2022 Dubai Women in Leadership Symposium
Angeles Valenciano serves as chief executive officer of the National Diversity Council (NDC), becoming the first female CEO of this major nonprofit. In this role, she will continue to advance the NDC’s mission of fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She will also focus on strengthening partnerships with businesses, academia and the community at large. Ms. Valenciano is a seasoned strategist with more than 20 years of experience in human resources, primarily focused on diversity, organizational change, and development. She was previously president of the Healthcare Diversity Council and executive vice president of the NDC. In the latter role, she oversaw the growth of several national markets, including California, Colorado and Arizona. In addition, she also served as vice president of business development for the Texas Diversity Council (TXDC), one of the NDC state councils. Ms. Valenciano was the TXDC’s first executive director with responsibility over operations and policy implementation as adopted by the Board of Directors. She directed the agendas of the regional diversity council’s advisory boards in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Under her leadership, the annual Women in Leadership Symposium was created and is now a national and global event held in more than twelve states and several countries including England, Mexico, Canada and most recently United Arab Emirates. Formerly, Ms. Valenciano was the director of diversity and inclusion for 84 Lumber Company. She provided leadership and direction for the infrastructure, design, formulation, implementation and execution of the organization’s overall diversity strategy, which included external communications, public relations, and community engagement. She was also responsible for ensuring the efficacy of these business practices, processes, and procedures. Ms. Valenciano’s role was carried out in the company’s business expansion into Mexico and Canada. As an assistant vice president and officer at JPMorgan, she served in the capacity of leadership development consultant in Credit Card Services and Organizational Development, and consultant to Customer Services’ clients. Ms. Valenciano also managed the strategic direction and execution of organizational-wide development processes as well as diversity programs and initiatives. She served as subject matter expert on global diversity, overseeing the company’s initiatives in various countries. Active in charitable and civic affairs, Ms. Valenciano is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de San Luis Potosí located in the City of San Luis Potosí in Mexico with a degree in business and computer information systems. She holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certificate from University of Villanova. She has completed various leadership and professional development programs across the country and abroad. Ms. Valenciano is fluent in English and Spanish. She serves on the board of the Science, Engineering and Technology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She is a strong advocate and chairs several committees for people with disabilities in the workplace. She is a proud ally to the LGBT community and is active with several chambers of commerce across the country. Ms. Valenciano lives in San Antonio, TX, with her sons.
Fatima AlQubaisi is the first woman from the United Arab Emirates to graduate from Harvard Law School and she is an active member of her community. She graduated with honors from Paris Sorbonne University and attended high-school at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy. In her professional life, Fatima worked at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority where she progressed to Senior Associate, being the first and only Emirati female lawyer to join, and then she moved to Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. She is now a Legal Counsel at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Fatima is dual qualified in her home country, and she has passed the New York bar. AlQubaisi speaks four languages including English, French, German, and Arabic. Fatima’s biggest role model and mentor is H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation who played a big role in Fatima’s childhood and was an active member of her school. Fatima often says, "Her Highness Mother of the Nation instilled the love of learning within me, and to top it off we share the same name." Fatima participated in several legal, business, and cultural seminars, both as a speaker and moderator. She is an avid debater and reader and has been featured on multiple media outlets. In her free time, she works pro bono and assists people and particularly women in the Middle East with their legal queries. She is known for pushing the status quo. Fatima’s agility and adaptability made her a role model for many. With her acute sense of humor and attention to details, she uses her platform and online presence to aspire and create a more equal world.
Entrepreneur/Founder of Two Startups, Having Raised Over $100 million In Venture Capital, Turned Investor, And Advisor, Joy Ajlouny Is Considered To Be A Maverick. Born And Raised In California To Palestinian Refugees, Ajlouny Has Built A Reputation For Her Success In Startups And Ventures Worldwide, All The While Disrupting The Status Quo Of Women In Business. Belonging To The Top One Percent Of Female Entrepreneurs, The Self-Made Entrepreneur Has “Gamified Rejection” And Carved Her Space In The Business World. In 2015 Ajlouny Co-Founded Fetchr, The Silicon Valley-Backed Tech Company That Was Created To Tackle The Middle East’s “No Address” Issue, Which Has Been Long Been A Hindrance To Growth In Emerging Markets. She Facilitated $11 Million In Initial Investments In Fetchr,As Well As $41 Million In A Series B Round In 2017. The Company Now Successfully Operates In Five Countries With A 4500-Person Staff, And Was Dubbed The Number One Startup In The Middle East By Forbes. In 2019, Ajlouny Demonstrated That She Was Beholden To Nobody When She Resigned From Her Position At Fetchr To Follow Her Passion Of Mentoring and Funding Entrepreneurs with Innovative Ideas. Ahead Of Founding Fetchr, Ajlouny Was The Driving Force And Sole Entity Behind The E-Commerce Luxury Fashion Platform Bonfaire. Acquired By Moda Operandi––A Fashion E-Commerce Giant Owned By LVMH And Condé Nast––In 2013, Just Two Years After Its Launch, This Was Only The Start Of What Would Develop Into A Long-Lasting Relationship Between Ajlouny And The Fashion Industry. Ajlouny Is Regularly Hired As A Consultant For Fashion Startups, As Well As For Venture Capitalists. Over The Last Decade, Her Unmatched Knowledge And Expertise In Funding And Investment, Startups And Marketing Strategies Has Compounded Into What’s Known As The “Joy Effect,” A Term That Refers To The Ripple Of Her Influence On A Multitude Of New And Once Suffering Companies. Considered An Expert In Emotional Marketing, She Follows The Rule Of Thumb That In Order To Be Successful, You Have To “Fall In Love With Your Customer.” With Less Than Three Percent Of Venture Capital Funding Raised By Women, Ajlouny Has Successfully Raised Multiple Rounds Of Funding For Her Two Startups, Acquiring Investments From Some Of The Most Prestigious Silicon Valley Venture Capital Firms. As A Self-Made Woman In The Industry, Ajlouny Is Passionate About Encouraging And Investing Knowledge Into The Young Women Of Tomorrow. Ajlouny Is Regularly Invited To Speak At Forums And Events Across The World And Most Recently Took The Stage At The World Economic Forum In Jordan And BoF VOICES In The UK. Her Talks Are Not Only Centered Upon Her Businesses, But On The Realities Of Being A Female Entrepreneur, The Double Bind And The Relentlessness It Takes To Secure A Position That Counters The Traditional Roles Allocated For Women.
Candice D’Cruz is the Vice President, Luxury Brand Marketing & Management, Europe, Middle East and Africa for Marriott International. She is currently responsible for developing and leading the luxury brand portfolio within the region consisting of eight of the world’s most prestigious hospitality brands including The Ritz-Carlton, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, EDITION, The Luxury Collection, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts and W Hotels Worldwide. With over 18 years of international experience in the hospitality and luxury space, Candice joined the team in 2017 to setup the luxury discipline for Middle East & Africa, and has been focused on bringing to life the luxury brands in the region through locally relevant strategies, distinctive brand activations and unique partnerships. A brand specialist with experience in diverse markets such as Australia, Belgium, India, including over a decade in the Middle East alone, Candice’s strategic leadership plays a pivotal role in positioning Marriott International as a key luxury player across EMEA. Candice is a true believer that travel defines us more than our nationality and often turns to her young daughter for inspiration on how to cater to the new generations of ever-demanding luxury consumers who are rewriting the industry rulebook. Candice has been voted amongst the Top 50 most influential woman leader in the hospitality industry in the Middle East and 2019’s Top Storyteller by Forbes Middle East.
Emerson Automation Solutions
Widad Haddad heads the overall business for Emerson Automation Solutions in the UAE, Oman, Yemen & Lebanon. Widad joined Emerson as a Marketing Engineer in 2008 and has been steadily promoted since, to the point where she led the Marketing Department as the Marketing Director from 2014 to 2018 before taking the role of Vice President and General Manager for UAE, Oman,Yemen & Lebanon in July 2018; and becoming the first female Vice President & GM for Emerson in MEA. In this role, Widad manages an organization of 120 employees covering sales, service, operations, finance, legal, HR and admin. Widad is also a member of the Diversity & Inclusiong Executive Council for Emerson MEA. Before joining Emerson, Widad held various roles in engineering, marketing and sales. She started her career in Lebanon in 2002 as a Mechanical Engineer designing Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and Plumbing systems for residential buildings and commercial centres. In 2005, she moved to Dubai to become Marketing and Sales Manager of a local manufacturing and trading company specialising in industrial electrical supplies. After a year-long stint in 2007 on the creative side of marketing with Zee Network’s Zee Arabiya television youth channel, she joined Emerson. Widad is a graduate of McMaster University in Canada and has a BEng in Mechanical Engineering. She also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Organization and Business Psychology from University of Liverpool. Widad is a mother of a four years old boy, and plans to continue balancing her growing career and motherhood.
Alexis Lecanuet is the Regional Senior Managing Director for Accenture in the Middle East. In his role, he is responsible for Accenture business in the region, including defining and executing Accenture’s strategy, leading the Clients’ portfolio and managing the local operations. Previously, Alexis led and grew the company’s products portfolio in the Middle East and Turkey region and focused on onboarding and retaining the largest names in the retail business. During his 24 years of career with Accenture, he has commanded large complex transformation projects across Europe and MENA mostly for the consumer and retail industries. Alexis is a recognized Regional leader, a seasoned speaker in several conferences, ranked one amongst the Forbes regional “Global meets local” of top 50 leaders. He is a board member for the non-profit, Injaz ME. Alexis holds a Masters in Business Consulting from ESCP Europe Business School and a Business Finance degree from SKEMA Business School. He is married with four children and is currently based in the UAE.
Maysoun Ramadan is the Diversity and Inclusion Partner - Global at Roche. Filling an extensive and far-reaching role, Maysoun is responsible for providing thought leadership on diversity, inclusion and belonging across the organization, while contributing to the building of the company’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy and capabilities both internally and externally for Roche across its divisions. Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Maysoun has been with Roche for over 14 years, previously serving as Head of People, Culture & Corporate Communications for the Middle East - Roche Diagnostics division. For the last decade-and-a-half, Maysoun has contributed significantly towards keeping Roche at the forefront of healthcare diagnostics in the region. Maysoun embarked on her diverse journey with Roche 15 years ago, starting out in the commercial domain in oncology, breast cancer, hematology, and organ transplantation. After more than 6 years of creating patient and public awareness campaigns, Maysoun made a career shift and played a fundamental role in establishing the Communications and Public Affairs function for Roche Diagnostics in the Middle East. As an official spokesperson for the company, Maysoun led strategic internal communications and employee engagement, as well as being instrumental in shaping the company’s external communications, outreach, and presence in the healthcare sector as a thought leader, partner and employer of choice in the region. She subsequently moved to lead the Roche Diagnostics’ People, Culture & Corporate Communications in the Middle East, covering 16 countries and over 450 employees across the region and driving forward the company’s culture, values and mission of ‘doing now what patients need next.’ During her tenure, she oversaw the delivery of high-quality human capital services and strategies at the regional Diagnostics division, as well as led the company’s strategic communications and media relations activities for the Middle East.
Patricia is a Partner in the Dubai office of Hunton Andrews Kurth. She is an experienced projects lawyer advising clients on the full life cycle of energy and infrastructure projects, from acquisition and financing to project development. Patricia also advises on both the commercial aspects of a project (including mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures) and transactional contracts (including concessions, production sharing agreements, joint operating agreements, gas sale and purchase agreements, gas transportation agreements and EPC contracts). She advises sponsors, developers, government authorities and contractors on innovative and complex energy projects. Patricia has advised on several “first-of-a-kind projects” and has considerable experience leading negotiations and drafting agreements in energy rich countries of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In recent years, Patricia’s practice has focused on helping client’s make strategic decisions when structuring and negotiating LNG projects. She has advised on LNG export and import projects (onshore and offshore) on six continents. Patricia’s experience covers the full LNG value chain, including LNG SPAs and MSAs, LNG tolling agreements and charter party agreements for floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs).
Pragya is a global business and marketing leader with 19 years of experience leading diverse teams and shaping future leaders across categories and geographies. She has worked with Unilever for 16 years on diverse sales, marketing, product innovation and commercial roles in India and MENA (Middle-east & North Africa) region including Russia and Turkey markets. These roles have been spread across the categories of Beauty, Personal Care and Beverages. She joined Amazon India in October 2020 as the Business Head and Director leading one of the 5 commercial verticals. Her curiosity and passion for learning constantly drive her. Mother of a vivacious 9 years old woman leader in the making, she is formally trained in performing arts and is a certified theatre improvisor as well.