Pearl Initiative

Huda Al Lawati's career has spanned 16 years in strategy, investment and portfolio management across emerging market private equity and corporates.

As Chief Investment Officer for Savola Group, a strategic investment holding group comprising one of the largest food and retail businesses in the MENA region (c $5.5bn market cap), her role encompasses strategy, portfolio management, M&A and investor relations functions.

Ms. Al Lawati holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics (Honors) from Brown University. She started her career in 2002 with Schlumberger in Oman. She serves on the Board of Directors of Panda Retail Company, Herfy and Savola Foods Company as well as the board of directors of the Young Arab Leaders. She is a co-founder of a Dubai-based start-up, Bilbareed.
Pearl Initiative

Padmini Gupta is the Co-founder and CEO of rise, a platform which democratizes access to essential financial services for millions of migrants globally.  Prior to starting rise, she was an award winning Banker from California and World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow. She holds an MBA from Oxford.

Pearl Initiative

As Business Development Manager for the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), Nadine Halabi oversees the mission of the Council to provide strategic education, training and networking opportunities to aid the holistic development and aspirations of UAE-based women, towards the acceptance of women in business.

Since taking up the position in 2011 Nadine has played a key role within the Council, coordinating the high-profile board members, stakeholders and members in line with the values and vision set out by its president, Dr Raja Al Gurg. Nadine has been instrumental in growing the Council’s membership to a more than 500 strong community of visionary and influential trailblazing women.

Nadine has been at the forefront of ensuring the Council continually delivers on its promise to enhance positive change towards a more gender balanced society by pioneering new programmes and initiatives that inspire women to be the best version of themselves.
Pearl Initiative

Carla Koffel is Executive Director of Pearl Initiative. In this role, she leads Pearl Initiative’s operations in the Gulf Region. She is responsible for progressing the organisation’s aim of maximising the potential of Gulf businesses through the championing of good governance.

Carla’s role is to drive the competitive advantage of effective corporate stewardship for business in the Gulf, including transparency, diversity, anti-corruption and ethical practices as well as to develop the region’s future leaders.

Carla Koffel brings to her role more than 18 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Starting her career as a lawyer in Australia, she has since spanned the UK, Asia and Middle East with a number of senior posts, including the role of Assistant General Counsel and Executive Board Member of a leading Multinational Corporation in London. Prior to joining the Pearl Initiative, Carla has worked in the Gulf Region leading diverse institutional reform programmes in the legal system.

Carla Koffel completed an Advanced Management Executive Education Programme at Columbia Business School, NYC. She holds a Master’s degree in International and Community Development from Deakin University, Australia and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from University of Technology, Sydney.
Pearl Initiative

Nadine Mezher is the Co-founder and CMO of Sarwa, the first automated investment advisory platform in the region regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.   

Nadine co-founded Sarwa after years of experience in marketing and communication strategy with a track record of successful projects delivered for clients ranging from startups to government entities and large scale companies. Prior to that, she worked for Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai in retail strategy and strategic alliances, as well as festivals and events development. Nadine holds a Bachelor of Business Administration/Marketing from the American University of Beirut, as well as a degree in design from Esmod Paris.