The Stevie® Awards are delighted to announce the six distinguished professionals who chaired the judging committees of the 2024 (5th annual) Middle East & North Africa Stevie® Awards competition.
The Middle East & North Africa Stevie® Awards, sponsored by the Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, are an international business awards competition that are open to all organizations in 18 nations in the Middle East and North Africa. The focus of the awards is on recognizing innovation in all its forms.
This year more than 1,000 nominations were considered in the judging process by more than 150 professionals, whose average ratings determined the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners announced earlier in January. For a complete list of the 2024 Stevie Award winners, visit https://MENA.StevieAwards.com.
Stevie winners will be presented their awards at a gala banquet at the Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates on Saturday, 2 March.
The six committee chairs were invited to chair based on their professional experience and expertise. Judging chairs helped to form their committees, each of which is comprised of other professionals from around the globe. Learn more about the Stevie Awards judging process here.
Meet this year's judging committee chairs:
Company/Organization & Achievement Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Dr. Zaher Ali Al-Sai, CEO, Big Data Minds MENA, Amman, Jordan
Dr. Zaher Ali Al-Sai is serving as the CEO of Big Data Minds MENA, a pioneering initiative aimed at bridging the digital skills gap within the realms of Big Data and emerging technologies. As an expert and assistant professor specializing in Big Data and Software Engineering, Dr. Zaher is renowned as a visionary leader, celebrated for her dynamic approach to technology and her dedication to nurturing the talents of individuals aspiring to excel in the digital landscape. Her leadership at Big Data Minds MENA has significantly contributed to empowering professionals, youth, and women, fostering digital transformation across diverse sectors.
Dr. Al-Sai has been recognized with several prestigious accolades, including the 2023 Gold Stevie Award for Big Data Minds MENA. Additionally, she has been honored with two distinguished Bronze Stevie Awards in The 2023 International Business.
Driven by an unwavering commitment to innovation, education, and empowering others, Dr. Zaher continues to spearhead technological advancements, creating opportunities for the aspiring minds of tomorrow.
Corporate Communications/Public Relations & Publications Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Leonie Matta, CEO & Founder of Digital Coach MENA, Niscemi, Sicily, Italy
Leonie Matta, CEO and Founder of Digital Coach MENA, is a passionate digital entrepreneur and marketing and business coach with over three decades of experience. She is committed to helping professionals and SMEs succeed in the digital age while prioritizing their well-being.
Leonie is an expert in leveraging digital technologies to drive exponential growth and profitability for her clients. She is also a certified Project Manager and Change Intelligence practitioner, which enables her to help her clients manage complex projects and lead change within their organizations. Leonie is fluent in English, Arabic, Italian, and French, which allows her to communicate effectively with clients and partners from all over the world.
On being invited to be this year’s Chair, Leonie told us, “The Stevie Awards are the world’s most prestigious awards for business development and professionals. They recognize the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals who are raising the bar for excellence in corporate communications and public relations.”
Human Resources & Individual Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Kifaya Abu-Thallam, HR Executive Advisor – HR Transformation & Organization Design, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Kifaya Abu-Thallam is a trusted Executive HR Advisor to business leaders and boards of directors in HR Transformation & Organization Design in the United Arab Emirates. With 20+ years of experience in government, semi-government and private sectors, she has served in some of the most significant industries including defense, telecommunications, banking, energy, and infrastructure development.
Kifaya is accredited by many recognized international Human Resources organizations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, a certified member of the Australian Human Resources Institute, CPHR Canada, a Certified Organization Development Professional (USA), and CINS.
Kifaya has focused experience in designing HR models that drive organizational and employee performance through digital transformation, building effective HR strategies, workforce capabilities building programs, human-centric organizational cultures (employees’ happiness, D&I strategies), and Agile performance management systems. Kifaya is also a regular speaker and moderator at HR Summits locally and internationally.
Management, Customer Service & Thought Leadership Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Dr. Kamal Eldin Salih, Managing Director of Suretrack Management Consultancy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dr. Kamal Salih is the Managing Director of Suretrack Management Consultancy, a Dubai-based management consultancy firm specializing in Business Excellence, Quality, Strategy, and Performance Improvement services. Dr. Salih is an expert and qualified practitioner in Quality Engineering & Management, Business Excellence Models, Performance Improvement, International Standards of Management Systems (ISO), Strategic Planning, Business Process Reengineering, Organizational Development, and Enterprise Risk Management, and has 30+ years of experience.
He has held top and senior-level positions in charge of businesses and operations of Governmental, International, and Corporate organizations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. Recent positions included Senior Vice President/Strategy & Support Services, and Vice President/Performance, Quality & Risk for ETISALAT Group in the UAE. He has executed assignments around the world in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Between 1972 and 1993, Dr. Salih received a PhD in Quality Systems in the USA, a master’s degree in quality engineering in the UK, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in Egypt. In addition, he holds international memberships and professional qualifications from leading Business Schools and International Bodies. He is a Certified Team Leader in assessing submissions for the Excellence Awards in UAE, the Middle East, and globally, including the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award, Dubai Quality Award, Egypt Government Excellence Award, Sheikh Saqr Government Excellence Program, Ideas Arabia Award, and Emirates Ideas Award.
Marketing, Media (Apps/Events/Video/Websites) & Social Media Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Dr. Mahmoud Mansi, Founder & Chairperson, Influencers Today Magazine, Alexandria, Saba Pasha, Egypt
Dr. Mahmoud Mansi (DBA|CIPD Level 7) is the Founder of four digital magazines: Influencers Today Magazine (the first Influencers’ magazine globally), HR Revolution Middle East Magazine, NGOs Today Magazine, and recently Women of Saudi Arabia, in addition to being an ambitious Business Innovator with a 360° experience in management consulting, auditing, research and education, and a Faculty Instructor at the Human Capital Institute. Dr. Mahmoud is passionate about communicating new ideas and solutions to the community in various ways including writing, public speaking, and media. That’s why he is the author of 9 books, and a writer at Harvard Business Review, Stanford for Social Innovation, Fortune Arabia, and MIT Technology Review. In 2023 he participated in writing the “Entrepreneur’s Journey,” a book by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. As a global public speaker, he has traveled and spoken at many conferences - including FIREX, SHRM TECH, HRSE, ATD ME, and NIES - in Nigeria, Egypt, UAE, India, KSA, Italy, Spain, Sudan, and the UK. Additionally, he has achieved a record by speaking 8 times at TEDx. Due to his expertise as a Judge at global business and sustainability awards, he has been featured on several blogs giving tips regarding judging and competing: The Stevie Awards Blog, Brilliance Awards Blog & GULF Sustainability Awards Blog.
Throughout his diverse career journey, he has received awards from different entities. Earlier in 2023 he was awarded by the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in USA, funded and organized by the US Department of State. In 2022, he was shortlisted as one of the top 5 CHROs in the Middle East at the Future Workplace Awards in Dubai. He has also received awards for his creative writing achievements: in 2010 he was one of the winners of Sea of Words Literary Award organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation with his short story “The Island”, and in 2012 he was selected to participate in the World Event Young Artists (WEYA) Festival in the UK with his short story “Revolution of Pirates”. As a Marketing & Branding innovator, Dr. Mahmoud has recently been working on delivering three new major solutions related to creating “in-house influencers”: (1) converting customers to advocates; (2) developing and promoting employees to become company social media influencers and brand ambassadors; (3) developing both employees and customers to volunteer in the organization’s corporate social responsibility and philanthropy initiatives.
On being invited to be a Chair, Dr. Mahmoud told us, “I have been judging for The Stevie Awards since 2019, and the effort and time I put into judging with each round impacts my experience, knowledge, and ambition. Yes, I get inspired by all the positivity and success stories, that contribute not only to my professional life, but to my passion as a human being. It is delightful to witness the continuous evolution of our limitless human race.”
New Product & Technology Awards Judging Committee
Chair: Balagopal Ramdurai, Vice President – Products & Technology, Vectramind Corporation, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Balagopal Ramdurai is a digital innovator and product creator with over 15 years of management experience in building innovative digital products for FinTech, Health Tech, and Retail industries. Mr. Ramdurai has been instrumental in creating award-winning industry products covering Digital Banking platforms and payments, and to currently spearheading customer experience platforms for the Healthcare industry.
Mr. Ramdurai has been working as Vice President – Products & Technology with Vectramind Corporation, a technology company headquartered in Dubai, UAE, since 2019. He has been on the judging panels of various awards committees, including the Stevie Awards, for the past few years, and has also been a mentor to Tech startups across the globe.
With a keen interest in emerging technologies, Mr. Ramdurai has been a speaker at various technology conferences and has published research articles on the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Healthcare.