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Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week One 2024

Raemona 40 over FORTY

Welcome to the first week of the 2024 Raemona Magazine 40 over Forty list.   It’s our annual curated list of influential impact makers - all women who happen to be over 40.

Sometimes you need to break the rules to achieve your goals, and in week one we celebrate the “Rebels”.  The 10 women who have not taken no for an answer, who have stepped out of every comfort zone and who have disrupted their industries. 

These women are all trailblazers playing their part in transforming our futures across the worlds of business, health, advocacy and mental health, real estate, wellness, tech, sustainability, leadership and more. 

We’ll be sharing our 40 over FORTY every Monday in March 2023 and we can’t wait to share the next 10  ladies on the list next week, but for now, meet this first group of 10 amazing women, our ‘Rebels’ for 2024

1.Anisha Oberoi, Founder of The Secret Skin

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Anisha Oberoi

Anisha Oberoi started her corporate career in hospitality and fashion prior to joining the e-commerce industry in 2014 as part of the founding team that launched Amazon Fashion in India and Australia. She moved to the UAE in 2019 to launch the online vertical of Bloomingdales Middle East.

Secret Skin was born in 2020 with a unique framework committed to ‘People, Planet and Purpose’ as an award-winning ecommerce discovery platform that connects global conscious brands to beauty consumers in the Middle East. By 2023 it became the fastest growing omnichannel retail company in the region.

Anisha holds an MBA from INSEAD. Having battled breast cancer at an early age, she works passionately with hospitals to raise awareness of early detection amongst the youth. She mentors young women and MBA aspirants and has been featured in many global publications.

Anisha has faced more ‘Nos” than she can remember, and many told her the market was not ready and she was wasting her time, but today she has the final laugh and true first mover advantage. Secret Skin has received wide coverage locally and internationally across print, digital, radio, TV and podcasts since its launch, including CNN’s Follow That Startup, Virgin Radio and Dubai Eye. Anisha is a popular speaker, panelist and commentator with her unique insight into both the modern beauty industry and ever changing e-commerce landscape, and is a true leading voice in the regional start up, investment and growth space, with a commitment to amplifying the goals of female investors and entrepreneurs. In 2023 Secret Skin joined the Techstars portfolio and 65% of Secret Skin’s investors are women. 

2. Ann Marie McQueen, Award winning journalist and founder of Hotflash inc

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Ann Marie McQueen

Ann Marie McQueen is a health and wellness journalist living and working in the Middle East. Through her platform, the pioneering Hotflash inc, Ann Marie has become the region’s very own ‘Meno Queen’ sharing balanced information about the peri/menopause transition and all aspects of midlife with a community of more than 30,000 women around the world. The platform is based on sharing information based on evidence, experts and human experience, incorporating all modalities, revealing bias or a conflict wherever possible, shared via newsletter, website, podcast and social media.  She’s made real moves in having the conversations we need to be having, but largely didn’t. 

Ann Marie was an award-winning columnist and national trends writer for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media before moving abroad in 2008 to join the team that launched The National newspaper. In addition to overseeing coverage that prompted major reforms of the UAE government’s accessibility policy, she became the Middle East’s first sustainability columnist. During her time as arts&life and then features editor, she drove massive expansion of The National’s digital footprint. In 2018 she launched and went on to serve as editorial director for Livehealthy, the Middle East’s first fitness and wellness online magazine, podcast and annual festival for men and women in English and Arabic. 

3. Nadia Zaal, Co-Founder and CEO of Zaya

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Nadia Zaal

Nadia Zaal is a visionary Emirati entrepreneur who has left an indelible mark on the real estate, hospitality, and education industries. Recognized as one of 'Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women' in the Middle East, she co-founded Zaya Group, a distinguished boutique developer specializing in luxury real estate development and hospitality. Nadia played a pivotal role in developing iconic projects like the prestigious Nurai Island, which showcases her commitment to sustainability through innovative features such as the region's first floating solar plant, public solar lighting, and electric buggies for transportation, along with the 'green carpet' concept, embodying her vision for sustainable luxury real estate.

Her expertise extends further as the CEO of Al Barari Group, where she was the driving force behind the innovative Al Barari project. Designed to cater to the premium real estate market, it is a testament to her dedication to sustainability and eco-conservation, creating the region's lowest-density lush microclimate community. Nadia's meticulous attention to detail is evident in the project's ample community spaces, greening practices, and the recycling of greywater and green waste for composting.

Nadia's passion for education led her to establish Zaya Early Learning, a Waldorf-inspired school that represents her commitment to reimagining education and fostering innovative learning experiences. 

Nadia describes herself as “Wife, Mama, Real estate developer, passionate about: feminine leadership, wellness, conscious parenting, alternative education & natural fertility”.  We’re always curious to see what she will be up to next!

4. Huda al Nuaimi, Founder, Nuaimi Collective

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Huda Al Nuaimi

Huda Al Nuaimi is always inventing, re-inventing and being ahead of the curve as an Emirati print and fashion designer who creates luxury ready-to-wear fashion and accessories.

Returning to Dubai after completing a degree at the London College of Fashion, Huda Al Nuaimi specialized in designing abayas and other modest fashions. She launched her label, Malaak (“angel”), in 2010 but rebranded,  now carrying  her own name. The daughter of an English designer mother and an Emirati father, Al Nuaimi credits her mixed background for her “less is more” brand ethos. 

Huda is now renowned for her print design collaborations with brands such as Piaget and Waitrose, seeing her delicate artwork on limited edition items such as coffee cups and shopping bags across the GCC. For Waitrose, the original design featured enticing patterns inspired by food, culture, and art and went on to become their best selling ever bag, and the special edition for the UAE’s 51st National Day also flew off the shelves thanks to its artistic interpretation of Dubai’s glittering skyline. 

5. Samar AlSalem, Founder, Samadhi Wellness

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Samar AlSalem

Samar AlSalem is the founder of pioneering, Dubai based, wellness concept, Samadhi Wellness. Her mission is firm - to offer the community a space to replenish life balance, destress, and avoid burnout. 

Born and raised in Kuwait City, Samar studied architectural engineering, and founded a lighting solutions company in UAE and Kuwait. Having worked in high-stress corporate environments, Samar went on a personal transformation, and in May 2023, launched Samadhi Wellness, where her passion for architecture helped design a truly inspirational space, and her journey with yoga gave her a mission to offer the practice to as many people as possible. 

Samadhi was created to be an authentic destination where everyone feels special, welcomed, and cherished. It is that middle space between work and home for visitors to truly connect, flow, replenish life balance, manage stress, and avoid burnout.  Her own journey to self-discovery through yoga completely altered her life, and her hope is that Samadhi will be the guiding light for people to experience the transformative powers of replenishing energy and creating a balance in their lifestyles. 

6. Flyn Roberts, Portfolio Director  - Consumer Goods Events Messe Frankfurt Middle East

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Flyn Roberts

After 15 years in her native Australia, climbing the ranks of the global exhibition and events industry with Reed, Flyn has spent the past two years in Dubai with global company Messe Frankfurt adding her unique touch, firstly as Show Director and then as Portfolio Director, notably in charge of Beautyworld Middle East and Saudi Arabia and Paperworld Middle East. 

Delivering the most successful shows to date under the two brands, Flyn’s tenure has seen her raise not just visitor and exhibitor numbers across all formats, but raised the profile of the region's booming business growth under the beauty and wellness categories across the GCC. The Beautyworld Middle East awards have also grown significantly, celebrating established and emerging brands driving innovation across the global industry. 

Flyn was the recipient of the Messe Frankfurt Middle East’s ‘ Culture’ award at the annual company awards in December 2023 and says, “ Company culture is one of my most important values and I’m lucky to be part of a business with a great spirit of diversity, respect, collaboration, empowerment and of course fun… especially from the top down”

7. Fatima  Balfaqeeh, Independent Arbitrator, Balfaqeeh Advocates & Legal Consultants.

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Fatima Balfaqeeh

Fatima Balfaqeeh is a UAE qualified Lawyer, Independent Arbitrator, Mediator, and Business Consultant with over two decades of experience. Making the decision to educate and qualify with 4 kids under 8, she loves to prove everything is possible, even when everyone around her tells her not. 

She started her career in government and semi-government entities in Abu Dhabi, leading the contracts and procurement function. She has a wealth of experience in commercial, legal, and operational matters in various sectors, including construction, contracts and procurement governance enforcement, project-related finance, payables, and banking credit facilities for corporate clients.

Fatima is now a Chartered Arbitrator of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), a Member in RICS as a chartered Facilities Management Surveyor, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain (CIPS). Since becoming a certified, Fatima has been invited to speak at numerous national and international ADR events. In 2018, she established her own consulting firm, which has since evolved into a law firm that operates in Abu Dhabi. 

An advocate for Green Arbitration, she has signed the UN Global Compact and directs her Law Firm towards all aspects of sustainability. Fatima is known for building strong and trustworthy relationship with her clients and always going the extra mile. 

8. Kubi Springer,  Director of Brand Marketing at AVANTGARDE MEA

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Kubi Springer

As a black woman from a modest middle-class background in London, England, Kubi faced the challenge of accessing rooms historically closed to women who looked like her. Being black and female became her superpower. Embracing her difference as strength transformed her mindset and approach in every room she  entered. This shift allowed her to fully embrace opportunities, connect with others, and foster exceptional business relationships, leading to significant personal and professional growth. With 26 years experience, Kubi is passionate about cultural trends, female empowerment, and the commercial impact these have when taking a brand ‘Glocal’.

Starting her career in 1996, Kubi has since delivered brand marketing campaigns for consumer brands such as Nike, L'Oreal Paris, FENDI, Charlotte Tilbury, Rolls Royce Motor Cars and Aston Martin. She has worked with celebrity brands such as Beyonce, P.Diddy, Justin Timberlake and Rio Ferdinand, delivering brand partnerships. Her very first brand partnership was at the age of 26 years old; securing over 1.2million GBP for the MOBO Awards, broadcast on the BBC.

Over the last 13 years Kubi has  delivered brand training and keynote speeches for clients such as Facebook, British Vogue, TikTok, the Labour Party, Deloitte, Harper's Bazaar Women's Summit, New York University, London College of Fashion and Oxford University. Her keynote focus is on 'Personal Branding & Leadership', 'Global Brand Marketing' and the 'Power of Culture Marketing'.

Today Kubi sits on the board of the Veuve Clicquot 'Bold Woman Awards', has a regular column in Harper's Bazaar and works as Director of Brand Marketing for Avantgarde MEA, currently working in Dubai.

9. Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, CEO and Founder, & Polly Williams, MD, TishTash Communications

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Natasha Hatherall - Shawe & Polly Williams

Two for one here, with this pair being well known for advocating the needs of women and being a little rebellious in all they do - Natasha and Polly run TishTash Communications together. 

Natasha founded TishTash Communications in 2012, welcoming Polly Williams to the agency in 2016, who today runs the agency her as Managing Director. With a combined global expertise in marketing, PR and communications spanning over 40 years across the UK, Europe, Asia and the GCC, TishTash is now a market leader in the beauty, wellness and lifestyle sector and employs over 60 staff across its Dubai HQ, Saudi Arabia and the UK, all female.

Well known for advocating the needs of women, in 2023, Natasha and Polly introduced a groundbreaking  move to meet the essential healthcare needs of women in the modern workplace. TishTash Communications launched a first of its kind policy for its entirely female workforce – offering all team members support on paid leave for fertility based treatments, menopause and menstrual related  leave. Designed to tackle the ever-changing landscape for employers and female employees throughout their career life-stages, the new TishTash Communications policy offers employees: Up to six days of menopause (and menstrual) leave per year, which is not part of the employees’ personal or sick leave. The option to work from home where possible to prioritize comfort. No requirement for medical certificates from women taking time off to manage symptoms. 10 days leave off work if pregnancy ends before 24 weeks.Flexible and unrestricted paid leave for staff to attend medical appointments while undergoing fertility treatment, both inside and outside of the country, including those wishing to do egg freezing.

We look forward to seeing what they come up with next! 

10. Dr. Sarah Rasmi, Licensed Psychologist & Managing Director, Thrive Wellbeing Centre 

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Dr Sarah Rasmi

Dr. Sarah Rasmi is a licensed Dubai psychologist and founder of Thrive Wellbeing Centre,  known for her direct, modern and empathic approach to relationships, sharing thoughts and advice in her social media channels in a space that has been traditionally kept in the shadows. 

With a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph in Canada, where she specialized in parenting and family relationships. She is a former Professor of Psychology at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates University, and the American University in Dubai, before she made the leap to establish Thrive Wellbeing Centre in Dubai.

Sarah works with individuals who have mild to moderate anxiety, panic, depression and phobias. She is also a trained and experienced couples therapist,  supporting couples who are both looking to strengthen or save their relationships. 

She is also a member of several professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Sarah is also a regular reviewer for top-tier journals and has appeared across top tier media platforms as an expert and commentator.

Sarah continues to drive forward the mental health landscape of the UAE and we support the work she does wholeheartedly.


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