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Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Welcome to the third 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.

Being ‘Renowned’ in your field is never for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced. Consistency, results, and growth are all required to truly make your mark.  In week three we celebrate those known for their remarkable career success.  These 10 women are truly making their impact felt.

These women continue to inspire across the worlds of retail, marketing, philanthropy, education, healthcare, femtech, communications, business operations, finance,  leadership, and more. 

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

I.Najla Al Midfa, General Manager, Sheraa (Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center)

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

A shining example of someone who is consistently brilliant and inspiring in all they do is Najla Al-Midfa, General Manager of Sheraa - Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center,  a government entity that aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide them with a launchpad for success.  Today in 2024, Sheraa goes from strength to strength under Najla’s long-standing tenure, particularly with the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival which has become the leading UAE event for entrepreneurship and business innovation. She is also the Founder of Khayarat, a platform that enables young Emiratis to make informed career choices.

Prior to this, she was a Senior Manager at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, where she led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process, helping to identify and select ventures for financing. During her tenure, she also designed and led several youth-related initiatives.

Najla was also previously a senior associate at McKinsey and Company‘s New York office, where she worked on a range of strategy-related projects, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her work experience also includes key roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell.

Najla is a member of the Board of Directors, and Risk Committee, Chairman of the Audit Committee at United Arab Bank, as well as Vice-Chairman of Young Arab Leaders and a founding board member of Education for Employment UAE, and Women Corporate Directors GCC.

She holds an MBA from Stanford University; she’s a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.

2. Ioanna Angelidaki, Founder and CMO, Instashop

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Ioanna Angelidaki is a Greek entrepreneur,  Co-founder, and Chief Marketing Officer at Instashop. Which just in case you have been living under a rock and missed its brilliance, is an online grocery delivery service in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Greece. 

Angelidaki studied at the Technical University of Crete with a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management followed by a master's degree in Marketing Management from the same university. Angelidaki met co-founder InstaShop Tsioris in 2003 while studying for her mechanical engineering diploma. After graduating, Angelidaki set herself up as an online marketing freelancer.

In 2013, Angelidaki and Tsioris came up with the idea for a voice-based social platform, Vound, allowing users to create 11-second clips using their voices, photos, special effects, and other sounds, but the project was closed after 17 months. 

May 2015, saw Angelidaki go on to found Instashop in Dubai with Tsioris, which was acquired in 2020 by Berlin-based food ordering and delivery company Delivery Hero. The brand continues to live on as an independent platform led by Tsioris and Angelidaki.The transaction is said to have set a record value for a Greek startup and is one of the largest recent exits in the MENA region.

3. Lucy Bruce, Founder, Harmony House and Home Grown Children’s Eco Nurseries

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Lucy Bruce needs little introduction to most in our community, as mother, teacher, activist,  founder of Harmony House the day shelter for hundreds of destitute children in India, and co-founder of Home Grown Children’s Eco Nurseries in the UAE. 

Lucy and her husband Gaurav Sinha are together the Founders and Trustees of Harmony House, a family-run project driven by a passion for giving back to those in need. The Harmony House concept was born in December 2008 and the house eventually opened its doors in December 2009. Harmony House continues to go from strength to strength providing children in need with the provisions, opportunities, and care that all children deserve. Since opening its doors, Lucy and Gurav have transformed two villas into community centers offering a safe and healthy environment surrounding hundreds of children with positivity and education. The organization registered in India and the UK, relies 100% on donations to provide its social services to families facing poor living conditions, unemployment, or living on a very small income of $1.90 per day. Currently caring for over 550 children of all ages, the villas provide everything from courses and libraries to medical clinics, nutrition, and stimulating game rooms. Additionally, the centers provide income to women helping around the facilities.

Lucy also co-founded Home Grown Children’s Eco Nursery with Beverly Jatwani in 2009. The eco-friendly ‘Green Thinking’ children’s nurseries in Dubai, are inspired by motherly instincts and the harmony of nature. Each child in the nursery is paired with a child in India, and a portion of the fees go towards supporting the Harmony House charity. The Green Engagement Programme was created to promote sustainability and is based on the British Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.

4. Severine Hoss, CFO and COO, Alpha Nero

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Severine is the CFO and COO of Alpha Nero, a leading firm in the manufacturing and design of shop fixtures, shop-in-shops, boutiques, and pop-up stores for high–end, global and regional luxury brands. Severine was responsible for Alpha Nero’s new corporate maternity policy changes announced in March 2024 which received a lot of praise and media attention. 

Having joined the company in 2014, Severine’s primary role was accounting and finance. From 16 employees at the start, Severine’s role grew along with the company, which today reaches 300 employees, and their own factories. With her foundation in financial management and strategic planning, she transitioned into the role of COO, allowing her to combine her financial expertise with operational insights, planning, optimizing processes, and achieving sustainable growth for the company.  Today, her primary focus is on the financial management of Alpha Nero. This includes overseeing the company's financial operations, including budgeting, financial planning, and analysis. As well as ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial data, and preparing financial statements, risk management, cash flow management, and financial reporting compliance. 

Severine holds three degrees including an Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration, an Undergraduate Degree in Administration and Social Economy, and a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance. She worked for a chartered accountant company in Paris, before moving to Dubai and starting her own entrepreneurial journey. 

5. Natalie Bogdanova, Luxury Property & Retail Expert / Consultant / Managing Partner - Black River Management & Consultancies LLC 

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

As a C-suite senior level executive, Natalie spent 20 years overall with Emaar Properties in the development and management of luxury real-estate, mixed-use developments, shopping malls, leisure & entertainment destinations and luxury retail properties.

In her role as Chief Operating Officer,  she  was responsible for the operational excellence and financial performance of 36 operating mall assets with over 3,000 retail units of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) of 10 million square feet and the annual footfall of 212 million visitors.

She also oversaw the  Malls Development function and under her management, as part of the growth strategy, The Dubai Mall underwent  several mall expansions including Fashion Avenue, Zabeel, Gold Souk, Time Out Market, ChinaTown and Fountain Views.

Now, working as an independent consultant, Naltalie  focuses  on advisory work to developers, mall owners, investors, retailers and consultants on an interim and permanent basis, specialising in the bespoke mall management solutions, asset management strategies, leasing, retail & tenant mix, innovative design, development, asset expansion, retail/brand positioning, marketing strategy, retail innovations, entertainment, customer experience and more.

6. Dr. Toni Zink,  Family Medicine Specialist & Medical Director at Nabta Health

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Dr. Toni Zink is currently Medical Director at Nabta Health, the women’s health company doing brilliant research and work across the region. A highly experienced DHA licensed Family Medicine Specialist and Medical Director, she has over 15 years of medical practice spanning the United Arab Emirates and the United States. She specialises in Preventive Medicine and is dedicated to partnering with her patients to help them achieve balance and overall well-being.

In her role as Medical Director at Nabta Health Clinic, Dr Zink employs a collaborative approach, working alongside other specialists to create personalised treatment plans that are in harmony with her patients' objectives and lifestyles. She is skilled in providing thorough explanations with compassion, ensuring that her patients are well-informed and empowered to lead healthy lives.

Dr Zink fought the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines in Kansas City, Missouri as chief medical officer for the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, US. She took her children to Texas to stay with their grandparents while she fought the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines. 

She completed her MD at Howard University College of Medicine in 2008. Following this she completed her Family Medicine Residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She is also a member of the American Board of Family Medicine. Beyond her professional role, Dr. Toni is also a teacher, mentor, mother, and wife, all of which contribute to her advocacy for her patients' well-being and healthcare needs.

7. Ruthie Qadan, Head of Strategy & Operations Spotify, MENA & South Asia

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Ruthie has fifteen years of experience managing the regional and international marketing strategies of leading real estate, retail and luxury brands. Spotify has just marked 5 years in the GCC region, of which Ruthie has played a fundamental role. 

With client and agency experience ranging from internationally renowned brands, to smaller start-ups, Ruthie brings an innate understanding of how to align a diverse range of business and creative objectives and marketing strategies for maximum impact. As an in-house marketing leader for luxury and lifestyle consumer brands, she consistently shaped strategies and led execution of programs that built vibrant brands and fueled revenue growth. She helped create value through big-picture thinking, organizational savviness, and the ability to lead cross-functional teams to profitable solutions.

As a Brand Consultant Ruthie helped translate clients visions into a clear and actionable brand strategy and an impactful suite of creative content driven multichannel marketing programs. She was responsible for conceptualizing  the product offering and the creative brand direction for some of the region's most lauded and innovative start-ups: LOWE, Nasab, KOA Dubai.

8. Neda Shelton, Senior Vice President of Group Communications at Mubadala

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Neda Shelton  is an award-winning PR, communications, and marketing leader with over 20 years of global corporate experience. Neda has worked for leading brands in the Middle East and Europe and across government, technology, and tourism sectors, designing brand and communication strategies and CSR initiatives that drive impact and elevate purpose. She is passionate about developing the next generation of marketing leaders in the region for a sustainable, ESG-led future.

Neda is Member of the Executive Board for MEPRA, the decision-making authority of the non-profit regional Public Relations industry association, as well as Board Member of The Marketing Society Abu Dhabi and Chair of TMS UAE Sustainable Marketing Working Group. 

Prior to working at Mubadala, where she delivered COP28 event pavilion content and programming, and responsible investing themed brand partnership projects. and heads strategic communications, business planning, corporate governance and employee engagement initiatives, Neda was Director, Corporate Communications & Public Relations at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority winning Won PRCA MENA In-House Team of the Year Award in 2018 & 2019. She was also Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Manager for Emirates airline and led global integrated marketing, digital transformation, M&A, change management initiatives and award-winning brand launches across Emirates and dnata portfolio worldwide.

9. Reenita Das, Sr. VP and Partner, Healthcare and Lifesciences Practice, Frost & Sullivan

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

As a transformational health partner and Sr. VP and Partner, Healthcare and Lifesciences Practice, at Frost & Sullivan, Reenita has over 25 years experience in healthcare marketing and consulting, working with global clients and start-ups to develop and implement growth strategies. She is passionate about using technology to change healthcare and improve connectivity and engagement across the value chain, from payers and providers to government agencies and consumers.

Reenita is a thought leader and co-author of the State of Femtech report, which explores the opportunities and challenges of the emerging femtech sector. She has been voted as one of the top 100 women in healthtech and femtech, and serves as a board member and advisor for several organizations that support women in STEM and visual technology. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences and a contributor to Forbes, covering healthcare transformation and emerging markets. 

Reenita says: “ I am convinced that this will be the century when we achieve equity and access for women's health. We need to focus on screening and prevention and create compulsory wellness insurance that can take care of women’s health issues proactively. We need to build a gender specific health system which needs to start with governments focused on gender budgets. Employers need to take a bigger role in building a caring economy. So much to do and the opportunities are amazing”.

10. Shadia Abdullah Al Jaberi, Founder and Director at Rawafed Development & Learning Centre

Raemona 40 over FORTY - Week Three 2024

Shadia is the founder & Director of Rawafed Development & Learning Centre in Sharjah, UAE, and has dedicated her life to improving the lives of children and women from marginalized communities in Sharjah. The Rawafed Centre was established to address the issue of youth who had no access to education or higher-education. The centre offers academic remediation, life skills training and job integration programs in addition to helping reintegrate children back into the schooling system. In her role as director of the centre she has steered its growth from a startup to a respected local organization that has won recognition as an innovative provider of solutions to some of the issues faced by youth.

Rawafed DLC is working in collaboration with the Big Heart Foundation in Sharjah and has small class sizes of 15 to 20 so that every child gets proper attention and care.It also collaborates with various charities such as Dubai Care, Emirates Red Crescent to run literacy boot camps for children in the UAE.In Egypt, Al Jabri runs a literacy programme for extremely poor children and her work has made a difference to over 2,500 children.

Shadia believes in a holistic approach encompassing education, creativity, the physical aspect and the psychological needs of the youth through family and community based programs. Rawafed Centre is licensed and recognized by the KHDA, Dubai. 

Prior to this, Ms Al Jaberi worked as a journalist with newspapers such The National, Time Magazine, Gulf News, The Saudi Gazette & Arab News, Reuters, amongst others. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English Language and Translation from Ajman University of Science & Technology.


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