Ahmed Ragab
Ahmed Ragab
Group CEO & Executive Board Member - BRG Holding, Egypt

Ahmed Ragab is the group CEO and executive board member of Egypt-based BRG Holding. He is the CEO and board member of Barak Optics Group, as well as board member of Baraka Folio Company and Sigma Construction. Ragab is also a selected entrepreneur with Endeavor Egypt. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the American University in Cairo, Master’s in Business Administration from Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands. He also completed the Scaling Ventures Programme from Harvard Business School in the US. Ragab is a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Ashish Panjabi
Ashish Panjabi
COO - Jacky’s Group of Companies

Ashish Panjabi is the COO of Jacky’s Business Solutions. Panjabi also runs Jacky’s Retail LLC, which operates Samsung Brand Shops across the UAE and is a partner in Cutting Edge Solutions FZE. He is a board member and president-elect for the UAE Chapter of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneur), where the focus is on fostering entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking, education, funding and incubation. He is also involved in various mentorship activities, as a Tech Mentor at in5 Tech and at Techstars, which is a seed accelerator. Panjabi is also a board member of the Dubai Computer Group, which represents the interests of the computer industry in Dubai and is formed under the auspices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is currently a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) MENA One Chapter as well as a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Bridgett Lau
Bridgett Lau
Founder - One Good Thing

Bridgett Lau is a sales professional with two decades of global experience in solution sales in corporates and early stage ventures in Europe, North America and the Middle Eastern markets. Along with Michael Cooke, Lau launched an e-commerce social enterprise called One Good Thing in 2017. One Good Thing brings creators and customers together, allowing the sharing of authentic stories and the chance to do good. Featuring 15 brands with over 450 products, inspirational items range from one-of-a-kind jewellery and sustainable bags to reclaimed wood headphones, conservation-focused camping gear and an upcycled travel section. In January 2019, One Good Thing celebrated 365 days of real impact. Some examples include clearing over 6,800 sqft of landmines in Laos, repurposing 112 meters of decommissioned fire hoses and diverting them from landfills, helping 45 people hear for the very first time through hearing aids and reconnecting 11 grannies to the world and curing loneliness, among other achievements.

Isobel Abulhoul
Isobel Abulhoul
Co-founder - Magrudy’s

Isobel Abulhoul co-founded Magrudy’s, a bookshop chain, in 1975. In addition to Magrudy’s, she was a co-founder of Jerboa Books, a publishing company which produces children’s books in Arabic and English. Abulhoul has a keen and abiding interest in education and literacy. Following a chance conversation and the support of Emirates Airline, she founded and directed the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, from its inception. In 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and also the Festival patron, issued a Decree forming the Emirates Literature Foundation, naming Abulhoul as one of the trustees on the board. In addition, Abulhoul also holds the position of CEO of the Foundation. She is also a trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction Board, secretary general of the Kalimat Foundation and director of the board for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library and a member of the Supreme Committee for the Year of Tolerance. Abulhoul is a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Khurshid Vakil
Khurshid Vakil
Co-founder - Marina Retail Corporation

Khurshid Vakil is co-founder of Marina Retail Corporation, under which Marina Home Interiors retail chain operates. The avant-garde lifestyle & home décor company, headquartered in Dubai, operates its large format stores across most Middle East markets, North Africa and the sub-continent. Born in India and having lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain and the UAE, Vakil understands cross-cultural influences that can be vividly seen coexisting in his company’s corporate culture and design harmony of the product mix at Marina Home Interiors. Vakil remains at the forefront of Marina Home’s expansion and brand building strategy with a vision to take the brand forward globally through company-owned operations and franchise licensing. He ensures Marina Home’s philosophy is clearly visible at its each leap of development, strategic approach, external interface and in its internal environment thus helping create tremendous passion at workplace, while bringing in global accolades for the organisation. Vakil is a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Mark Tesseyman
Mark Tesseyman
CEO - LIWA Trading Enterprises

With over three decades of experience in the fashion retail industry, Mark Tesseyman has made his mark as an experienced and successful retailer across GCC, North Africa, Russia in addition to Europe and the UK. Tesseyman was appointed CEO of LIWA Trading Enterprises in 2015 to restructure and grow the organisation. A key focus has been to target specific market sectors and evolve a retail strategy in line with shifting global trends. He has driven the change management agenda placing the customer first, improving performance and transforming the way the company operates. Tesseyman has extensive international experience, developing and implementing best practice retail management systems and working for industry-leading international companies, including Next Retail, Matalan Ltd, The Peacock Group and Alshaya. Prior to his current role, he held key senior positions at both large corporate PLC companies and family-owned organisations. He is also familiar with private equity-backed businesses. Tesseyman is a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Naim Maadad
Naim Maadad
Chief Executive & Founder - Gates Hospitality

Naim Maadad comes with over 38 years of experience in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia and the Middle East in various senior management roles. He has launched and operated some of the world’s best hotels, resorts, spas and lifestyle F&B concepts. During his stint with international hospitality groups, Maadad was instrumental in nurturing sound relationships with owners, securing the best-possible locations, negotiating and formalising contractual agreements and appointing teams to infuse and reflect the ethos of the brands. Being based in the Middle East over the past 20 years, Maadad has witnessed tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding and has been endorsed by principals & organisations alike. In 2010, he established Gates Hospitality, a home-grown hospitality company representing F&B brands, including Ultra Brasserie, Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly by Nick & Scott and Publique, to name a few. He as a member of the Advisory Board for RetailME and MRF.

Nawal El Masri
Nawal El Masri
Founder - Exhale

Nawal El Masri is the founder and storyteller of Exhale, a mindful and conscious driven e-commerce brand that seeks to change perspectives through storytelling, art, visual journeys and clothing. El Masri believes that through Exhale she can bring awareness for mental wellness and break stigmas in order for the society to use the tools they have at hand to heal themselves. Artists from around the world, storytellers, writers, painters, illustrators and poets come together to tell stories with Exhale. The brand also teams up with educational awareness events such as The Global Teacher Prize to target and bring awareness to the millennials. El Masri has partnered with UNHCR to further initiate and activate the process of supporting and healing. She is a speaker at the American University of Sharjah advocating mental health, alongside forming a lecture collaboration at DIDI Institute in d3 for fashion students about mindful designing.

Piyush Kumar Chowhan
Piyush Kumar Chowhan
Group CIO - Lulu Group International

In his role at Lulu Group International, Piyush Kumar Chowhan is responsible for digital strategy and execution of technology for all its global businesses across 12 countries, which include retail, hypermarket and shopping malls. He has over 20 years of experience in driving businesses change using the latest technology innovations, thereby enhancing business value. Chowhan has acquired strong domain knowledge in retail, e-commerce and supply chain management while working for global retailers like Walmart, Target, Circuit City, Tesco and Best Buy. He has also been instrumental in leading the deployment of state-of-art, award-winning supply chain replenishment programme, defining the roadmap for future-ready retail stores and Artificial Intelligence and analytics. He has won many awards for his work and is a part of the Steering Committee of the Analytics and Data Science COE (jointly started by the Government of Karnataka and NASSCOM in Bangalore).