8th World Franchise Forum & Exhibition, Dubai, UAE, 15-16 Feb 2016

World Class Speakers

A group of distinguished speakers will share their hands-on expertise and in-depth knowledge in business and franchise matters. We aim to educate and inform and have world class experts on hand.

Keynote Speaker

HE Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg represents the U.A.E. at many international conferences and round-tables as a key-note speaker and is also part of the Government of Dubai's official delegation for various trade and commerce meetings.

Mrs Al Gurg was listed among 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' for 2015 by Forbes and was also first in the Forbes Middle East's ranking of 'The 200 Most Powerful Arab Women' for 2014 and was also on the Forbes Middle East list of 'The Most Influential Arab Women in Family Business' in 2013.

VIP Speaker

Lubna Qassim is the Executive Vice President, Group Company Secretary and the General Counsel of Emirates NBD Bank (PJSC). She is also, at present, the first female EXCO member of Emirates NBD.

In 2015 Ms Qassim was elected by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to sit on the Board of Dubai Women's Establishment. Ms Qassim was also appointed as Founding Chair of the 30% Club GCC Chapter.

Victoria Tomlinson   Murad Alnasur   KHALIFA FURQAN ATHAR, CA, CMA (UK)   Thomas  Nariman, DRNK   Jesse Hahn, StraightSource / Grilled Cheese Truck   Mahmoud Mousavi, Director of Franchising & Real Estate at Gourmania International Company   Karan Rekhi, VLCC   Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner and CEO, Gateway Group of Companies   Duncan Fraser-Smith, Founder And Managing Director - The Cutting Edge Hospitality Agency Fz Llc   Rome Gregorio, MD Camille's Ice Cream Bars    Joycia Young, Clyde & Company   Fernado Lopez de Castilla   Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates Ltd    Troy Franklin, World Franchise Associates Ltd  

Charbel Mhanna, CEO Palma Hospitality Group

Charbel Mhanna, CEO Palma Hospitality GroupSponsor’s Address: “Palma Hospitality stands for Global Excellence”
The Palma Group was established in 2012 and has quickly established itself as a formidable player within the hospitality industry in Doha. Areas of operation include fine dining, franchising, kids care and education, food and beverage solutions, consultancy and healthcare. The company is committed to excellence through a passion for management and the professionalism of its team and has ambitious plans to open a further 25 outlets over the next five years across Qatar and the GCC.

H.E. Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg, President, Dubai Business Women Council, Dubai Chamber

Yousif Abdulghani, Managing Director, McDonald's Middle East Development. Co.Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC (ESAG), is a well known businesswoman in the region. She has achieved laurels for her stellar leadership of the Group under the tutelage of her father, the Chairman, H.E. Easa Saleh Al Gurg, KCVO, CBE. Her counsel and valuable insights have significantly contributed to the growth and expansion of ESAG.

A leading business woman in her own right, Dr. Al Gurg has carved a unique niche for herself in the region due to her support and encouragement of Arab women entrepreneurs. She is the President of Dubai Business Women Council; Vice Chairperson and Executive Director, Dubai Healthcare City Authority; Board member of the Dubai Chamber Of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and Dubai Women's Association. Dr. Al Gurg is the first Emirati woman on the board of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and is also on the advisory board of Coutts Bank, the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Dr. Al Gurg was listed among 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen' for 2015 by Forbes and was ranked first in the Forbes Middle East's ranking of 'The 200 Most Powerful Arab Women in Family Business' for 2014. She has earned several other plaudits and awards in recent years. These include the 'World of Difference Award' from the International Alliance for Women (TIAW) in 2009.

Dr Al Gurg represents the U.A.E. at many international conferences and round-tables as a key-note speaker and is also part of the Government of Dubai's official delegation for various trade and commerce meetings.

Lubna Qassim, the Executive Vice President, Group Company Secretary and the General Counsel of Emirates NBD Bank (PJSC)

Yousif Abdulghani, Managing Director, McDonald's Middle East Development. Co.Lubna Qassim is the Executive Vice President, Group Company Secretary and the General Counsel of Emirates NBD Bank (PJSC). She is also, at present, the first female EXCO member of Emirates NBD. Previously, Ms Qassim has held positions as Director of the Department of Economic Legislations at the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Executive Director of the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Department at Dubai Economic Council. Prior to that, Ms Qassim spent considerable years in the corporate practice offices of Clifford Chance both in Dubai and London.

With an advisory role, Ms Qassim has worked with the local and federal Government on numerous local and federal economic legislations such as UAE Foreign Investment Law, UAE Companies Law, UAE Labour Law, UAE Commercial Agencies Law, UAE Industry Law, UAE Competition Law and laws and regulations regulating the real estate sector and at present working on policies to promote entrepreneurship in the UAE.

In 2015 Ms Qassim was elected by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to sit on the Board of Dubai Women's Establishment. Ms Qassim was also appointed as Founding Chair of the 30% Club GCC Chapter.

Victoria Tomlinson, chief executive of Northern Lights

Victoria Tomlinson, chief executive of Northern LightsVictoria Tomlinson is founder and chief executive of Northern Lights PR which operates in the UK and the UAE. A former director of Ernst & Young, Victoria is a dynamic businesswoman with expertise in public, private and voluntary sectors. She was trained by the BBC Academy to be one of 100 BBC 'expert women' – her expertise is in social media, business and education and now appears on TV and radio. This is a response to criticism that the UK media does not have enough female expert commentators.

Victoria is a recognised speaker and author on business-focused social media and writes a blog which appears #1 on Google searches.

In the last two years she has given talks to around 3,000 business leaders at events ranging from conferences for 200 people to workshops for boards of corporates - and is one of the world's top 100 leadership experts to follow on Twitter.

Her particular experience is in strategic business-to-business communications and helping boards with PR, crisis communications, internal communications and social media. She coaches chief executives and helps leaders with online branding, presentation and media skills and impact. Her white paper Women Leaders: Stepping out of the Shadows outlines what women need to do to position themselves as thought leaders.

Author of a number of ebooks on social media, the most recent (How to Write a Top-ranked Business Blog) is an Amazon bestseller.

Victoria is chair of the University of Leeds Management Division advisory board and sits on the board of Northern Ballet.

Murad Alnasur, Managing Director, Restonalysis

Murad Alnasur, General Manager/Director of Business Development, International Leisure Investment (subsidiary of the Boubess Group.Mr. Alnasur moved to the UAE in 2006 and since has been involved in operating over 10 international brands representing franchisors as well as franchisees. Having spent over 30 years in the food and beverage industry in the US, and having worked for multinational restaurant companies such as Brinker International, Cracker Barrel, Ponderosa, and Dave and Busters, gave Mr. Alnasur extensive experience in the franchise model.

Most recently, Mr. Alnasur founded (Restonalysis FZE), a consulting firm specializing in the Hospitality and F&B business, where Mr. Alnasur is currently serving as the Managing Director.

Mr. Alnasur participated as a speaker at many international conferences related to franchising including 2013 Gulfood, Future Retail conference, World Franchise Associates' franchise forums (In the UAE and Qatar), and Franchising & Brand Dealership in Turkey. Mr. Alnasur is the founder of the Franchising Score Card, a scoring system to be used when evaluating a brand for the region. He was also the recipient of the 2013 Best Franchise Professional Award presented by the Middle East and North Africa Franchise association.

Thomas Nariman, DRNK coffee + tea and QWENCH juice bar (USA)

Thomas  Nariman, DRNK coffee + tea and QWENCH juice bar (USA)Even as a young teen, Thomas started selling ice cream on the beach in Sunny Southern California where he always went above and beyond to make his customers happy and he always went home with extra money in his pocket at the end of the day. And it all came down to connecting with customers. He cultivated his skills and passion for everything he did and in 2001 became a franchisee of US franchise Robeks Juice. Thomas quickly realized that the most opportunity was in being a multi-unit operator and added to his portfolio within the QSR segment. He began his expansion with It’s A Grind Coffee, Quiznos, Jodi Maroni Sausage Kingdom, Johnny Rockets and Pinkberry at the height of his success, he had built and operated approximately 40 units.

Fast forward to 2013, Thomas felt he had the tenure and experience to turn the tables and actually develop then franchise his own concepts. He put together a solid team of QSR professionals and with roots in Hollywood, California launched DRNK coffee + tea followed by QWENCH juice bar a year later. Both of these iconic and sophisticated brands operate as stand alone locations or in true synergistic harmony as a dual concept in one space. The goal is to establish a solid franchise presence of the DRNK and QWENCH brands globally, building on the dozen already in place throughout the greater Los Angeles, California area. Thomas commands a level of passion and commitment that is rare among professionals in the world of franchising believing that the most important component to a franchise brand’s success are their franchise partners and providing the utmost support.

KHALIFA FURQAN ATHAR, CA, CMA (UK)

Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates, UAEOver the past 20 years, Furqan Athar has been instrumental in the financial and administrative strategic planning and management of some of the most successful shopping centers and mixed-use developments in the Middle East and Asia. In 2011, he became a partner in McARTHUR + COMPANY. Furqan now leads the office operations in Dubai and is active on various assignments throughout the Middle East, North America and Asia. Mr. Athar has extensive experience in all aspects of the shopping centre industry, specifically focusing on investment management and value creation. Furqan is well known through the region as an expert in shopping centre investment underwriting and operational finance.

Mahmoud Mousavi, Director of Franchising & Real Estate at Gourmania International Company

Mahmoud Mousavi, Director of Franchising & Real Estate at Gourmania International CompanyFor over 15 years, he has exclusively served the franchise industry as senior-level sale and marketing corporate executive, advocate, consultant, brand ambassador and strategist. He received his bachelor degree in Industrial Management from DeVry University in Toronto, Canada. He has a post graduate diploma in business studies from Westminster University in London, U.K. and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Middlesex University from London, U.K.

Mahmoud developed and implemented effective social networking marketing strategies for franchise sale department and actively promoted the strategic expansion plan of six specialty restaurants and cafés via franchising across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

As a franchise industry veteran who showcases expertise in consumer marketing, training, operations, franchise sale and brand development, Mahmoud has impressively led growth and brand evolution of many concepts in the Middle East. One of his major works is the development of unique Persian fast casual franchise diner in Kuwait, called Naz. He has also been a regular speaker at local and international franchising conferences and seminars together with a columnist in magazines and newspapers on franchising subject across the region.

Jesse Hahn, CKO StraightSource, Intelling & Flatworld; CMO American Patriot Brands

Jesse Hahn, CKO StraightSource, Intelling & Flatworld; CMO American Patriot BrandsJesse has a Degree and Masters in Business. He has over 30 years of experience in the BPO services market (Sales, Recruitment, Lead Generation, Technology, and Services) and has set up and successfully run BPO offices on five Continents. Jesse has founded several highly successful companies, of which have become international successes. Few have his understanding of virtually all departments in a corporation, how each function, and what each person’s job responsibilities are being he has overseen the placement of over 7,000 different positions.

He is one of the world’s leading experts in Sales Prospecting & Candidate Mapping. Jesse has lived in 15 countries, and five Continents having traveled to over 118 countries. Jesse is the CKO for all Business operations, and oversees all direct corporate sales worldwide for StraightSource, Intelling and Flatworld. Jesse is the founding Director of StraightSource Franchising and Real Leadership Coaching Franchising USA. In addition He is the CMO of American Patriot Brands (The Grill Cheese Truck, Lobos Truck and the Soup Man). Jesse's companies also provide Marketing support for over 25 franchisors.

Karan Rekhi, Head of Business Development – EMEA region with VLCC Middle East & Africa

Karan Rekhi, CKO StraightSource, Intelling & Flatworld; CMO American Patriot BrandsKaran is the Head of Business Development – EMEA region with VLCC Middle East & Africa and a Professional with over 18 years of experience with an active start-up experience in diversified sectors from Wellness & Healthcare, real estate development, hospitality and business consulting with key focus on Franchising, business development, business & financial analysis & modelling.

Presently expanding VLCC’s Wellness business in MENA region including Africa and Europe via Franchise and Area Development route. His experience is at a global level having worked in a multitude of countries - GCC, Africa, MENA, Europe and SE ASIA and has held key positions in new projects from Compliances, Franchise development pre-feasibility stage, through to the design & development phases, operations set up including implementation and running of new businesses for VLCC Wellness centers.

Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO, Gateway Group of Companies

Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO, Gateway Group of CompaniesJenny Hunt is the Founding Partner and CEO of the Gateway Group of Companies, a company formation specialist providing a corporate sponsorship platform for onshore companies in the UAE. Jenny has worked in company formation in Abu Dhabi since January 2012, managing incorporations for startups to MNCs across a variety of sectors.

Jenny is an active Committee Member for the British Business Group in Abu Dhabi; regularly presents to incoming trade delegations about setting up and doing business in Abu Dhabi for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and other trade and enterprise organisations; participated in the International Business Excellence Awards 2015 as a Judge; and, was conferred with an Asian Women Leadership Award in October 2015. Jenny is also to receive a World Women Leadership Award in February 2016.

Jenny's background, as a qualified marketer, was in UK advertising agencies and prior to moving to the UAE in 1999, she set up and managed her own business in London for five years. Jenny is an active blogger and firmly believes in sharing knowledge, experience and expertise within the community.

Duncan Fraser-Smith, Founder And Managing Director, The Cutting Edge Hospitality Agency

Duncan Fraser-Smith, Founder And Managing Director , The Cutting Edge Hospitality Agency Having spent the past 20 years in the hospitality industry, spanning Australia, Asia, and the Middle East in senior management roles, Duncan has now established his own business, based in Dubai, to offer his services and expertise through "The Cutting Edge Agency" to introduce, integrate and innovate the key pillars for success in F&B operations!

Introduce – Relationships with internationally recognized F&B brands and high profile chefs to key owners and investors

Integrate – the right team and concept to deliver the operational promise with niche interior designers and specialized kitchen creators. Maximize guest activity and employee engagement through tailored onsite workshops and forums.

Innovate – By creating new and re-defining existing concepts through master planning, consumer insight and market research, to establish benchmark food and beverage outlets.

The goal is simple, to bring like minded owners, investors, operators, chefs and brands together to create industry defining, cutting edge food and beverage concepts.

Rome Gregorio, MD Camille’s Ice Cream Bars

Rome Gregorio, MD Camille’s Ice Cream BarsHaving natural and interpersonal communication abilities, I have acquired a solid reputation for leadership. Review of my credentials will confirm that I have served as a catalyst for successful management, customer loyalty, and business development initiatives.

The Camille’s concept is based on age-old Italian technology where gelato shops spooned gelato into bar molds…hand-inserted sticks…then froze them overnight. Camille’s worked with the Italian equipment providers to update and import their technology into U.S. markets. Camille’s also worked with food technologists to perfect and standardize product formulations for ice cream, yogurt and fruit bar flavor varieties. These formulations are now available throughout the U.S. and the Middle-East via a direct shipment logistics system.

Joycia Young, Clyde & Co., UAE

Joycia Young, Clyde & Co., UAEJoycia has been practising law in the Middle East since 2007 and joined Clyde & Co's Dubai office in 2010. She is a Partner in the Intellectual Property Group and her principal areas of focus are intellectual property (IP) and franchising. Joycia has over 15 years' experience across the full range of commercial IP issues.

Joycia's principal areas of practice are Intellectual Property and Franchising. Joycia has been continuously featured in the International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers since 2009 as a result of receiving sufficient nominations from clients and peers. Joycia is also an active member of the Steering Committee of the International Franchise Division of the American Bar Association. She is regularly asked to speak at regional conferences on intellectual property, franchising and hospitality and has also written many articles which have been published in Trade Mark World, IP Law 360, ITPNet, Chain Leader, SMB Advisor, Finance ME and Asian Counsel.

Fernando López de Castilla Elías, Founding Partner, Grupo Nexo Franquicia

Fernando López de Castilla ElíasA graduate of the University of Texas Business School and Harvard Law School in USA and with 10 years' business experience in multinational corporations, Mr. López de Castilla is the Founding Partner of Grupo Nexo Franquicia, Latin America's # 1 franchise consultancy and brokerage firm.

Together with World Franchise Associates it represents the most important international franchise development network worldwide.

Widely respected for his opinions, professor, author and speaker, Fernando López de Castilla actively promotes Latin America's franchising industry.

Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates, UAE

Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates, UAEWinner of the International Franchise Association Award and many International & Regional Trophies. Holding a MSc, in food service promotions, Sary has accumulated experience of over 30 years in the restaurant franchising business. Recognized as an international authority on franchising in the Arab World, he is a former lecturer at the University of Helwan in Cairo, Egypt and currently speaks at major franchise seminars and other related events around the globe.

email: sary@worldfranchiseassociates.com
tel: +971 (0)4 428 0884

Troy Franklin, World Franchise Associates, ASEAN Region

Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates, UAETroy has more than 25 years of experience in senior executive positions in international franchising and business development working directly with and consulting for both franchisors and master franchisees. Troy’s experience spans across multiple regions including extensive experience in the Asia Pacific Region where he has lived for most of the past 25 years.

Troy represents World Franchise Associates in South East Asia, and has a strong network of franchise professionals throughout the region, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

Martin Hancock, World Franchise Associates, USA

Sary Hamway, World Franchise Associates, UAEMartin is a franchise professional with expertise in business planning, territory development, sales and marketing. Prior to joining WFA Martin built a retail brand in the USA. He has a clear understanding of what it takes to develop a successful business from both the franchisors and the investors side.

Martin has led the Middle East round table discussions at the IFA's annual conventions, and is considered an authority on international franchising strategies.