Loula Zaklama

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Loula Zaklama

Founder, President and Managing Director, Rada Research & Public Relations Co.

Loula Zaklama, one of the first woman entrepreneurs in the Middle East, founder of two successful companies in Egypt, professionally renowned for her experience of more than 45 years in communications, advertising, marketing research, and public relations.
Her special expertise lies in designing marketing and communication strategies for Egyptian companies and multinationals in Egypt, such as IBM, Chrysler, Procter & Gamble, Cadbury, Avon, France Telecom. In addition, She is a communication consultant and strategic planner to various government entities.

Zaklama began her career at the beginning of the sixties when she founded in 1962 Radar Advertising Agency, the only private sector advertising agency in a completely state-run economy, at a time when granting contracts to private firms was difficult.
In 1982, Zaklama founded Rada Research & Public Relations Company, to become the first woman to establish a company in this field, and is currently its President and Managing Director. The company is the only one in Egypt specializing in both disciplines, research, and public relations. She faced many hardships and challenges mainly because Egyptians lacked knowledge about the importance of this field for the private sector. By time, she was able to turn her small company into a great marketing and advertising company. The company was chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take charge of a promotional campaign to increase foreign investments in Egypt.
Zaklama has been given the title of the “Iron Woman” by the press.
Moreover, Zaklama has taught Public Relations as a part-time professor at the American University in Cairo from the period of 1995 to 1998, and at the Misr International University from 1999 to 2001.
She has also worked as an active Board Member at the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt from 1992 to 1994. She has joined several meetings and discussions with members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and officials of the U.S. administration, on topics of a common interest between Cairo and Washington.
Zaklama also served as the President of Africa Public Relations Associations (APRA), covering North Africa in 2014. In 2006, Zaklama was elected as the World President of the International Public Relations Associations (IPRA), which combines 1200 members in 90 countries. It was the first time, in the 50-year history of the association, that a person from the Middle East to be elected to this position.
In October 2014, Zaklama was chosen as one of the 200 Arab Most Powerful Businesswomen in the Middle East by Forbes Middle East. In 2006, Zaklama was also selected as one of the 50 Arab leading businesswomen in the Middle East by Forbes Forbes Middle East.
She also received Special Achievement Award from the American Chamber of Commerce in 2004, and selected as one of the 50 leading women entrepreneurs of the world by the Star Group, sponsored by IBM and Fortune Magazine in 1998. She was also received the Samir Fares Award at the International Advertising Association Congress held in Cairo in May 1998 for outstanding contributions. In addition, Zaklama received the Medal of Merit from the International Advertising Association, Chicago in 1986.
Zaklama graduated from the American University in Cairo with a BA in Mass Communication. She continued her studies in advanced marketing research in Burke Institute, in Cincinnati, USA.

Lobna Helal

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Lobna Helal

Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt

Mrs. Lobna Hilal started her career in banking and investment banking where she assumed responsibilities in Arab African International Bank, the Egyptian American Bank and EFG – Hermes.
In 2004, Mrs. Hilal joined the Central Bank of Egypt to develop and execute a full-fledged two phased Banking Sector Reform Program (2004 till 2011).
In November 2011, she was appointed Deputy Governor responsible for Monetary Stability, becoming the first female to assume this position in the history of the Central Bank of Egypt.
In March 2013, Mrs. Hilal was appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Egyptian Mortgage Refinance Company (EMRC), which is a specialized financial institution that provides refinancing to primary mortgage lenders. In June 2015, she was elected as the first Head of the Egyptian Mortgage Finance Union.

In November 2015, a new Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Egypt was appointed by a Presidential decree whereby Mrs. Hilal was appointed as the Deputy Governor, responsible for Monetary Stability, supervising many sectors namely; Monetary Policy, Reserve Management & Markets, External Relations, Research, Information Technology and Banking Operation.
Ms. Hilal sits as an independent Expert Board Member on the Board and Advisory Restructuring Committee of the National Investment Bank. She also sits on the Board of Directors of Nasser Social Bank and the Social Housing Fund.
Mrs. Hilal holds the position of Non-Executive Chairman of the Egyptian Mortgage Refinance Company and the Credit Guarantee Company.
Mrs. Hilal also holds the position of the Vice Chair of the Gender and Women Financial inclusion committee and represents the Central Bank of Egypt in its capacity as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.
Mrs. Hilal was chosen among the Top 50 Most Influential Women of the Egyptian Economy in 2016 & 2017. She was also named the second most powerful woman in Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East and North Africa Region for the years 2016 and 2017, and in 2018 she was ranked the third place. In September 2018, she won the AFI Advocacy Champion Gender Award.
She has a master of Economics from the American University in Cairo.

Lamis Negm

Lamis Negm

Lamis Negm

Community Responsibility Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt

Lamis Negm is one of the most prominent banking figures; she was a former Vice Chairperson in Citi Bank – Egypt. In December 2017, she was appointed as Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt for Community Responsibility.
She was raised in a banking family as her father was a former Central Bank Governor, the late banker Ali Negm.
She graduated from Ain Shams University in 1986 with specialization in Commerce.

Negm has started her banking career when she was still undergraduate through joining Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which merged into Banque Misr in 1991. She had been working after this merging for 2 years, then shifted to work in Bank of America.
In 1993, Negm joined Citi Bank, where she held positions as Operations Management, Customer Service, Cash Management and Sales Management, then she moved to hold the Government Relations Department position, until she finally became the Vice President for Government Relations. During, her extended period of operation in Citi Bank – Egypt, she has achieved several significant successes, especially in the Retail Banking sector, in which she has been working for a long period of time.
Negm has received the Electronic Marketing Award for Cash Sales Management in 2001.
As a result, this sector has led the CIB to sign an acquisition, in the last June, on the retail banking portfolio, for CitiBank Group in Egypt.

Heba Thabet

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Heba Thabet

Head of Business Development at Juhayna Food Industries

Heba Thabet has joined Juhayna’s Board of Directors in 2006 until She became the Head of Business Development Sector.
Thabet has started her career path in 2001 by working in the Product Marketing sector for Juhayna, then held several positions, including Executive Director of Marketing Activities in the Juice Sector then Executive Director of Foreign Affairs Sector, responsible for managing media and public relations.
Moreover, Thabet is a prominent member of the business community, for being a Member of the Advisory Board of Directors of non-for-profit organization Enactus – Egypt, International Public Relations Association (IPRA), and the Social Responsibility Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

Thabet was honored in 2014 by Forbes Middle East among the top 100 Arab Business Women for joint stock companies. She is considered to be one of the most prominent figures in the Egyptian business community for reaching successes that help her remain in the list of the most influential women in the Egyptian economy in the upcoming years.

Heba El Sewedy

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Heba El Sewedy

Founder of Ahl Misr Foundation

Heba El Sewedy is the Founder and Chairwoman of the Ahl Masr (People of Egypt) Foundation, Egypt’s first ever non-governmental organization that specializes in caring physically and psychologically for burn victims. She is a descendant of a famous and leading Egyptian dynasty in the industry of cables and electronics, as her father Helal El Sewedy is one of the founders of the El Sewedy Electric Company in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, originally established in the 1960s.
She is an Egyptian humanitarian who is a prominent figure in the public life of Egypt and was recognized for her many initiatives and saving thousands. Some people refer to her as “Mother Teresa” of Egypt and “Mama Heba.”

At the beginning of the 25 January Revolution, El-Sewedy took to the streets to see firsthand the needs of the injured who were falling by the dozen. Although she avoided the media and for years shunned publicity, she is widely credited for treating thousands of Egyptians. She was dubbed the “Mother of Egyptians.”
She also took responsibility for treating approximately 4,000 injured victims from Libya along with looking after the families of those who lost their lives. In 2013, she founded Ahl Masr, a non-governmental organization mandated for social development in Egypt. Through its dedicated and diversified team, Ahl Masr has quickly risen to prominence to become a unique and effective organization, helping hundreds of burn victims all over Egypt.
El Sewedy is also an investor and socially minded entrepreneur with a strong vision to reform the Egyptian healthcare sector. Currently, she is a major shareholder in the EL Sewedy Electric Group.
In 1994, El Sewedy earned a Bachelor Degree in English Literature from King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia. After graduation, she founded the Arabian French Textiles Company.

Hanan Abdel Meguid

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Hanan Abdel Meguid

Chief Executive Officer of Kamelizer

An icon in the Middle East internet world, Hanan Abdel Meguid leads Kamelizer, a Cairo-based venture that aims to accelerate and energize the startup scene, leveraging her more than 25 years of experience in the technology field.
Such expertise together with the desire to sustain and grow talent led to Abdel Meguid’s involvement in the establishment of various communities and projects that promote growing Egyptian talent, as well as inspire young developers and promote knowledge sharing outside of business.

Prior to this, she was Chief Executive Officer of OTVentures, a fully owned Orascom Telecom subsidiary founded to lead the digital world in the online and mobile spheres and operating across more than 17 countries, from 2010 until 2014.
Abdel Meguid has been a successful serial entrepreneur since the earliest days of the internet, serving as a mentor for incubators such as Flat6labs, Tahrir2, and Google’s Ebda2 initiative.
In 1996, Abdel Meguid joined LINKdotNET, largest internet solutions provider in the region, where she as Chief Solution Officer contributed immensely to the company’s success and growth, becoming a “star” company and an Egyptian start-up success story. She went on to become the CEO of LINKdotNET’s software development spin-off firm, LINK Development, now Egypt’s foremost software and services company and international player in the software development domain.
Abdel Meguid is an active member in many academic and business alliances and associations, including being elected as Workgroup Chairwoman for the Egyptian Information Telecommunications, Electronics and Software Alliance (Eitesal), an independent industry body. She is also a member of the ICT Core Committee Board of The American Chamber of Commerce, member of Advisory Board of the American University in Cairo and of Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), the Egyptian Government’s IT Industry Development Authority. In addition, she is a member of the Information Technology Academia Collaboration (ITAC) and on the Board of Trustees of the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (TIEC), the Egyptian Government’s Center to incubate and stimulate technological innovation and creativity.
During her fellowship, Abdel Meguid studied factors that contribute to the success of entrepreneurial ecosystems; explored how to leverage technology and community to build cloud-based healthcare systems; and studied how Code for America can be adapted to Egypt.
Abdel Meguid received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo in 1988.

Dr. Hala El Saeed

Dr. Hala El-Saeed

Dr. Hala El Saeed

Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development

Dr. Hala El Saeed was appointed as Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform on February 2017. Moreover, Dr. El Said has been appointed as Minister of Planning and Economic Development since December 22nd, 2019, in addition to continuing her mandate on some files related to the administrative and institutional reform process, as well as the comprehensive supervision on the formulation, implementation and updating of the Egypt’s vision 2030.
She was the first elected female Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science in 2011 and Cairo University’s Deputy President for Scientific Research and Exterior Relations in 2013.
El Saeed has proudly served as an advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and as Executive
Director of the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI) for 8 consecutive years, during the period from 2003 to 2010.

She is a Board Member of of the Central Bank of Egypt and of many research centers, including the Center for Economic and Financial Research and Studies (CEFRS), Cairo Demographic Center (CDC), and the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology.
El Saeed has a pioneering role in the public sphere as she is a Board Member of Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Foundation. She also served as a Member in some civil society organizations, like “Our Children Our Future” Foundation, the advisory committee of the “Masr Ta3maal” program, Nahdet el Mahrousa, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).
Moreover, El Saeed has led the project of the first national census for SMEs access to finance, in the period between 2009 and 2011. In addition, she has authored several research papers and articles covering financial sector, international finance, financial markets, privatization, and economic reform.
El Saeed has organized and participated in more than 80 conferences, symposiums, and workshops in the same fields. She holds Ph.D. with highest honors in Economics from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University.

Hala Elkhatib

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Hala Elkhatib

Executive Director of the Egyptian Tourism Federation

Hala Elkhatib has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Egyptian Tourism Federation since October 2016.
Prior to this, she was the Information Advisor to The Minister of Tourism and the Official Spokeswoman for the Ministry. She was also the General Secretary of the Hotel Facilities Chamber. She worked for many years in several international organizations and hotel chains.
In 2013, Elkhatib was elected as a Board Member of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA), becoming the first Egyptian woman to obtain this position since IHRA’s inception in 1869.

In 2017, Elkhatib was elected as a Board Member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Elkhatib graduated from the faculty of Mass Communications at Cairo University. She received Master of Business Administration and MBA in Communication and Media Studies from London Business School.

Hala Bassiouni

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Hala Bassiouni

Group Treasury Director at Ezz Steel

Hala Bassiouni has joined Ezz Steel as Group Corporate Treasury Director since January 2015. She has more than 30 years of experience in corporate banking, covering areas of corporate finance, retail banking, risks, and restructuring.
She is also Non-Executive Board Member of the Egyptian Arab Land Bank (EALB) since September 2017.
Prior to this, Bassiouni was the Chairperson of the Egyptian Mortgage Finance Association, then joined the Egyptian Housing Finance Company (EHFC), the first private sector housing mortgage finance company in Egypt, in May 2004, shortly after its inception, to eventually became its Managing Director.

She has helped in creating the EHFC’s manuals and starting its operations. Before joining the EHFC, Bassiouni worked with Egyptian Gulf Bank for almost eight years in several capacities, ultimately heading the Credit Risk Department. Previously, she worked with the Egyptian American Bank (currently Crédit Agricole Egypt) for almost seven years in various corporate banking assignments.
Bassiouni also held the following positions: Co-Chair of the Real Estate Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, Certified Trainer at the Mortgage Bankers Association, and a Member of the Consultancy Committee designed to study all mortgage impediments and provide technical consultancy and proposals to the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).
Moreover, Bassiouni has ranked number 52 on Forbes Magazine’s 100 ‘Most Powerful Arab Women for 2014’ list.
Bassiouni holds bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics from the American University in Cairo (AUC). She is AUC’s Dean’s Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) Member.

Ghada Wali

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Ghada Wali

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Ghada Wali, Former Minister of Social Solidarity and An advocate for Arab Women’s Rights in the region, also serve as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV). She has over 25 years of experience in integrated development management.
Prior to this, Wali was Secretary-General of the government entity Social Fund for Development (currently the Mirco, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency) between 2011 and 2014. Under her leadership, she managed to secure funds worth around $700 million from donor countries.
She has been a key member of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Egypt, where she occupied the position of Assistant Resident Representative and headed up the poverty reduction and job creation portfolio starting since 2011.

Prior to the UNDP and NCW, Wali was a Board Member of the Consumer Protection Agency, the first government body for consumer protection, which was created in 2006. She was also Program Director of CARE International, a non-governmental organization that works on poverty reduction in Upper Egypt.
She was also a representative at the National Council for Women (NCW).
Ghada Wally had worked as Microfinance and Institutional Development Advisor to the Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). She was Chair of the Nasser Social Bank, the National Authority for Social Insurance, National Center for Social and Criminological Research, and Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA), as well as Vice Chair of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society
In September 2018, Wali received the Public Health Champions award by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) in recognition of her remarkable efforts for the health sector in Egypt.
Although she is not a part of the Ministry of Health, she significantly influenced the health sector in Egypt. Wali believes that poverty and health are inseparable, asserting that Ministry of Solidarity’s vision is protection, care, and poverty reduction, which will directly affect these two sectors in Egypt.
Wali received her BA from the College of Languages and Literature at Colorado State University, USA, in 1987 and her M.A. in Humanities from Colorado State University, USA, in 1990.