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Welcome and Keynote speakers


Nilanjan Ray

Sr. Vice President Head, SME Banking, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Nilanjan Ray currently heads the SME business in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). ADCB is the second largest bank in Abu Dhabi promoted by govt. owned entities. Prior to joining ADCB in October 2007, Nilanjan had worked in ICICI Bank, Bahrain as Vice President - Corporate & Commercial Banking.

Prior to his assignments in GCC, Nilanjan was heading Asset Products & Credit for ICICI bank, Business Banking (SME) in India. He has also worked in HDFC Bank & IDBI Bank in India in various senior roles in SME Banking, Cash Management & Fixed Income Sales.

He was part of the start-up teams in SME Banking in ICICI Bank & HDFC Bank. He started his career with Agriculture Finance Corporation, Mumbai in Project Evaluation & Monitoring.

Nilanjan holds a post graduate business degree & a graduate degree in Economics.

Internationally-renowned keynote speaker

Jeff Leach

Co-Founder, N_K_D Pizza

Through a background in archeology and anthropology, Jeff Leach became immersed in the research of evolutionary trends in nutrition – specifically how ancient dietary patterns can inform modern research into modulating the human microbiome. In 2006, Jeff met his N_K_D Pizza business partner, Randy Crochet, and their idea of developing a healthy fast food concept was born. Through N_K_D Pizza, Jeff has been able to utilize his expertise of health and nutrition by building a business model centered around changing the nutritional profile of takeout and delivery options. Furthermore, he is the in-house authority for N_K_D Pizza's health-conscious perspective.

In addition to his work with N_K_D Pizza, Jeff has appeared at hundreds of conferences and meetings worldwide, published over 75 peer-reviewed articles, authored book chapters, and been seen on the Discovery Channel. Other accomplishments include consulting for major food companies and the World Health Organization, as well as being elected Co-Chair of Anthropology for the Texas Academy of Services.

The Texas native is the proud father of two and currently lives in New Orleans.


Claire Fenner

Co-founder of Heels & Deals

After studying Leisure Management at University, Claire moved to Dubai in 1997 and spent 6 years working in retail operations management between the UAE, UK and Hong Kong for UK high-street retailers Next and River Island then over 4 years as PR & Internal Communications Manager for home fashion brand THE One.

After becoming a parent, Claire saw an opportunity and launched 'Easy Living – The Parent's Guide to Dubai' in March 2008. It is the city's only free news and listings magazine for families as well as the most widely available resource for parent's living in the city.

With friend Georgie Hearson, Claire then co-founded 'Heels & Deals – the ultimate network for female entrepreneurs' in April 2009. Their entrepreneurial journeys and passion united them with the goal of helping other women business owners. Determined not to allow the recession to get the better of them they created a platform which enables like-minded women entrepreneurs to network not only online and offline, but locally and globally.

Claire lives in Dubai with her husband and sons aged 3 and 4.


Ashraf Ghori

Founder of Xpanse CGI

Ashraf Ghori is an Indian-born artist and filmmaker based in Dubai UAE since 1975. At age 14, Ashraf gained early recognition in the UAE as a regular illustrator for Young Times. In 1993 he created original comic characters 'Shane & Talia' and UAE's first English superhero comic strip 'Voyager X'.

As a student of Graphic Design in Houston, Texas, Ashraf worked as an artist for Six Flags Astroworld and co-founded Tempest Comics. He produced artwork for independent national comic publications in the US, such as London Night Studios & Titus Press. Ashraf was regularly featured at comic book conventions in Texas as well as the prestigious Dallas Fantasy Fair in 1994.

Returning to the UAE, in late 1994, Ashraf worked as a laser show animator in Abu Dhabi before moving on to independent 3D animation work. In 2007, he launched Xpanse CGI, a specialist design & animation studio producing films, TV commercials, branding & online presence.

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