We're super excited about our very first instalment of BE THE BOSS -- the region's foremost career panel celebrating some of the most successful women, supported by SHEIN. As the definitive go-to brand for fun, fearless females, Cosmo is extremely passionate about empowering the next generation to embrace their potential and truly strive for the best. If you need advice or just a career- how-to, this is the place to be. With such a fabulous roster of women on our panels, you'll have no dearth of inspiration for your way forward:
PANEL 1 : STEP OUT OF THE BOX
Ladies who have followed their dreams and forged their own career paths, no matter how unconventional.
1) Adela Acevedo Sarna - Co Founder of POAG & Chairperson of e7
Adela Acevedo Sarna is the Co-Founder of Promise of a Generation, a community majlis, and Chair of e7 Daughters of the Emirates بنات الإمارات (banat al emarat), a social impact leadership program for young women in the UAE. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Club of the UAE. Adela’s background is in law and public policy and her career of 15+ years has included roles in corporate litigation at Skadden Arps, international judicial cooperation at Eurojust, technology deployment at Shell, and studies at Harvard College and Leiden University’s Law Faculty. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico she lived in Cambridge, Boston, Paris, Bergen op Zoom and The Hague before moving to the UAE. She has lived in Dubai for almost a decade, serving as a policy advisor for the Dubai Government’s Executive Council for eight years.
2) Ayla Bajwa - Founder of ampUz & Senior Advisor to the United Nations
Ayla is the founder of ampUz; an impact technology company and sustainability consultancy that aims to be a platform for innovative ICT solutions that are making the world better. She also serves as a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Global Compact UAE Local Network, developing its strategy and driving its agenda in the UAE. Earlier, Ayla was the Head of Sustainability at the Chalhoub Group integrating sustainability into the core of their business strategy. She is also respected as a thought leader by the academic and government community and works as a consultant to high net worth individuals and corporates.
3) Ruhani Singh - Line Chef at Zuma
Ruhani Singh is a budding chef at Zuma Restaurant, Dubai. Originally from Dehradun, India, Ruhani did her schooling at the prestigious Welham Girl’s School where she participated in the ‘All India Young Chef Competition in Grade 11 and stood 7th out of a more than hundred candidates. Ruhani then went on to Les Roches International School of Global Hospitality, Bluche to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality. She also attained an Intensive Diploma de Cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu (London). Ruhani has dreamed of being a chef since she baked her first cake at the age of 6 and looks forward to continuing to follow her passion throughout different cuisines and cities.
PANEL 2 : BE THE BOSS (1pm to 1.45pm)
Some of the region's most successful women share the ins and outs of starting your own business.
1) Marriam Mossalli - Founder & Chief Executive of Niche Arabia
Marriam Mossalli is the founder of Niche Arabia, a highly successful luxury consultancy firm. She also established the Life & Style section of Arab News -- the leading English daily in the Middle East, a little less than a decade ago. A former news journalist and features editor, Marriam continues to contribute to international titles such as, Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia, Marie Claire Arabia, and Hia Magazine. She has also co-authored a market insight book, called Glamour Globals, and published abook on the fading crafts in the rural Asir region of Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, Marriam published a second book, Under The Abaya: Street Style From Saudi Arabia. The book has become a sold-out success story, receiving praises from both international media and established institutions. She was also included in the prestigious global BoF 500 list, which recognises key players of the global fashion industry.
2) Mona Ataya - Co-founder of Mumzworld
Mona Ataya, CEO and Founder of Mumzworld.com, has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent of women entrepreneurs. Beyond leading a successful and growing SME, and inspiring her employees and communities, Mona is on a mission to change the region, one mum at a time. Mona fundamentally believes that Mumzworld has the potential to become a brand that challenges the norms, with an important social impact, as when you empower a mother to make informed choices, you empower her to raise great kids, which ultimately leads to changing the region.
3) Leena Khalil - Co-founder of Mumzworld
Leena Khalil is the co-founder of Mumzworld, responsible for the developmental strategy and growth of the business across the Middle East. Leena relocated to region in 2009 and previously worked in London in Investment banking focusing on technology fund raising both through IPOs and Private placements. She later moved to work in business process outsourcing helping local government optimise processes and customer service through the utalising of technology.
4) Lily Kandalft - Founder of Malaak Mama & Baby Care
Born in Jordan and raised in the UAE, Lily is the Founder and CEO of Malaak Mama & Baby Care -- the UAE’s first maternity focused childcare agency providing pre and postnatal services to support families in the UAE through their beautiful journey as new parents! She received her Bachelors of Science in Management from McGill University and her Masters of Science in Finance from the London School of Economics and has worked for over 10 years across the banking and FMCG sectors in Canada and Dubai before venturing into the fascinating world of babies and launching Malaak in the UAE.
PANEL 3 : MEDIA TODAY (2pm to 2.45pm)
How media is different today, from content to trends and engagement, and what this means with regards to the way Gen Z digests information.
1) Priya Patel - Brand Development Lead at Instagram
Priya Patel is the Business Development Lead for Instagram in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. She has 16 years’ experience in media and advertising including print (Financial Times), TV (BBC), agency and digital in the UK, Australia and Asia. Prior to joining Facebook, Priya spent five years at multinational company Google, where she was an instrumental part of YouTube’s commercial rollout across South East Asia. Priya relocated to the Middle East with Google in 2014 where she managed the Food and Beverage sector and led advertising strategy across MENA. It was in 2015 that she was appointed as Business Development Lead at Instagram where she works closely with brands and agencies to help them achieve their business objectives on the platform. In her spare time, Priya takes inspiration from Instagram to pursue her interests in cooking, travel and scuba diving.
2) Zahra Abdallah - Founder of @wildspatula & @cookingwithzahra
The London-born, Iranian-Sudanese Zahra Abdalla is a passionate cook, food blogger, cookshow host and soon to be published cookbook author. She explores her Arab and Iranian heritage through appetising dishes, while modernising recipes and techniques for a younger generation. She has captured her culinary journey, first in her blog and now in her first cookbook due to be published early 2019. Her scrumptious and contemporary take on time-honoured cuisines makes the exotic tradition of Middle Eastern cooking inspiring and accessible. Her massive presence on social media has enabled her to showcase the vibrant Middle Eastern cuisine to a whole new generation.
3) Zahra Khalil - Founder & Editor of Just Lyla @zahralyla
Born and raised in Dubai, Zahra Lyla Khalil started her journey in the fashion industry 10 years ago with her blog JustLyla.com. Throughout the years she has collaborated with prestigious brands such as Cartier, Burberry, and Gucci and been featured in Marie Claire, Elle and Grazia Middle East magazine to name a few. In 2016, she joined the Vogue Arabia team as Social Editor and helped launch the iconic magazine in the Middle East. With a Masters Degree under her belt, she now freelances as a social media manager, contributing editor, stylist, and set designer.
4) Shahad Ballan - Senior TV Presenter & Journalist
Shahad Ballan is a an Arab TV presenter and journalist who is currently the host of a women's lifestyle show on MBC1 called HAMSA. She is a graduate of the Sheikh Mohammad School for Communication majoring in Digital Production and Story-telling at American University in Dubai. Following that, she went on to work with Dubai TV and took her first step in TV presenting when she hosted an entertainment/tourism show called Al Mawaad. Two years later, she made a move to MBC group were she presented the prime time news bulletin on MBC1 for 3 consecutive years. In the year 2016 Shahad made another turning point in her career when she moved to MBC4 to host ET Bilarabi, the Arabic version of the international format "Entertainment Tonight".