NAWF Founder & Executive Chair
Nadine Abou Zaki is the Founder and Executive Chair of the “New Arab Woman Forum (NAWF)” and the Editor-in-Chief of “Al Hasnaa” magazine. She is a lecturer in Philosophy at the American University of Beirut.
Nadine Abou Zaki has PhD in Philosophy from Sorbonne-Paris IV and a BA in Political Sciences from the American University of Beirut. She is the author of several books: L’homme terrible de la ville (L’Harmattan, Paris 2015 & An-Nahar, Beirut 2015) De femme à homme, (L’Harmattan, Paris 2012 & Marsam, Rabat 2014), Le Lieu et le corps / Al Makan Wal Jasad (L’Harmattan Paris 2010) and Introduction aux Épîtres de la Sagesse (L’Harmattan, Paris 2006).
She is also a sculptor. She hold solo sculpture exhibitions and interactive art performances. Her latest interactive performances Please don’t Touch & Please don’t Touch the Trash were performed in BIPOD (Beirut International Platform of Dance) - Al-Madina theatre (2016), Waste pop-up shop, Saifi village (2016), Beirut Art Fair (2015), Agial Gallery and Station, Beirut (2014). In 29009, she was selected by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture as the sculptor ambassador for Beirut World Book Capital 2009.
In 2016, she was awarded “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes academiques” (Order of the French Academic Palms) by the Ministry of the French National Education, and in 2009, she received the 4th International Secular Award (Prix international de la laïcité) by H.E. Ms. Anne Hidalgo at La Mairie de Paris.
Director General of Economy & Trade, Ministry of Economy & Trade, Lebanon
Vice Chairman and General Manager, BLC Bank
Mr. Nadim Kassar is the Deputy Chairman and General Manager of BLC Bank SAL. He holds currently the following positions: General Manager of Fransabank SAL, Founder and Board Member of Fransa Invest Bank SAL (FIB), Founder and Chairman of Fransabank Al Djazaïr SPA, Board Member of the Association of Banks in Lebanon since 2001, Board Member of USB Bank PLC, Board Member of Lebanese International Finance Executives (LIFE), Co-Manager of A.A. Kassar (France) SARL and General Manager of A.A. Kassar SAL. Mr. Kassar also is a Board Member of the following institutions: MasterCard Incorporated Asia, Pacific, Middle East & Africa, SAMEA Regional Board of Directors since 2005, NetCommerce, Interbank Payment Network, IPN SAL, Credit Card Management, Founder and Board Member of the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce. He holds as well the position of Deputy Chairman of Société Financière du Liban. His social activities includes the Makassed Philantropic Islamic Association in Beirut as a Member of the Board of Trustees, a Member of the Lebanese-Chinese inter-parliamentary friendship committee, a Member of the Lebanese-Tunisian friendship committee and Treasurer of the Comité des Proprietaires- Ouyoun As Simane. Mr. Kassar is born in 1964 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.
Director, French Institute
Minister for Women’s Affairs, Lebanon
The phenomenal rise of the digital economy is giving women vast opportunities to launch new businesses and expand existing ones on a global scale. This session will discuss opportunities in digital economies and how women entrepreneurs can further benefit from these opportunities.
Chief, Innovation Section, UN-ESCWA
Dr. Nibal Idlebi is the chief of Innovation Section at the United Nation-Economic Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) and a senior expert in Knowledge Society and ICT for Development.
She has extensive experience in the area of e-services, especially e-government, e-commerce and Digital Arabic Content.
Dr. Idlebi led a number of regional initiatives for developing knowledge society in the Arab region such as “Promoting Digital Arabic content through Incubation”.
Before joining ESCWA, Dr. Idlebi was the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Communications and Technology (MCT) in Syria. She participated in the formulation of the National ICT Strategy for Social and Economic Development and coordinated the activities of the Strategic ICT Programme for Social and Economic Development implemented in cooperation between UNDP and the Ministry.
Dr. Idlebi also worked at the Higher Institute of Applied Science & Technology (HIAST) in Damascus for more than 8 years as a lecturer in computer architecture and parallel processing.
Dr. Nibal Idlebi has an engineering degree from “Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité (Supelec)” in France, a “Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA)” with specialization in operating systems and software engineering from “Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Informatique et de Mathematique Appliquee de Grenoble (ENSIMAG)” in France, and a Ph.D in computer science from Nancy 1 University in France with a specialization in Parallel Processing.
CEO, DBS Digital
Ms. Abdul Aziz is a passionate Corporate Communications entrepreneur, media strategist and founder of DBS Digital. Her creative initiative, sharp business acumen, and genuine enthusiasm elevated her from a career in publishing to becoming the CEO of a dynamic results-driven digital advertising agency.
She is also a member of IAA Kuwait Chapter and a member of YPO Mena 1 Chapter.
Ms. Abdul Aziz held previously several leading positions such as the Editor in Chief of Mondanité Magazine, General Manager of Lana Magazine, and General Manager & Partner of Attamaddon Magazine.
In recognition to her work, she received several awards including the Advertising Creativity Award in 2015 & 2016, and Excellence Award in 2015 at Kuwait Expo Milano.
She also completed several achievements including but not limited to winning the tender for the Central Agency for Information Technology of a value of 3.5M Dollars and the tender for Expo Milano to promote the Kuwait Pavilion of a value of 1.8M Dollars.
Managing Founder, Riyada
Ms. Mona Itani is the managing founder of Riyada, a social enterprise that aims to provide youth with practice-based social entrepreneurship education to develop solutions for real problems with the use of technology.
She is a social entrepreneur, social activist, and academic of a computer and communications engineering background.
After earning her Masters in Engineering Management degree, she joined the Engineering Management program and the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut where she served as a lecturer and researcher since 2011.
Due to her work in the field of young entrepreneurship, social responsibility and sustainability, she was selected to be an ambassador for the United Nations Global Compact Network in Lebanon.
Ms. Itani is the chair of IEEE Women in Engineering Affinity Group Lebanon Section and the co-chair of Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) Lebanon Chapter. She won the Inspiring IEEE Women in Engineering Member of the year honourable mention award in 2016, IEEE Lebanon section most active member award for 2015, and was a finalist in the McKinsey Next Generation Women Leaders award for 2015.
CEO & Co-founder, Moubarmij
Moubarmij is an e-learning platform that teaches programming via Arabic video tutorials. Layal works, advises and mentors many local and international startups and is active in the entrepreneurship scene in Lebanon.
She is also the community leader for Techstars programs from Startup Weekend Beirut and Startup Digest Beirut, a volunteer based global initiative that is aimed at startup creation and entrepreneur education. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Internet Society (ISOC) Lebanon Chapter as Head of the Fundraising Committee.
Recent years have witnessed a rise in the number of accelerators, incubators and other institutions that support startups through funding & mentorship. This session provides a review of the effectiveness of some funding initiatives, best practices for accelerator programs, and their impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Senior Lecturer, American University of Beirut
Tarek Kettaneh teaches courses on Small business management, family businesses, startups, venture capital and real estate at the Olayan Business School. He also lectures on these topics in seminars given across the Gulf area. He has consulted for SMEs mostly on turnaround strategies, and has advised CEOs on several financial transactions. He serves on the boards of two privately held firms, consults with a handful of others and writes case studies for his students. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and a MS in Engineering from MIT. After 12 years of senior management experience in a multinational multi product line family business, he changed careers and became a venture capital investor in the USA for almost 10 years. In his last position prior to joining AUB, he headed a $50 million Luxemburg quoted private equity fund targeted to Lebanese firms.
Regional Manager, MENA, Techstars
Ahmad Sufian Bayram is a social entrepreneurship, startup, and collaborative economy activist. He works as Middle East and Africa regional manager at Techstars, a global ecosystem that empowers Entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market.
For the past five years, Ahmad has played an essential role in supporting Syrian nationals in gaining access to entrepreneurship and building a supportive ecosystem. He is also Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Program Advisor, Training Bootcamp manager and Techfugees adviser, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Aliqtisadi.com
Ahmad co-chairs many programmes with the aim of empowering Syrian entrepreneurs and advising several startups and non-profit organizations.
He is also founder and CEO of ArabShare and Ouishare’s Arab Language Connector. His website is one of the most prominent blogs in the Arab world that tackles the power of the sharing and collaborative economy.
Assistant General Manager Marketing & Support Groups, BLC Bank
Tania Moussallem is a strong believer in women’s economic potential. She initiated the women empowerment program within BLC Bank and in Lebanon. She participated in several international fairs and became Chair of the Board of the Global Banking Alliance for women (GBA), spearheading the development of women programs around the globe.
Tania Moussallem has about 20 years of banking experience and is currently Assistant General Manager heading the Support and Marketing Groups at BLC bank after having spent 6 years as Head of Strategic Development and Financial Management Group.
Since September 2015, she is as well Chair of the GBA, an organization that brings together banks and financial institutions from all over the world to develop strategies for the promotion of women’s economic empowerment.
In 2015, she has been selected among the most influential women in the Arab Banking Sectors by the Union of Arab Banks.
She joined BLC bank in 2008 where she conducted several strategic and innovative development projects involving external and organic growth for the bank. She has been on USB Bank Board of Directors (Cypriot subsidiary of BLC Bank) and sits on several committees in BLC Bank.
She had started her career at SGBL where she held several managerial positions in the Corporate and Investment Banking Division. In parallel, she has built a solid experience in privatization of the energy, water and waste water sectors.
She holds a Master’s degree in Finance & Communication from ESSEC, France and a degree in Business Administration from the AUB.
Sana Afouaiz is a social entrepreneur. After extensive four years working and covering stories of women in different countries throughout the globe, Sana started focusing on stimulating the economy through female entrepreneurship by providing a holistic approach to kitting women with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed their businesses.
She founded the Womenpreneur Organization, a not-for-profit organization that offers women entrepreneurs a unique platform to grow their businesses.
Before launching the initiative, Sana was Young Leader Expert for the European Commission and Political Expert for Young Professional United Nations. She is « Advisor Mentor » for« Queen’s Young Leaders » an initiative of the Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust et The Royal Commonwealth Society.
Sana was named one of 10 top active youth to work with Restless Development, she was awarded Ashoka Change maker Award, Excellence Metropolitan Scholarship; and she has been nominated for 2016 CIVICUS Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards and the MENA Female leader for Girls.
Business Manager, MENA, Mowgli
Thanaa is a goal-oriented business executive and professional with solid and diverse work experience in retail business, planning, banking and diplomacy. During the course of her business career, Thana’a has developed extensive experience in several fields as a negotiator with diplomatic and collaborative team building skills; a comprehensive and strategic understanding of training; program management and organizational change; development, execution and business expansion.
Thana’a has held several leading positions in management and marketing, in the Sultan Center, Food Product Company KSC – SAFEWAY and Egyptian Arab Land Bank, Treasury & Investment Department.
Currently, Thana’a acts as the Business Manager for the Levant & GCC areas as well as a business consultant, a professional trainer/facilitator and mentor, mainly in marketing, business management, business development and mentorship.
Investment Manager, Insure and Match Capital
Prior to joining IM Capital, and for more than 9 years, Ms. Kiame Kari was a Director at SHUAA Capital psc Dubai, UAE, where her responsibilities included Product Development, Strategy and Project Management, and Operations.
In 2006 and 2007, she worked as an assistant fund manager on several regional funds representing USD 1 Billion in assets under management, covering fifteen Arab markets.
Corine holds a Masters in Finance from Paris IX Dauphine in Paris and is currently a member of the “Grant Evaluation Committee” of the iSME Program, a Kafalat-World Bank program, and is a member of the Lebanese League for Women in Business.
Almost every idea for a product may have already been thought of by someone else.
How can you convince potential customers that your brand or service is worth buying?
This session stresses on the importance of creating value added products and maintaining competitive advantage.
Associate Professor of HRM, Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut
Fida Afiouni is an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and was the recipient of the Sharjah award for the best doctoral thesis in administrative sciences in the Arab world for the year 2005 granted by ARADO (The Arab Administrative Development Organization).
Her current research focuses on the interplay of HRM, careers, and gender in the Arab Middle East.
Her research agenda aims to lead to better understanding HRM realities in the Middle East, to contribute to bridging the gender gap in terms of economic empowerment and opportunity, and to shape policy at the national and organizational level to improve the equal opportunities for women in the region.
Dr. Afiouni has presented her work in leading academic and professional conferences such as the Academy of Management in North America, the International Human Resource Management conference in Europe, the HR summit and Expo in Dubai, the HR Summit in Beirut and her publications have appeared in several academic and professional outlets, the most recent being in Career Development International, the International Journal of Human Resource Management and Women Studies International Forum.
She is currently an Associate editor in Business Ethics: A European Review, a member of the editorial board of the international of Human Resource Management, an advisory board member of the KIP Gender Project, and ad- hoc consultant with the International Labor Organization.
Randa Bahsoun is a Partner in the People & Organization practice of PwC based in Dubai. She has over 20 years of management consulting experience and has led a number organizational transformation projects with a particular focus on the aspects of organization design, performance management, strategic human capital management, and nationalization strategies. Randa has extensive experience working with the public sector organizations and central governments in the GCC on social and economic development related initiatives. She has also worked with leading privately owned and family businesses in the region supporting them on their corporatization journey. Additionally, Randa has solid expertise and experience in corporate governance in both the private and public sector and has assisted a number of clients in the region on setting up and assessing the effectiveness of their governance structures and practices.
Randa is a Board member of PwC Middle East. She is also part of the Women in Business Network of PwC and of the Dubai Business Women Council.
Randa holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Co-Founder & CEO, ChefXchange
Karl is the Co-Founder and CEO at ChefXchange.
He has an extensive international background in Finance, spanning from Wealth Management to Private Equity with UBS AG, Goldman Sachs, and Mubadala Development Company. He also is an avid Angel Investor and mentors startups.
He received an MBA from the London Business School and an MSc in Economics & Finance from the Warwick Business School.
Founder, Blessing Foundation
Rima Kotaiche El-Husseini is the founder of The Blessing Foundation, an organization that aims to empower women in business, with a vision to expand from Lebanon to other countries in the Middle East.
After being selected to the mentoring program by Vital Voices, Fortune 500 and the U.S. State Department, and after having been mentored by Nielsen vice-Chair Susan Whiting, she was determined to bring the concept of mentoring to Lebanon.
Mrs. El-Husseini created the Blessing Foundation in 2012, with the conviction that when women work, communities thrive. The foundation’s mission is to empower women in business by helping them start, sustain, evolve, and scale. Since its inception, the Blessing Foundation has been able to build a large network of women in business in Lebanon, and has created more than 120 mentoring relationships that have led to the creation of new businesses and jobs. The newly developed online platform shopTBFonline.com enables women in business to have access to markets and sell their products online.
In 2015, Mrs. El-Husseini won the International Alliance for Women’s “World of Difference” award. She is a member of the Fortune 500 Most Powerful Women Summit, and a member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network. On July 2016, Rima won by election the Evelyn Bustros Award for The Most Impactful Lebanese Woman for 2016. In August, she was announced as the winner the 2016 Goldman Sachs &Fortune Global Women Leaders Award. In 2017, El-Husseini was awarded the Woman of the Year in Social Entrepreneurship by UNIDO.
Mrs. El-Husseini graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Master’s Degree in Money, Banking & Finance. After working in the finance sector for five years she co-founded Blessing, a company specializing in luxury chocolates and gifts, and is now the company’s CEO.
From its Headquarters in Lebanon the Blessing brand has expanded into the Middle Eastern market with a total 9 branches in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman.
Regional Human Resources Director, Deloitte Middle East
Soughit is the Talent Acquisition leader at Deloitte Middle East. As Regional Human Resources Director and a seasoned HR generalist she holds responsibilities across executive recruiting, succession planning, employer branding, campus programs, as well as providing HR advisory services to 15 countries within the Middle East network.
Soughit works with business leaders and talent to build world class HR and talent attraction tools and capabilities and create cross-border alignment within Deloitte Middle East. She has significant experience operating at a senior level within a global matrix organization.
Prior to joining Deloitte, Soughit led the Internship and Placement Office at the Suliman Olayan School of Business, part of the American University of Beirut. Earlier she was Group Head of Recruitment and Selection at Bank Audi. Soughit began her career as a professional archeologist where she worked with and led teams from the United Nations and the UK to excavate the archaeological treasures of downtown Beirut.
Soughit is a graduate of the American University of Beirut; she holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management, Minor in Business Administration and Major in Archaeology.
Chief Operating Officer, Hug digital
Hussein has over 15 years of solid Marketing Communication experience in the space leading and building integrated marketing practices within multinational agencies (JWT, Leo Burnett, and TBWA) and client side (Fortune 500 companies - Virgin Mobile and Red Bull), across the Middle East and Africa region.
Hussein has been featured in the 50 most influential digital marketing leaders listing for 2016. Furthermore, Hussein has been voted by the Huffington Post as among the 10 people changing the marcom landscape in the MENA region.
Hussein was among the first batch of WPP MENA employees to receive the renowned WPP Young High Potential Leaders award from Sir Martin Sorrell (Chairman and Worldwide President of WPP) and Bob Jeffrey (ex Chairman and Worldwide President of JWT).
At present, Hussein is working as a Chief Operating Officer of Hug Digital, as a Digital Strategy and Social Media Marketing Lecturer at DM3 Institute, and as a Mentor at Turn8, Arabreneur, and Flat6Labs. Furthermore, Hussein plays an active role in the advisory council of the World Marketing Congress.
Successful women entrepreneurs from different backgrounds share their experience on starting a business, highlighting their achievements and the obstacles they faced throughout their journey.
Innovation Consultant, Trainer & Partner
Kathy Shalhoub, PhD., ACC, is a published author, an award-winning ICF certified coach, an accredited Team Management Systems® facilitator and Emotions and Behaviors at Work coach.
She is an innovation consultant and an accredited trainer with ICTN, New York, and has delivered training and coaching at multinational companies such as Adidas, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and Novartis.
Kathy has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, a Master’s degree in Ocean Engineering from MIT, and completed her PhD in Marine Optics with high distinction. She has received multiple scholarships for her education, grants for her research work in Lebanon and France, and has published scientific work in international journals. Kathy’s areas of interest are innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
Nada is the founder of Annada, a luxury life-style brand that wants to "Share Art with the World", Annada brings together art, fashion and romance all in one medium of unique scarves designed by Middle Eastern artists.
Nada also serves as a board member of the Bahrain economic development board, she advises the executive management, shares the latest trends from the SME and Entrepreneur perspective. Moreover,
Nada previously was a board member of Bahrain Bourse, and as the GM of OSHO Center.
Co-founder, Palma Consulting
Tamara Abdel-Jaber is a co-founder and an executive board member at Palma Consulting.
Tamara previously served as the elected chair of the board for the Institute of Management Consultants and Trainers – Jordan. She currently serves as the elected Chair at the Global Institute of Certified Management Consultants. Tamara is also a founding member of Girls in Tech – Jordan Chapter and serves on its board. Additionally, Tamara serves on the board of the Business and Professional Women Association in Jordan.
Tamara was selected to take part in the 2009 Fortune/ U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership where she was mentored by c-level executives at Accenture in New York and Chicago. Tamara was also selected to participate in the Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington D.C., USA.
In recognition to Tamara’s contribution to spark business innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA region, she has been ranked at number 39 of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women for 2011. For three years in a row (2011-2013), Arabian Business recognized Tamara on its list of Power 500 (Most Influential Arabs).
Tamara was also recognized by Forbes Middle East as one of the 200 Most Powerful Arab Women for 2014.
Founder & CEO, NOMADIC Capital L.L.C
Stephanie is an entrepreneur and word aficionado. She is the founder of Gourmet stop – the first Automat machine which dispenses meals in just few minutes in UAE.
Stephanie co-founded Nomadic Capital L.L.C. The name Nomadic reflects the company’s vision of importing different innovations and concepts from around the world. Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, the company deals with a multitude of researchers and operators around the world.
Stephanie grew up between Lagos, Nigeria and Beirut, Lebanon. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University in the States, with an emphasis on Crime Analysis.
Co-Founder & COO, Myki
Priscilla is the Co-Founder of myki (myki.co), an enterprise identity and access management solution that eliminates the need for usernames and passwords, and creator of the pitchplease.me initiative that helps entrepreneurs optimize their pitch deck in its visuals, content and delivery.
Priscilla believes in sharing with others what she continues to learn on her journey as an entrepreneur. She was named by Executive Magazine as “Top 20 Lebanese Entrepreneurs for 2014”, "Leader of Innovation 2016" by the American University of Beirut and “Game Changer 2016” by Women’s Health Magazine.
Yasmine El-Mehairy found her way into entrepreneurship in 2011, when she co-founded SuperMama, an online parenting destination reaching approximately 4 million Arab mothers monthly. In 2016, she founded Coushies; a premium brand in home decor, bringing together artists and craftsmen/women to produce high quality, limited edition handmade and hand embroidered decorative pillows. The majority of the pillows are produced by NGOs either supporting women or children’s causes in the underprivileged areas in Egypt.
Yasmine has an MBA from London Business School, an MSc in Interactive Multimedia from University of Westminster in the UK and BSc in Computer Science from Ain Shams University in Cairo.
Randa is the co-Founder of Lebtivity.com, HR Manager of ZRE - Developers of Beirut Digital District as well as a University Instructor & Trainer.
She won different awards among which "Femme Francophone Entrepreneure 2014", was selected among the Top 20 Entrepreneurs in Executive Magazine in 2015 and was chosen as a woman in business to represent Lebanon in USA for an International Visitors Leadership Program for Women Entrepreneurs in 2016.
She believes that Lebtivity is more than a startup, it's a passion and a mission.
Her secret to success is: "Do what you love, love what you do.
Even when you succeed, keep your femininity and your humbleness!"
Ms. Chantal Abou Jaoude is a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters in Engineering Management from the American University of Beirut.
She founded her first company, EDGE, in 2004 during her 4th year of engineering studies and EDGE Middle East in 2010 to cover the Iraqi market.
She also worked fulltime in the estimation of mega projects related to the Oil & Gas Industry for several years while growing her companies along the way.
She introduced the periodic technical inspection concept, especially to rural areas of Kurdistan - Iraq, through the development of high-end inspection centers meeting international standards and thus gradually elevating the condition of vehicles driving on the roads there.
She recently accepted the challenge of setting up MAHA Middle East FZE – a regional subsidiary for a leading German equipment manufacturer, handling the Automotive Aftermarket Project activities in 14 regional countries including the Levant, Gulf, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Chantal was elected in May 2016 as the only female member of the municipal council of the Municipality of Zalka where she lives and has her offices in Lebanon.