PULL YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES ON: Najla Kayyem, Owner of Kayyem Marketing



Fine Art by Michelle Micalizzi
(All Rights Reserved)

My muse this week is Najala Kayyem owner of Kayyem Marketing.


Naj and I became Referral Institute Certified Networkers together about five years ago. When Bill Lane introduced me to Naj, I liked her right away. I am always relieved to meet another strong woman. For me, there is nothing more refreshing than to hear a strong, beautiful smart woman speak her mind. The moment I hear the voice of a woman who knows who she is, I feel lighter. Naj is one of those women who gives me hope for all of us. She’s not just what she appears to be either. Yes, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Yes, she knows what’s she believes and she won’t take any of your crap. Yes, she is independent, driven, powerful and tenacious. Yes, she can sell ice to an Eskimo. However, she is also exceedingly kind and extraordinarily generous with both her time and her heart. She’s not demonstrative but there is no questioning when Naj is on your side. She shows you she’s your fan in a very definitive way. She is also an incredible mother and devoted wife. She adores her children and her high school sweetheart husband. Her children are a true representation of both her and her husband’s love. These special, talented and creative kids are already fearless and driven to succeed just like both their parents. They have that spark in their eyes that is common for kids being raised surrounded by love and passion. Any business that Naj touches is on the map immediately. When she is in the room you are not only aware that she is there but you know the room is better for her presence in it.

The three biggest things that impress me the most about Najla are:

1.) She is one of the strongest and kindest women I have ever met. I would take her with me in any foxhole knowing that not only would we both survive; we would come out stronger and on the winning side.

2.) She is already successful but her future is limitlessly bright.  She is without a doubt one of those people you know within thirty seconds of meeting her that true greatness is her destiny.

3.) Her tenacious drive. You would be hard pressed to meet a harder worker male or female. She is an indomitable force of nature!

In a nutshell….

When I came up with the concept of the Art of Fearlessly Doing business project – Naj was one of the first people that I thought of to interview. She is without question the epitome of fearlessness. She could have been the model for the diver in my Fearlessly Deliver logo given her ability to impressively dive in and get things done!


Naj took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions.


1.) Flexibility is Queen

Naj decided in 2008 that the life of an employee was not for her. She had paid her dues early in her career and was quick to realize that she is ten times more productive when she is the Mistress of her own destiny. Her career is important to her. However, if you met Naj’s children you would understand why she is so committed to being available to be part of their lives. This does not mean that Naj is not working her tale off regarding her career, it just means that when you see her post pictures of her son’s sports games or her daughter’s singing engagements on Facebook, you are very likely to get an email at midnight from her as well.

2.) Cultivate Relationships

Naj is a networker! We are both members of BNI Business Leaders of North Scottsdale. She leads our pack of overachievers with referrals and thank yous for closed business by a wide margin. If you ask her who she knows, she’ll text you three or more contacts immediately. She is a connector. Nature wired her that way. She simply can’t help but connect with people.  She knows that people make the world go round! She is also very grounded in the fact that who we surround ourselves with is important. People can drain you or feed you. She prepares a feast for her network and they do the same for her.

3.) Change Makes People Better

Naj is aware that bumps come, they go and they are chucked full of valuable information that can help you grow. She just rolls over a bump without a second thought, not even bothering to name it. She is too busy plowing through them so that they are not memorable, and doesn’t even bother taking a moment to reminisce about them. She is efficient and knows that to morbidly reflect on the bumps is a waste of time, time that should be used to move forward. I believe the reason Naj is able to deal with challenges so causally is because she believes that change makes people better. The things that make us have to redirect for whatever reason, good or bad, don’t slow her down because she knows that change is good and the lessons learned are valuable and can be re-purposed. She just jumps on whatever the wave of the moment is and rides it to her next big win!

4.) Embrace Uncertainty

Naj is brief and specific when asked what scares her now. Every serial entrepreneur will tell you, when he or she are honest and humble, that no one, including themselves, is immune to anxiety. Uncertainty is a demon that every entrepreneur has to slay at one point or another, and in fact, over and over again. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is moving forward in spite of fear! She rides the wave of uncertainty with grace!

5.) Just Pull your Big Girl Panties on! 

Naj smiles and shows her sense of humor, as well as her confidence, when she speaks to how she makes it all happen: she just gets up and pulls on her big girl panties! She is famous for saying “If you don’t ask, you don’t dance.” She is a realist when she says, “No one is going to hand it to you! Insert yourself into every situation.” She is practical as well when she says, “Know your numbers!” In order to get from where you’ve been to where you want to go you have to know where you are and what steps you need to take to get where you’re going. The idea that we all have to grow up, see the truth and just do what must be done is rooted in everything that she does.

Thank you so much Naj. for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on May 14th at the Walter Gallery from 7-10PM.

Note from the Artist

I just could not get away from the panties image. Now the additional irony of the panties on the clothesline may miss some of you. However, some of you will chuckle when you think of the SICFIT tag line (another Kayyem business), “Look Better Naked.” A simply brilliant marketing tag line for a gym that is proof of Naj’s marketing genius.

One boldly red understated pair of panties on the line – simply makes its point. We all have to boldly be who we are. The reason the panties are on the clothesline is twofold. First, her panties are off and as such she is naked. As her raw naked self she is both strong and vulnerable. The empress has no cloths and that reality is just fine. Secondly, Naj is aware that once those panties are dry and she is done being naked, she has to pull those big panties right back on as a woman of strength and grace that she is. Also, the fact that they are on the clothesline means that Naj does her own laundry so to speak. She is not waiting for the world to take care of her. She is rolling her sleeves up and getting it done. The fact remains though that Naj pulls her big girl panties back on just like the rest of us mere mortals, one leg at a time.

The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business!

Press Viewing (by invitation only): Friday, May 13 6-8PM
Opening: Saturday, May 14th 7-10PM
Conversation with the Artist: Saturday, May 21 7-9PM
Closing Reception: Thursday, June 9th 6-9PM

Walter Art Gallery
6425 East Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257


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