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TMCNet:  THE MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BUSINESS [Oman Economic Review (OER)]

[November 03, 2014]

THE MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BUSINESS [Oman Economic Review (OER)]

(Oman Economic Review (OER) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Achiever par excellence At the gas director of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Abla is directly accountable for meeting the company's obligations as a gas operator of the government of Oman.


She joined PDO as a petro-physicist in 1985, and after four years, went to Shell International on a cross-posting. When she returned to Oman, Abla became a discipline engineer in petro-physics looking at training, succession planning and technology among other areas. After a period as section head in petro-physics, she moved up the ladder to become petroleum engineering team leader in the Fahud/Lekhwair team. In 2001/2, she had a range of managerial jobs on several assets before settling as petroleum engineering manager of south Oman, her last job before being appointed as gas director to the newly-formed gas directorate. Abla won Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)'s regional service award in 2010 for her outstanding service to SPE and the industry.

Abla Al Riyami Gas Director, Petroleum Development Oman Ace communicator Aisha Al Kharusi is a senior executive business leader with over 15 years of experience as well as a proven record of success in the international relations, government relations, corporate communications, brand marketing, stakeholder engagement and CSR for multimillion-dollar companies across diverse industries. Her industry experience covers a wide range of areas such as aerospace/manufacturing business, financial services, and publishing as well as the private and public sectors. As a devoted member of society, Al Kharusi held several roles including member of the Young Arab Leaders - a pan-Arab non-profit organisation and a spin-off from the World Economic Forum. She held membership positions for the Oman Women Association and Women in Aviation International. She has held several positions which include the board member for the Omani Businesswomen Forum - Oman Chamber of Commerce (2009) and AEISEC Oman board member (2009-2012). Since 2007, Aisha is a board member of inJAz Oman - a non-profit organisation. She is an avid public speaker on women in leadership, CSR in the Middle East region and youth development.

Aisha Bint Abdullah Al Kharusi Chief Marketing Officer, alizz islamic bank Conquering new frontiers Areej manages the automotive division and internal audit and computer systems arms of one of Oman's most successful conglomerates- Mohsin Haider Darwish, founded by her father. Actively involved in the decision making process of the group, she charts business strategies and operational plans that align objectives with corporate goals. Before entering the family business, Areej, a graduate form Sultan Qaboos University, started her career with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) as an analyst programmer. During her tenure with PDO, she gained valuable exposure to various systems and processes. A firm supporter of women in business, Areej believes that more and more women managers are likely to come up in Oman and feels proud of being one of the early success stories. She is of the opinion that women can outshine men in certain attributes such as compassion, better instincts and the ability to remain cool under pressure.

Areej Mohsin Darwish Joint Deputy Chairperson, Mohsin Haider Darwish With a midas touch Assilah Zaher Al Harthy is the founder and CEO of Group 6, the first private equity firm in Oman. Assila who has over 20 years of experience at the senior corporate executive level is currently working hard to grow the company into a leading brand in the country. She was previously head of corporate affairs at Oman Oil Company, and as a board representative of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry she played a key role in the five-year planning process for the Omani government from 2001 to 2005. Assilah has received numerous accolades. She was the recipient of the Young Global Leaders award in 2005 at Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In October 1999, Assilah was appointed as a member of the Kennedy School's Dean Council and ambassador for the school's outreach efforts in Oman. She is a graduate of the Sultan Qaboos University and of the Owner/President Management (OPM) programme at Harvard Business School.

Assilah Zaher Al Harthy Founder and CEO, Group 6 Social conscience Badriya Al Siyabi, who after a successful career in banking now runs corporate social responsibility projects for Omran, has been instrumental in spearheading many of the company's CSR projects in the Sultanate. She helped create long-term benefits for local communities across Oman by forming meaningful and sustainable programmes. Badriya's endeavours also include nurturing and establishing relationships with residents located in and around Omran project sites. It was her single- minded zeal to give something back to the community that created the country's most successful cottage industry back in 2004 in the form of Sidab Women's Sewing Group. The group manufacturers a range of items from tote bags and greeting cards to cushion covers, tissue box covers and dolls. The items are very popular with local hotels and art galleries. Badriya was named 'CSR Woman of the Year' at the annual Al Mar'a Excellence Awards in 2012.

Badriya Al Siyabi Manager, Corporate Affairs, Omran & Co-Founder of Sibad Women's Sewing Group Dedicated to a cause Barka Al Bakry, a founding member of Al Noor Association for the Blind, is a dynamic philanthropist actively involve in improving the lives of visually impaired Omanis. Al Noor Association is the only non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Oman catering for the visually challenged. The association, which was set up in 1997, works for the economic and social empowerment of the visually impaired people with focus on their education, training, healthcare and overall welfare. It conducts computer training, language training and workshops on handicraft. Bakri believes that young women who show a passion for voluntary work, have to sacrifice many valuable things in their lives. Bakri says she could fully focus on the voluntary work, only after her children were settled in their lives and they did not need everyday care and attention. Bakri is also the Oman representative of the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE).

Barka al Bakry Life Honorary Member, Al Noor Association for the Blind Spreading good cheer Dr Fatma was the first physician in Oman to introduce laser technology in hair removal. That was in 1999 when she was working at Al Shatti Hospital as a skin specialist. She earned the distinction of having done more than 1,000 laser hair removal procedures during that time. Dr Fatma who obtained her MBBS in 1989 from the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain also holds an MSc in Dermatology with distinction from the University of London. In addition, she did numerous cosmetic dermatology courses from US, UK and Singapore. Before moving to Oman in 1999, Dr Fatma worked as a specialist dermatologist at Rashid Hospital, Dubai from 1995. She is the recipient of Sheikh Rasheed Award for the best educational achievement in 1995. In 2000, she ventured into opening Emirates Medical Centre (EMC), as a small private clinic staffed by just one nurse and a receptionist. EMC has grown in popularity within a short span of time becoming a full-fledged centre, offering skin health, anti-aging and rejuvenation services etc. .

Dr Fatma Obaid Ali Founder and CEO, Emirates Medical Centre Breaking the mould As the executive manager - communications and sustainability, Electricity Holding Group (EHG), Ghada directs and manages the brand marketing, corporate affairs and CSR for EHG companies. Ghada continues to remain close to her family business as director - corporate affairs of Al Yousef Group and as managing director of Modern Hospitality Company, which operates Ubhar Restaurant, the first Omani fusion restaurant which serves the renowned Shuwa Sandwich. During her free time, Ghada enjoys supporting SMEs in Oman through mentoring a few budding entrepreneurs. She is also a board member of Injaz Oman. She was recently voted amongst the 2014 Forbes list of the Most Powerful Arab Women.

Ghada Mohammed Al Yousef Executive Manager, Communications and Sustainability, Electricity Holding Group Cross-sector knowledge Haifa started her career with PDO in 1995, following her graduation from Ball State University in US with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in marketing and a minor in interpersonal relationships from the department of counselling psychology. After holding several positions in PDO including that of contracts engineer (well services), Haifa moved to London to continue her studies, while working with Shell-Oil Products, on structural cost reduction. Haifa returned to PDO as the head of finance planning (capital projects) before being posted to Shell- Gas & Power, where she was the regional manager for planning and reporting, based in Dubai, looking after Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. She was later appointed in PDO as finance manager for EOR project, financial controller and finance manager. This was followed by a brief posting in Hague with Shell International Exploration and Production BV. She assumed her current role as finance director (CFO) and company secretary in July 2012.

Haifa Juma Al Khaifi Finance Director, Petroleum Development Oman Multi-faceted talent Hind Bahwan has proved her mettle as an enterprising and dynamic businesswoman by founding Bahwan CyberTek Group which is focused on IT, logistics and engineering projects. She is also the director of Suhail Bahwan Group, one of Oman's premier family groups. Hind is involved in and has served on the boards of a variety of public and private organisations.

She is a member of the Middle Centre Advisory Board of the London School of Economics and a board member of the Family Business Network for GCC. She had served as a member on the Middle East Advisory Board of the Deutsche Bank and on the board of Oman's Public Authority for Social Insurance. She is a recipient of many honours including Ernst & Young's 'Oman's Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2000', 'e-Achiever of the Year' award by Arabian Business, 'IT Women of the Year 2002' award by UNDP, 'Global Leaders for Tomorrow' award by the World Economic Forum, 'Global Young Leader' by the World Economic Forum and 'Woman of Power Award' by Asian Business Leadership Forum.

Hind Bahwan, Director, Suhail Bahwan Group & the Founder and Chairperson of Bahwan CyberTek A people's person With a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, Ibtisam joined PDO in 1989 as a computer programmer. She obtained her MBA from Aberdeen University in Scotland, while on a cross posting assignment in Shell UK Exploration and Production. Ibtisam held a number of roles in PDO including head of subsurface application portfolio, SAP Mustaqbal, change and implementation manager, and manager of information management and technology. She was later appointed as director for corporate planning, responsible for the annual business planning process, change and lean deployment, new technology, corporate performance management, gas and water management. In this role she served as the custodian of the hydrocarbon accounting system and the technology support agreement. Ibtisam has recently been appointed as director of people and change that assumes all human resources duties.

Ibtisam Al Riyami People and Change Director, Petroleum Development Oman Entrepreneurial development Ilham Al Hamaid's career with Bank Muscat spanning 14 years is replete with creditable achievements. She has been instrumental in initiating vital contributions to the SME sector in Oman. Ilham joined Bank Muscat in 2001 as account relationship manager - corporate credit and moved up in quick succession as unit head - large corporates and head - SME credit & marketing. Ilham is a member of prominent committees serving the SME sector in Oman, including the SME committee at OCCI and SME mentorship programme at PASMED. She was invited to address prominent forums, including the Oman Economic Forum organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2014, and the SME symposium organised on the Royal directive in Bahla in 2013. Ilham holds an MBA and Bachelor of Science in Finance from Sultan Qaboos University . She is currently attending the general management programme at Harvard Business School in the United States.

Ilham bint Murtadha Al Hamaid Assistant General Manager - SME Credit, Marketing & Regional Corporates, Bank Muscat Experienced hand Intisar Al Kindy, previously general manager and country chair of Shell Jordan, has taken up the role of exploration director at Petroleum Development Oman. Following a Master's of Science in petroleum geology from the Imperial College, University of London, Intisaar joined PDO as a trainee in the exploration department where she spent six years learning the tools of the trade and developing her skills in three exploration evaluation teams. In 1997, Intisaar was cross-posted to Shell Expro in London, returning four years later to PDO for a brief stint as an exploration portfolio analyst. She was assigned to her first leadership role, heading what was then the exploration government gas team. She later took on the role of exploration manager of North Oman Oil Team before being cross-posted to Shell to manage the Jordan Oil Shell project. Intisaar was later appointed as general manager and country chair of Shell Jordan. On her return to PDO, she was appointed as the exploration director, a role in which she is accountable for all of PDO's oil and gas exploration activities.

Intisar Al Kindi Exploration Director, Petroleum Development Oman Marketing brands Jannat Moosa has mastered the art of adapting internationally known and beloved brands to the Omani market.

Among these brands are a boutique bakery called BreadTalk, the home of Afro-Portuguese PERi PERi Chicken known as Nando's and a second home that makes each cup of coffee with love by the name of Second Cup.

With a vision to contribute to the transformation of the retail and hospitality industry in Oman to offer customers a wider, more exciting range of food and beverage options, Bin Mirza International is soon to open the very first Steak Escape in the country. Believing that people are the key to success, the company focuses its efforts on the development of its staff to continue providing services of the highest international standards to its guests.

Jannat Moosa Marketing Director, Bin Mirza International (BMI) Quest for Excellence Growing up in Canada, Lubna Al Kharusi did her Bachelor's in Commerce from McGill University. She returned to Oman because 'it was sunny, tax free and her family was here.' She joined the finance department of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in 1997. In her stint covering 10 years at the company she handled various responsibilities like budgeting, treasury, financial accounting, change management, investor relations, well engineering, financial services etc. She was cross posted to Shell in London from PDO. While working at PDO she pursued a chartered accountancy course, becoming a fellow of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). She left PDO after a decade to work for Takamul (a part of Oman Oil Company) as its financial manager. She took a break from work to pursue a Master's in London. On her return, Lubna joined Omran as the chief financial officer. She is also acting as the company's chief strategic officer, chief investment officer and sits on the board of some of Omran's joint venture companies.

Lubna Al Kharusi Chief Financial Officer, Omran Dynamism to the core Lujaina was ranked 18th as 'The Most Influential Arab Women from Government and Family Business' by Forbes Middle East in 2013, in addition to being ranked 24th along with her sisterAreej in 2014. Forbes Arabia identified her as the 42nd amongst 50 most prominent and influential Arab ladies in December 2004. In March 2006 and May 2008 she was ranked 13th and 21st amongst the 50 most powerful businesswomen in the Arab World. Lujaina started her career as a Lecturer in English language at Sultan Qaboos University in 1991. She joined her father's company Mohsin Haider Darwish in 1994 and is currently holding the position of joint deputy chairperson heading human resources, Omanisation & training department. She was one among the few women candidates to be elected for the first time to the Majlis A'Shura, representing Muscat constituency from 2001 to 2007. She was nominated to numerous awards including Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2005.

Lujaina Mohsin Darwish Joint Deputy Chairperson, Heading Human Resources & Omanisation Department Nurturing SMEs She has been spearheading the SME development in Oman since 2012 and has been a member of the executive committee of the high level SME symposium in Saih Al Shamikhat as well as the team leader of the entrepreneur open market. Currently, as the director general of an exclusive centre to support the development and growth of small and medium enterprises, Malak is busy redrawing the SME landscape of the Sultanate.

She began her career at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry as a market researcher at the industrial development unit. In early 2011 Malak started her own consultancy Creative Links with a specific focus on strategy development as well as human resources consultancy. In 2012, she partnered with Talent2, an international consultancy to introduce learning and development solutions into the Omani market. She holds BSC in business administration from Washington University St Louis; MBA from Strathclyde University, Glasgow; and diploma in Islamic banking from the Institute of Islamic Banking, United Kingdom.

Malak Ahmed Al Shaibani Director General, National Business Centre under Public Establishment for Industrial Estates Promoting acts of kindness Dar al Atta'a, which had a humble beginning in 2002, is now one of the largest charitable organisations in the region. Dar Al Atta'a which was conceived and developed by Maryam and her team members 12 years ago has today become a synonym for charity in Oman. It speaks volumes about her passion to work for the underprivileged sections of the society In September, 2013, Maryam led a team from Dar al Atta'a to receive the Shaikh Issa bin Ali bin Khalifa al Khalifa voluntary work awards in Bahrain. The award was instituted to honour prominent figures in volunteering work representing 17 Arab countries and the United Nations Volunteer Programme. She shares the credit with her colleagues stating that each board member has a specific responsibility and they work hard to fulfil their duties. Dar al Atta'a is striving its best to be the link between the giver and the recipient.

Maryam Al Zadjali Chairperson, Dar Al Atta'a Specialised edge Moza Al Adawi is the chief operations officer (COO) of Daleel Petroleum. She holds an MSc degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California in US and has 30 years work experience in the oil and gas industry. During her career she worked with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) as a reservoir engineer for eight years. It was a period in which she oversaw the development of oil fields in Marmul, Nimr and Rima. Moza contributed in the initial formulation of steam injection - one of the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques used in some of the heavy oil fields in Oman. Moza also worked with the Ministry of Oil and Gas, initially as a petroleum engineering expert and later as the director general of Oil & Gas Development and Production. Moza also oversaw most of the major oil and gas developments both in upstream as well as downstream such as the Oman LNG, Oman Refineries. She later moved onto become the COO at Daleel Petroleum. Over the last eight years she has engineered the growth of the company in all fronts by implementing the best industry practices.

Moza Al Adawi Chief Operations Officer, Daleel Petroleum Engaging the community She is the driving force behind various philanthropic and community engagement programmes of Bank Sohar, one of the fastest growing banks in Oman. Munira Abdulnabi Macki heads the HR department at Bank Sohar, as the DGM of human resource and corporate support. Over the years, Bank Sohar has garnered a solid reputation as having one of the most active corporate responsibility programmes amongst financial institutions in the Sultanate. Under her astute management, the HR department has managed to achieve an exceptional Omanisation rate of 90 per cent within the bank. Holder of a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and psychology from Beirut Arab University, Lebanon, and a Master's degree in education from Sheffield University, UK, Munira began her career as a teacher from 1980 to 1983 and moved on to be the headmistress of the Ministry of Education school from 1983 to 1991. She held the position of the deputy director of educational activities, Ministry of Education from 1991 to 1996.

Munira Macki DGM, Human Resources and Corporate Support, Bank Sohar Unleashing innovation Nada opted for a massive career change when she moved from the banking sector to her family-owned business. After completing her Master's in Financial Services from Glasgow, UK, she came back to Oman and joined the National Bank of Oman (NBO) where she worked as a financial analyst before she decided to make the 'big' move. Since Nada joined Salmanstores she has attempted to bring in several innovations such as Salmanstores Advantage Card and new advertisement concepts. The shift to a marketing position in her family business has changed both life and career dimensions for Nada. "I wanted a change. It was not that I was unhappy in my previous job but I thought the place to be was in the family business and hence I made the decision to jump into a totally different line," she explains. She also adds that being part of the family business also means that people expect more in terms of what you can do and how well you can do it.

Nada Maqbool Sulaiman Director, Salman Corporation A multi-faceted personality Naashiah is a member of State Council since 2011. She was the chairperson of Oman Women's Association at Muscat governorate elected in 2012. Earlier, she had served two terms as a member of the board of directors of the association. In addition, Naashiah was appointed as a member of Consultative Commission for the Supreme Council of the GCC in 2013.

She served as a full-time member of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the Sultanate from 2007 to 2011. She was deputed by the government from 2002 to July 2007 to establish the first Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) in Oman. She served as a full time member of the temporary committee which managed TRA functions and responsibilities until permanent members of TRA were appointed. She served as a telecommunications advisor to the Minister of Transport and Communications, advising on all technical and policy matters relating to the telecommunications sector development from 1980 to 2002.

Naashiah bint Saoud Al Kharusi Member-State Council Brand development Over the past 15 years, Najla Zuhair Al Jamali has worked in various onshore and offshore operational roles as well as managerial and consultancy positions in Africa, Europe mand the Middle East at reputable companies including Vale, Schlumberger Business Consulting, IHS Energy, Shell and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). As head of strategy at Oman Oil Company, Najla contributes her extensive experience in helping shape the company's strategic direction to fulfill the company's objectives of maximising value for Oman from its resources. Najla holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in Mathematics with Applied Mathematics/ Mathematical Physics from Imperial College, London. She also attained a Master of Science degree in Financial Management from the University of London and participated in a leadership programme at INSEAD, in France.

Najla Zuhair Al-Jamali Associate Director - Strategy & Performance Management, Oman Oil Company Dynamism galore Nasima has more than 11 years of experience in financial and administrative affairs. She spent the last two years focusing on the development of Oman's export potential by enhancing interaction between government entities and more than 200 Omani exporters as well as fostering the capabilities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as part of an overarching strategy that aims to identify high-potential export markets and respective target industries. In addition, Nasima is an active member of a number of reputable committees including the coordination committee for OPEX and the industry and SME committees at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She also serves as a board member of the Arab Association for Industrial Export Development in Egypt. A graduate of the Sultan Qaboos University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Nasima has furthered her professional development and cultivated her business acumen through various training programmes in strategy development and leadership, to name but a few.

Nasima Yahya Al Balushi Director General of Export Development, Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa) Determination personified A graduate of The Sultan's School in Oman, Natasha pursued her education in Switzerland at Franklin University and earned a Bachelor in Business Management with a minor in French. After graduation, she did an internship with Costain PLC in England. Working in Europe was quite a boost and also a shock, but she realised later that working and learning with an established European firm was the best thing for her. On her return to Oman, Natasha held various positions in different sectors of her father's company, Yahya Enterprises (now Yahya Group Holding). She worked initially in Snowhite helping to steer its expansion and development. As a director and COO, she is involved in all aspects of the company. In 2007, she was nominated by a Royal Decree to be a board member for the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The experience gave her a better understanding of the government sector. In the same year she was appointed as the head of the businesswoman forum.

Natasha Yahya Mohammed Nasib Director and Chief Operating Officer, Yahya Group Holding Building strategic partnership Since 2010, Neelima heads the operations of one of Oman's iconic infrastructure projects -the Sohar Freezone. The 4,500-hectare freezone project spearheaded by Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) is a joint venture between the Government of Oman, the Port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands and SKIL Infrastructure in India. Neelima who has been the COO of the project since January 2010 brings to the table a wealth of expertise and knowledge. Before joining SIPC, Neelima was involved in setting up the Pipavav Port, India's first private sector port. She has specialised in transport and logistics in the Netherlands at Delft and Rotterdam and has a Master's degree from the World Maritime University.

Neelima Vyas COO, Port of Sohar An experienced hand Sayyida Rawan has the distinction of being the only women to hold a CEO's position in a listed company in Oman. Prior to joining Takaful Oman, she served as the managing director and group CEO of ONIC Holding Group. She has held the position of deputy CEO at State General Reserve Fund of Oman. Sayyida Rawan holds a MSc in Economics & Finance from Loughborough University UK. She also holds a post graduate diploma in Investment Analysis from Stirling University, UK and a BA in Economics & Political Science from the American University (AUC), Cairo. In 2011, she was awarded the Business Professional (BizPro) Leader Award and in 2012, was ranked 14th in the Forbes Middle East for the 'Most Powerful Arab Business Women in Listed Companies'. She has been on the Board of Life & General Insurance companies for six years and envisaged the idea of setting up of Takaful Insurance business in Oman. She is a board member in a number of reputed Institutions in Oman and across the GCC.

Sayyida Rawan Ahmed Al Said Managing Director and CEO, Takaful Oman Insurance Committed to a cause Sahar Askalan carved a niche for her by becoming the first Omani woman to set up a law firm in the Sultanate. Before establishing her Legal Advocacy, she had worked with leading international law firms such as Allen & Overy (London), Theodore Goddard (at present Addleshaw Goddard, London), Clifford Chance (Paris) and Richard's Butler (Abu-Dhabi).

Sahar graduated from Boston University of Massachusetts in US and obtained her dual post-graduate professional qualification at BPP Law School, London. She is a member of the Inner Temple, London and the Law Society of England and Wales and the International Bar Association. Sahar strives hard to raise the standards of legal practice in Oman.

Sahar Askalan Principal, Sahar Askalan Legal Advocacy Promoting wellbeing Seeniya Biju heads the Oman operations of one of the leading healthcare providers, Aster Al Raffah Hospital, which began its operation in 2008 and currently has six branches in Oman. She joined the hospital in 2009 and played a vital role in setting up the facility along with starting up further units in the country. Before Al Raffah, she was the senior manager - administration for Teejan Group of Companies for ten years. Her passion and customer centric focus, expertise in quality and marketing has played a pioneering role in steering the remarkable growth of organisations that she has worked with. Seeniya emphasises a lot on CSR activities and believes in giving back to the society of Oman where she has spent 14 years of her life. While at Teejan, she had 1,400 employees working under her and now leads a team of 1,000 employees in the healthcare sector. Seeniya strongly believes in empowering women especially Omanis making sure they are given key roles in the organisation where she works.

Seeniya Biju Chief Operating Officer & Country Head, Aster Al Raffah Hospitals & Clinics Sharifa Al-Barami Co-Founder & CEO, AlJazeera Technical Solutions & Training Promoting entrepreneurship In her capacity as the founder of BizHub Entrepreneurs Co- Working Space in Oman and executive partner of AlJazeera Global Services & Investments (AGSI), Sharifa Al Barami plays an important role in creating and promoting entrepreneurship ecosystem in Oman. She is also a primary consultant of the "CELL" start-up accelerator initiative. Currently Sharifa is the vice-president of the Business Women Forum at the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and was member of its Small & Medium Enterprise Committee from 2011 to 2013. From 2010 to 2012, she was the vice-president of Omani Woman's Association in Muscat. Earlier she had worked as a business consultant, programmes manager and trainer at Amideast/Oman, spearheading the set-up and launch of the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute for the organisation in Oman. Sharifa bagged 'Women of Excellence' award (2012) in entrepreneurship, and 'Business Personality of the Year award' (2011), in appreciation of her contribution to SMEs in Oman.

A versatile personality Sharifa has played a pivotal role in setting up the MB Group of Companies since its inception in 1982. Ever since, she has been instrumental in advising the group companies on human resources policy and development. She also plays an active role in nurturing and developing government and community relations. Sharifa has a BA in Business Administration from Jordan University and also holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Texas Southern University. She also heads the Mohammed Al Barwani Charity Foundation. The foundation aims to provide scholarships to students who are covered by the social welfare scheme, support patients who require medical treatment locally or abroad (covered by the social welfare scheme), support families under the social care (insurance) scheme, offer humanitarian aid in cases of emergency and disasters and support Omani Women Associations.

Sharifa Al Harthy Vice Chairperson, MB Holding Company Multi-faceted talent Shatha is the country managing director of Protiviti Oman, with 17 years of rich international experience. Her multi- faceted experience includes business and risk consulting as well as internal audit and IT consulting. She is also the regional MD for organisational transformation and human capital consulting for the Middle East region. She graduated from The American University, Washington DC, US, and then spent the first eight years of her career at Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). During that period, she obtained her MBA from UK and then joined Shell Oman Marketing Company as the head of treasury, management information systems, and insurance. She was then rehired by PwC in US where she became part of the leadership team for the system and process assurance practice. During her US stint, she was awarded with the first honorary mention for Coach of the Quarter and was also one of the six national winners at PwC for a winning contribution to the Centre for Advanced Research for championing in technology solutions.

Shatha Al Maskiry, Country Managing Director, Protiviti Oman & Regional Managing Director, Human Capital Consulting Customer-oriented For Sheila, the key to success in business is focusing on customers' needs, developing the talents of staff and ensuring integrity and responsibility in actions. As a security information technology company established 30 years ago, Al Madina Development & Supply always tries to introduce the best products available in the market. In addition to traditional solutions such as electronic passport solutions, barcodes solutions, key management solutions and applications developments, the company is working with the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs to develop a web-based application to register the pilgrims all over the Sultanate, besides printing their encoded smart identification cards which contain state- of-the-art security features. Her plans for the company in the years ahead include promoting Omani products outside Oman. Sheila's advice to young women is to think out of the box which will allow them to embrace different possibilities, opportunities, views, suggestions and interests which will result in a richer experience and success.

Sheila Jamal CEO, Al Madina Development & Supply For environment's sake HH Sayyida Tania is at the helm of Environment Society of Oman (ESO) - the only NGO dedicated for environmental conservation and protection in Oman.

She is a founding member of ESO and has served as the president since its establishment. Sayyida Tania is involved in various projects and initiatives to raise awareness of environmental issues in Oman. She has initiated 'Say No to Plastic Bags' campaign and organises the annual fundraising ball of ESO. She won the GCC Award for the best environmental personality in the Arabian Gulf Region in 2009 and was honoured at the Sheikh Issa bin Ali al Khalifa Awards for Voluntary Work as one of the leading volunteers in the Arab world, in October, 2012. HH Sayyida Tania holds a BS degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology and a diploma in Early Childhood Education.

HH Sayyida Tania bint Shabib Al Said President, Environment Society of Oman Aiming high Wisam is a seasoned communications professional with rich experience through a full spectrum of disciplines. Currently she heads the corporate communication affairs of Oman's first Islamic bank, Bank Nizwa. Wisam who joined the bank in 2012 during its pre-launch period played a vital role in helping the bank to establish itself as the pioneer of Islamic finance in the Sultanate, and after the launch in spreading awareness about its various Sharia-compliant products and services in the market. Before moving to Bank Nizwa, Wisam had a stint with Oman Oil Marketing Company as its corporate affairs maanger. She completed her high school diploma at an international school in Paris and obtained a Bachelor's degree in international corporate communications from the American University of Paris and a Master's degree in strategic marketing from Cardiff University in the UK. After her Bachelor's, Wisam had worked briefly with UNESCO and International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Wisam firmly believes only through hard work, proving oneself and setting achievable goals that one can get where one wants to reach.

Sayyida Wisam Al Said Manager - Corporate Communications, Bank Nizwa Dedicated for a mission Yuthar Al Rawahi's name is synonymous with Oman Cancer Association (OCA), the first registered, non-governmental, non-profit organisation at the Ministry of Social Development, of which she is the founder and chairperson. The organisation works to create cancer awareness and promotes early intervention through self-examination. Yuthar is a cancer survivor dedicated to advocating for cancer patients and their empowerment. Dar Al Hanan (Home Away From Home) project is her latest outreach initiative through which NACA provides accommodations for families accompanying their children for cancer treatment at the Royal Hospital in Muscat. Dar Al Hanan caters primarily to families from outside the Muscat Governorate area. A member of the State Council, Yuthar is also involved in numerous community programmes. She graduated from the American University of Cairo and worked at the college of Medicine in Sultan Qaboos University in the Dean's Office as medical education officer from 1996 to 2000.

Yuthar Al Rawahi Founder and Chairperson, Oman Cancer Association Promoting heritage The business that Zuwaina Al Rashdi owns has much to do with preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Sultanate.

Dar al Herfya (World of Handicrafts), that she set up after leaving her job as the branding and market communication manager with Omran, focuses on producing, selling, marketing, and promoting traditional Omani crafts. Dar al Herfya aims to provide a platform to products made by people staying in the remote areas of Oman. Handicraft items by 355 families from different villages in Oman are available at the Dar al Herfya outlet in Madinat as Sultan Qaboos (MQ) which opened in March, 2014. Zuwaina holds a Bachelor's Degree (BSc) in journalism and information from Sultan Qaboos University and High National Diploma in development journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. She has an excellent track record as an experienced branding and marketing communication professional with Oman's leading corporates such as Oman Mobile, Omantel and Omran.

Zuwaina bint Sultan Al Rashdi CEO, Dar al Herfya (World of Handicrafts) Bridging the digital divide Dr Zahra AL-Rawahi is the director of research, information and communication technology at the Research Council. She was assistant professor and computer and information technology chairperson at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) - College of Medicine & Health Sciences for several years. She is the founder of telemedicine and medical informatics group at SQU. She is also a member of many international professional organisations on information and communication technology. Dr Al-Rawahi was responsible, in particular, for developing the e-learning/e- assessment solutions and driving the integration of ICT in higher education. She is currently investigating methods of using information technology to build efficient e-government systems that use ICT to deliver better services to citizens and businesses. Dr Al-Rawahi holds a Ph.D in computer sciences and artificial intelligences from University of Sussex, a Master degree in educational technology from New Mexico State University and a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Sultan Qaboos University.

Zahra Al Rawahi Director of Research - Information & Communication Technology, The Research Council , Oman Customer focussed telecom services Since Ahlem joined Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa in September 2011, she has held senior commercial roles both in the Dubai-based group headquarter and in its Oman operation, where she is heading the commercial team behind FRiENDi. Her team has been instrumental in mkaing FRiENDi the undisputed local MVNO leader in Oman, as well as one of the top three MVNOs globally with a market share above 8 per cent. Ahlem has previously worked in a number of commercial roles in the MEA telecom sector, including at Inwi (formerly Wana Corporate) the leading telecom operator in the internet and fixed line in Morocco and with more than 28 per cent market share in the mobile segment. Ahlem also worked as head of acquisition for both prepaid and postpaid market at Tunisiana in her native country of Tunisia, where she launched a number of services and offers.

Ahlem Bouzid Marketing Director, FRiENDi Mobile Strategic leadership Aliya Al Aufi is currently the head of talent management and sourcing strategy at Takatuf Oman, the human capital solutions and advisory company wholly owned by by Oman Oil Company. In line with Takatuf's mission to support business growth through talent development, Aliya is responsible for advising and consulting a portfolio of independently functioning companies who are considered Oman Oil Group companies. In 2013, Aliya won the Young HR Professional of the Year in the Middle East Award from IIR INFORMA. Prior to her current position, Aliya worked in various talent development roles at the National Bank of Oman overseeing the bank's strategic human capital initiatives. Between 2005 and 2007, Al Aufi was the sales manager of the pharmaceutical conferences division for Marcus Evans in Prague, Czech Republic. Within two years she was promoted from junior sales officer to sales manager. In 2003 and 2004, she worked for Honeywell CZ Ltd as project coordinator for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

Aliya M Al Aufi, Head of Talent Management and Sourcing Strategy, Takatuf Oman Striving for perfection Amaal has a Master's degree in Human Resources Management. Prior to working with the Zubair Corporation, she worked at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah as a human resources manager. Amaal holds several certificates of appreciation from Diwan of Royal Court (The Omani Society for Fine Arts), Ministry of Heath, Ministry of Higher Education, Al Ahli Club, Ministry of Manpower, National Association for Cancer, Oman Association for Disabled, Creative award and Middle from Royal & Sun Alliance insurance Oman for bringing the new brand to life (Brand Baby). Amaal is a member of Oman Association for Disabled and Oman Cancer Association. She is fluent in sign language and has worked for public and private channels as a broadcaster, voice commentator and so on. Her advice to young Omani women is to be focused and hardworking and strive for perfection. Nothing in life comes easy and do not wait for opportunities to better yourself, she says.

Amaal Ahmed Ibrahim Al Lawati Corporate Communications Manager, The Zubair Corporation A trailblazer Amaal became the first Omani female director in Nawras when she was appointed as director of billing and collection in 2014. Currently she heads a team of 45 Omani employees. In addition to this role, Amaal is also acting as the customer experience chief. Amaal started her career with National Bank of Oman as a management trainee in 1995, and within a couple of months was promoted to an officer in the trade finance section. In 2000, Amaal joined Majan International Bank as an assistant manager and later that year joined Bank Dhofar as a manager in the treasury department. Amaal joined Nawras prior to its launch as a manager in the billing backoffice. She was appointed as department head in February 2008 for billing and collections, having demonstrated key exceptional leadership skills. Amaal graduated from the College of Science at Sultan Qaboos University in 1995 with over 18 years' experience in the telecom and banking sectors in Oman.

Amaal Hussain Al Lawati Customer Experience Chief, Nawras Pursuit of Excellence Insherah is the head of corporate affairs for Standard Chartered Oman. She joined the bank in 2007 and worked in retail banking division. Her previous roles in the organisation included customer services manager and relationship manager under wealth management. She worked with the retail team in Oman and the region to launch the priority banking services in Oman. In 2010, Insherah took on two managing positions, one as a service quality manager and the other as a corporate affairs manager. She was instrumental in setting up both departments for the bank before taking on the role of head of corporate affairs in 2012. She was appointed as a member of the country management team (CMG) in October 2012 making her the first female to join the CMG team in Standard Chartered Oman. Prior to joining Standard Chartered Bank, Insherah was the marketing executive for Emirates Airlines, Oman. Insherah has an MBA in Management from the University of Missouri St Louis.

Insherah Bawazir Head of Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Oman A key enabler Jumana Alhashmi has been working as a marketing development manager for over six years. Her experience encompasses public relations, CSR, corporate communications, financing and branding for some of the largest companies in the Sultanate. She was born in Bristol, UK and raised in Oman. After finishing high school, Jumana completed her bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature. She started her professional career as a trainee, corporate communications at Taageer Finance Company. "I had the good fortune of getting rigorous training and mentorship before joining the company as its corporate communications officer. Interacting with clients in various fields provided me with invaluable training and experience," says Jumana. After working for Taageer for three years she joined Al-Khalili Group.

In her current role she executes marketing campaigns for the company. Jumana has demonstrated technical marketing skills and product knowledge over the years. She manages all aspects of branding, print production and distribution. Apart from these, she is involved with the group's CSR activities. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, reading, yoga and cooking.

Jumana Alhashmi Marketing Development Manager, Al-Khalili Group Setting new benchmark Mahira Saqib, a long time resident of Muscat, has been actively involved in a wide array of activities spanning customer service, event management and marketing management.

Well known within industry circles as a 'go-getter' and trusted by her superiors for getting a job done irrespective of its challenges, she has proved herself time and again by sheer hard work. People who know her have no hesitation in vouching for her abilities and can-do spirit. Her sharp and smart decision making capabilities, penchant and passion for a hands-on style of working have been appreciated by people who have worked with her. Currently serving as the assistant marketing manager in Oman for the multinational Jotun Paints, Mahira has carved a niche for herself in the organisation by exceeding the expectations of her senior management.

Mahira Saqib Assistant Marketing Manager - Oman, Jotun Paints Playing a vital role As a senior executive in HSBC Bank Oman, Nahla is responsible for developing and implementing the bank's commercial banking strategy, which is focused on providing financial solutions and expertise to help business customers achieve their ambitions. Her role also has an important focus on strengthening the bank's corporate change management, compliance and risk control frameworks. Nahla has 20 years of financial services experience in the banking, finance and audit sectors, and since joining HSBC in 2000, has a number of senior region-wide roles with responsibilities spanning HSBC's Middle East and North Africa region. As a female Omani executive, Nahla recognises the importance of supporting and inspiring Omani youth to seek out and explore roles in business. She has participated as a guest speaker at local forums to this end, and acts as a mentor to others to help develop future Omani talent. She is also passionate about the environment, in addition to supporting local initiatives.

Nahla S Al Kharusi Deputy General Manager & Head of Business Management, Commercial Banking, HSBC Bank Oman Brand building Rabha Al Suleimany graduated from The Sultan School, in 1995 and pursued a career in Nutrition. She obtained a BSc degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) and MMed Sci in Human Nutrition from University of Sheffield, UK. After working in the Ministry of Health (headquarters) in the non-communicable disease department for two years, Rabha pursued yet another Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Bedfordshire, UK. After completing five years at the Ministry of Health, Rabha worked for BP Oman as a community liaison officer and later at Nawa International (investment company) as corporate planning and business development administrator. She currently heads the department of corporate communication at Taageer Finance Company. Rabha is hardworking and has an eye for creativity, technology, psychology, mnagement, education, women leadership and social Media. She aspires to give back to Oman in a big way.

Rabha Al Suleimany Senior Executive, Corporate Communication Department, Taageer Finance Company A team leader Sabriya Ghamtil Al Raisi holds extensive experience in business administration. She brings vitality, professionalism and warmth to the table, and finds her work rewarding and fulfilling. Sabriya provides administrative leadership for the Shanfari Group's corporate office, and has been recognised for her punctuality and responsive attitude. After finishing her higher secondary schooling, Sabriya planned to proceed along with her career in business administration. She started her career as an administration executive in 1996 and over the last 15 years has built up strong skills ensuring that her services benefit the company and its objectives. She holds various certifications related to business administration and organisational development; human resource management and other skill development programmes. She is a team player who achieves success by building consensus. She thrives on challenges and tough assignments and believes that work should be fulfilling and rewarding. In addition to her love for reading books, Sabriya enjoys spending quality time with her husband and children.

Sabriya Ghamtil Al Raisi Group Administration Manager, Shanfari Group of Companies Scaling new heights An English literature graduate from Cairo University, Zayana Al Badai has a vast wealth of accumulated experience from her earlier positions at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Education and the private sector institutions. At Daleel Petroleum, Zayana develops and implements communication strategies, policies and materials for corporate communications, in addition to promoting the brand identity and handling media relations. Zayana also holds an educational qualification from Sultan Qaboos University and a professional certificate in translation from the American University in Cairo.

Zayana Al Badai Corporate Communications Specialist, Daleel Petroleum 66 Spirit of innovation As the marketing and communication manger of one of Oman's most diversified automotive group, Zuweina is tasked with implementing and expanding a new digital and social media strategy to raise the company's profile and market its activities. She maximise the publicity of the company by ensuring and maintaining a strong corporate image of the company among the public. She joined Zubair Automotive in 2000 as a call centre supervisor and scaled new heights in her career during the last 14 years, handling multi-faceted roles across various key verticals of the organisation. Zuweina who had served as a webmaster with General Automotive company, and manager of graduate recruitment and development with Zubair Corporation, was instrumental in designing GOLD (Graduates Omani Leadership Development). She holds a Master of Business and Administration (MBA) degree certified by Bedfordshire in Majan College and Bachelor of Science in Marketing, from College of Commerce & Economics, SQU.

Zuweina Said Al Azri Communications Manager, Zubair Automotive Group (c) 2014 United Press & Publishing LLC Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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