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MENA Women in Finance award launched at diversity event

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Wednesday, February 10th 2016 [ME NewsWire]

A new Middle East & North Africa (MENA) ‘Women in Finance’ award has been launched at an event in Dubai which looked at how businesses can encourage greater diversity and benefit in the process.

The award initiative was announced by event host ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) at their recent event with the theme "Lead the change – increasing gender diversity to boost performance.”  Launched in partnership with business information company Naseba, the award will be presented by ACCA at Naseba’s 10th CFO MENA Strategies Forum in October 2016 and will recognize the contributions made by women finance professionals to successful businesses.

Commenting on the award, Sophie Le Ray, CEO for Naseba said “Despite the massive strides that have been in the realm of diversity, women still only represent 22 percent of corporate leadership globally, and studies show that they are far less likely to leverage their networks than men. We aim to change this, and to promote diversity – not only for moral reasons, but because it makes sound economic sense. Highlighting the achievement of female finance professionals is yet another step in this direction, and we are pleased to be launching the Women in Finance award with ACCA.”

The announcement followed a panel discussion hosted to deliver exclusive insights from diversity experts and successful business leaders in organisations that are changing the game by making gender diversity a strategic business imperative.

The panel discussion featured views from Eva Mourino, HR Director – Middle East & Africa for AstraZeneca; Hoda Abou Jamra, Founding Partner at TVM Capital Healthcare Partners; Mutasem Dajani, Regional Managing Partner at Deloitte UAE; Rachel Ellyard, Talent Leader - Middle East & North Africa at EY; Rana Askoul, Founder of Changing Pink; Samer Hijazi, Partner & Head of Islamic Finance for Grant Thornton UAE; Shabbir Barket Ali, CFO - Middle East & Africa for The Royal Bank of Scotland; Tanguy de Belair, Diversity Manager at Vinci Group; and Tasneem Lakdawalla, Partner – Advisory Services at KPMG Lower Gulf. The discussion was chaired by Paul Godfrey, one of the region’s best known editors and commentators on business, current affairs and finance.

The panel agreed that there is growing awareness about the business impact of gender diversity but whilst the value of gender diversity increasingly gains a place on the corporate agenda of many companies operating in the country, there is still a long way to go.

Panelists highlighted that gender diversity doesn’t happen by osmosis. Data and processes need to be in place to make it happen. As such, it is important for the finance function and diversity management to form an effective partnership within the organisation. Finance teams can help demonstrate the linkages between good diversity management and business performance and can also ensure there is appropriate accountability and governance attached to Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

Discussion moved to critical success factors in company-led gender diversity efforts with the panel identifying understanding of the business case, inclusive leadership and interventions at all critical career points as extremely important. Accountability for gender diversity initiatives at various hierarchical levels and mentoring opportunities that are not gender neutral were also identified as catalysts to the successful implementation of corporate gender diversity initiatives.

The event was attended by over 60 CFOs and senior finance professionals as well as representantives from the Women in Leadership Economic forum and the GCC chapter of the 30% club.

“Opportunity and diversity is at the heart of ACCA's values. Promoting the value of having women in senior roles in business and finance is part of our wider diversity agenda. ACCA has long campaigned for greater diversity in organizations because our research shows that businesses which encourage diversity are more successful. We explore the challenges and practical solutions and encourage our members to effect positive change as they move into leadership roles” said Lindsay Degouve de Nuncques, head of ACCA Middle East at the closing remarks.

“In the UAE, in addition to providing an exclusive platform for influential business leaders to discuss key issues on women in finance, ACCA joins discussions on the gender diversity topic and actively supports other gender diversity forums and initiatives in the region.”  Degouve added.

-Ends here-

Notes to Editors

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 95 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here:

About Naseba

Naseba offers business facilitation expertise in growth markets.   We create deal flow, foster networking and enhance knowledge exchange.

Naseba supports you with educating your workforce, entering new markets, raising capital, securing partners and closing sales.

Our services include investor introductions, industry meetings, leadership forums, and professional trainings:

•         Investor introductions provide pre-qualified business cases with direct meetings with pre-screened investors.

•         Industry meetings connect pre-screened purchasing decision makers with solution providers to shorten their sales cycle.

•         Leadership forums bring together business executives through an interactive agenda of keynotes, panels and workshops produced to drive change.

•         Professional trainings offer a wide range of executive courses, crafted to advance careers and execute business strategy.

Naseba partners with governments, key figures in media, industry, associations and academia to add real value to our network worldwide.  

Since inception in 2002, Naseba has connected over 80,000 executives globally through more than 700 proprietary business platforms.

Naseba has offices in France, India, United Arab Emirates, and the United States and local representation in China, Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

For more information, please visit



Vana Mastromichali

Marketing manager for ACCA Middle East

T: +971 554 9 663







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