Speakers

ICSW is dedicated to connecting inspiring women of all backgrounds and generations, from sports fans to sportswomen, academics to professionals.

Our unparalleled line-up of speakers and panelists are some of the most inspirational figures in women’s sport and culture - industry leaders, barrier-breakers, sporting icons and influencers.

ICSW is your chance to listen to, and be a part of, great debates and in-depth discussions on the issues that matter to women, and to learn from some of the most experienced industry figures and sporting icons in the world.

Check back with us regularly to find out the latest news and announcements about our speakers, panellists, moderators and MCs in 2017.

Keynote Speakers

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a former Olympic athlete, a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a former President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Sports have always been an integral part of HRH Princess Haya’s life. At the age of 13 She became the first female to represent Jordan internationally in equestrian show jumping. In 1992, HRH Princess Haya became the first and only female to win a Pan-Arab equestrian medal when She won the individual bronze at the Pan-Arab Equestrian Games. In 2000, She represented Jordan in show jumping at the Sydney Olympic Games, and was Her nation’s flagbearer at the event. Two years later, Princess Haya competed for Jordan in the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. She was the first Arab woman to qualify for and compete in an equestrian world championship.

Recognizing the positive and empowering impact sports have had on Her own life, HRH Princess Haya has worked to give others, especially young girls, a similar experience. Her work as President of the FEI and as a member of the IOC was motivated by the belief that sport improves lives, empowers women, and breaks down barriers between people and nations.

In June 2015, HRH Princess Haya was awarded the prestigious Longines Ladies Award to celebrate Her achievements and positive impact had on equestrian sport. In January 2016, She received the Award for Local Sports Personality from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.

Speakers

Loretta Claiborne

Loretta Claiborne was born in Pennsylvania in 1953, partially blind and unable to walk or speak until the age of four. Despite being pressured to admit a young Loretta to a mental institution, Loretta’s mother refused to bow down, believing in her child’s potential.  At school, Loretta would escape the taunts of her classmates by running away. From then on, running became a passion through which she would find her path to global recognition.

In 1971, Claiborne was introduced to Special Olympics, which she described as a “turning point” in her life. She won her first gold medal in the 1983 World Games, and has since won dozens of medals at various events, and is a seasoned athlete in karate, skiing, skating, and basketball. She holds the women’s record for the 5,000m run in the Special Olympics World Games for her age category and has featured in the top 100 women at the Boston Marathon twice.

Aside from her athletic career, Claiborne is a global spokesperson and a member of the current Board of Directors for the Special Olympics.  She has also been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards including induction into the World Sport Humanitarian Hall of Fame 2007 and the Women in Sports Hall of Fame (2000). In 2000, her story was immortalized in the Walt Disney TV film production, The Loretta Claiborne Story.

Panellists

Panel 1 - Empowering Women: Sports and Leadership

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi

Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi was appointed as the UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs in February 2016. In this role, H.E. Noura Al Kaabi acts as the key link and facilitator between the Cabinet and the Federal National Council

Noura is Chair of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Chair of the Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54; andChair of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC Group). She is also on the committee of TCA’s Museum Acquisition Committee and is part of the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and Qasr Al Hosn. She is also a board member of the UAE’s National Media Counciland theNational Archive

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi holds B.A. in MIS from UAE University and has also completed the Executive Leadership Programme from London Business School.

Michelle Kwan

The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Michelle Kwan’s skating brilliance and accomplishments have earned her a place among the all-time greats of the sport.  From 1995 to 2005, Michelle dominated the sport like no other skater in history, winning an unprecedented 43 championships, including five World Championships, nine U.S. National Championships and two Olympic medals.  In the nearly 100-year history of U.S. figure skating, no American man or woman has won more world titles, national titles or Olympic medals. 

In 2003 Michelle earned her seventh U.S. Figure Skating Skater of the Year award.  In an unprecedented move, U.S. Figure Skating renamed the award in her honor.  It is now called the Michelle Kwan Trophy.  In January 2012, Michelle was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, the highest honor in U.S. figure skating.  In March 2012, Michelle was elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, the only member of the Class of 2012. 

 Currently, Michelle serves as a Senior Advisor and the first Public Diplomacy Envoy at the U.S. Department of State, traveling the world to meet with young people to speak about leadership and social and educational issues.  In June 2010, President Obama appointed Michelle to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  Also in 2010, Michelle was elected to the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International, the organization’s ultimate governing authority responsible for global affairs and strategies. 

Michelle graduated from the University of Denver in November 2008 with a degree in International Studies.  In May 2011, she received a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, majoring in International Relations. 

Panel 2 - Behavioral Change: Sports as the Norm

May El-Khalil

In 2001, May El-Khalil suffered a near-fatal accident while on her routine run that put her in a coma and left her unable to walk. After two years of struggling with her injuries, El-Khalil began walking again. Out of her own struggle, she was inspired to start a movement that would create a sense of community, inspiring others to overcome the adversities in their lives. This is when she founded the Beirut Marathon Association.

The first Beirut Marathon was held in 2003, attracting 6,000 participants, and soon becoming a globally acclaimed event. In 2009, the marathon received accreditation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), and in 2016 attracted over 47,000 participants from 104 countries. It has also received recognition from prestigious organizations across the globe, being awarded the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) Power of Sports Award 2010, the Laureus “Sports for Good” Award 2010, and May El-Khalil was invited to speak about the Beirut Marathon project at the world-renowned TED Global Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2013.

Today, the Beirut Marathon Association organizes multiple running events alongside the Beirut Marathon, including a ladies-only race designed to empower women through running, and youth races to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the next generation.

Kate Bosomworth

Described as an exceptional and energetic leader, Kate Bosomworth has worked in the sports arena for almost 20 years. Having built one of the most successful independent sports PR agencies in the UK, Bosomworth now provides strategic consultancy to a select group of clients worldwide. Bosomworth has worked with a host of global sports and wellness brands and rights holders including adidas, The Ryder Cup, UEFA, The North Face, Unilever and GSK.

In 2013, Bosomworth was appointed to the Board of Sport England as board lead for the ground-breaking women’s campaign ‘This Girl Can’ – a movement to celebrate active women and to help women overcome the fear of judgement that prevents them being active. Bosomworth has been instrumental in the creation and development of this hugely successful campaign. More recently Bosomworth was asked to join the UK Government’s Sport & Business Council.

Bosomworth has two children and lives in London.

Dr. Sven Rohte

Dr. Sven Rohte is the Chief Commercial Officer at Daman, a position he has held since 2010 when he joined the company. He is responsible for leading the company’s commercial activities such as sales and after-sales services, marketing and customer experience management. He also oversees the management of the health insurance scheme for UAE Nationals, thiqa.


Prior to joining Daman, Dr. Rohte served as Chief Commercial Officer at Thuraya Telecommunication Company in the United Arab Emirates. He has more than ten years of experience in strategy management; and has worked for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants on business transformation projects in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Dr. Rohte’s experience includes academia where he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Trier.

Dr. Sven Rohte holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Trier, Germany.

 

Tala Al Ramahi

Tala Al Ramahi is Chief Strategic Officer of the Special Olympics World Games 2019. In this role, she leads strategy and legacy for the Games. Al Ramahi was also member of the Bid Committee, helping lead the efforts to develop Abu Dhabi’s winning bid in along with key government, semi-government and private entities, as well as NGOs in the UAE. She is also a Manager at the Office of Strategic Affairs at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, where she leads rich public policy analysis on socioeconomic issues pertaining to Abu Dhabi and the UAE in various fields, including education, health, governance and citizen wellbeing.

Al Ramahi is currently seconded from the Crown Prince Court to the Local Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Games 2019. Previously, she was Programs Director of Al Bayt Mitwahid, an NGO founded by employees of the Crown Prince Court, that plans and implements initiatives across the UAE to address societal needs and challenges utilizing innovative and sustainable practices.

Al Ramahi has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s Degree in Journalism for the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Panel 3 - Sponsorship and Media: Increasing Value in Women’s Sports

Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson is Vice President and Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing at Visa. In her role, she oversees the global portfolio of sponsorships for Visa, including the company’s 30-year partnership with the IOC, FIFA and the NFL. Through these properties and platforms, Visa has been able to offer unique value to clients, while building a stronger brand and driving business growth globally. Prior to joining Visa, Kate served as a Senior Director within WME IMG’s Global Consulting Group.

In 2017, Johnson was named by Adweek as one of the ‘35 Most Powerful Women in Sport.’ She won the 2017 Sports Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, and the 2017 Leaders Under 40 Award.

Johnson, a former professional rower, competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece where she and her teammates won a silver medal. She is a 2002 World Champion and Olympic and World Record holder. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Johnson is a three-time first team All-American, and was inducted into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 2016.

Gavin Makel

Gavin Makel’s involvement in professional football goes back ten years where he worked within the football operation of the community foundation.  

In his current role as Head of Women’s Football at Manchester City, he is responsible for the business operation of the organisation which encompasses player recruitment, marketing, commercial, finance management and match day operations.

He has been a club representative for the FA Women's Management Committee and currently sits on the European Club Association task force for women’s football.

Commenting on the MCWFC project, Makel has stated:

‘We are here to challenge and change the perception of women’s football. We are professionalising a sport which traditionally hasn’t received the support or resource it has deserved’. 

Alan Pascoe MBE

Credited with pioneering the Sports Marketing business in the UK, Alan Pascoe has created two world leading agencies from scratch.  He sold API to Interpublic, which became the founding agency of what is now Octagon, and then built CSM – with skill sets across the whole sports marketing, events and entertainment sector – for Chime, before stepping down and handing over his Chairmanship to Lord Sebastian Coe.                                                                             

Formerly an international athlete representing Great Britain in 5 events, he won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and a Silver in one of his 3 Olympic Games, during which time he was Team Captain for 4 years. He subsequently commentated and presented sport and entertainment programmes for ITV.

 

Pascoe was Vice-Chairman of London’s 2012 bid for the Olympic & Paralympic Games – has served as a member of the Sports Council, BBC Advisory Board, various Ministerial commissions and was awarded an MBE for his contribution to sport.

 

He now advises company heads on their stakeholder engagement programmes and partnerships.

Panel 4 - The Making of a 21st Century Role Model: The Rise of Sports Women in the Arab World

Raha Moharrak

Raha Moharrak grew up in Saudi Arabia and throughout her life felt a longing to break free and to set off on her own adventure. She began searching for that adventure upon finishing her undergraduate studies, when she found what would become her life-long passion: mountain climbing.

At the age of 25, Moharrak successfully reached the peak of Kilimanjaro, and just two years later shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the youngest Arab, and first Saudi, woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Now 30 years old, she has completed several immense climbs of some of the highest peaks across the world.

While continuing to pursue her adventures, Moharrak utilizes the fame she has attained to spread a message of empowerment to other women, encouraging them to get active and to confront societal expectations. Moharrak also plays a role in pursuing the cause at a higher level through her involvement in campaigns by organizations such as the Human Rights Watch, who are lobbying governments to actively boost women’s role in sports.

Zahra Lari

22-year-old Lari, a three-time UAE national figure skating champion, is the first Emirati figure skater to compete on the international stage. At 11 years-old, Lari was inspired to try figure skating after watching the Disney film ‘Ice Princess’. Two days later, Lari skated onto the ice rink of the UAE capital’s Zayed Sports City for the first time, embarking on what would become her life-long passion.

Despite her father initially encouraging her to keep figure skating as a hobby, Lari made her international debut three years later at the European Cup in Canazei, Italy. It was here that she received a ‘deduction’ in points due to her hijab. As the first international-level figure skater to compete wearing the hijab, it was left to Lari to successfully challenge the deduction with the International Skating Union (ISU) who have since allowed headscarves to be worn in competition.

Lari, an athlete sponsored by the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), now has her sights firmly set on making history by becoming the first Emirati to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

Samar Nassar

Samar Nassar boasts over 20 years’ experience within the world of sports – both as an athlete and within the sports management industry.

Nassar competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games as a swimmer, and was appointed as Chief of Mission for Jordan’s 2012 Olympics delegation, she also served as a board member of the Jordanian Olympic Committee.

Following her Olympic career, Nassar was chosen to spearhead Jordan’s bid to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016, an ambitious project that was crucial to the development of the women’s game in the country.

In December 2013, Nassar and her team’s efforts were rewarded with the selection of Jordan to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016. Nassar was appointed as the CEO of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016, leading the tournament to a successful delivery and marking the first time the tournament has been hosted in the Middle East.

Nassar was educated in Europe, with an Undergraduate Degree In Molecular Biology and Genetic and a Master’s Degree in Sports Management.

Panel 5 - Sport Across Generations: Opportunities and Challenges

Julie Kitchen

Julie Kitchen is widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest martial artists in the world.

Born and raised in England, as a child she was very shy. However, she loved P.E and was a physically gifted youngster.

In 1989, Kitchen enrolled in the Sea Cadets, and by the time she was sixteen had worked her way up the ranks to Petty Officer – a journey she attributes as a major part of overcoming her shyness.  

After giving birth to twins in 1999 at the age of twenty-one, Kitchen joined a local gym to lose weight and quickly developed a passion and talent for Muay Thai. Kitchen’s professional debut was in 2002, where she wore two sets of shin guards and a head guard! Her previous shyness now faded, she became completely addicted to fighting.

Over Kitchen’s professional fighting career, she faced fighters from fifteen different countries, and became the first British woman to win a WBC title. Kitchen officially retired in 2012.

Kitchen’s inner strength and spirit continues to inspire female athletes across the globe, and she is extremely proud to be considered The Queen of Muay Thai, a name given to her by her supporters. 

Sister Madonna Buder

Born in 1930 in Missouri, Sister Madonna Buder was active from an early age as a keen equestrian and tennis player, but was never the seasoned athlete she is today, aged 86.

At 23, Sister Madonna decided to follow her “true calling” by becoming a nun. Years later, she took up running which soon became a passion. She completed her first running race aged 47, her first triathlon aged 52 and her first ‘Ironman’ triathlon aged 55.

To date, Sister Madonna has competed in 37 marathons and 377 triathlons, including 45 ‘Ironman’ triathlons - an extraordinary feat which has earned her the title ‘The Iron Nun’. In 2012, she broke the record for being the oldest person to complete an Ironman triathlon at age 82.

Away from her life as a triathlete and a nun, Sister Madonna is a motivational speaker who seeks to spread her message of positivity and love to the entire world, and contributes to a number of non-profit organizations.

Tania Sachdev

Tania Sachdev’s name has been synonymous with women’s chess in India. This International Masters and Woman Grandmaster has been conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2009 by the government of India.

Sachdev is fresh off her bronze medal win at the Commonwealth Chess Championship which took place in her hometown of New Delhi in July 2017. She and Padmini Rout won bronze in the Women’s Rapid Team event at the Asian Indoor Games at Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) in the last week of September 2017. Sachdev also bagged a gold medal and the title of Champion in the Women’s category at the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2016 in Colombo.

Her career successes also include Bronze Medal winner at the Chess Olympiad 2012 in Istanbul, 3rd Place at Reykjavik Open 2015, Silver medal at the Asian Continental Women's Chess Championship 2015 (Rapid Format) and individual Gold & team Silver at the National Team Chess Championships held in Goa, India in 2015.

 Sachdev’s aim was always to become one of the best players in the world. The more you win, the more you want to win. As a Redbull athlete, she hopes to get more people involved in the game and wants to help novice players improve their strategy by leaps and bounds. Tania is also a popular chess presenter and commentator.

 

Panel 6 - Making your health a priority – Mubadala Healthcare Panel

Speakers Will Be Announced Soon

Moderators

MCs

Houriya Taheri

Houriya Taheri is a role model who is recognized as having played a leading part in the development of a women’s football culture in the UAE. She is the first Arab woman to receive a professional coaching license and the current UAE Women’s National Team Assistant Coach.

Taheri started her career as a goalkeeper and was once rated as the best Arab goalkeeper in the region. Having had to pause her playing career due to the lack of an official women’s national team, she decided to undertake her coaching qualifications and began to play a part in the development of the women’s game in her home country.

She has been awarded her ‘C’, ‘B’ and ‘A’ coaching licenses by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and has played an integral role in the transformation of women’s football in the UAE, including the formation of the UAE Women’s National Team.

Since she began working, women’s football in the UAE has expanded apace. Taheri has helped grow the domestic game from the point of having just seven registered female players to, in 2017, over 2,000 active players in the UAE, 8 clubs in the first league, women’s Under 14 and Under 16 leagues, and eight dedicated training centres. All of which receive support from the Women Football Committee and UAE FA.

Reem Maziq

Reem Maziq joined The Walt Disney Company in 2012 as part of the Corporate Strategy and Business Development team during which she worked on the planning and development of several new businesses including Disney Life, Disney Party and Healthy Living, in addition ti the acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd and Germany’s Das Vierte TV Channel. Maziq now holds operational responsibility for Healthy Living EMEA - a corporate wide business strategy encouraging life-long healthy behaviours in children and their families through story-telling, imagination and fun.

Since its adoption in 2014, the company has used Disney, Marvel and Star Wars stories and characters to position healthy eating and physical exercise as fun and accessible to children and their families. As a result, Healthy Living has resulted in the rapid growth of Disney’s licensed healthy food portfolio and sportswear products.

Prior to Disney, Reem worked as an investment banking professional for 10 years across a number of financial centres in London, New York and Dubai.

Maziq speaks Arabic, English, Italian and French and holds a Bachelors of Law (LLB) in Law and European Law from King’s College, University of London.

Maddie Meyer

Maddie Meyer is a staff photographer for Getty Images based in Boston, Massachusetts; specializing in sports in the New England region and beyond. After completing a bachelor of science in photojournalism from Ohio University, she joined the Getty Images team in January of 2015. Whilst completing her studies, Meyer undertook internships at The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and Getty Images in New York. Her favorite assignments are those that combine her editorial background and love of sports. From small town rodeos, to covering the infield at Talladega Superspeedway and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.

Meyer’s work is continually published in major metropolitan daily newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide, including ESPN, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The Washington Post, amongst others. 

Her Excellency Rym Alfalasy

Appointed by a federal decree issued by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in July 2013, her Excellency Rym Abdulla Al Falasy serves as the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. She is also a Board Member of the Gender Balance Council, and most recently became a Member of the United Nations' High-Level Advisory Group for "Every Woman Every Child" and Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health.


Working under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, President of the General Women's Union and Chairwoman of Supreme Council of Motherhood and Childhood (SCMC), Al Falasy strives to achieve the Council’s driving objectives. These include promoting the participation and empowerment of motherhood and childhood, ensuring support is granted for all mothers and children, especially in educational, cultural, healthcare, social and psychological aspects, ensuring the safety and security of mothers and children, suggesting development policies for their progress, encouraging studies and research and widespread of for motherhood and childhood, to name a few.


Prior to joining SCMC, Rym Al Falasy worked with the General Secretariat of Abu Dhabi Executive Council , where she led Strategic Communications Section for more than one year. Before that, she had led the Communication Section of the Office of the Brand of Abu Dhabi, wherein she became instrumental in implementing key strategic communications initiatives and projects there, including The President of the UAE Cup Series for Purebred Arabian Horses, Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes Campaign and Ceremony, EXPO Shang-Hai trip Itinerary.


Her Excellency Rym Abdulla Al Falasy obtained her BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2005 from Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, and, in 2007, gained a Certificate in Business for International Professionals (BUSIP) from the University of Washington.
Ms. Al Falasy has attended many training and leadership courses and workshops and received many certificates and accolades throughout her professional life.