Samreen Malik – Cristian Rivera Foundation

Samreen Malik

Samreen Malik is a Pakistan-born financial professional, who works in healthcare banking for PNC Bank where she currently manages operations for 5 midwestern states. As a young girl, her family moved frequently, which gave her the opportunity to experience cultures from all over the world. She graduated high school in Thailand and was the first woman in her family to go to college. Samreen received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with a Major in English and Creative Writing, and a Minor in Spanish Studies. She completed her MBA in Business with a concentration in Marketing and stayed in that field for 10 years before making the career switch to Banking. Today, her list of clients includes doctors, dentists, and veterinarians.

Samreen has a long history of involvement with charitable organizations. She helped found the Dubai branch of the Make-A-Wish foundation, and was extremely passionate about her work there. However, when she moved to the United States, she felt as though their foundation did not have a huge need for leadership like they had in Dubai. Despite this, Samreen still felt a strong need to be changing the world for the better. When she was introduced to The Cristian Rivera Foundation by her colleague and friend, Carlos Yepez, she knew that the foundation would be a perfect outlet for her charitable work. When Carlos invited Samreen to the 12th Annual CRF Celebrity Gala in 2021, she was inspired. After the gala she approached Carlos and said, “I need to do more. I want to be involved in a bigger way. And then he called me one day and was like, ‘do you want to talk about it?’ and I said ‘definitely’”. In her opinion, the stories told at the Galas tug on people’s heartstrings and give them the biggest motivation to be involved with the foundation. She said that although the stories of those who are doing well because of CRF’s help were inspiring, it was the stories of those who were at one Gala and not the following Gala that compelled her to join the foundation and to help in the greatest capacity possible. In February of 2022, Samreen met with CRF Founder John Rivera, and was officially named a CRF Board Member. She says that her fellow board members are truly inspirational and make her want to help out more every day. Samreen’s dedication to our mission at CRF shows in everything she does and the massive impact she has been able to make here in such a short amount of time is unmatched. She believes that we can and will find a cure so that no child will have to go through the struggle of having DIPG ever again.

The majority of people are blissfully ignorant to what DIPG is and the lives it affects, so Samreen has made it her mission to spread awareness about this terrible disease and the nightmare it can be for parents and children for whom it wreaks havoc. When asked why everyone should care about CRF and the work we do, she said, “well, because lives are at stake and they’re children’s lives, right? So, one day, you know no one that could be afflicted with this, and one day it hits home.” Samreen says the problem with finding a cure for DIPG is not that people don’t care about it, but that people don’t know about it, and she’s right. She says that even one DIPG-related death a year is too many, and her desire to help children and their parents suffering from this disease is what drives her to make the most out of every opportunity to spread awareness and raise funds for research. While good news always makes her happy and motivated to continue her work with the foundation, she says it’s the bad news that encourages her the most to do her best every day because the harder we push, the better results the research will yield, and one day there won’t be any more bad news. She believes that CRF is a part of her life’s purpose, and that, “helping people has an impact on their lives and it benefits everyone involved”. Serving her communities and helping those in need is her life’s mission and she believes her work with CRF aids her in that mission. Her fiery passion for the children and families that CRF serves is just one of the things that makes Samreen such a valuable member of our team.

We also asked Samreen if she has any advice for young women in business and here’s what she had to say: “build your confidence and skills, [and] be the best at what you do! Just ignore all of the societal factors that would make you not wanna push forward. You always have to put yourself first and you have to always ask for what you want.” She then went on to say something that rings true for DIPG patients as well, “The best way to go is to have people who support you and will be your advocate… that would be my best advice.”

Samreen is an essential part of the Cristian Rivera Foundations’ fight against DIPG. Her marketing background has allowed her to come up with many new ideas for generating funding and her creative mind provides extremely valuable knowledge to the foundation. She is the perfect fit at CRF since the goals of the foundation coincide with what she wants to do in life. Samreen is currently working on increasing the awareness of the foundation through merchandise and brand deals. We are so thankful to Samreen for taking the time to speak with us and we are looking forward to seeing her work in the future.

by Camille LaMaster

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