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Maryam  Banikarim

Maryam Banikarim

Founder, Managing Partner, MaryamB & Co-founder, NYCNext


Maryam Banikarim captured national attention with her viral New York Times essay on taking a “pause” at the height of her highly successful career. As a chief marketing officer who led five major businesses through sweeping transformations and top line growth, Banikarim has made a name for herself as a purpose-driven change agent who builds communities, embraces diversity and inclusion and builds brands that are respected and loved. Read More >

Banikarim now leads MaryamB, a purpose-driven consultancy. Inspired by the efforts of NYCNext, she is currently joining forces with the Partnership for New York City to lead an effort to revitalize New York. Maryam is known as a purpose-driven change agent. She is creative, a fearless risk taker and someone who gets things done. Her natural born agility has meant that she has thrived in a variety of organizations, from large scale corporate to early stage start-up. In each case, she has imaginatively applied a wide breadth of marketing tools to move the organization forward, creating value and inspiring employees, partners and clients alike.

It was Banikarim’s passion for community that drew her to Nextdoor, the neighborhood network where neighbors go to connect to the neighborhoods that matter to them so they can belong. While at Nextdoor, she oversaw marketing, community and global. Previously, she was global chief marketing officer of Hyatt, Gannett, NBCUniversal, and Univision. Banikarim earned a reputation as a bold leader who took on disruption and championed purpose. In each role, she innovatively applied a wide array of marketing tools to move her organization forward, creating value while inspiring employees, customers, and a range of stakeholders. She helped transform Hyatt into the most preferred hospitality brand, driving loyalty and community among high-end travelers. With a portfolio of 13 global brand experiences, she elevated the organization by mobilizing colleagues, launching brands and businesses, reimagining loyalty, and establishing unprecedented partnerships.

Banikarim currently serves on the board of One Spa World, Reporters without Borders and the Mobile Marketing Association. She is an advisor to Brand 50, Strawberry Frog, and Cove Hill Partners and a member of Fast Company’s Impact Council, Adweek’s Women Trailblazers, and the Time 100 Advisory board.

At the height of the pandemic, she co-founded NYCNext, a grassroots volunteer movement aimed at supporting New York’s artist community and revitalizing the city. To date the nonprofit has produced 14 live pop-ups including A Moment for Broadway and convened world-renowned artists for a star-studded rendition of Billy Joel's New York State of Mind to drive civic action in the New York community.

A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia Business School, and Columbia’s School of International Affairs, Banikarim has been widely recognized for her achievements. These include being named to The New York Post’s “50 Most Powerful Women in NYC,” Fast Company’s “Top 10 Disrupters,” and Advertising Age’s “Women to Watch.” In 2019, she was awarded the Columbia Alumni medal, the highest honor given by the Columbia Alumni Association. In 2021 she was Columbia Business School’s commencement speaker. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Interview with Forbes

Columbia Business School Graduation 2021 Distinguished Speaker Remarks

Life is a Series of Choices

Great Marketing Begins with Purpose | Salesforce

Chaos & Curiosity

Make a Difference Day With Maryam Banikarim

You Have to Care About the Customer Experience

Communities Built on Connections

Speech Topics

Choices & Chapters: Stop "Leaning In." "Lean Out" & Start Living

As Michele Obama famously said, "It’s not always enough to lean in, because that sh*t doesn’t work." When Maryam Banikarim echoed that sentiment in her viral New York Times opinion piece, she validated the powerful sense of disillusionment felt by many women (and men) who bought into the myth of "having it all." In this endearing, funny, inspiring and uplifting keynote, Maryam shares her decision to walk away from the C-Suite at the height of her groundbreaking career. "Leaning in to a linear, pre-fabricated career trajectory isn’t working," she says. "It never really has. Encouraging women to lean in to their professional lives relentlessly, while also aspiring to have rich personal and family lives, is a setup. Balance is an illusion. It’s a setup that serves only to make you feel badly when you realize you can’t 'have it all.' In my mind, life is about choices and chapters. In some chapters, you double down on work; in others, you step away. This ends up being something you negotiate with other parts of your life." Maryam shares her journey of "leaning out" of her professional comfort zone to reset, refresh and become a stronger leader, innovator and businesswoman in the process.

Becoming a Purpose-Driven Leader & Champion

It’s not about what you make. It’s what your organization stands for and how leadership infuses that belief into everything you do. Purpose-driven organizations define the deeper reasons for their organization’s existence to inspire stronger commitment from their employees and higher levels of loyalty and engagement from their customers. They also achieve extraordinary business results, outperforming the general market by 15:1. In this transformational presentation, Maryam Banikarim shows you how to lead with purpose and turn everyone in your organization into a champion. Sharing case studies from Southwest Airlines, Hyatt, Gannett and others, she provides actionable steps for building an organization through the lens of purpose, leading it to outperform your competition. This energizing and inspiring presentation provides audiences with an invaluable purpose-driven playbook that can be applied to any brand in any industry.

Building a Diverse Organization: It’s Just Good Business

Time and time again, research shows that companies with more diverse teams, offices and boards are more productive, more innovative, attract top talent and drive higher revenues and earnings. And it’s not just about race, gender, gender identification or generation. It’s also about cultural diversity and diversity of experience — at both a national and international level. Maryam takes a broad spectrum look at diversity through the lens of everyday culture, brand, employee satisfaction, connecting with customers, and most of all, the bottom line. Equal parts stats, infographics, humorous social media posts and inspiring reflections from business leaders, this dynamic presentation engages, informs and provides actionable ways to champion diversity and inclusion in any organization.

Creating Irrational Brand Loyalty

Apple. Mini Cooper. Starbucks. Harley Davidson. Dove. These are the brands that consumers covet. They have reached the pinnacle of branding by achieving the "irrational loyalty”" of their customers, which Maryam describes as "consumer behavior that is decidedly crazy." How did they foster a love, passion and preference for their brands that defies mere logic? Which strategies and practices can any organization put in place? Marketing maven Maryam Banikarim explains how truly great brands create experiences that foster strong relationships — and drive results.

"Carpe Tomorrow": The Seven Secrets to Building a Team & Organization That Will Take You There

Back in ‘90s New York, when Mark Zuckerberg was still in middle school and having an email address meant that you were a dork, a group of pioneering tech entrepreneurs in "Silicon Alley" were busy changing the world. Maryam Banikarim was part of this group, launching the first generation of web-based media companies. It was there she learned what it takes to chart a course to the future — and build the team and culture to take you there. In this inspiring presentation, she shares the seven secrets to success in an ever-changing business world — from embracing risk to never leaving the learning curve. Filled with wisdom from the entrepreneurs and thought leaders she admires, Banikarim provides a blueprint for innovation and transformation that will have you seizing the day, your potential, and the future.

Go For It: Pursuing Your Passion

Maryam Banikarim’s unorthodox career path includes roles as an investment banker, production assistant, British Parliament intern, book publisher, handbag designer, advertising executive and internet pioneer. In this fascinating keynote, she takes women’s groups, college students — and anyone interested in pursuing their passions — on a whirlwind tour of her unusually adventurous career. Then, she outlines an instruction manual on how to create one for yourself! Maryam Banikarim throws herself headfirst into everything that she does and lets the rest take care of itself. Here’s what she’s learned: life rarely works out exactly as planned — but when each unexpected turn is met with an unyielding "all-in" commitment — you’ll be amazed how often it works out for the best!