Leading in tough times: Building resilient workplaces

Every year, the Human Capital Forum MENA brings together 150 Senior HR Professionals, Human Capital practitioners, business and thought leaders to benchmark their practices, learn from one another and build relationships.

Held under the theme “Leading in Tough Times”, this year’s program looks at human capital development as a key element to build resilient, crisis-proof businesses.

This year’s conversation touches on issues we have found to be priorities for organizations in the region, such as:

  • The troubled dynamics of nationalisation, between expats and nationals
  • Corporate culture and employee engagement
  • Change management and organisational design
  • Powerfully linking HR to the business

It’s been amazing. Just the diversity of people here, from different backgrounds, different companies – some very interesting questions were asked from the panel I was a part of. It’s been wonderful.

Yvonne Agyei, VP, People Operations, Google (UK)

A format designed to engage

Listen to some of the region’s most successful and renowned business leaders revealing critical strategies and drivers for growth in the HR function.

Get your questions answered by expert panelists as they share their viewpoints on some of the most pressing issues facing HR professionals in the region.

Choose from a variety of specialised workshops, each delivering practical knowledge through simulations, group exercises and case studies.

Gain insight into some of the region’s best practices through real-life examples.

A highlight of the forum, the awards acknowledge prominent individuals for a variety of skills and acumen. The highest quality entrants ensure strong competition.

Get to meet prominent, like-minded delegates in a focused, five-star environment. You can conduct meetings, share strategies and ideas, explore business opportunities and build profitable professional relationships.

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series speakers

Listen to expert speakers from across Middle East and North Africa
tackling some of the most pressing issues facing HR professionals in the region.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

World’s #1 Executive Coach Dr. Marshall Goldsmith View Profile
Kate Sweetman

Kate Sweetman

Author of ‘Reinvention’, Global Management Consultant Kate Sweetman View Profile
Alexander Kjerulf

Alexander Kjerulf

Founder and Chief Happiness Officer, Woohoo inc. Alexander Kjerulf View Profile
Paul Lalovich

Paul Lalovich

Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, ENEC Paul Lalovich View Profile
Dr. Haitham Jouher

Dr. Haitham Jouher

Deputy CEO, Chief of Corporate Excellence, Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank Dr. Haitham Jouher View Profile
Sami Baramki

Sami Baramki

Chief People Officer, King’s College London Hospital Sami Baramki View Profile
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith was recently recognized as the #1 leadership thinker in the world at the bi-annual Thinkers50 ceremony sponsored bythe Harvard Business Review.

Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author or editor of 32 books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – a WSJ #1 business book and winner of the Harold Longman Award for Business Book of the Year. His books have been translated into 28 languages and become bestsellers in ten countries.

Marshall’s professional acknowledgments include: Institute for Management Studies – Lifetime Achievement Award (one of only two ever awarded), American Management Association – 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80 years, BusinessWeek – 50 great leaders in America, Wall Street Journal– top ten executive educators, Forbes– five most-respected executive coaches, Leadership Excellence– top ten thinkers on leadership, Economic Times (India)– top CEO coaches of America, Economist (UK)– most credible executive advisors in the new era of business, National Academy of Human Resources – Fellow of the Academy (America’s top HR award), World HRD Congress – 2011 global leader in HR thinking, 2011 -Tata Award (India) for Global HR Excellence, Fast Company– America’s preeminent executive coach and Leader to Leader Institute – 2010 Leader of the Future Award. His work has been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field.
Kate Sweetman
Kate provides a uniquely valuable international perspective on Leadership and Organisations, having an extensive history researching, facilitating, advising, and publishing on multiple aspects of client work around the globe. Her first-hand experience with world leaders, Fortune 100 organizations, and Asian multi-nationals provides a substantial foundation for insights that extend beyond borders. Kate was listed as a Thinkers50 for her body of work throughout her career. She co-authored the bestselling business book The Leadership Code.

Career highlights:
· Named an Emerging Guru by the London Times
· Worked in 25 different countries over the past 20 years
· Visiting coach and lecturer at MIT’s Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship
· Authored first-ever study of Asian Leadership (18 countries) called the Asian Leadership Index (ALI)
· Completed 3-year residency in Malaysia as Head of Leadership for Malaysia Central Negara Bank
· Interviewed on CNBC China, BFM Malaysian Radio, CFO magazine, and other entities in Turkey, China, Singapore, and India
· Served as Editor at Harvard Business Review

Publishing highlights:
· Co-authored The Leadership Code (translated into 15 languages)
· Former blogger for Fast Company magazine
· Authored more than 30 articles in places such as: Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management, Forbes, The Boston Globe, CFO Magazine and The Asian Economic Times
Alexander Kjerulf
Mr. Kjerulf is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo Inc. and one of the world’s leading experts on happiness at work. He is an author and speaker, presenting and conducting workshops on happiness at work at businesses and conferences in over 30 countries. His clients include companies like Hilton, Microsoft, LEGO, IKEA, Shell, HP and IBM.

He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern Denmark, and was a co-founder of the Danish IT company Enterprise Systems. Mr. Kjerulf is the author of 4 books, including the international bestseller “Happy Hour is 9 to 5 – How to Love Your Job, Love Your Life and Kick Butt at Work”. The book has been well-received globally and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Vietnamese, Farsi, Indonesian and Chinese.

His work has been featured in CNN, The New York Times, Times of India, The Times, BBC, Financial Times and many others.
Paul Lalovich
A Strategic HR E xecutive with a track record of helping organizations move people strategy from the boardroom to the marketplace.

Human Resources professional with proven ability to develop forward thinking culture, attract and retain great people while excelling in the delivery of people strategies. A change agent who successfully supported rapid growth, turnaround, organizational excellence programs (EFQM Model) and right-sizing initiatives. Helping organizations to understand and actively manage their headcount, employee productivity and total cost of the workforce (TCOW) by making the most out of Organizational Design, Workforce Analytics and Strategic Workforce Planning.

In the past worked extensively in the emerging markets of Europe and The Middle East for large public and private companies (du, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co, Gazprom NEFT NIS, Norconsult and Global Medical Solutions , an EIAG Company, Sadara Chemical Company and more recently with Mercer). Prior to this, during his career in anada he worked with many companies on the Fortune’s list “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”.

Currently, Paul is Organizational Effectiveness Consultant working at Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation in Abu Dhabi. He is serving as a strategic partner to executive management and supporting the leadership team in driving the corporate strategy through Organizational Design, Strategic Workforce Planning and overall Organizational Effectiveness.
Dr. Haitham Jouher
Dr. Haitham Jouher joined the Bank in 2009 holding the position of Deputy CEO, Chief of the Human and Administrative Resources. He boasts extensive experience of 18 years in human resources and management at a local, regional and international levels in Canada, South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. He previously worked as the Chief of Human and Administrative Resources at Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Special Office - United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait's Burgan Bank and Jordan Kuwait Bank.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate in administration and international relations from Concordia, Horizon and Warren Pro universities in Canada, France and the United Kingdom.
Sami Baramki
Sami has over 20 years of experience in Human Capital Management acquired through working in different industries including high tech, retail, digital media and healthcare with national and international organizations. Over the years, he has gained in-depth knowledge and experience with HC operations including organizational design and development, employee engagement, talent acquisition, performance management and succession planning.

Sami joined Intel Corporation in the US in 1996, where he covered multiple roles in the Human Capital organization over his 12-year tenure with the company. He then moved to Dubai – UAE where he managed the setup of the HC function in the startup phase of a regional digital media company and building the team in his role as Vice President – Human Capital.

Sami moved into healthcare in 2013 and joined Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a world-renowned hospital launching its operations in the Middle East, as the Head of HR Operations. During the ramp up phase, he led the on-boarding project, which welcomed 2500 employees into the hospital in 6 months. He then moved on to head the Organizational Development and Design function.

He is currently the Chief People Officer at King’s College London Hospital in Dubai. Sami is married with 3 children.
Giovanni Everduin is a seasoned global expert on Organizational Strategy, Shared Services, Culture and HR, with deep experience in the Middle East region. He has worked in a variety of roles within industry and consulting environments, ranging from defining and executing organizational strategy to driving end-to-end HR transformation and technology implementations as well as leading large scale culture & change management programs for Fortune 500 companies across the globe during his time at Accenture in London.

A Harvard Business School alumni, he is currently Managing Partner of the ETNICITY Group, an independent boutique advisory firm that works with clients across the globe on defining organizational strategy, building culture and shared services design. In addition he serves as Senior Advisor of Product & Brand Strategy for Qlearsite - a Organizational Science startup based in London.

Before that he served as Chief People Officer of Tanfeeth, the GCC’s first, fast growing, Shared Services & Advisory organization in Dubai and a fully owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD. As part of the executive leadership team he was responsible for all companywide people strategy initiatives, including delivery of all HR/Talent, Branding & Communications and Culture & Change Management capabilities. In addition he oversaw all people migration efforts and helped build a unique Shared Services and service excellence culture that was documented in a Harvard Business School Case Study (Tanfeeth: Bringing Service Excellence to the GCC – 2015)

He In his spare time he is an avid collector of sneakers, besides being a published writer, global speaker and university lecturer on various HR/Culture topics .
Tracy May
Ms. May has been interested in coaching and leadership development and worked with high potential employees for more than 20 years. Having held roles within global engineering organisations as well as boutique strategic HR consultancies, she has a wealth of cross-functional and cross-cultural experience, which has been supported by her leadership experience within Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Having held senior people development roles in the oil and gas sector, she has broad experience in delivering talent solutions. As head of the Performance Coach, Middle East, she offers a broad range of people development services to a range of clients in the engineering, hospitality, transport, healthcare, media, FMCG, aviation, telecommunications and financial sectors.

Ms. May holds a B.Soc.Sci (Hons) in Clinical Psychology and Psychopathology. She is a member of the IPSC (SA), British Psychological Society, Level A and B qualified in the use of psychometrics, accredited on MBTI, as well as many other psychometric assessment tools. She holds membership with the British Association of Coaching as as an Executive Coach (AC) and mediator (LEADRNZ). She is approved to run Coaching Accreditation Training to Practitioner (Postgraduate) level by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and Portsmouth University (UK).
Raid Khawaldeh
Following the completion of his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Raid followed his passion of technology and continued his education to receive a Master of Science in Telecommunications Engineering. Subsequently he immigrated to Canada where he proceeded to work in a number of fast-paced, up-scale environments throughout the technology industries such as Ericsson and Microcell Connexions Canada.

With a keen interest in technology, his move to USA was a natural fit. Succeeding his endeavor, he began working as an expert consultant for several enterprises across 20· countries, some include Ericsson US, Motorola, AT&T and Lucent Technologies. Raid also mentored and lectured engineering & business management across different colleges, and served as an advisor on multiple boards.

Throughout his endeavors. his boundless expertise was acknowledged and appreciated by the Senate office of the United States. His impressive resume lists numerous research projects in which he has been involved. In addition, he co-authored various publications in the field of Neural Networks Intelligence & Process Improve­ment. Ultimately his hard work, dedication and experience enabled him to become the founder and owner of the T-Force group of companies which include, but is not limited to: T-Force, Hexema, Pramira and Shepherd365. T-Force group was ranked as one of the 500/5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the USA for three consecutive years.

As a visionary, Raid continually invests in a number of startups and builds technology solutions across multiple industry verticals aspiring to revolutionize the way enterprises operate and do business.
Fatma Hussain Al Mulla is the Chief Human Capital Officer at TECOM Group. Fatma brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Human Resources field with over 16 years of experience. In her role she is responsible for planning, leading and managing the execution of the Human Capital strategy to support the implementation of TECOM business plans and overall strategy.

Prior to joining TECOM, Fatma has worked with several reputed Private and Government organisations in the region and has in-depth experience in the areas of Performance Management, Total Rewards, Talent Development, Recruitment, Emiratisation, Talent Redeployment etc. She has also managed Quality Management and Business Process Improvement related projects in her previous organisations.

Fatma is a Senior Assessor with the Department of Economic Development in Dubai for Human Development Awards since 2005.

She also has many achievements and awards to her credit in the Human Resources & quality management fields. Fatma holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from a reputed university. She is a board member of the Alumni Association since 2013 and has completed a leadership programme from the Wharton Business School in USA.
Yvonne Agyei joined Google at its California headquarters in 2003 when the company was just over 1000 employees. She was promoted to Vice President in 2012 and became head of the newly-created International People Operations (iPOps) team in early 2015. Created in recognition of the growing complexities of uniting a working population of 55,000+ spanning 100 offices in 50 countries, the iPOps team is a task force of thought partners and program managers which gathers and leverages insights from across all of the company’s functions in order to support the unique Google culture and enhance the experience of Googlers in the smaller offices distributed all around the globe. Before leading this team, Yvonne spent nearly 6 years as the company’s global head of Benefits, overseeing the full range of core employee offerings alongside a host of other “Googley” initiatives such as wellbeing programs, onsite clinics and the take-out benefit for new parents.

Among other prior roles at Google, Yvonne has led the global university and other staffing programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford, an MA in psychology from Northwestern University and an MA in International Relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Natalie Sejean
Natalie Sejean comes from the UK and has been passionate about her work in human resources for the past 25 years. Ms. Sejeans's HR background in the UK has included in-house HR for major hospitality and retail organisations and regional L&D and HR roles. Resident in Dubai since 1999, Natalie has supported such organisations as Spinneys, Dubal, Department of Economic Development, Tecom and is currently the global head of human resources for VFS Tasheel. Challenges in this current role have included starting operations in 30+ countries globally whilst at the same time building a strong and consistent culture for the organisation.
A senior executive with more than 24 years of hands-on experience in the private sector, with a track record of leading and delivering operational excellence to enable growth and continued success.

Built credentials of articulating visions, building structures, teams and aligning efforts for optimal performance.

BS Electrical Engineering from KFUPM and MBA from the USA.
Currently Senior Vice President of Mobily – HR Strategy & Development in charge of:
  • HR strategic planning activities
  • HR Policies and Procedures
  • HR Transformation and Projects Management
  • HR Performance Management (Dashboard/KPIs)
  • HR Analytics and Optimization
  • HR Risk Management, Business Continuity, Audit and Compliance
  • HR Excellence, HR Development and Continuous Improvement
  • HR Budget Planning and Variance Analysis
  • HR Information Technology / Automation
  • HR Surveys design, rollout and analysis

Led intensive Human Capital Transformation projects within Mobily and Integrated Telecom earlier Past experience include heading functions such as: PMO, Marketing, Communication & PR, Business Excellence (Total Quality Management), and General Management
James Vincent
James has been with ABK since 2015 and has operated globally for large blue chip companies including Barclays and HSBC. A commercially orientated HR Director with 16 years industry experience across Retail, Logistics, Environmental and Financial services.
After gaining experience in working with print real estate listings, Michael recognized a gap in the market for online listings- and that’s when propertyfinder was born, soon becoming one of the most popular property portals in the region. Since the company’s launch in 2007, Michael’s effective business model for brokerage firms has since attracted high-profile local and international investors, enabling it to operate successfully across the MENA region, with offices in seven countries. In 2013, the company won the SMEinfo “Online Business of the Year “Award and the ‘Dubai SME 100’, an index of the Dubai Economic Department, twice in a row. Serving as a director on the board of various tech companies, Michael has become a regular speaker at the Harvard Business Conference. Prior to founding the company, Michael began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in his hometown of Geneva. He holds an MBA with a specialty in finance from HEC Lausanne, having completed an exchange program at UCLA in California.
Suraj Padmanabhan
Mr. Padmanabhan brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Human Capital Management field with over 13 years of experience. He is a dynamic, optimistic, innovative, result-driven professional with proven credentials in strategic planning and implementing organisational vision in the field of Human Capital Management across diverse industrial segments.

He is experienced in designing and implementing successful HR strategies and in leading, motivating and developing people across diverse cultures and in multi-lingual environments.

Mr. Padmanabhan also has many achievements and awards to his credit in Human Resource, Quality Management and Business Excellence. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management (MBA) from a reputed University (CMR IMS). He also holds a Certificate in Strategic Human Resource Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIMA), is a Certified Human Resource Manager (CHRM) & Certified Learning & Development Manager (CLDM) from Carlton Advanced Management Institute (CAMI / ACI – USA) and a certified NLP Master Practitioner.


• HR strategy formulation based on business strategy, action planning & implementation
• HR policy and procedures
• HR transformation and project management
• HR process improvement including shared services design and implementation
• HR budget planning and budget variance analysis
• HR BCP, audit and center of excellence
• Talent acquisition and total rewards
• Executive coaching, leadership development, domain certification and communities of practice
• Learning and Development (DAP/Contact HR/ SABA/ ELMS/ CEGOS / Event Management)
• Knowledge management
• Talent management
• Employee management – Measurement using Gallup, DMAIC & RACI
• HR – People happiness
Ahsan supports the Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace & Engineering Services (AES) to drive forward the strategic Human Capital (HC) vision and plans. Ahsan also advises all HC initiatives across the platform and portfolio companies. He sits on the Human Capital Board Committee and undertakes an advisory role for a number of UAE and globally based companies including: Strata Manufacturing, Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overall Center (AMMROC), YahSat, Injazat Data Systems, Khazna Data Centers, SR Technics and Piaggio Aero Industries. Ahsan is committed to developing best in class Human Capital Business Strategies support while enhancing talent and experience of UAE Nationals to enable the growth of next generation skilled professionals and business leaders for Abu Dhabi and the UAE Ahsan has over 22 years of global experience and has been based in the UAE since 2009.. Prior to joining Mubadala, he held a number of Senior HR roles within General Electric Canada, HSBC Bank Asia Pacific and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company. Ahsan works as a thought leader. His expertize includes performance management, talent management, development of business transformation and Emiratization Strategy. Throughout his time at GE and HSBC Ahsan gained significant experience in restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, union negotiations and establishing start-ups. Ahsan holds a Masters in Business Administration with HR specialization from University of Leicester – UK. He is a certified Green Belt Six Sigma from General Electric, a highly disciplined leadership program.
Talat has over 28 years of experience, most of it in senior HR leadership positions in companies like British Airways, ABN AMRO Bank, British Petroleum, Glaxo Smith Kline, Abraaj Capital, Drake and Scull and Exeed Industries. In her long career, she has been a speaker at various forums on HR Leadership, strategy and the People proposition and is passionate about the HR Business partnership within a corporation. Within Abraaj Capital, as SVP HR, Talat worked with a number of portfolio companies to support their HR Functions and ensure that change management initiatives like mission statements and values were implemented through their HR functions so that the companies invested in were more aligned to the business objectives and gave a faster ROI.
Akram is responsible for directing technology strategy, software development, and product delivery at Bayt.com since inception. Prior to co-founding Bayt.com, Akram had worked in consulting at Oracle and Andersen Consulting where he led the design, development and delivery of enterprise solutions to leading corporations and Middle Eastern governments. Akram is a graduate of Jordan University with a BSc. in Computer Science.
Tariq Qureishy is currently the CEO of MAD Holdings and Vantage. These are specialist organizations developing strategic international and local projects and platforms focused in the Media, Technology & Telecoms space with innovation and entrepreneurship at it score. He was Media Representative and Consultant, responsible for business development with Bloomberg Media (2010-2014) for the MENA Region. Prior to that he was CEO and Publisher of the Times & Sunday Times newspaper responsible for the launch in the Middle East (2007-2009). For twelve years (1987-1999), he was with Dow Jones Markets and finally as Regional Director EMEA. Tariq’s media and broadcasting experience includes being a motivational speaker, panellist, chairing and moderating specialised global conferences and events. His broadcasting experience includes radio and television. He has a degree in Economics and studied at Harvard Business School. He is also Founder of 100% MAD (“Make A Difference”), a UK based, not for profit Social Enterprise, a global millennial movement and a new social model using the power of the digital environment to democratize philanthropy.
Taj Elkhayat
Taj Elkhayat is the Regional Vice President for Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Riverbed Technology. His core responsibilities include expanding Riverbed’s penetration in new markets and industry verticals to grow its regional footprint, deepening engagement with channel partners, and securing the company’s position as a key technology provider for the hybrid enterprise. Having previously served as Riverbed’s regional General Manager and subsequently its Managing Director, Taj brings strong vision, leadership and passion to the team, where the focus is to sell solutions across the Riverbed Application Performance Platform™, and drive even closer engagement with customers. Taj has more than 15 years of regional sales, channel and executive management experience to Riverbed, and has played key roles in growing and scaling both emerging and Fortune 500 technology companies in the region. His prior experience includes senior leadership positions at Juniper, Microsoft, Compaq Computer Corporations and IBM in the Middle East and the United States. Taj graduated from the Jones Graduate School of Business from Rice University, whilst an undergraduate at the University of Houston.
As Managing Director of Edelman DABO Experiential, Lucy leads all concept creation and strategy for the live events and experiential marketing division of the business. Lucy brings with her fifteen years within the marketing and communications field, twelve of which were living in the Middle East. Lucy’s career evolved from a background in advertising & marketing since 1998, which she then transferred to dedicated event management. Prior to setting up DABO & CO in 2004, Lucy worked with advertising clients including Pirelli, BenQ, DSF, Dubai & Gold Jewellery Group and Unilever. Lucy then joined Streamline Marketing to head up their events division within which she managed the IMF and World Bank Meetings in Dubai on behalf of DIFC in 2001, the Formula 1 World Offshore Powerboat Racing Championships in 2002 and 2003, and the launch of the Lifestyles event in 2003. Lucy prides herself on working with some of the region’s most prestigious brands and high profile events. Highlights include organizing the Ferrari Mondiali World Finals at Yas Marina Circuit and working with UNHCR for their first conference within the Middle East in 2014, the grand opening of the JW Marriott Marquis in 2012, the annual Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge with HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein since 2005, launch of TV channels MBC Action and MBC Max, celebrity management for events and conferences like GM Style, OK! Magazine, Atlantis and GGICO, and the opening of offices for international finance players such as Julius Baer.
Coach and author of 'Managing the Matrix: How to Survive and Thrive in Your Organisation' Dawn Metcalfe, Managing Director of Performance Development Services (PDS) is an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator. Her first book, Managing the Matrix: How to Survive and Thrive in Your Organization was published in 2014 and will soon come out in Arabic. She regularly writes for various publications across the Middle East Training Magazine Middle East, Gulf Business, Explorer UAE and LinkedIn (with one article generating over 80,000 hits). Dawn also contributes to the Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye 103.8, speaking on various topics, and appeared at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to discuss business writing. Dawn regularly advises C-Suite executives and high potential employees to develop and deliver their events, ranging from simply delivering 30 minutes on a specific topic or moderating a panel to developing and facilitating a week-long corporate event.
Shane is currently the CEO of The Phillips Group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Helping companies build championship leadership teams has been a tradition in the Phillips family for two generations. From assisting Fortune 500 companies acquire and retain top performing senior executives or advising leading Chief Executive Officers on developing their human capital, Shane has executed CXO assignments all over the world. His passion for helping people and companies develop leadership capability has driven him to engage the media, where he is now the host of the MENA Region’s number one Talk Radio Career show on Dubai Eye 103.8 called “Eye On Careers”. He is also the Host of one of the leading Asian business TV Shows called “Top Guns” on Zee TV, the leading South Asian television satellite channel. Shane holds an MBA from London Business School and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He is a Non-Executive Board Member of Fortis Group Holdings. He is the founder of The Career Clinic and Risk Middle East Group. A former Executive Board Member of the Canadian Business Council, President of the Club for Canadians and a volunteer with the Families with Special Needs, the United Way and Young Achievers.
Dr Sabah Binali
Dr. Sabah bin Hamad al-Sabah al-Binali, Ph.D. is an active investor and entrepreneurial leader, with a track record of financing, building and growing companies in the Mena region.

He has served as the Chief Investment Officer of SHUAA Capital simultaneously serving as its CEO of Credit, Chairman of Zawya, Director of the Board at Credit Suisse Saudi Arabia, Chairman of Shuaa Capital Saudi Arabia, Vice Chairman of Gulf Finance Co., Chairman of Gulf Installments Co., founding CEO and CIO of Saffar Capital and Head of the Treasury and Investment Division at Union National Bank as well as Director of the Board at Visa International CEMA Region..

He holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the UK Institute of Directors.

Dr. al-Binali received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, dissertation title: Competitive Analysis of Risk-Taking and Valuation of Financial Derivatives, and a B.S.E from Princeton University.
Anand Subbaraman
Anand Subbaraman is the Vice President for Cloud Products in the Human Capital Management space at Oracle. He has been with Oracle for over 16 years in a wide variety of roles across product management and strategy. Prior to Oracle he was with a strategy consulting firm. Anand has an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and a B.E. from NIT Trichy both in India.

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The foundation of Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) in 1967 created a bank which is now renowned for the quality of its customer service and its range of financial products.

Today, the Bank serves retail and commercial customers in Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, providing seamless banking services across all its markets, facilitating consumer banking and business banking relationships across the Gulf and into North Africa.

In its home market of Kuwait, ABK operates through 31 centrally located branches, while in UAE, it has two full service branches located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In Egypt, through its acquisition of Piraeus Bank in Egypt, ABK Egypt operates 39 full service branches.

ABK’s long term regional aspirations have also led to strategic alliances with world-class financial partners. For example, its highly successful and popular co-branding with Emirates Airline on ABK credit cards has given cardholders the opportunity to earn and redeem Skywards Miles for Emirates flights, by simply using their cards.

In addition to its retail operations, the Bank also has a highly successful commercial side. Its Corporate Division focuses on financing for the construction, real estate and trade sectors, providing loans, letters of credit and guarantees, and payment services, while the Treasury and Investments Division provides effective foreign exchange and interest rate services and advice for the Kuwait, Gulf and international markets.

Through its subsidiaries, The Al Ahli Kuwaiti Fund and the Gulf Fund, ABK also offers top-performing mutual funds to its clients, consistently providing excellent returns for clients by investing in Kuwait and GCC equity markets.

Over the last half century, ABK has grown to become one of the most respected and innovative Banks in the region. With a clear regional vison of strong leadership, simpler banking, and unrelenting focus on continual renewal and investment in its customer service, technology and products, ABK has set new benchmarks for banking in the Middle East and is well positioned to continue this path in the future.
Oracle offers an integrated array of applications, databases, servers, storage, and cloud technologies to empower modern business. For most companies, flexibility is critical. Oracle provides a wide choice of software, systems, and cloud deployment models - including public, on-premises, and hybrid clouds - to ensure that technology flexes to the unique needs of a business.

Oracle Cloud is a complete, integrated stack of platform, infrastructure, and application services. With advanced scalability and security, Oracle Cloud enables technical agility across the enterprise, connects people to information for clearer insights, and fosters efficiency through simplified workflows. More than 420,000 customers across 145 countries have harnessed Oracle technology to accelerate their digital transformation.

Oracle Systems
Building No. 6
Dubai Internet City
Dubai, UAE

T +971 4 3909000
Our Mission is to improve the community by helping individuals and companies dramatically transform the results they are achieving For over two decades, Right Selection Speakers Bureau (RSSB) have been passionately encouraging and relentlessly promoting a learning culture globally and are now maestros at inspiring success for all.

Conference Organizers, Events Planners and Major Corporates regularly source leading speakers through RSSB who are well connected with an elite group of high-class international motivational speakers. These thought leaders and transformational gurus add a special touch of class and elevate each event with their expertise and futuristic thinking in various fields like hospitality, customer service, sales, marketing, leadership, strategy, team building, communication skills, mind mapping and more.

Practical and inspirational tools like Books and CDs are also sourced worldwide and made available to conference organizers to gift their delegates and also for the benefit of the learning and development centers of the corporates.

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Shepherd was founded in 2004 by a group of entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and technology experts who have been providing custom solutions to a range of multinational companies.

Built on its foundation, Shepherd operates globally and offers revolutionized solutions that aim to transform the way enterprises operate and do business.

They offer their users an end-to-end cloud-based talent management solution that enables organizations to connect, engage, manage and develop their workforce. From talent acquisition & development, to the core of human capital, Shepherd is driving engagement, retention, productivity and performance while improving efficiency.

As a key player in the talent management international market today, they operate with the highest technology standards to date and continually follow up on technological trends. With an ever-growing team, they have officially touched ground in several continents and continue to expand as their client list prospers.

Shepherd Technologies

4695 MacArthur Ct. Suite 1100
Newport Beach, CA, 92660
United States
T +1 949 302 3624

208B-777 Bay Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 2C8
T +1 949 208 1973

One JLT 5th Floor, Suite 11B
JLT, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
T +971 4 429 5827

Thumbay Group is an international conglomerate headquartered in Dubai.

The group has diversified into 18 different sectors with over 20 brands since its inception in 1998, and employs approximately 5000 people.

Aside from their core businesses of education, healthcare and research, they have an established presence in diagnostics, pharmacy, retail optical, wellness, nutrition, hospitality, real estate, publishing, health communications, trading, marketing and distribution, medical tourism, events, media and technology.

Thumbay Group plans to expand internationally and aims to develop 420 new establishments by 2022. The Thumbay academic hospital network will have a total of 1000 beds in the UAE, 1500 beds in India and 750 beds elsewhere in the Gulf and Africa, by 2022, taking the total number of hospitals to 15 worldwide.

The Gulf Medical University – Ajman, is soon to become a full-fledged University with Engineering and Management courses in addition to Medicine. The Group also plans to open 3 new University campuses in 3 different countries. By 2022, Thumbay Group plans to add 25 Thumbay labs, 100 Thumbay pharmacies, 40 Zo & Mo Optical outlets, 100 Blends & Brews coffee shops, 25 Body & Soul health clubs, 50 Nutri Plus Vita stores. The group hopes to employ 20,000 staff, by 2022.

Thumbay Group
Dubai International Financial Centre
P.O. Box 415555
Dubai, UAE

T +971 4 298 5555
F +971 4 298 9555

Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank has begun operations on 17/1/2010 as a public limited company and a legal successor of”The Industrial Development Bank" following the Banking Law of Jordan and the instructions of the Central Bank of Jordan and compliant to Islamic Sharia.

A comprehensive Islamic financial institution that combines the Islamic values with the highest levels of banking services; a leading banking organization that offers its clients the best of services and personalized products to meet and exceed their expectations; and a fully-fledged entity that reassures clients of the continued integrity of its Islamic products reflecting one constant philosophy - Solid Principles, Innovative Solutions.

Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank continued to reflect diversity, modernity, justice and transparency in every single service offered. A comprehensive array of Sharia compliant banking solutions is modernly formulated through a growing network of 21 branches located throughout the Kingdom, all operating in accordance with the Bank's strategy of growth, and with a commitment to continuously and professionally develop banking services with the highest standards of quality and excellence.

Being one of the prominent banking institutions in the Kingdom, Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank aims at defining itself as the"one-for-all" bank that is able to respond to the needs and requirements of all segments with a constant commitment to position them at the center of its attention. A team of highly qualified employees and experts, specialized in banking services, values the partnership with clients - a loyal relationship built on trustful behavior, conscientiousness and quality.

Moreover, a comprehensive range of banking finance solutions and customized Islamic programs are offered for medium to large sized businesses to serve this very important category. It also pays a special attention to the more fortunate members of the society through a variety of special services.

The Bank has developed an integrated system of sophisticated banking products and solutions that comply with Islamic Sharia and meet all needs with a comprehensive range of services and products that include Auto Finance, Personal Finance (Goods Murabaha), Lease-To-Own Home Finance, as well as Current Accounts, Savings Accounts, Term Deposits, Corporate Saving Account, Internet Banking, Visa Electron Cards, Visa Gold Cards, Classic Cards for monthly settlement, Visa Signature Card for Safwa clients only.

The Bank’s methodology has led to superior performance, uncompromising services, and brilliant annual financial results that positioned Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank at the forefront. Every move gives our products a modern touch. Tradition and innovation blend together to make the perfect formula of an Islamic Bank. It is with high standards of novelty that we look forward to each next day, while remaining faithful to our roots, our values and our traditions; a fact that makes dealing with Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank an ongoing banking experience like no other.
Riyad Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, with a strong corporate and retail banking franchise. Mobilizing its substantial capital base and with decades of expertise to assume a leading role in all areas of Saudi finance, Riyad Bank is a leading financier and arranger of syndicated loans in the oil, petrochemicals, and most of the Kingdom’s notable infrastructure projects. We offer our customers an accessible and expanded network of more than 300 branches, which includes more than 81 dedicated ladies branches, and more than 18 self-service electronic branches. A branch in London and Offices in Houston (USA), and Singapore help us support the international banking needs of our customers.

Our internet banking services (web-based and mobile apps) use the latest electronic technologies to address the banking needs of our customers. The bank has also kept its lead in the ATMs network, as the number of multi-functional ATMs is now more than 2,700 distributed in strategic & carefully selected locations.

Riyad Bank’s investment banking arm, Riyad Capital, is a leading player in the IPO advisory business and asset management in Saudi Arabia, having won numerous investment awards in categories ranging from “best mutual performance” to “best fund manager.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has five Centers of Excellence in the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye and Respiratory & Critical Care. Other Institutes include Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, and Quality & Patient Safety. In all, more than 30 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 364 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American board certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.
GSK is a leading healthcare company on a mission to help people do more, feel better and live longer. Regionally and globally, we have a proven track record for providing medicines, vaccines, and consumer products.

GSK has a 300-year global legacy and 65 years of local presence in the GCC; GSK opened its first office in the region 65 years ago and has been providing greater access and innovation to patients and consumers ever since.

API Tower, 28th Floor,
Next to Fairmont Hotel,
Sheikh Zayed Road,
P.O. Box 50199,
Dubai, UAE

T +971 4 403 7100
F +971 4 332 9964
The Flower Market is a floral artistry studio with a passion for flowers and design. Our signature creations combine the uniqueness of each flower, their contrasting textures and organic elements in an arrangement that defies the traditional and embraces the contemporary.

We continuously evolve our style with new ideas and play with unique packaging and accessories. We design bouquets for personal gestures and floral arrangements for weddings, events and businesses.

Our studio is located in the bustling Dubai Healthcare City and boasts an inviting industrial rustic feel full of a whole load of gorgeous colours and fresh scents. Come in and talk to us about a wedding design, a bridal shower or a corporate event.

The Talent Enterprise is the region’s premier ‘think’ and ‘do’ tank dedicated to the advancement of human capital.

We collaborate with our clients on their most compelling talent, employability, engagement, performance, leadership and retention challenges. We are dedicated to creating solutions which are uncluttered, evidence-based and locally relevant. Having worked in the MENA region for almost 20 years, our advisory and analytics team has an unmatched understanding of the regional talent landscape, with a key focus on nationalisation and local talent development.

Our clients include policymakers, private and public sector employers, as well as educational institutions seeking to get the best out of their people and organisations. We are an interdisciplinary, multilingual team of professionals with diverse backgrounds in HR, leadership, organisational psychology, behavioural economics and education.

Having worked with consulting firms as well as in leadership positions within line HR, we have a relentless focus on quality and value, ensuring that our clients get the “right” point of view which is implementable and has tangible impact. The Talent Enterprise recently launched “Unlocking the Paradox of Plenty”, a pioneering book about human capital opportunities in the GCC, written by our Managing Director David Jones and Consulting Director Radhika Punshi.

Talent Enterprise
Office G07, Block 2B
PO Box: 502221
Dubai Knowledge Village
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

T: +971 44 34 29 45
M: +971 50 45 08 02 1 / +971 50 14 88 78 5

MENA HR Excellence Awards

  • award categories


    award categories


    Rewards an organisation for its commitment to supporting employees at all levels through talent retention, employer branding, learning and development, CSR activities, health and safety, and diversity and inclusion.


    Rewards a government agency for its commitment to supporting employees at all levels through talent retention, employer branding, learning and development, CSR activities, health and safety, and diversity and inclusion.


    An HR team that truly functioned as a business enabler within their organisation will be recognised. Judges will look at the team’s strategy, planning and implementation, relationships with other functions, results achieved and how they were measured.


    Recognises an organisation for its excellence in talent management. Criteria for evaluation include effective employee onboarding, ongoing training and development, coaching and mentoring, assessing and developing leadership capabilities, monitoring talent and measuring talent management, designing effective
    compensation and recognition systems.


    Honours an organisation for specifically focusing on engaging employees through fostering a corporate culture, employee engagement surveys, onboarding, flexibility, transparency, recognition and team building.


    Rewards a company for successfully increasing and retaining the number of nationals through effective implementation of a Nationalisation initiative. All organisations except government agencies are eligible for this category.


    Recognises a private sector HR Leader for exceptional performance in the last 12 months. Criteria for evaluation include aligning the HR function with the organisation’s strategic direction, promoting a people-centric culture, implementation of innovative programmes, engagement of employees in CSR activities and a focus on the overall
    wellbeing of staff.


    Recognises a public sector HR Leader for exceptional performance in the last 12 months. Criteria for evaluation include aligning the HR function with the organisation’s strategic direction, promoting a people-centric culture, implementation of innovative programmes, engagement of employees in CSR activities and a focus on the overall
    wellbeing of staff.


    Recognises a C-level non HR executive for his/her contribution to the HR function of his / her organisation. Nominees are required to provide examples of their leadership, strategic thinking and key management decisions.


  • past winners


    past winners

    • Best nationalisation initiative


    • Champion of Change

      Ahmad Hanandeh, CEO, Zain Jordan

    • Employer of the Year – Private sector

      Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK)

    • Employer of the Year – Public sector

      Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Bahrain

    • Excellence in Employee Engagement


    • Excellence in Talent Management

      Banque Saudi Fransi

    • Excellence in Talent Management

      Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

    • HR Professional of the Year – Private sector

      Suraj Padmanabhan, Thumbay Group

    • HR Professional of the Year – Public sector

      Adil Abbood, Royal Saudi Airforce

    • HR Team of the Year

      National Bank of Fujairah


    • Award Guidelines* Required

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submit your nominations
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The summit gave us the opportunity to use the power of coming together to understand the challenges that we’re facing and come up with solutions by learning from each other. I think the openness and curiosity of my fellow participants from various companies was very energising, and the topics were spot-on in terms of what’s on our minds and our to-do-lists.

Group Head of Talent, Al-Futtaim Group


“ I feel such gatherings can really help us understand what others are doing in terms of HR management and confronting different challenges, and having different priorities and strategies.”

Group HR Director, MENA Business Unit The Coca-Cola Export Corporation


“ The event delivered an exciting and compact agenda, filled with valuable ideas. Meeting others in the industry really allows you to see that your challenges and opportunities are aligned. Great work!”

Managing Partner, CCM Consultancy


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