Zahid Afzal is a functional, transformational and strategic business executive with broad business (including Profit & Loss), operational, technical and strategic experience in a variety of senior management positions from a global Fortune 500 setting to startups. Demonstrated ability to define and lead strategy and goals, select appropriate tactics, and provide business and technology leadership in execution and operations to internal and external customers over assisted and self service channels. An organization builder and people manager with excellent leadership skills, especially in developing effective leaders and motivating others. More than 26 years of experience as a senior Information Technology and business Executive for some of the top global and regional financial services and progressive technology companies including Capital Bank, Huntington National Bank, Bank of America, Broadslate Networks, Citibank, and MCI Telecommunications. Mr. Afzal has had the privileged to serve on many for-profit and non-profit boards. He is also very active in the business and civic communities.
Kevin Matossian is a film producer and founder/CEO of SilverCrest Entertainment LLC, a Los Angeles based film and television production company. Mr. Matossian’s extensive background in production includes “The Promise”, “September Dawn”, “LOST”, “Purgatory Flats” and “In Living Color”. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Matossian has founded and successfully exited several ventures including Film Solutions LLC, which provides film productivity and workflow solutions with offices in Los Angeles, Raleigh and London. In addition, Mr. Matossian has served on the boards of several start-up ventures including, Ventura Marketing, Inc., Netlinks Co. and SearchFast Inc. Most recently, Mr. Matossian served as a board member and advisor of Critique It, Inc., where he helped oversee its successful exit to 2U Inc., a publicly traded technology provider in the education sector. Mr. Matossian’s passion for business establishes the tempo in all his ventures. While putting family first, he takes pride in his work ethic, leadership-by-example and a fiscally responsible approach to any venture that he is a part of.
Mr. Massand is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Advisors, Ltd., an Abu Dhabi based firm focused on legal finance, knowledge transfer, and innovation in the legal industry across the globe. Phoenix also offers dispute resolution and advisory services to clients seeking to navigate multijurisdictional issues and distressed credit opportunities. Mr. Massand has over 20 years of international experience working with Institutional Investors, Multinational Corporations, Banks, and Family Offices in the United States, the Middle East, and India. He holds a Juris Doctor in Comparative Constitutional Law from New York Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Boston University. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, ABANA (formerly the Arab Bankers Association of North America), a Charter Member of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Dubai, and serves as an Advisory Board Member of New York Law School’s Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Zineb Guessous is the Managing Partner of Almena Partners, an advisory firm focused on impact investing in emerging markets. Prior to founding Almena, Zineb spent 14 years in the private equity industry during which she executed investments in small and medium-sized businesses in Europe and Latin America. She understands first-hand the importance of good leadership and management teams in successfully growing and managing businesses, and how increased female representation in the business world leads to higher returns for the shareholders. She is a firm believer in the power of education to create thriving societies and is working actively to expand access to high quality online education in the MENA region. Zineb holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School and B.S. in Economics and Management from the University of Lausanne.
Katharine (Kitty) B. Cushing is Managing Principal of 7Sisters, an international advisory business formed in 2011 with the primary purpose to help US businesses to broaden relationships globally. Katharine is Founder of Newport Global Summit, a global leadership retreat held annually in Newport, Rhode Island since 2009. The Summit engages CEO’s successful entrepreneurs, family offices from around the globe as well as institutional investors to actively collaborate in a program designed to broaden perspectives and business relationships. Katharine has a long history working as trusted advisor to family offices, and family business owners. She has served as independent consultant to numerous companies across a wide range of industry sectors on global business development strategy. Prior to forming 7Sisters, LLC, Katharine served as independent consultant to numerous companies and closely held businesses. From 2004-2009, she was Vice President of Neuberger Berman, and prior to that a Founding Partner of Wainwright Investment Counsel and Managing Director of H.C. Wainwright & Company. Currently, Katharine serves on the Board of Directors for AMIDEAST and PFM (Providence Facilities Management) Board of Directors (affiliate to the Providence Performing Arts Center). She is a member of the International Advisory Board for the Anthony Quinn Foundation and formerly served as member of the Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA) Board of Directors from 2007-2016 and served on the Board of Directors for the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom founded by Former Ambassador John L. Loeb.
Alex Velaj is a dedicated philanthropist and chairman of the Velaj Foundation. The Foundation supports a number of important areas: a public/private partnership to develop urban open space, helping families and individuals as they move toward financial independence, year-round mentoring and activities for grades K-12 and other community-based organizations. The foundation has been awarding grants in the MENA region since 2008, starting with after-school and summer music programs for young people and is now focused on the work of EFE.
Zainab Salbi is a leading humanitarian, speaker, and author known for her decades of dedication to serving female survivors of conflict. Ms. Salbi founded Women for Women International and served as its CEO for almost 20 years, serving thousands of women in conflict areas, and has spoken and written extensively on women’s lives during conflict. She has received recognition as part of People’s “25 Women Changing the World,” Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers,” and Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” in addition to being honored by President Clinton for her humanitarian work in Bosnia.
Andrew Macken thrives on collaborating with the families he works with, finding new and interesting ways to bring their passions too investing and philanthropy. His natural and insatiable curiosity encourages innovation, and was instrumental in the development of AddeparTM, a family office repointing software application designed to make investing more data-driven, transparent and impactful. He also advises several startups and entrepreneurs that are building disruptive new innovative technologies. Andrew spent over eighteen years at Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Investments advising both families and institutions on investment strategy, portfolio management and economic policy. Andrew also sits on several non-profit boards and carries that passion and experience for global business to the EFE community.
John Mannix, CEO of Baldwin Brothers Inc., is a big picture thinker who sets strategies for long-term success while staying mindful of the present moment. In addition to his work with some of the leading families in the U.S., John is also a Board member at New Summit Investments. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, a member of Pershing’s Advisor Council and is active on several non-profit boards, including Nativity Preparatory School, the Marion Institute, and Buttonwood Park Zoological Society.
Katherine Parr is an American designer and entrepreneur with a background in both the public and private sectors. Currently working as the founder and owner of a namesake jewelry brand, and co-founder of a chocolate brand, Parré Chocolat; volunteer advisor for charities. She began her career as a fashion model following graduation from Villanova University's School of Business, discovered by Patrick Demarchelier. Enjoyed honing expertise in international fashion industry as well as in the non-profit sector as a US government-certified teacher and social entrepreneur. Co-founder of Parré Chocolat and founder of Katherine Parr Jewelry, both with an ethical luxury philosophy and transparent supply chain. Advocate and speaker: completed a TEDx Talk on Conscious Consumerism Is the Road to Economic Empowerment, and has been featured on CNN, and at various venues including Villanova University and others. Member of the Accessories Council.
Robert Dinerstein has had an extensive and varied legal and investment career in commercial and investment banking, venture capital, strategic consulting and service on two public company boards. He has served as general counsel of the investment banking divisions of Citicorp, Shearson Lehman Bros. and UBS; as chairman of the venture capital firm, Crossbow Ventures and as a member of the board of a bio pharmaceutical company and a commercial bank. He is currently chairman of Veracity Worldwide, a strategic risk advisory firm which counsels multi national companies and other organizations doing business in emerging markets. He also has broad experience in the not for profit and educational fields having served on the boards of Phipps Houses, a leading New York low and moderate housing developer, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Sheltering Arms, a 150 year old diversified social services organization. In the education field, Bob has served as chairman of Everybody Wins, a literacy and mentoring organization, as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a member of the Advisory Board of the School of International and Public Affairs of Florida International University. He is also currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Bob is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Ambassador Frank G. Wisner currently serves as an International Affairs Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs, LLP. During his diplomatic career spanning nearly four decades, he served as US Ambassador to Egypt, India, the Philippines, and India. He also served as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and as Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs. He serves as the Chairman of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and International House.
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a prominent writer on US foreign policy and democratic change in the Middle East. She is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and a co-founder of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security. She was one of the first recipients of the Rabin-Peres Peace Award, established in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. She is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of the National Democratic Institute, and sits on the advisory board of the Israel Institute.
Omar Wohabe is a partner at Wohabe Law Offices in New York representing Arab Gulf State governmental, institutional, and private clients on investments/commercial transactions abroad. He has served as an advisory board member of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, the president of Arab Bankers Associate of North America, and Director of Badwa Capital Limited.