inspiring women: Malika Begin
We are thrilled to introduce Malika Begin as the next featured woman in our Inspiring Women series! Malika is a remarkable leader in the field of people and organization development. She founded Begin Development, a consulting firm helping companies build strong and healthy organizational cultures.
Her diverse portfolio includes working with startups, tech companies, media, marketing, and entertainment brands, and her clients range from Magnite, BOND, and YPO to SKIMS, Good American, and Delta Airlines. Malika designed the award-winning COLLAB program, an 8-month leadership development solution that empowers leaders at all levels. She resides in Malibu, California, with her husband and three boys.
Malika Begin, founder of Begin Development
Christina (Joyasol Founder): Welcome, Malika! We're excited to have you here and share your inspiring journey. Could you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background and your work?
Malika: Thank you for having me. Of course! My background has been quite diverse. Originally from Nebraska, I moved to California to pursue college soccer and a career in Hollywood's entertainment industry. After five years, I shifted gears and found myself in a series of different roles. I ended up at a startup where they recognized my knack for leadership development while working with students at Pepperdine University. They asked me if I could support the development of their rapidly growing workforce.
It took off from there and marked the start of my organizational and culture development journey, which grew through certifications and experiences developing and launching new leadership programs. This path showed me the value of coaching leaders and organization and culture design. I became more thoughtful about what we were building and why. I started to see the value of building a great culture with happiness, retention, collaboration, people wanting to work together, referrals, and the pipeline.
This realization of growth sparked the idea that there was a viable business opportunity. As a new mother, I valued flexibility, which many high-powered careers didn’t seem to provide. A group of us recognized this dilemma and decided to create the opportunities we hoped to find. The idea was to create a company where accomplished women could prioritize flexibility and agency, resulting in the birth of Begin Development. It's been quite the journey, with its fair share of challenges and rewards.
Christina: Your story is truly inspiring. Could you share some of your challenges and how you've overcome them?
Malika: So many challenges, fear, and imposter syndrome. Even though I consider myself fairly confident and inclined to take risks, I still face many doubts about my own abilities. Overcoming the fear required a mental shift. When I started, I expected significant clients immediately, but that didn't happen. I hustled and networked tirelessly for six months, seeking out potential leads. This persistence eventually paid off, but it was a difficult period.
One of my major challenges was realizing that I had to take on many different roles in the business, from legal and HR matters to web design. I didn't know how to do anything to start, but then I realized there was no one else to do it. And I’m better than nothing. That's the big reveal when you realize, “Hm, I’m more opinionated than I thought, and I actually have a vision for what I want to build.” As I tackled each hurdle, I realized that I was capable of more than I thought.
The learning curve was steep, and I found myself Googling everything to fill the gaps in my knowledge. Networking and seeking help from a supportive network also played a crucial role. I asked for favors, advice, and assistance wherever I could, and this collective effort helped me navigate these challenges.
It's been an interesting process. It's a very vulnerable process for me as well. This journey of self-discovery boosted my confidence and helped me overcome the mental barriers and limitations I was putting on myself. I became a better learner.
Christina: Your perseverance is truly commendable. What advice would you offer to fellow women in business based on your experiences?
Malika: I'm reading about this a lot. I think Brené Brown’s work really helps while starting a business because it forces you to think about what you're bringing to the table and who you are and not to discount it.
I love Sara Blakely's advice of not sharing your ideas with too many people in the incubator phase. I know I'm using other people's advice here, but I'm cobbling it together to say be authentic and use this guidance to realize what sets you apart from others.
While it's important to seek advice, sharing your vision too broadly can invite skepticism and doubt. Select a trusted circle of supporters who will champion and encourage you, shielding your vision from unnecessary negativity while offering just the right amount of wise counsel.
I think women undervalue themselves. We think, “What do I know?” or “I'm not sure how to do this.” And it’s important to remember that imperfection is part of the journey. Don't be discouraged by early failures or rough starts. They will make your best stories. Your first website, post, or launch will not be perfect, and that's okay. Embrace the process, learn from mistakes, and become laser focused on your goals. Going through challenges and learning from them is an essential part of growth.
Christina: Wise words. Do you have any tips for women on finding their purpose and calling in life?
Malika: Oh, my goodness. Yes, we run whole sessions on this. I think there are things that we do when we get stuck to cope. When I feel tired, frumpy, incapable, and not good at anything, I don’t mind a good wallow and then a rest. When I get stuck, I just want to be stuck and live in that for a moment. I think that's okay for a little bit until you are ready to do the really hard thing.
Tears have been a part of the process. Calling friends on a walk to complain about all the hard things I think I can’t do. You don’t always feel powerful; sometimes you just feel defeated, but this is where the beauty is—in the hard middle of a challenge.
When I'm talking with women about power, I think that word can be triggering or energizing, but it produces big feelings either way. People have had bad experiences with power, so reframing what power is and means can be important for women to understand it's not just about making a lot of money or doing something that other people view as successful.
You might feel most powerful running a board meeting. You might feel most powerful when you invite all the kids in the neighborhood over and they have a big playdate with snacks for everybody. I actually feel very powerful when I do both of these things. I enjoy bringing everybody together to connect in meaningful ways. I think our actions when we are working in our strengths are powerful. We get to think about what we are building and how we can make good things in the world.
I love David Brooks’ book “The Second Mountain,” thinking about the first grind where we're just trying to accomplish something. I talk a lot about “The Second Mountain,” where you've accomplished something, you know something, you're not fresh out of school. You've got some ideas, but you're not really sure which direction to point them. I actually think that is a most exciting place for women because you're asking: What is my life about? What do I want to do with it? Who really am I? What do I value? Not only what value do I bring to the world, but how do I value others, and how am I living?
I think that's where women create the most incredible things. World-changing things happen when the big life questions are being considered and not just the grind of how to “get ahead.” We need to ask bigger questions, not just “How can I start this business and make enough revenue to pay people?” We must think about legacy, building collectively, and our impact together.
Christina: I love that. Shifting gears a bit, what activities or interests do you enjoy outside work that bring you joy?
Malika: I love to travel, and my recent overseas trip with my family was incredibly enriching. I'm passionate about exposing my kids to different cultures, art, food and experiences. Traveling offers a broader perspective and fosters a sense of curiosity and empathy. I also enjoy hosting gatherings, being outdoors, and spending time at the beach; these all bring me joy.
Reading is another love of mine. This summer, I delved into Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club collection and rediscovered my passion for fiction. Engaging with different perspectives through books is truly enlightening. I also appreciate the power of thoughtful narratives that are shifting the way stories are told, like the current book I’m reading called “The Covenant of Water.” Books like this show us different perspectives and a new narrative, which is really exciting right now to see pop up more and more in books, shows, and content.
Christina: Definitely. It's wonderful to hear about your diverse interests and how they contribute to your overall well-being. Speaking of which, how would you describe your personal style, and what outfits or accessories make you feel confident and empowered?
Malika: Having a background in athletics, my style leans towards California casual. Comfort is a priority, and I often opt for flowy pants, cotton fabrics, and comfortable shoes. I prefer a natural and effortless look with simple jewelry. Confidence is rooted in feeling comfortable in what you're wearing. When you feel good physically, it positively impacts your overall confidence.
On my recent trip to Spain, I was inspired by the women there. They've got kids running around them, and they're in heels and jewelry, all the things, and they look gorgeous. The women over 50 are head-turners, not afraid of their age, but fully embracing it as a badge of honor. In Malibu, youth is on a pedestal. In Spain, it was not that way. These women were stunning and appeared confident and unflustered. They’re very natural and beautiful. It really inspired me to age well.
Christina: Love that. Your style embodies a balance of comfort and confidence, which is what we’re all about. So, what are your thoughts on your new Joyasol Paisley sneakers, and how have they resonated with you?
Malika: Joyasol sneakers are incredibly comfortable and so cute! I love the absence of mesh, making them easy to maintain and keep clean. The tan interior is a thoughtful consideration to keep them looking great—even by the laces. The emblem on the back is a nice touch, reflecting your brand's meaningful philosophy about living with purpose and joy. I appreciate the attention to detail and intention behind the design.
Christina: Thank you for your kind words. Lastly, do you have any final thoughts or messages you'd like to share with the Joyasol community?
Malika: I'm truly excited about what Joyasol is building. Your focus on empowering women through entrepreneurship and financial independence is powerful. When women have their own income and are actively involved in financial decisions, it drives positive change in communities. It's heartening to see the purpose and intention behind your brand, and I encourage more women to embrace their potential, overcome their fears, and pursue their dreams.
I know this is old-fashioned, but I am also surprised at how many women still aren’t as involved in the family finances or doing a side hustle if that’s what they hope to do. There are many statistics about how when women are making money and involved in the family’s decisions in this area, the community thrives: more money is given away, more money is shared, and more people are brought into the entrepreneurial endeavor. Women create abundance.
It’s amazing to see what you're doing and know how you're sharing and giving back and encouraging more women who want to do that to really go for it because I think fear holds many people back. We know good things happen for the planet and everybody when more women are involved in those transactions.
Christina: Thank you, and I couldn’t agree more. We really appreciate your time and thoughtful insights. You are truly an inspiration to all women, and we enjoyed getting to know you better.
If you’re interested in learning more about Malika Begin and her company, Begin Development, please visit the links below:
Photography credit: Cecily Breeding
Malika is wearing our Joyasol Paisley sneakers in White