Women in STEM

Winners of WIT MEA Awards 2014

Best all round technology executive

Hala Badri

Executive Vice President, Brand & Communications, du

As an Emirati woman working in the Middle East's ultra-competitive, male-dominated telecommunications industry, Hala has trod an impressive path for herself in the past seven years. In her current position, Hala provides strategic direction for the department's divisions . She has a particular interest in CSR leading the latter and relentlessly steers du's sustainable development initiatives to benefit the UAE society. Hala cites du's all-encompassing approach to corporate culture as the key pillar of the company's success. She has long placed the importance of synergy at the core of business ethos.

Best entry level technology executive


Head of dept, Regulator Authority for Post and Telecommunication

I had a dream to create cyberspace where everyone can share information in safety. I was passionate about IT and security so I decide to study computer science and specially network security. When I was at University I was founder member of .net club and had opportunity to co-organize several events. After that, I started to work at Regulator Authority for Post and Telecommunication as junior specialized studies searcher where I participated in several task forces. Then I had promotion and I was head of Electronic Certification Provider Services department in the same institution, and I am the youngest head of department in the company.

Best middle level technology executive

Shaden Mar'i

Senior Business Analyst, Telecom Billing Systems, ESKADENIA Software Jordan

I am an Intrapreneur in action and an Entrepreneur in the making. I have been a software engineer for six years and a senior business analyst for two years and have worked with some giants in the ICT world, including Huawei R&D center in Nanjing China in addition to my participation in worldwide telecom conferences and exhibitions. I have also been selected as a TechWomen 2013 Emerging Leader, which is an Initiative of the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Driven by my entrepreneurial spirit I have carried some activities that help me extend my experience to those sharing the same entrepreneurial dream.

Best senior level technology executive

Lamya Barrak Al Tabtebai

Deputy GM Corporate Support Dept, Head of IT, Kuwait International Bank

Lamya Barrak's tremendous leadership qualities and hands-on project management, contributed significantly to the development of Kuwait International Bank on the Islamic Banking frontier. As part of the bank's conversion, she was directly responsible for leading a team of dedicated professionals in identifying and implementing the new core-banking system. She is known for her outspoken views on the role of IT in the banking industry, which is characterized as being a highly competitive, mission critical, and heavily regulated environment. She has earned respect amongst her peers.

Best technology business start up


Manager and web developer

Nassima is among the first web developers in Algeria, and debuted a design website in 2001. She has been working in e-business for ten years. She is a certified SEO expert and received the award for best web platform, received award for best Joomla website designed in 24 hours and top 10 startup challenge of Fikra Event. She was selected for the TechWomen Program 2013, and is a team member for several projects including e-payment, e-tourism, e-learning, e-marketing.

Best technology enabler and facilitator

Abeer Dawood Abu Ghaith

Managing Director, StayLinked

Abeer is the Managing Director of StayLinked, a start-up company that focuses on human development and employment by providing job opportunities for professional people, with the possibility of working at home or anywhere else in the world. In the same time, Abeer is the Country Officer at Women's Campaign International, where she has played a vital role in ALWANE program, which spans 16 countries across the Middle East and North Africa region for the advancement of women's leadership. She successfully led and managed team of more than 35+ youth, volunteers and activists in Palestine.

Best technology business entrepreneur

Natalya Kaspersky

CEO Infowatch

Natalya has received various Russian and International awards in IT and Business fields including Top 100 most influential Russian women in business, Russian Business Leader of the Year 2012, Leader of Top 1000 highest Russian managers of 2013, honoring her remarkable contribution to the progress of the IT community. During her ten year tenure at Kaspersky Lab Natalya turned a small group of enthusiasts into a world-class international IT company. Natalya's global business and IT-marketing expertise helped InfoWatch to become a leader of the DLP market and to start international expansion into Middle East and Africa.

Wistem 2015 - Videos

Highlights Overview

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Angelika Plate

Director of Strategic Consultancy Services

Help AG

Dr Angelika Plate has been working as an expert in the area of information security for more than 15 years, dealing with many different subjects including risk assessment and management, development of policies, procedures and technology solutions. She has worked with the German Information Security Agency and since then as an independent consultant with different commercial and government organisations.
She has successfully completed editorship of the well known standard ISO IEC security standards and provides consultancy services regarding the specialization areas listed. Angelika Plate studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Hannover University, which she finished with a PhD in Mathematics.

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Bela Harsh Reval

11th grade student

She is an 11th grade student studying in Our Own English High School, Dubai, UAE. She has formed Notebuddies along with her mentor Meera Kaul. She is an outgoing individual, fond of meeting people, public speaking, and to help people find solutions to problems. She had a point average of 9.6 in 2013 and was placed second in Math Model Making Contest in 2012.

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Bih Janet Shufor Fofang

Head of Electronics Department

Collège d’Enseignement Technique Industriel et Commerciale

Janet’s current position at Collège d’Enseignement Technique Industriel et Commerciale is Head of Electronics Department. She organises and oversees the activities of the electronics department, including lesson plans and laboratory work and plays a key role as a classroom teacher. Janet has established The Tassah Academy - a primary and secondary school with four hundred students and pupils and a staff of twenty.
She coordinates mentorship programs in schools to involve more girls in science and Technology and is founder of the Filles techniciennes club at cetic de Ngoa-Ekelle. Janet has participated in Techwomen 2013 mentorship programme with 77 other women from 16 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. She has a Master of Education in Electrical engineering from University of Douala, Cameroon and is part of the active Techwomen Alumni.

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Adriana Rangel

Research Director, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions


Adriana Rangel is in charge of the Systems & Infrastructure Solutions area at IDC MEA & Turkey, including all syndicated research, market intelligence projects and business development for this area throughout the region.

Rangel has worked in the IT Industry for over 19 years, most of them in large well known technology corporations, having been involved in projects in areas as diverse as Telecommunications, Software, Services and the entire landscape of IT Infrastructure, from Clients to Storage, Servers and Networks. She has been working as a marketing and business unit director in the region for almost 8 years, during which she has been in close contact with all the main companies based in MEA and Turkey.

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Havovi Yazdabadi

Senior Marketing Director

Oracle Hardware, Middle East and Africa

Havovi Yazdabadi has been working in the IT industry for over 18 years having started her career at SAS Institute in Sydney, Australia managing the marketing group for Australia and New Zealand. She worked between the US and Australia for 6 years before relocating to London in 2000. In London, Havovi held various International and EMEA roles in marketing and brand management with the CRM leader Siebel including the Head of Marketing for the UK, Nordics and Benelux regions.

After the acquisition of Siebel by Oracle, Havovi joined Oracle as the lead for Business Intelligence Marketing for EMEA which was quickly followed up by further leading the marketing integration of Hyperion into Oracle. Havovi then proceeded to head up Marketing for Oracle's Database and Options business in EMEA. After moving to Abu Dhabi in 2010 she has been leading the marketing team for Oracle’s Systems Middle East and Africa business. Havovi was also part of the Macquarie University team that won the pan-Australian Inter University Harvard Case Study Competition in 1997 and has won the UK B2B Award in 2009 for Best Demand Generation Campaign for EPM TV.

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Melvina Tarazi

Head of Business Development and Industries


Melvina Tarazi is responsible for defining SAP MENA’s industry strategy and directing business development activities through industry-led value management engagements. She brings with her over 20 years of technology and business experience across multiple disciplines and industries globally. Throughout her career, Melvina has worked with C-level executives to leverage information and communications technology to solve business challenges and deliver quantifiable ROI.

Prior to joining SAP, Melvina held the position of Chief Information Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Group. Melvina has previously spent 18 years with Oracle Corporation in the United States and the Middle East. Her last position with Oracle was to lead the company’s Insight and IT Strategy Group in the MENA region, where she worked with C-level executives to realize business value and drive increased efficiency in core business processes.

Prior to that, she held multiple leadership roles in Oracle Consulting, where she managed and delivered large-scale system implementation projects in the areas of ERP, SCM, eCommerce, CRM, Data Warehouses, Business Intelligence, Case Management, Database Marketing, Claims Management, and Performance Management for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

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Salima Fassil

Engineering Lead

WalmartLabs International Markets

Salima Fassil is currently the Engineering Lead at WalmartLabs since 2010. She manages teams in simultaneous projects from inception to production release using Java/J2EE technologies. She previously worked at LuccaGroup as Architect/Owner; at Andersen as Manager, Advanced Technology Group; at IBM as Senior E-Business Consultant; and at Decision Smith as Software Engineer Consultant. Salima has a Master of Science from University Of Illinois and majored in Computer Science.
She has a Master of Science from Morocco and majored in process engineering. She is a TechWomen.org mentor in 2012 and 2013; lead for sustainability team within Walmart; and active volunteer for Walmart Women Technology Centre.


Shaima Ghafoor

Products Solution Manager, Yahoo
Managing Director Girls in Technology, UAE
PITME Labs Ambassador

Shaima Ghafoor is a Products Solution Manager at Yahoo! and an active member in Girls in Tech, Dubai Chapter, a non-profit organization focusing on promotion, growth, and success of entrepreneurial and innovative women in the technology space. Shaima's role at Girls in Tech allows her to implement programs that focus on educating and empowering women and students to start their own businesses in technology. With a passion for new and creative ideas, Shaima's ambitions lie around bolstering excitement and interests towards a tech-entrepreneurial economy in the Middle East and take the regional’s entrepreneurial economy to the next level. She has an MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from University of Westminster and studied at The American University in Cairo and American School of Kuwait.

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Sherifa A Hady

Distribution Sales Manager, Enterprise Group

HP Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa

Sherifa A Hady is the Distribution Sales Manager for the Enterprise Group of HP, MEMA region. Before that she was Channel Manager for the printing group of HP English Africa. Throughout her 13 years at HP she has held many roles specifically in sales and marketing in the Middle East region. Until November 2008 she managed the Consumer Business Unit in the Middle East and had previously been primarily responsible for all marketing and communications operations for the Imaging and Printing Group.
Prior to HP, Sherifa spent four years at Connexions Marketing Agency in Dubai. Sherifa also held the position of Account Manager for the Retail Division at ICL Egypt. Sherifa has lived in Dubai for 17 years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Communications from Ain Shams University and is married with two children.

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Shimi Shah

Founder and angle investor

Carousel Solutions

Shimi has been actively involved in angel investing and venture capital for over 15 years and has made over 50 investments in early and expansion stage transactions, of which many have been successfully exited with superior returns for investors.
Shimi has established several new businesses, one of which is a start-up and SME advisory business called Carousel Solutions, which provides assistance for start-ups and small businesses in relation to expansion plans, business planning, and other strategic initiatives. Shimmi is also currently an Executive Director for a US based medical product company called Ziivaa. Over the last few months, Shimmi, as a Senior Adviser to Spengler Fox has helped to establish the Board Solutions Practice.

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Benedicte Hennebo

Head of Strategy, Marketing and Propositions Middle East and North Africa, Head of Global Logistics Marketing


Benedicte Hennebo is Head of Strategy, Marketing and Propositions Middle East and North Africa and Head of Global Logistics Marketing. She is a key part of BT Global Services Regional Leadership Team in charge of strategy, marketing and communications for the Middle East and North Africa.

Having worked in the Middle East for six years, Benedicte has played a significant role in enhancing the profile of BT Global Services in the region and growing the brand in a highly competitive market. Benedicte's role is also focused on tracking customer insight and driving marketing activity to further the brand's position. She has helped to define BT's regional target accounts and go-to-market strategy, including the consolidation of dispersed marketing plans. Her time controlling the marketing strategy has also coincided with a series of major launches, including BT's Business Continuity and Security Practice, Unified Communication & Collaboration, CRM and iVPN offerings.

During her time heading BT Global Services regional marketing operation, the company has also signed off a three-year regional investment programme in the MEA region covering additional infrastructure, 10 product launches and the recruitment of an extra 170 staff, including highly skilled professional services specialists to provide local support to customers and deliver consulting, integration and managed services.

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Hanan Kader

CEO and Founder

Aqar Estate

Hanan Khader is a Palestinian-Jordanian entrepreneur who founded Aqar-estate.com, an online real estate marketplace in the Middle East. She is the CEO of the Amman based company. She is passionate about technology and startups.
She has extensive experience in software development and has established and led many web technical teams. After being a programmer for over ten years, Hanan decided to establish Aqar-estate.com and it is now amongst the top three portals in the MENA region. In 2013, Hanan was selected by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for its TechWomen programme.
Hanan is active and enthusiastic about motivating women and girls in her country to start a new mission in their lives, and to contribute towards creating a brighter future for themselves and their society. Hanan is a caring mother of three, and loves to exchange knowledge, culture, and global connections.

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Eman Al Awadhi

Security Compliance Manager


Prior to du, Eman was Team Leader Network Security Engineer, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority aeCERT.

She has been awarded the Prime Minister Medal in the category of Distinguished New Employee under Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program. She was invited as a guest speaker by Prime Minister Office to conduct knowledge sharing workshop for all the candidates of Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program 2011.

She has a Master of Science in Information Security from Khalifa University of Science and Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from American University of Sharjah. She participated in the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid program for Leadership Development as Graduate of Promising Leaders program.

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Miriam Farshoukh

Public Relations Lead

Microsoft Gulf

Miriam is a brand communications professional with an in-depth understanding of the Middle East audience and region. She possesses publicity and influencer engagement experience with regional and international brands within various industries.

Miriam is well-connected with industry media, bloggers, influencers and opinion leaders within government and private associations locally and internationally. She currently leads a team of 10+ people.

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Poonam Datta

Senior management consultant

CEO, International Management Consultants

Poonam Datta is an accomplished business leader and enjoys a reputation for her professionalism and ability to build synergies and deliver consistent growth for all stake-holders. From 1990 to 2005, Poonam worked with the APM Group and grew through the ranks quickly to become one of the youngest managing directors in the Maersk World. She was responsible for the Middle East and led the Maerskline, Safmarine and Maersk Logistics organisations in the respective countries.

Poonam Datta has also served as CEO, International Management Consultants. She advised C level executives in myriad businesses on organization development, major restructuring, human capital development, succession planning, and synergizing talent in mergers and acquisitions.

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Kanchka Connie Sayal

Channel Manager Gulf, SMB Segment

Lenovo Middle East

Connie has been employed at Lenovo Middle East since October 2010. She is responsible for SMB sales and channel partner recruitments and loyalty. Lenovo has seen consistent growth of sales and market share during this period.

Prior to that, she worked at Microsoft in UAE with sales, OEM and channel partner responsibilities. She has a Master of Arts in International Relations from University of Nottingham, and studied Mandarin from Peking University in China. She also enjoys playing golf with a current handicap of 13.

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Nermeen Hassan

Founder and Executive Director

Vivid Life DWC

Nermeen has twenty years of corporate experience supported by telecommunication engineering degree and a Masters in International Business Administration.

Based on her successful corporate experiences, Nermeen succeeded in developing the Leadership Journey from East to West - a leadership development program that is based on western coaching methodology along with yogic philosophy, science and tools. In 2011, she established the social enterprise EYGADA. Its purpose is to alleviate poverty in village and rural households by creating sustainable business communities through supporting young women entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, e-marketing and logistics, with the ultimate goal of making an impact on the whole community.

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Jennifer Bell

Founder and CEO


Jennifer Bell is the Founder and CEO of Bellwether, an international investment and lifestyle firm. Bellwether holds a number of interests across biotech, renewable energy and digital technologies. Jennifer has previously held leadership positions in MGM and Sony and sits on the advisory board of Quismit, Goldie Hawn's foundation - Mind UP, and Paul Chester Children's Hope Foundation and Meera Kaul Foundation.

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Haidi Nossair

Regional Marketing Director


Haidi Nossair is EMC's Regional Marketing Director for Turkey, Emerging Africa and Middle East. She is responsible for development of marketing plans that reflect priorities of business. In her role, Haidi focuses not just on the EMC brand image in the region but also EMC engagements with customers. She joined EMC in 2007 and worked previously with HP and Compaq.

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