Zili | Dr. Maryam Zeineddin

by Charlene SanJenko, April 30, 2017

Dr. Maryam Zeineddin was born in Tehran, Iran and lived in Athens, London, and Stockholm prior to moving to Vancouver.  She attended UBC and completed her B.Sc. in honours physiology.  Her passion for medicine led to volunteering in Honduras with the Canadian Development Agency at a children’s hospital.  This experience became one of the deciding factors for Dr. Zeineddin to become a physician.  During her medical school years at UBC, she took advantage of travelling, volunteering and playing intramural sports such as ice hockey.

 Together with her friend and classmate Dr. Nicole Barre, she built and currently manages Ambleside Medical Centre (AMC) with fantastic doctors and staff.  Their mission at AMC is to provide the most comprehensive patient-centered care, with preventative health measures as the key element of healthy living.  Dr. Zeineddin has a full practice with interest in all facets of family practice, including preventative health and lifestyle counseling.  She is an avid teacher and clinical instructor for UBC family practice residency programs, has been faculty for the UBC Coastal program, and continues to present and teach to medical students and residents of UBC.  

Dr. Maryam is in love and married to a local West Vancouver dentist and, together with their two children, they enjoy skiing, biking, playing tennis and socializing with friends and family.  Her new obsession is road biking, improving her Gran Fondo time, and enjoying every moment of doubles tennis.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Maryam, learn more about her story, her mission overall and the impact she’s looking to make utilizing the vehicle of Zili.

The story of Zili

As a family Doctor for over ten years, Dr. Maryam felt she had done all she possibly could to help patients confront their personal health concerns; yet, something didn’t feel right.  She remembers distinctly one difficult day at her office, having to deliver the worst news to one of her dearest patients, and then coming home to the news of women’s rights being violated south of the border.

“I woke up the next day and thought it’s time we take ownership and start creating change in our lives!

The way we live and think we are doing “healthy things” is not really helping.  

We need a culture change, a shift in the way we do things and engage in each other and our community both locally and globally.

The problem is we need to change the way our system works, and we need to make our nation understand the value of preventative health and connection with one another.  We need to find information that is relevant to us as individuals and be able to get personalized health plans from our family doctors and other allied healthcare professionals all working synergistically.

We need to let go of the need to control every aspect of our lives and prioritize our focus on the decisions we make that impact the health of our mind, body, and spirit.

That is how Zili was born, Zeineddin Improve Life Initiative, a female Hebrew name meaning “my shadow” and in Chinese meaning “to take care of oneself”.  Zili’s mission is to champion conferences and seminars helping Canadian communities to understand the value of preventative health and plant a seed for patients to seek change in our current health care system.

Zili will create connection tools utilizing social media and a Strong Health app encouraging patients to focus on positive proactive and preventative aspects of healthy living, including their physical activity, nutrition, mindfulness, connection, intention and screening health tools along with their own community of support.  The patient’s support system will include their family doctor and other allied health professionals involved in their care with the patient at the center of the equation.

My goal is to make Zili change our perspective our health and come together as a community and help one another be accountable for improving our lives.”

Dr. Maryam’s message to PowHERhouse Women  

The first Zili conference is for women, the glue to our communities.

We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and caregivers of our communities.  It’s Zili’s mission to create a community of women empowered to make a change in their health care and well-being.  We then become strong leaders and change-makers, able to give back to women’s health initiatives both locally and globally.   

What does success look like?

Success to me is when Zili engages a change in the way our health care system is set up (traction), and ultimately when Zili is able to create a culture change (sustainable change), a shift in the way we do things and engage in each other and our community both locally and globally.  If we can accomplish this and live a balanced life alongside loved ones, I wouldn’t really wish for anything else (priorities).

What is your biggest career highlight to date?

The biggest highlight of my career thus far has been my patients and how they teach me something about life and the value of living every day.  When patients are at their most vulnerable, they make me realize that ultimately life is about relationships.  It’s a relationship that I would not trade for anything.  My ninety-four-year old-female-patient recently told me, “When you have purpose you feel young and alive, so I always try to find my purpose whatever age I am.”  This has always stuck with me.  The relationships and the community you build over a lifetime are what ultimately matters.  It’s not just the people around you, it’s also your relationship with your surroundings, your environment and the world as a whole that we sometimes forget about.  It’s important to become a global citizen, and that is my goal.

Dr. Maryam’s top PowHER & Performance tips for women.

  • You can do it all, but not all at the same time.  Life is like the seasons, and you have to flow with the seasons of your life’s journey.
  • Don’t try to do it all…. delegating without micromanaging is the key to success in your personal and professional life.
  • Schedule YOU time daily.  It will happen if it’s scheduled into your calendar.  Do whatever grounds you during that time, be it exercise, meditation, coffee by the ocean, a phone call with a friend, or just sitting quietly for 10 minutes.

Dr. Maryam’s key to staying healthy.

My new formula for healthy living is to exercise in the early mornings, then journal my gratitude with a nice cup of coffee before my children get up.  My goal is to become more “zen and mindful,” and savour life’s moments!

Time management.

I am no different that anyone else, and it’s always a challenge to find the ‘magic’ formula for work-life balance.  I am not a morning person but have realized that I have to become one if I want to have some ME time.  The fact that I can exercise early in the mornings, do some deep breathing and then turn on my coffee machine for a nice cup of coffee and journal a few sentences of gratitude and a to-do list before my children are up is very rejuvenating.  I am also getting much better at delegating tasks to my husband and my staff without micromanaging and analyzing why they don’t think like I do.  I’ve learned to schedule (prioritize!) more time with my family and friends without feeling the loss of spontaneity.

The key to time management is to find a place or an environment to be able to stay focused for a prolonged period of time without interruptions from your phone, your kids or any external disruption. The best investment for me was to purchase noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, which I use everywhere… at home, at the coffee shop, at my office, on the plane.  Buy some.

Collaboration

My career in the last ten years has led me to Zili through collaboration and curiosity with anyone that would come onto my path.  My genuine interest in people’s lives and their mission in life led me to create strong connections throughout the past ten years, and now the world is my oyster when it comes to collaboration with my current network and the networks to come.  Collaboration doesn’t just happen with your co-workers, it’s with school moms you see every day, with those you meet at events, seminars, festivals, vacation etc.  To collaborate, you need to be open to listening to people with different views, different culture and even different philosophies in life.  That has come with personal growth for me and I’m getting better and better at collaborating as time goes by.

Favorite hobby

My love for biking in the spring and summer and skiing in the winter as my way to connect with the outdoors and feel the wind in my face.  It invigorates me.  I have started to play doubles tennis to learn the feeling on relying on your partner, to work as a team on the court, and to be patient – all key attributes I’m working on as a leader, not only on the court but also in life.

Favorite healthy snack:  Builders and my banana.

Favourite treat:  Dark chocolate.

Times square message:  If you could have one short message that millions of people would come into contact with, what would it be?  [Thank you, Tim Ferriss, for the interview inspiration!] 

OWN YOUR STRENGTH!

Your thoughts on mentoring young women.

It’s absolutely crucial for our generation to be involved in mentoring young individuals and make them realize that they can do whatever they want to do in life as long as they set their mind to it.  Anything is achievable!  And, it’s also important to support one another as a community, role-modelling to the younger generation the importance of collaboration.

We need to support inspiring women to move forward with their mission by teaching them resiliency tools and the ability to care for Oneself first in order to have the ability – self-love and energy – to care for one another.

 


PowHERhouse is a proud national social impact media partner of Zili.  We whole-hearted support Dr. Maryam & her team’s mission to change our perspective our health and come together as a community and help one another be accountable for improving our lives.  At PowHERhouse, We Build Strong Women Who Lead, and Dr. Maryam is one of those women and a proud Women WE Celebrate PowHERhouse Partner.  #collaborate

Charlene SanJenko
Charlene SanJenko is the Founder and CEO of PowHERhouse, a social impact organization utilizing a multi-media platform to build strong women.

A vibrant entrepreneur who embodies lifestyle + leadership, Charlene finds her greatest joy bringing together powHERful women ready to make an impact and change the world, powHERfully – one woman, one family and one community at a time.

“We recognize that the change our world needs is us, and we’re stepping up, speaking up and showing up to take action, together. We recognize the importance of integrating lifestyle + leadership. PowHERful women require strength, energy, confidence and connections to realize and sustain their dreams.”

2 Comments


  • I'm inspired just reading this! I especially love the name Zili, and the suggestions associated with it. Will check out the Womens' Preventative Health Conference info! Leaders with a message ~ Extreme Self Care! Thank you ~

    • Thanks for your support ladies. Hope to see you at the Zili Conference on June 3rd Stay healthy Maryam Zeineddin (Zili chair)

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A genuine, pro-active embrace from women…

I am honoured and blown away by the response and support I received right from the beginning of my PowHERtalk experience. I have never before felt such a genuine, pro-active embrace from women who are all walking their own unique path. You get what you give and by sharing part of my, close-to-the-heart story in a raw