with what they’ve learned.

How do you suggest businesses tackle diversity?

Cultural, ethnic and other forms of diversity in one’s business is essential in today’s global world. First be aware of the need and benefits of diversity and then actively seek to integrate it into your business. It takes commitment from the top for diversity to be integrated into the system.

Once you start to incorporate diversity into your business, you will begin to experience the rewards. Ask for support, both internally and from outside experts and others who have gone through the process. Keep going! You will be pleasantly surprised at how many ways diversity is going to reward you in your business and life. I can share practical and easy ways to integrate diversity successfully.

What is your best advice to women wishing to succeed in the business world?

My advice to women in the business world is – know that you are good enough to succeed! Keep going, there are many ways to advance past the “glass ceiling”. One of the best ways is to break down the “glass walls”, by getting more experience in related areas of your expertise so that you are the best and most rounded candidate for the next promotion.

How does your upbringing and personal history influence your keynotes?

Learning from many types of hardship – gender, economic, ethnic, geographic, and cultural, I can speak from experience on how to overcome them and succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Certainly as a neglected and abused girl child growing up in Hong Kong, I didn’t imagine that one day I would be a Fortune 500 executive, author, speaker, entrepreneur and humanitarian living in Santa Barbara, CA.

What I learned from others and from experience can inspire others and give them the secrets to success beyond anything they can even imagine now. My keynotes are motivational and practical in ways that only someone who has gone through it herself can deliver.

See keynotes with Marilyn Tam
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Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

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Keynote topics with Marilyn Tam