GAWBL.connect – Virtual Meeting Series



 

In cooperation with:

Logo Sanad
 

  • 27 January 2021, 1 - 3pm (CET)Financing Women Entrepreneurs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Iveta Tancheva-Nikolova, Director, Finance in Motion

    Speakers:
    - Yasmina El Hosseiny, Head of Strategic Planning, Export Development Bank of Egypt
    - Tamara Abdel-Jaber, Partner, Amam Ventures
    - Sana Afouaiz, Founder and Director, Womenpreneur Initiative
    - Hiba Mansour, Founder & CEO of Sajilni.com
  • 17 February 2021, 1 - 3pm (CET)Diversity & Inclusion: Stepping back in times of Corona?

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Carla Everhardt, Attorney at Law, Associate Partner, Roedl & Partner

    Speakers:
    - Katja Ploner, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Advisor, Siemens AG, Germany
    - Malek Dardour, Cluster Head GCC, Henkel, UAE
    -Ashraf Al Mamari, People Function Leader, OQ, Oman
    -Lisa Kepinski, Founder & Director, Inclusion Institute, Co-Founder & Partner, Inclusion Nudges
    Nancy Samy, Executive Director for Sanabel-The Microfinance Network of Arab Countries
  • 17 March 2021, 1 - 3pm (CET)Women in the Health Sector: Navigating the Pandemic

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Nicole Formica-Schiller, CEO & Founder, Pamanicor Health AG, Switzerland

    Speakers:
    - Dr. Oualae Al Alami, Vice President, Cluster Lead for Egypt, Levant, Iraq and Iran, Pfizer Biopharmaceutical Group, UAE
    - Hanan Saab, Owner Pharmamed, Lebanon
    -Tom Ruyten, Head of Enterprise Service, Market Development Europe, Middle East & Africa, Siemens Healthcare GmbH
    -Yara Abo El Waffa, Healthcare Technical Advisor, Mott MacDonald
  • 31 March 2021, 1 - 3pm (CET)Shaping post‐COVID‐19: How can the Pandemic be a Catalyst for Progress?

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Kathrin Lemke, Representative, German Industry & Commerce Office, Qatar
    Keynote: HE Brigitte Zypries, Former German Minister for Economy

    Speakers:
    - Prof. Sabine Wölflick, Munich University of Applied Science, Design Thinking Munich, Germany (covering the aspect of training/coaching innovative thinking)
    - Sahana Arun Kumar, Managing Partner, Avrio Impact SAS (covering the aspect of digitalization)
    - Nadine Chehade, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
    - Dr. Elham Kateeb, Co-chair for OWSD, Organization of Women in Science in Developing Countries/Palestine Chapter, Dean of Scientific Research, Al‐Quds University
  • 24 November 2021, 1 - 2.3pm (CET) Impact Stories: Meet Womenpreneur-Initiative

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Charlene Wohlsperger, Digital Strategy Lead, Finance in Motion
    Speakers:
    - Sana Afouaiz, Founder & Director, Womenpreneur-Initiative
    - Menna Shahin, Founder She Travels, Co-Founder Tekeya
    - Nisrine El Turky, Founder & CEO of Internet of Trees (IOTrees)
  • 15 December 2021, 1 - 3pm (CET) Women in STEM: Drivers for Innovation

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Dr. Cate Morgan, Research Center Jülich, Coordinator Palestinian-German Science Bridge
    Speakers:
    - Dr. Carola Meyer, Group Leader, Physics Department, University Osnabrück, Deputy Spokesperson Equal Opportunities, German Physical Society
    - Teresa Spanò, Equality Officer, Max-Planck Society
    - Hala Barakat, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, AUC School of Business
  • 26 January 2022, 1 - 3pm (CET) Closing the Gender Gap: Sure, But How To Really Do?

    Zoom call, only upon invitation, no fee

    Moderator:
    - Sana Bardawil, Co-Chair & Board Member, Arab International Women’s Forum
    Speakers:
    - Eng. Elham Zeadat, CEO, Co-Owner & Founder, CEO BLOOM Dead Sea Gift Enterprises, Jordan
    - Reghina Ribalev, Manager, Finance in Motion
    - Rola El Amine, Innovation Business Manager, Vitas Group

Virtual Meeting Series

Outline


The pandemic has affected girls and women specifically and disproportionately. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID‐19 are exacerbated for women and girls. Women are playing an outsized role responding to COVID‐19, including as frontline healthcare workers, caregivers at home, and as mobilizers in their communities. Women have lost their jobs or seen their employment situation deteriorate while being overstreched due to their precarious employment condition. Women have suffered violence in their homes during confinement. From there, we must remind the importance of not abandoning, but rather reinforcing our commitment to foster equal participation in decision‐making processes, to empower women on all levels and to secure their active role in post‐pandemic times.

*Please mention the session name or date you are interested in, when registering for the virtual session

GAWBL
Established in 2018 our mission is to connect, engage and empower women across Germany, the Arab world and the international community. Building on our shared momentum at the GAWBL‐Summit 2018 and in the light of the current global pandemic, we are delighted to share with you our virtual meeting series in cooperation with SANAD TAF.
COVID-19
The pandemic proves that it is now more important than ever to continue our endeavour to connect women. Resilience, innovation and solidarity are key when adapting to new and unprecedented scenarios. Together we must address the challenges, develop new strategies and strengthen our network. Our commitment is to moving forward, taking this crisis as an opportunity to accelerate our joint efforts in shaping the future together. We are very happy to welcoming our GAWBL network to our new format of virtual exchange.

Session 1: Financing Women Entrepreneurs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This session will discuss the impact of COVID‐19 on Women Entrepreneurs and the response from financial institutions to counter the negative impact. We will discuss how women entrepreneurs can unlock their underlying potential and turn the crisis into opportunities instead. The panel will also provide valuable insight into lessons learnt and identify key imperatives for the way forward to capitalize on some structural shifts that the pandemic has presented.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Iveta Tancheva-Nikolova

Director, Finance in Motion


Iveta is responsible for the SANAD Debt Sub-Fund and previously oversaw the investment portfolios for two other global impact investment funds advised by Finance in Motion. Finance in Motion is an alternative investment management firm focused on development finance, impact investment and responsible finance. She joined Finance in Motion in 2012 after spending 10 years in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets at HSBC and ING Barings, London. Iveta supported emerging market companies in raising capital and advised clients in the financial services sector.

Sana Afouaiz

Founder and Director, Womenpreneur Initiative


Sana is an award-winning, gender expert, women advocate. In 2016, she established Womenpreneur Initiative, an organisation with a community of 10,000 across 20 countries, that aims to advance women’s place in entrepreneurial scene, technology, innovation & society. Through her work, Sana reached thousands of women, to drive visibility, social impact, and resources for women in the ecosystem and beyond. For the past 6 years, Sana advised United Nations, European Commission, corporate institutions and organisations on gender issues. She was heavily involved in SDGs discussions, she helped drafting several resolutions and recommendations on gender in New York, Bali, Geneva, and Paris and presented to UN representatives.

Tamara Abdel-Jaber

Partner, Amam Ventures


Tamara Abdel-Jaber is a founder and the chief executive officer at Palma Consulting. She is an expert in strategy design and execution, business transformation and project management. She currently serves as the Chair of the Global Institute of Certified Management Consultants.
In her belief in the importance of women networking and support groups, Tamara recently co-founded the Women in Business Arabia network which grew organically to 40K members of business owners and professional women. She mentors and advises several startups and women-led businesses. She is also a part of the VV100, a select group of 100 of the most engaged and visionary members of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network. And because women-owned and women-led businesses require a different type of funding, Tamara has recently co-founded Amam Ventures – a Gender Lens effort that caters to businesses that are committed to equality, those that put women at the front and focus on specifically serving women in Jordan and MENA.

Yasmina El Hosseiny

Head of Strategic Planning, Export Development Bank of Egypt


I have over 20 years’ experience in finance since 1998. I worked in five different financial institutions namely Arab Bank, Blom Bank, Barclays Bank , Attijariwafa bank and recently joined Export Development Bank - EBE. I have diversified experience in the finance industry out of which five years in Retail Banking and twelve years in Corporate Banking. I covered various sectors starting from SMEs, Local Large Corporate, Public Sector and Multinational Corporates while gaining the expertise in different industries in the meantime . Since 2019, I was appointed as Strategic Planning Director at EBE.
I completed my Bachelor Degree with specialization in Economics and Business Administration from the American University in Cairo and graduated with Honors in 1997. in 2013, I completed my MBA degree from Edinburgh Business School ,Heriot-Watt University, UK.
Attended distinguished leadership courses such as I Lead (Barclays in-house course) in 2013 followed by Future Leaders at EBI in 2017.

Hiba Mansour

Founder & CEO of Sajilni.com


Hiba is a tech enthusiast. She started her career working at fortune 500 companies in California, USA. After moving back from the USA, Hiba joined her family owned business in the glass industry and started gaining another experience in the manufacturing & industrial sector. Then she decided to start her tech entrepreneurial journey by founding Sajilni.com in 2011.
Sajilni.com is a leading online event management, registration and ticketing solution for entertainment, sports and Business Events (Meeting, Conferences and Exhibition). Sajilni attracted local and international investors from Silicon Valley and raised venture money to help grow the business and expanded its offering with operations in Jordan, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sajilni decided to offer a virtual events alternative solution, EZMeet (ezmeet.co), that helped business and event planners recreate the offline event experience using virtual tools that not only allow of content distribution, but boost networking and engagement between the attendees and enable planners to build a community around their events.
Hiba graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Computer science and still enjoys her passion in playing guitar, music, and travel !

Session 2: Diversity & Inclusion: Stepping back in times of Corona?

COVID-19 is confronting companies around the world with a daunting degree of disruption. 

Recent pulse surveys of I&D leaders found that 27 percent of them report that their organizations have put all or most I&D initiatives on hold because of the pandemic. Progress on I&D is slowing down and will continue doing so during and after the crisis unless companies consciously focus on advancing diversity and fostering inclusion. 

Diversity & Inclusion are at risk in the crisis, but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination. It will help companies as an enabler of business performance and organizational health and contribute to the wider effort to revive economies and safeguard social cohesion.

In this session we explore what companies can do to ensure that I&D remains a core part of their agendas during the downturn, and beyond. The panel will also provide valuable insight into lessons learnt and identify key imperatives for the way forward to capitalize on some structural shifts that the pandemic has presented.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Carla Everhardt

Attorney at Law, Associate Partner, Roedl & Partner


Having lived and worked in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (UAE) from 2004 – 2005 after finishing her legal edu-cation, Carla Everhardt was admitted as an attorney at law in Germany in early 2005. Returning to her home country, she joined Rödl & Partner in 2006. Already being a renowned specialist in international business law with a strong focus on the MENA region, she headed the Middle East practice of Rödl & Partner in Germany for many years.
Right from the beginning of her legal career, Carla focused on the establishment of German / European investments in the Middle East, advising clients upon market entry, investment and restructuring projects in a region with most complex legal and tax structures that require a profund expertise, intercultural compe-tence and high-level professional experience alike.
Still acting as partner in charge at Rödl & Partner for the North African countries as well as the regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the German Professional Services Alliance initiated by Rödl & Partner in 2019 (www.gpsa-international.com), Carla has recently added the establishment of inter-national foreign direct investment in Germany to her professional portfolio.

Katja Ploner

Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Advisor, Siemens AG, Germany


Mother of 4, Diploma in Science of education, psychology and sociology at University of Cologne, Germany, professional experience in different puplic & private sectors. Applied three times at Siemens and received three times a letter of refusal.

Malek Dardour

Cluster Head GCC, Henkel, UAE


1999 – 2001 Group Brand Manager B, Tunisia
2001 – 2005 Marketing Director L, Algeria
2006 – 2008 Marketing & Sales Director L, Iran
2008 – 2011 MEA Reg. Marketing Director L, Egypt
2011 – 2012 Int. Marketing Director L, Germany
2012 – 2013 GM L & President, Tunisia
2014 – 2015 GM L & President, Algeria
2016 – 2018 Corporate Director GSU C, Germany
2018 – Today MEA Cluster Head, UAE

Session 3: Women in the Health Sector: Navigating the Pandemic

With the onset of COVID-19, we have observed organizations in the health sector mobilize quickly into crisis mode to diligently protect the health of citizens the threat of this fast-spreading illness. 

This webinar will explore the unprecedented opportunities now open to global leaders and innovators in healthcare practice, research, artificial intelligence, medical technology, policy making and the private sector to find  practical and sustainable solutions to the pandemic as well as to future global public health challenges. 

The panel will also provide valuable insight into lessons learnt and identify key imperatives for the way forward to capitalize on some structural shifts that the pandemic has presented.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Nicole Formica-Schiller,

CEO & Founder, Pamanicor Health AG, Switzerland


As a preeminent thought-provoking and influential leader, Nicole Formica-Schiller has forged an unprecedented path in digital transformation, innovation and disruption. Known for her ability to translate complex trends and disruptive technologies of tomorrow into use cases of today. She is a bridge builder between industry and the expectations of society by leveraging her extensive global network and living digitization. Nicole is the CEO and founder of Pamanicor Health, an innovative global advisory firm focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Disruptive Technologies, and Big Data in health, life sciences and biotechnology. Its leadership team with extensive experience in the US, Asia, Australia and Europe, places a special focus on interdisciplinary solutions for a highly interconnected, regulated and global digital eco-system. Author of a pioneering book “Artificial intelligence and Blockchain in healthcare - How COVID-19 and forward-looking technologies are revolutionizing the status quo”, which connects the two transformative technologies of AI and Blockchain in one publication. By visualizing future trends, she helps readers humanize the relationship between disruptive innovation and its impact on institutions, markets and societies. As one of the top thinkers and innovators, Nicole contributes to various commissions, boards, etc., such as the Data Ethics Commission of the German Federal Government and the KI-Bundesverband e.V., Germany’s largest Industry Association for AI. Until recently, Nicole served as Vice President of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) Zurich. She has been featured by Lawyers Magazine as a role model for entrepreneurial thinking and selected by Forbes for the most innovative ideas for “Writing Future Codes” Summit Zurich. Before founding Pamanicor Health, Nicole worked for prestigious companies worldwide. She held positions of increasing responsibilities, e.g., Liaison Officer for the CEO of Nord Stream, chaired by Germany’s ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder, and Task Force member, involved in one of Europe's biggest stakeholder consultation, Freshfields LLP, Allianz, Shearman Sterling LLP and Munich RE. As a highly sought-after international speaker, Nicole inspires a new generation of founders and industry professionals. She is a mentor for startups and female entrepreneurs empowering them to shape the global digital future. A graduate of the prestigious Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and highly ranked University of Bayreuth, Nicole is a qualified Attorney-at-Law and holds an additional university business degree.

Dr. Oualae Al Alami

Vice President, Cluster Lead for Egypt, Levant, Iraq and Iran, Pfizer Biopharmaceutical Group, UAE


Oualae leads Pfizer Biopharmaceutical group across Egypt, Levant, Iraq and Iran. With her team, she focuses on building sustainable partnerships that recognize the value of innovation in research- based medicines. Under her leadership, Pfizer partners with a variety of stakeholders to establish positive frameworks for innovation to flourish. She aims to expand availability and access to novel medicine and innovative healthcare solutions while strengthening capacity and capabilities of health care systems via various initiatives.
Oualae works closely with both public and private organizations to reach consensus around policies and strategies to achieve health care priorities in various fields like Vaccines, Rare diseases, Oncology, Inflammation, Communicable and Non-communicable diseases and other type of local or regional healthcare priorities.
In her previous role, Oualae was the Regional Lead for Oncology in Africa and Middle East. She was instrumental in establishing Pfizer’s oncology organization in Africa and the Middle East and positioned the company as a key player in advancing cancer care in the region, bringing novel medicines and access solutions to patients
Oualae is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion with a focus on advancing women in leadership. She leads Pfizer’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in Africa and the Middle East and champions ongoing internal and external initiatives to ensure that Pfizer achieves its goal of being the best place for women in the industry to work. She is frequently invited to speak about this topic in regional forums and sits on the board of the Arab International Women’s Forum and a number of other key regional organizations.
Oualae has over 17 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She started her career as a pharmacist in Paris the worked in the marketing division of Novartis France before joining Pfizer in 2004, she served in a variety of leadership roles across Africa and the Middle East for Pfizer before moving to the regional office in Dubai in 2010.
Oualae holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy from Paris XI University and a Master’s Degree in Business, Management and Health Economics from ESSEC, Paris, France.

Hanan Saab

Owner Pharmamed, Lebanon


Hanan Saab was born in Choueifat, Lebanon. A third-generation pharmacist, she graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with distinction, where she was awarded the esteemed Penrose Award.
After practicing pharmacy at the American University Hospital (AUH) for 5 years, Hanan made the bold decision to launch her own business in 1990, despite the political instability in her country. Starting from scratch in a competitive and harsh landscape, she managed to lead her company Pharmamed to become one of the most trusted and professional businesses specialized in the import and marketing of medical supplies and novelty pharmaceutical products in Lebanon. Pharmamed is the exclusive representative of several renowned European and American firms, and through an extensive network of sub-distributors, its activities have also expanded to Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, KSA, Qatar, Oman. Hanan is a member of the Lebanese Order of Pharmacy and the Lebanese Pharmaceutical Importers Association.
Passionate about women in business and an exemplary entrepreneur herself, Hanan has been invited to speak on women entrepreneurship at prestigious conferences and forums across the world, including The Woodrow Wilson Conference and the Mediterranean Forum for Women Entrepreneurs as well as several high-profile roundtable discussions held by the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, The Economist and most recently the ILO and Womens’ Forum for the economy and society.
Aside from her full-time career, Hanan dedicates much of her time to women’s empowerment and promoting women entrepreneurship in Lebanon and the region. She is a founding member of Rawafed, an NGO that teaches nursing to high school girls in rural areas; founding member & former president(2007-2013) of the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB); a founder and board member of the MENA Business Women Network (MENA BWN) where she served as VP for numerous years and a board member of the Arab International Women Forum.
Hanan has been featured as a leading Arab businesswoman in the Financial Times and was listed as one of the most powerful 200 women in the Arab World by Forbes in 2014. She has also been recognized in books like "Entrepreneurs at the Crossroads" by the Beyster Institute at the University of California - San Diego and "Domains of Influence" by the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), and in 2018 was included among 50 women in the American University of Beirut(AUB) publication “Women at AUB”.
Hanan also plays leading roles at several alumni associations. She is a founding member of both Sabis Alumni and MEPI Alumni and previously chaired the Relations and Welfare Committee of the American University of Beirut (AUB) Alumni Association.
Most recently, Hanan became a member of the board of trustees of the Academic University for Nonviolence and Human Rights (AUNOHR). She was appointed in 2017 an ambassador for the Cartier Women Initiative Award (CWIA) after serving as its jury president for the MENA region from 2015 in January 2017.
Hanan lives in Beirut with her husband and family.

Tom Ruyten

Head of Enterprise Service, Market Development Europe, Middle East & Africa, Siemens Healthcare GmbH


Tom Ruyten is heading the team for Market Development for our Enterprise Services Business in Europe Middle East and Africa. Based in Erlangen, Germany.
Tom has been in active in leadership positions across multiple countries and business lines within the Siemens organization. This included, amongst others IT Services, Building Technology, Energy, Transportation and Corporate Sales Programs. Tom was 10 years based in the Middle East; after 4 years Siemens’ Key Account Management for a Smart City initiative in Abu Dhabi, he joined in 2012 the Healthcare Unit in Dubai. Initially responsible for the Middle East indirect sales channel, subsequently as the country manager for the UAE and since 2017 active in developing long term partnerships with customers in our Enterprise Services unit. Last year Tom moved back to Europe and is focusing in his current role on developing new partnerships with customers in new and growing markets like Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, both in the private sector and via Public Private Partnership models.
Tom is married with 2 children, enjoys all kinds of sports and travelling.

Yara Abo El Waffa

Healthcare Technical Advisor, Mott MacDonald


Yara is a global health professional with more that 12 years of international experience in delivering and managing projects healthcare projects with a specialized in improving healthcare services through health innovation and digital health. She is currently a healthcare technical advisor in Mott MacDonald focusing on using frontier technologies to redesign health systems, her previous experience spans private sector, International Organizations and teaching health innovation in Universities. She is also a founding member of Health 2.0 Egypt an organization focused on supporting youth entrepreneurs in Digital Health. Yara received her undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical studies and MSc degree in Health Services and Prevention from University of Copenhagen, Denmark and master's in public health from University of Sheffield in the UK.

Session 4: Shaping post‐COVID‐19: How can the Pandemic be a Catalyst for Progress?

solidarity are key when adapting to these new scenarios. Mitigating the crisis has unleaved an

enormous potential which will pave the way for future generations.

This webinar address the vital role of digitalization, education, science, policy making and networking and will explore the opportunities now open to global leaders and innovators in all sectors to find practical and sustainable solutions to the pandemic as well as to future global challenges.

The panel will also provide valuable insight into lessons learnt and identify key imperatives for the way forward to capitalize on some structural shifts that the pandemic has presented.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Kathrin Lemke

Representative, German Industry & Commerce Office, Qatar


Kathrin has been the official representative of AHK in Doha, Qatar since September 2016. AHK represents the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and is part of the main pillars of foreign investment promotion of the Federal Republic of Germany. She started her career as regional expert for the Gulf countries at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce in Berlin in 2010. In 2012 she relocated to the United Arab Emirates and joined the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority, an Emirati government authority and has held several senior roles in the key client relations and the business development departments. In her last position as Investment Relations Consultant she coordinated the authority’s investment promotion strategies for Europe, the Middle East and North America. Kathrin graduated from Leipzig University with a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Sciences.

HE Brigitte Zypries

Former German Minister for Economy


Brigitte Zypries was born in 1953. After her second state law examination, she began her professional career in the legal department of the Wiesbaden State Chancellery. From there she moved to the Federal Constitutional Court, where she was a research assistant in the 1st Senate for three years. In 1991 she moved to Hannover and continued her currier in the Lower Saxony State Chancellery. From 1997 to 2002 Brigitte Zypries was a civil servant state secretary, until 1998 in the Lower Saxony Ministry for Women, Labour and Social Affairs, from November 1998 to October 2002 in the Federal Ministry of the Interior. From October 2002 to September 2009, Brigitte Zypries was Federal Minister of Justice. From 2005 to 2017, she was a directly elected Member of the Bundestag for the constituency of Darmstadt. From January 2017 to March 2018 she was Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, and from December 2013 to January 2017 she was Parliamentary State Secretary in this ministry, responsible for information technology (IT) and foreign trade. She was the Federal Government Coordinator for Aerospace from January 2014 to March 2018. Since April 2018, Brigitte Zypries has taken on various tasks and honorary posts. She promotes and invests in German start-ups, is an ombudswoman for various organisations and on the supervisory boards of Betterplace and Bombardier.

Prof. Sabine Wölflick

Munich University of Applied Science, Design Thinking Munich, Germany (covering the aspect of training/coaching innovative thinking)


I am a professor of marketing in print and media technology at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. I have been working in product development for almost 20 years, defining target groups and developing unique competitive advantages for products and services.

5 years ago I became aware of the innovation method "Design Thinking". I love "Design Thinking" because the method focuses on the user, is super-pragmatic, only works in a team, explicitly allows for mistakes and quickly leads to concrete results.

I see myself as a pragmatist who supports her team in the search for the optimal solution with a lot of enthusiasm and empathy. Your team doesn't need any methodological knowledge, because that's what I bring to the table.

I am a certified Scrum Master of the Scrum Alliance since 2019. Design thinking and agile management complement each other perfectly!

Sahana Arun Kumar

Managing Partner, Avrio Impact SAS (covering the aspect of digitalization)


With over 13 years of experience in the digital and financial inclusion space, Sahana Arun Kumar is a Digital and Inclusion enthusiast focused on enabling innovative business models for sustainable development in emerging markets. She specializes in design, strategy and development of digital finance and inclusion projects and has worked with a wide range of stakeholders in this industry from telecom operators to banks to microfinance institutions to third party payment processors and international donor/funder organizations in order to assist them with their digital projects adapted to their market and organizational context.
Sahana’s work has covered a number of countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Asia. She is also a speaker and trainer for digital and financial inclusion thematics and has contributed to various events organized by the likes of Boulder Institute, Sanabel, ADA, Hult Business School etc. Sahana holds an MBA degree from HEC, Paris and speaks various languages, among which English, French, Spanish and Hindi.

Nadine Chehade

Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP


Nadine Chehade is a Senior Financial Sector Specialist, representing CGAP in the Arab world. She works to deepen CGAP’s engagement in the region, collaborating with various partners, including regulators and policy-makers, donors and investors, regional associations, and businesses. She currently leads CGAP’s global work on financial services in fragile countries and during humanitarian crises, and focuses on digital financial services and microfinance. Her work includes regulatory frameworks for financial sector development, cash transfers, innovation through fintech solutions, postal financial inclusion, and financial inclusion measurement. She joined CGAP in 2012, bringing ten years of experience in investment banking, management consulting, and microfinance rating. Nadine holds an MBA from ESSEC in France. She is fluent in Arabic, English, French, and conversational in Spanish.

Dr. Elham Kateeb

Co-chair for OWSD, Organization of Women in Science in Developing Countries/Palestine Chapter, Dean of Scientific Research, Al‐Quds University


Dr. Elham Kateeb is an associate professor of Dental Public Health at the College of Dentistry, Al-Quds University, a research affiliate at the Public Policy Center, University of Iowa, the Dean of Scientific Research at Al-Quds University and an elected member of the International Dental Federation (FDI) Public Health Committee. Dr. Kateeb leads the efforts in this committee to improve oral health and general health for disadvantaged populations, her focus recently was on access to essential dental services among refugees.

Dr. Kateeb completed her PhD in Dental Public Health from University of Iowa , her MPH from UMASS University and her BDS in Dental Surgery from University of Jordan. Dr. Kateeb is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and a 2014 laureate of L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Levant Award. Dr. Kateeb is the co-chair of Women in Science Organization OWSD-Palestine chapter and a board member of international organizations such as VISTO International For Rights and Development, Academic Network for Development Dialogue (ANDD), the Global Movement for Sustainable Health Equity (SHEM) and others. Dr. Kateeb considers herself as an educator, Health Service Researcher, a Public Health specialist and a proud mother of two sons, Sami and Saif.

Session 5: Impact Stories: Meet Womenpreneur-Initiative

With Impact Stories, we aim to showcase indepth inspiring projects that have achieved great success with the right financing concepts, tools and implementing strategies, demonstrating the direct and tangible impact of smart and effective policies. 

Meet our moderator Charlene Wohlsperger, Digital Strategy Lead, Finance in Motion, in conversation with Sana Afouaiz, Founder & Director at Womenpreneur-Initiative, Menna Shahin, Founder She Travels, Co-Founder Tekeya and  Nisrine El Turky, Founder and CEO of IOTree  and learn more about their inspiring journey to realise their visions and scale up their business.

Womenpreneur-Initiative, a Brussels-based organisation, was founded in 2016 and since its establishment has reached thousands of women and convened more than 20 global initiatives across Belgium and MENA region, to drive visibility, social impact, and resources for women in the ecosystem and beyond. Womenpreneur-Initiative has been nominated change making initiative by the World Bank.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Charlene Wohlsperger

Digital Strategy Lead, Finance in Motion


Charlene Bachman Wohlsperger is the Digital Strategy Lead within the Investment Management team at Finance in Motion, an impact asset manager based in Frankfurt, Germany. Leveraging more than 10 years of experience in impact investing, financial inclusion and financial technology across Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Africa, Charlene sees digital transformation as an opportunity to overcome bottlenecks, drive efficiency and cultivate innovation within an organization to benefit all stakeholders.

Prior to joining Finance in Motion, spent 7 years at Software Group supporting Banks, MFIs and Fintech customers in their digitalization journeys, with a focus on introducing integrated delivery channel solutions to expand the reach of financial inclusion, streamline operations and facilitate convenient access to financial services. During this time she co-authored the Alternative Delivery Channels and Technology Handbook to support financial service providers in making informed decisions and following best practices in implementation. Charlene started her career in Impact Investing as a member of the Global Investments team at Accion International where she supported multiple impact investing funds targeting the MFI and Fintech sectors. Charlene holds dual bachelor degrees in Business Administration and International Studies from American University in Washington, DC. A native Floridian, Charlene now resides in a village outside Frankfurt with her family that owns a small business and apple orchard.

Sana Afouaiz

Founder and Director, Womenpreneur Initiative


Sana is an award-winning, gender expert, women advocate. In 2016, she established Womenpreneur Initiative, an organisation with a community of 10,000 across 20 countries, that aims to advance women’s place in entrepreneurial scene, technology, innovation & society. Through her work, Sana reached thousands of women, to drive visibility, social impact, and resources for women in the ecosystem and beyond. For the past 6 years, Sana advised United Nations, European Commission, corporate institutions and organisations on gender issues. She was heavily involved in SDGs discussions, she helped drafting several resolutions and recommendations on gender in New York, Bali, Geneva, and Paris and presented to UN representatives.

Menna Shahin

Founder She Travels, Co-Founder Tekeya


Menna is a graduate of the faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. She majored in Pharmaceutical Industries. She is a regional executive in a multinational pharmaceutical company in Dubai, UAE. She is actively involved in social and community work and was an active member in Giza horizon Rotary Club. She has more than half a million followers on her various social media platforms.

She is also among the first Egyptian women who started a Travel Business Exclusively for women, where she organized her travels in collaboration with certified life coaches to incorporate self-development coaching in the travel plans. Menna aspires to empower women to build new connections with other women and discover more about themselves through travel.
Menna co-founded Tekeya mobile app with the purpose to waste less food, fight poverty while improving the environment, three of the items on the UN Sustainable Development Goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
Brainchild of Shahin and her husband, Tekeya creates a Digital MarketPlace that connects Hotels, Restaurants and Grocery Stores having perfectly fresh surplus food with consumers who want to get a fresh meal at a reduced price. Through the app, food providers will upload information about their excess food products to sell at a reduced price. It will also help consumers across various layers of the society to enjoy a meal for a reasonable price, whilst fighting the waste of food and protecting the environment. Charitable organizations will also benefit from the app, which will give the opportunity for food providers to donate food, at no cost, to charitable organizations. Since its launch, TeKeya has saved thousands of surplus meals, either donated to charity organizations feeding the needy or sold at reduced price to customers whilst reducing the CO2 footprint by over 4 tons. 
Moreover, Menna is an experienced public speaker, gave a Tedx Talk in 2019, featured in more than twenty TV interviews, spoke as a keynote speaker at the World Youth Forum and held several coaching sessions, including a master training about food waste for future chefs in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. Lastly, Menna has been featured in over one hundred articles written about her initiatives in the Middle Eastern press.

Nisrine El Turky

Founder & CEO Internet of Trees (IOTrees)


Nisrine El Turky is the founder and CEO of Internet of Trees (IOTree). She is also a professor at the Faculty of Engineering at Notre Dame University- Louaize.


Prior to her entrepreneurial journey, and as a computer and communication engineer, Nisrine developed a strong technical background and knowledge in the telecommunications, networking and computing fields. She has led different international projects on the Emulation of Commutation of On-Board Satellite Systems and she launched her first company “Linkline Communications”. Furthermore, Nisrine has more than twelve years in research and development, at first, she developed her own electronics company “ElectroNis” and university club “ElectroHolics”. The purpose of her company was to impact students and fellow engineers positively. Subsequently, perceiving the pain accompanying the agriculture sector, Nisrine decided to step in and invent a new device to revive the sector and make farmers life easier. Thus, she founded IOTree. IOTree has won several awards and recognitions on a national, local and international level. Following her successful journey in the Ag-Tech, she launched “Mazra’Tek” a new Platform that helps the Agriculture sector. Being a serial entrepreneur, Nisrine is exploring new sectors and launched her beauty-tech startup “D by Diva”.

Session 6: Women in STEM: Drivers for Innovation

Offering women equal opportunities to pursue and thrive in STEM careers helps narrow the gender pay gap, enhances women’s economic security and ensures a diverse and talented STEM workforce and prevents biases in these fields and the products and services they produce. In this session we want to discuss how we can change policies and practices to increase opportunities in STEM for girls and women. How can women be promoted in science and research, what opportunities arise at the interfaces of science and business, what role do networking and the promotion of women-led start-ups in STEM play?

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Dr. Cate Morgan

Research Center Jülich, Coordinator Palestinian-German Science Bridge


Dr. Cate Morgan has a BSc. in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Applied International Studies from MIT, where she got to know the science and technology landscape in Germany through participation in the MIT-Germany program. She then received a MSc. in Materials Science from the TU Munich and a PhD in physics from the University of Duisburg-Essen. She is also certified as a project manager and as a quality manager (TÜV).
Since 2017, she is working as an international relations manager in the corporate development department at Forschungszentrum Jülich, where she coordinates the Palestinian-German science bridge. She has experience in grant writing, supervision of international students, consultations and strategy-building for scientific partnerships and evaluations. She is currently participating as a speaker on the Diversity and Integration sounding board at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Dr. Carola Meyer

Group Leader, Physics Department, University Osnabrück, Deputy Spokesperson Equal Opportunities, German Physical Society


Carola Meyer received her PhD in Physics at Freie Universität Berlin in 2003. Afterwards, she worked for two years as a postdoc on carbon nanotubes at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft in the group of Prof. Kouwenhoven. She continued her work in a young investigator's program at the Peter-Grünberg Institute at the Research center Jülich, which allowed her to establish her own research group. After successful tenure-track evaluation in 2008, Meyer stayed for six more years at PGI with her group, working on spintronics in carbon nanostructures before relocating to her present position as faculty member and group leader at the Physics department of the University Osnabrück. In addition to spintronics, her group now investigates carbon nanostructures in the context of bio-sensing.
Carola Meyer has been engaged in gender equality throughout her career with many contributions in programs for equal opportunities. She served as a member of the equal opportunity committee at Research center Jülich (2012-2014) and for the working group of equal opportunities of the German Physical Society (2008-2014 and again since 2019 as deputy spokes-person). She is officer for equal opportunities at the Physics department of the University Osnabrück.

Teresa Spanò

Equality Officer, Max-Planck Society


Teresa Spanò studied Biomedical Sciences with a focus on Physiology at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. She then worked as a Research Assistant at the National Centre for Biological Studies in Bangalore, India, where she investigated the molecular basis underlying Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2018 she moved back to Europe to start her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. There, she is working in the Schuman department, which researches how neurons are able the modify themselves in response to experiences, a process called ‘synaptic plasticity’.
In 2020, Teresa was elected Gender Equality Officer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, where she is working to prevent discrimination and to promote a more inclusive research culture.

Hala Barakat

Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, AUC School of Business


In 1998, Hala Barakat graduated from the American University in Cairo with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. From there, she took off her career in international banking and finance, later shifting to production and retailing. Being an entrepreneur herself, she was directly involved in all the ups and downs of the business world. This has enabled her to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs in different fields.
Later, she obtained her Master’s degree in Economics in International Development from the American University in Cairo in 2016; and currently a PhD candidate at Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Euro-Mediterranean Studies at Cairo University. After graduation, she started providing education-for-employment training, as well as workshops in entrepreneurship and other related fields. Before long, she found out that her longstanding interest in education and entrepreneurship development had grown into a lasting passion to serve this ecosystem.

Session 7: Closing the Gender Gap: Sure, But How To Really Do?

Why is it that despite of all good intentions there is still a gender gap? Many companies, institutions and organizations initiate events related to empower women, others include it in their mission statements or make it part of their corporate values. Some even create a special organizational unit to show that this is really serious for them and their projects, and intentions are to take a bigger step than just include this topic in the annual report or a press-release. So, what can we DO about it? Let’s discuss best practices, smart and convincing tools to make including women at all levels the default and the norm.

Dr. Gabi Kratochwil

Chairwoman, GAWBL and Owner, CrossCultures, Germany


Gabi brings 25 years of knowledge and working experience as a multi-award winning provider of training, coaching and consultancy with special focus on the Arab World, Diversity Management & Inclusion and Women & Leadership. Owner and Managing Director of CrossCultures, she has an academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and Diversity Management.
For more than 20 years Gabi has been strongly committed to the dialogue and network of German and Arab women leaders, having initiated in 2007 the first Arab-German Businesswomen Dialogue at the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual Arab-German Business Forum, also partnering with the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). In 2018 she organized and chaired the first German-Arab Women Business Leaders’ Summit (GAWBL-Summit 2018, www.gawbl-summit.com) held under the Patronage of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with Ghorfa with more than 200 high-profile experts, leaders and decision-makers from Germany, Arab countries and the international community. Among its many initiatives, GAWBL has been setting up in 2019 the “Young Women Program”-Study Tour in cooperation with the Qatari Businesswomen Association. A tailor-made study trip for young female leaders from Qatar and Germany that connects and promotes young talent through exchange.
Gabi has been designing and facilitating workshops & events around the world supporting companies, institutions and organizations in implementing a more inclusive corporate culture, setting up diverse teams and working virtually together in a global work environment. She teaches Diversity Management at the University of Freiburg, mentors young female entrepreneurs and coaches individuals on career development, personal goal setting and resilience. Her intercultural business handbook on the Arab World has been ranked No. 5 of the top management books by The Financial Times. Her book on successful women in the Arab World set a milestone.
As a high impact coach and proven expert, she has been advising policy makers, business leaders and companies sharing her expertise and passion for building bridges and connecting people. Gabi has been awarded with the Global Diversity Leadership Award 2017, World Women Leadership Achievement Award 2015 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2006 and a member of the Society for Intercultural Training and Research.

Sana Bardawil

Co-Chair & Board Member, Arab International Women’s Forum


Sana Bardawil is the Co-Chair and Board Member of the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF), a not-for-profit UK-registered organisation focused on professional women in MENA and internationally, as well as an Honorary Committee Member of the International Business Women’s Group (IBWG-Abu Dhabi).
Sana is part of the newly launched Mentor programme by the WiSER network – Women in Sustainability, Energy and Renewable Energy Forum – by Mubadala in the UAE, with mentors and mentees based internationally.
Sana is an experienced international corporate reputation and communications professional. She worked as a UK-based journalist for ten years for broadcast organisations, (the European Business News, later Dow Jones and the BBC), covering mainly the business and energy sectors. Sana then worked for the European Commission in Beirut for a year as a Communications Advisor, before returning to the UK and joining Shell, where she worked for seventeen years, based in different countries. She led a team of 50 Communications professionals in 10 countries, as the General Manager, External Relations, Middle East and North Africa. She was part of both functional and business leadership teams in Shell providing critical advice and insights on the region, to senior executives and board members. She has an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa’s history, business context and culture. She was based in the UAE for ten years in global roles, while working for Shell, building strong relationships with a wide network of stakeholders in the region, which she maintains.
As part of her role in Shell, Sana led the development and implementation of social investment initiatives, delivered in cooperation with government organisations, the private sector and civic society, in the areas of education, capacity-building, entrepreneurship, and HSE across the MENA region. She continues to mentor and coach to several women based in MENA and Europe.
Sana is a member of the Organising Committee of the International Friends of the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.
Sana completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the American University of Beirut, then graduated from St Antony’s College, Oxford University, with an M. Phil in Modern Middle East Studies and recently completed a Masters’ degree in Digital Humanities from Leiden University in The Netherlands. Sana is a fluent English, French and Arabic speaker. Sana is based in The Netherlands.

Eng. Elham Zeadat

CEO, Co-Owner & Founder, CEO BLOOM Dead Sea Gift Enterprises, Jordan


Reghina Ribalev

Manager, Finance in Motion


PMI certified project manager with 20 years of experience in financial sector and successful track record across such domains as banking operations, business development, credit risk management and impact investment management. Thanks to profound banking and asset management experience, solid expertise and well-recognized organization and communication skills, managed and successfully completed over 20 projects delivering robust IT solutions and services and achieving high-level of customer satisfaction across three continents (Africa, Europe, Latin America). Makes project goals her own to add value, to ensure quality and to create impact. Adept of agile and great team-player effectively and passionately leads project teams to the successful project completion within defined scope, budget and schedule, by this building trust and credibility with executives and key stakeholders. Recognized for successfully leading digital implementations, change management and driving innovations. Contributes to the growth and development of any company by managing strategic projects and shaping IT landscape of the future.

Rola El Amine

Innovation Business Manager, Vitas Group


Rola El Amine has 20 years of experience in Marketing and business development working for multinational advertising agencies (BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi), banks (RAKBANK Dubai) and microfinance institutions (Vitas Iraq), a subsidiary of Vitas group, where she headed the marketing & PR department and was responsible for development and implementation of strategic Marketing, PR and CSR plans. As well Rola was leading strategic group-level initiatives such as Vitas branding, customer centricity & market research unit, gender diversity project, and in initiating strategic partnerships across different markets.
Developing long years of operational and customer experience with Vitas and acquiring a strategic vision towards business growth, last year Rola was chosen to join Vitas group team as the manager of business innovation.
The innovation lab is created as part of the digital transformation project to lead efforts in strengthening innovation culture, promote design thinking and support identifying business use cases through digital first partnerships while keeping an eye on the gender and social impact. The lab will help accelerate the design, the prototyping and the scaling of new business models for Vitas group.