The virtual Diversity On Board Forum, powered by HSBC, was held 13-15 July 2020, and convened almost 1,000 participants from over 40 countries, 6 continents, and 30 sectors and industries to discuss how inclusive leadership and boardroom diversity can help rebuild our post-pandemic economies and societies.

Some Attendee Reflections

“Even though I have a lot of experience with boards, it never occurred to me before this event that I should be on a board.”

“Congratulations on an incredible digital event. I loved it. You really upped the game.”

“The quality of content and the knowledge of the speakers was truly remarkable.”

“Thank you for creating such a brilliant platform in Diversity on Board and the events of the recent days.”

“Well done! I’m attending and I’m impressed. Bravo!”

Here are 3 ways YOU can get on board.

Diversify your board. Post a board opportunity on behalf of your organization or clients by signing up for a free organizational account.

Become a member of Diversity On Board. Nominate yourself or another individual through the nomination form, after verifying that you meet the nomination criteria.

Collaborate with us and support our work through a range of financial and non-financial partnerships to accelerate progress and achieve our shared mission.

Diversity On Board Sessions
Jul 13 10:30AM–11:45AM
Opening Plenary
Hear inter-generational perspectives on diversity and why a woman’s place is in the boardroom. 
  • Welcome note: Leena Al Olaimy, Cofounder of Diversity On Board, Executive Chairperson, 3BL Associates. 

  • Welcome note from Diversity Champion: Reem AlBanna, Chief Risk Officer, HSBC UAE. 

  • Keynote: ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Boardroom’, Caroline Fattal Fakhoury, Founder of Stand for Women, Forbes Middle East ‘200 Most powerful Arab Women in Business’.

  • Intergenerational Fireside chat: Rawan Maki, Environmental Engineer and Fashion Designer & Elham Hassan, first female partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the Middle East, Forbes ‘Most Influential Women in the Middle East’, Chairwoman of Taaheal Healthcare. 

Session Recording: Opening Plenary
Jul 13 12:00 – 13:00 (GMT +3)
Panel: Age Diversity in The Board Room
Two-thirds of the MENA region’s population is under the age of 35; should we have age diversity in the boardroom? 
  • H.E. Sara Al Madani, entrepreneur, board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  

  • Fatema Ebrahim, Founder of Andra Public Relations, board member at Bahrain Economic Development Board.  

  • Aysha Abdulla Mutaywea, Resident Partner of MENA Chambers, member of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).  

Moderator: Tariq Al Olaimy, Cofounder Diversity On Board, Managing Director, 3BL Associates.  

Session Recording: Panel: Age Diversity in The Board Room 
Jul 13 17:00 – 17:45 (GMT +3)
Live Masterclass: Lean into Your Power, Showcase Your Brilliance
S.H.E.Strategy – Keeping you Seen.Heard.Empowered – what does it mean, and why should you care? THIS is how you take up space, are noticed (for the right reasons) and remembered.  So the next time there’s a board position you’re perfect for, you get the call, and are chosen.  But that’s not all – the key to your success is your ability to sustain it.  Join Nima to find out more! 

Session Facilitator: Nima Abu Wardeh, Founder of S.H.E.Strategy

Session Recording: Live Masterclass: Lean into Your Power, Showcase Your Brilliance

Jul 13 17:45 -18:45 (GMT +3)
Panel (Arabic): What I Look For in a Board of Directors
Men and women chairing boards provide insights to aspiring board candidates on the qualities, skills and characteristics they value in the boardroom. 
  • Dr. Ossama Hassanein, Chairman of Rising Tide Fund, entrepreneur, mentor, and venture capitalist. 

  • Noura Alturki, Vice President of Nesma Holding, Vice President of Saudi Shooting Federation. 

  • Rana Ghandour Salhab, People & Purpose Partner, Member of the Executive Committee, former member of the Board of Directors at Deloitte ME; 30% Club Founding Chair.  

Moderator: Mariam Farag, Founding Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, MBC Group. 

Session Recording: Panel (Arabic): What I Look For in a Board of Directors
Jul 13 19:00 – 20:00 (GMT +3)
Panel: Dragonfly Boards: Resilience & Agility in Times of Crisis
The dragonfly is one of just two species with 360-degree vision. Why are diverse boards pivotal to providing the insights needed to navigate in crisis? 
  • Dr. Ashraf Gamaleldin, CEO of Hawkamah, Institute for Corporate Governance. 

  • Captain Stephan Reckie, Astropreneur, Executive Director, GEN Space. 

  • Amal Dokhan, CEO of Global Entrepreneurship Network- Saudi Arabia. 

  • Loty Salazar, Corporate Governance Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group. 

 Moderator: Leena Al Olaimy, Cofounder of Diversity On Board, Executive Chairperson, 3BL Associates. 

Session Recording: Panel: Dragonfly Boards: Resilience & Agility in Times of Crisis

IFC Research study on ESG and female business leadership and other program materials. 

Jul 14 9:30 – 10:30 (GMT +3)
How I Got My First Board Position
In a storytelling series of short (5-minute) videos, male and female board members reflect on how they landed their first board position and give tips to first-time board seekers.

Session Host: Dominique Ghazar, Manager Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Bank Middle East.  

Session Recording: How I Got My First Board Position
Jul 14 11:00 – 11:45 (GMT +3)
Fireside Chat: Pathway to the Boardroom
The pathway to the boardroom is not always a straight one. In an open fireside chat, join Sabrin as she shares her personal journey, learnings and insights on taking advantage of opportunities ahead.   

Session Hosts:  

  • Sabrin Rahman, Head of Sustainability, MENAT, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited. 

  • Dominique Ghazar, Manager Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Bank Middle East. 

Session Recording: Fireside Chat: Pathway to the Boardroom

Jul 14 14:00 – 15:00 (GMT +3)
Masterclass: Set Up Your Startup Board for Growth
Learn how your startup can set up its board for growth, including how to structure the board, regulations and different provisions, how best to consider advice from investor board members, and other essentials.  

Facilitated by: Sameer Sortur, Director of Founder Institute- Dubai Chapter 

Session Co-Host: Founder Institute  

Session Recording: Masterclass: Set Up Your Startup Board for Growth
Jul 14 16:00 – 17:00 (GMT +3)
Panel: Founders On Board With Diversity
Founders share how they selected their board members, what characteristics they considered, how the board helped them succeed, and how to avoid potential negative impacts of the board. 
  • Amena El-Saie, co-founder, President & CEO, Helm Egypt 

  • Walid Daniel Dib, co-founder and CEO, Addenda 

  • Marc R. Aoun, CEO/General Manager, Compost Baladi 

  • Yasser Abdulaziz, Founder and CEO of Malaeb 

  • Zied Tayeb, CEO and Founder of Myelins 

Moderated by: Pakiza Abdulrahman, Head of Startups, Bahrain Economic Development Board, board member of GEN Bahrain. 

Session Co-Host: Startup Bahrain 

Session Recording: Panel: Founders On Board With Diversity
Jul 14 17:45 – 18:45 (GMT +3)
Panel: Does Board Diversity Really Drive Financial Performance & Economic Growth?
The impact of gender diversity on financial performance remains debatable. Hear the different perspectives on whether women really are the ‘superheroes’ that boards (and countries) need, and the influence of gender on family business boards in the GCC. 
  • H.E. Jamal Fakhro, Managing Partner of KPMG Bahrain, First Vice Chairman of Bahrain Shura Council. 

  • Dr. Basmah Omair, Researcher, Founder & CEO of BMO Management Consulting, Board member of Saudi National Women’s Council, Chairwoman of W20 Female Labor Market Inclusion Committee.  

  • Noor Adhami, Regional Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC UAE. 

  • Ellecia Saffron, Vice Chair 100 Women in Finance, Founder & Managing Director of Maysaffron, Chairman of the Australia Middle East Business Group Association.  

Moderated by: Leena Al Olaimy, Cofounder of Diversity On Board, Executive Chairperson, 3BL Associates. 

Session Recording: Panel: Does Board Diversity Really Drive Financial Performance & Economic Growth? 
Jul 14 19:00 – 20:00 (GMT +3)
Plenary: The Journey of Diversity & Inclusion
What does the long and transformational journey of diversity and inclusion look like, and how can we unlock trillions in value? 
  • Keynote: Wafa Obaidat, CEO and founder Obai & Hill and Women Power Summit. 

  • Keynote: ‘From 2,000 Women in Tech, to 14,000 Women in Silicon Valley & Beyond’, Shannon Gordon, CEO, theBoardlist.  

  • Keynote: ‘Best Practices to Improve Board Diversity in MENA’, Rima Assi, Senior Partner, McKinsey, Abu Dhabi. 

Session Recording: Plenary: The Journey of Diversity & Inclusion
Jul 15 10:30 – 11:30 (GMT +3)
Live Masterclass: Your Board Value Proposition
Finding a position on a board is not easy—especially for women, so you need to hone your value proposition. This masterclass covers: 
  • When is the right time in your career to consider board service? 

  • Changing perspective – the view from the board. 

  • Getting yourself prepared. 

  • How do you get started? 

Facilitated by: Jane Valls, Executive Director, GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI) 

Session Recording: Live Masterclass: Your Board Value Proposition
On-Demand Learning
  • Maya Rahal, Managing Director, MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab

Masterclass Recording: Steps to Structuring A Successful Board
On-Demand Learning
  • Sharif El-Badawi, Managing Partner at 500 Startups MENA

Masterclass Recording: The What, When and How of Startup Boards
On-Demand Learning
  • Heather Henyon, Founding General Partner at Mindshift Capital

Masterclass Recording: Boards for Early Stage Start-Ups

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