Chaya Weiner
Sep 10 · 10 min read

They will not do what you say — they will do what you do. If they are not important now, why will you be important later? These little people need to see and understand what your values are so they may form their own. How will they do that if you are absent? What will become their norm? In today’s world, so much has been normalized. I wanted my time with my kids to be normal. My kids are shocked, stunned even when they talk with their friends who have gone long stretches without seeing or speaking to their parents. I don’t know, maybe their friends think they are weird because my husband and I are so involved.

I had the pleasure to interview Stephynie Malikis, an award-winning CEO turned Executive Leadership Coach with over 25 years of experience. She successfully ran her own business, Malikco, for over 16 years while building her reputation as a coach for high achievers in the corporate and entrepreneurial world.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Sure! I was raised by a single mother who was severely mentally ill and chose to not take medication. Growing up was incredibly difficult as there was not a ton of knowledge on mental illness, what to do or not do. My father drowned when I was a toddler and while my mother had a ton of family support, she still somehow found herself feeling alone, overwhelmed and isolated. This was trying not only for myself but also my younger brother. There was little emphasis on education and most resources although very little were spent trying to make ends meet. We weren’t allowed extracurricular activities, like art or sports — there was simply no money for it. We didn’t have many friends at all because our friends were generally afraid of my mother’s extreme reactions… so, looking back, it was really hard to try and “FIT”.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Yes, I would love to. I was in Global & Management Consulting for many years before moving into the online entrepreneurial world. This was a natural progression… or so I thought!! I had always helped large companies find strategic solutions to their business problems, which tended to be mostly focused on strategy, IT, or Transformation. Going into coaching those executives who make these massive decisions for these global firms seemed like a natural transition, right? WRONG! Coaching is NOT finding the right solutions for your clients. Coaching is essentially being a guide to your amazingly bright and talented clients, allowing them to find their own very perfect solutions within themselves. Letting them know you stand with them, alongside them, but they have ALL they need inside of them. We tap into various strategies, focus on outcomes that they have set for themselves to develop through our time together. While I thought it was a very natural transition, it was not. It was very hard to not come up with the solutions for my clients as that is what I had done for 20+ years.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

That’s hysterical! NO! My days are never the same — everything is so unpredicatable. It’s funny, even my most predictable clients are NOT predictable. I feel the very moment I look at my calendar and say, “Oh yea, I am meeting with John tomorrow. We are always on time, I will definitely make dinner,” it’s like the universe says, “Haha! No, you won’t.” Or if I look at my month and I have 2 very scheduled and methodical trips — June 1–5 NYC & June 18–26 Singapore — something inevitably happens to where none of that happens. A great example is last month. My calendar looked so pretty! Then my son won a state championship and we were waiting on the win/loss of another team to see if the ceremony would be in CA or TX. I couldn’t do a thing. It was standby mode for 4 days. Then my calendar was completely flipped upside down. Flexibility is key. If you say daily, there are just a few things that do NOT change. I pray and meditate every single morning. I intermittent fast 3–4 times a week. I always have 1–2 kids with me wherever I am, and we family face time daily. Everything else moves around a bunch!

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Ohhhh, this is an entire article by itself. I want to only speak about me, my choices, and my opinion. I have learned that cultures, education, and your own experiences play a MASSIVE part in this discussion. For me, I was left a lot when I was a child and teen. I remember those feelings deeply. The confusion of having to make choices that I felt so confident in as a child and knowing now as an adult how ill equipped I truly was to make those choices. My kids are the absolute MAIN priority for me. I start every session with my clients knowing this. They have to know this is the only thing that I need a bit of flexibility on. My oldest is 24 and she has been to over 35 countries. My youngest is 9, and he is on 22 countries so far. Travel has been such a massive part of who they are, and how they see the world today. They are able to have empathy and tolerance for things that a lot of their peer group may not have had those experiences in. The bonus, I was there to guide them — to hear their questions or listen to them conversating with others. I have been so blessed to be able to be a part of this journey. This has proven in our family to be a huge factor into their adult lives. The older kids are 24, 23, and 18 and the things they speak about is earth shattering. They are trying hard to understand and make an impact.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

They will not do what you say — they will do what you do. If they are not important now, why will you be important later? These little people need to see and understand what your values are so they may form their own. How will they do that if you are absent? What will become their norm? In today’s world, so much has been normalized. I wanted my time with my kids to be normal. My kids are shocked, stunned even when they talk with their friends who have gone long stretches without seeing or speaking to their parents. I don’t know, maybe their friends think they are weird because my husband and I are so involved.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

TRAVEL!!! TRAVEL!!! TRAVEL!!! This has been so important in our family. Also, let each kid plan the free time, while this has been an out and out battlefield at times, it has also taught collaboration, tolerance, community as well as just focusing on others needs over your own. Also, figuring out what each of them truly loves. Their passions are also fun. Understanding their perspective and joining, even if you don’t like it or don’t agree with it. It’s interesting how they come around to your way of thinking while asking your perspective

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

Each week we have 2–3 what we call “tech-free zones”. It could be a dinner or time at a library. It could be a walk or maybe even a project. NO TECH IS ALLOWED. This is fun and amazing, but also a bit hard because no tech means no social media, which means no pictures. We say, “Let’s take a mental private picture for just us.” This gets harder as the kids get older and have more and more sports demands, college essays, papers to edit, etc. We also participate regularly in church. On the way home I may say, “Youngest to oldest, what are 3 things you learned today.” We never get past the youngest because he has learned so much and the older ones participate in his learning as well and getting different insight on his perspective helps them to grow as well.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

I believe a good parent is a parent who is always learning. A parent that is always doing their own very best. A good parent is a parent that listens, BUT does not require their child to be a friend. While having friendships with your children through different development stages is key, it is NOT a requirement to be “friends”. You have to parent above all through the most difficult of circumstances. You have to be the adult — the parent who they need. I remember when my daughters were in high school I would constantly get, “All my friend’s parents let them drink at home,” or “All of my friend’s parents let guys stay over.” My response was very simple, “Hmm, that’s interesting. I would re-evaluate my friendship with XXX, as it doesn’t seem to me you have a lot in common.” That would evoke a much longer conversation with the girls. One where they would realize that the goals and morals they had set for themselves were maybe not going to be supported through that friendship…at least at the time.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

You can do anything! ANYTHING YOU CHOOSE but you must realize…YOU MUST WORK FOR IT! This is not a matter of, “Mom, you know that CEO, or Mom, you know that athlete.” NO! You show me the work and I will match your effort. If you want to become something and you have done every single thing within your power to set that goal in motion, I will help. If you have not, yet you believe you may utilize one of my resources to help you achieve something easier, YOU MAY NOT! I know YOU will make the right choice and YOU can dream as big as you possibly can. I will be there to support and love you through all of your successes.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

A measurement of time. Where do you spend and share time. In that time, what impact do you make? My success is defined on what types of impact I am making around the world — starting with me, then my family and then my community. My most precious and valuable resource is time! You cannot buy it or earn it. Everyone has the same amount of it. Skillfully design how you will spend it.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

Far and above Simon Sinek. His overall message aligns with who I am and what I am trying to be as a human and a parent. There are honestly too many to list. I have one rule — I do NOT and will NOT take any parenting advice from any person who do not have children themselves.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.” — Edwin Arlington Robinson

I try every single day to find a way to give back. This is something I urge my family, colleagues, and friends to do as well. Find a way to contribute and give back to the world. Whether it’s a small act or something huge it can truly have an enormous impact on someone’s life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I am extremely passionate about both mental illness and children. I believe mental illness is something that isn’t entirely understood by society yet and that education on the subject could make a world of difference. We need to change the way people look at those with mental illness. They aren’t people who should be avoided or looked down upon.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

— -

About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Chaya Weiner

Written by

Director of branding & photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator, helping leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade