Eminent Panel of Judges
Ms. Laila Mohammad Suhail
Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment Vice Chairperson of Dubai Design and Fashion Council
Laila Mohammad Suhail is a true personification of the modern progressive thinking yet traditionally deep-rooted Emarati women that are leading the prosperity march in the UAE. A pioneer in her own right, Ms. Suhail is leading the development of two of the most important sectors in Dubai; Festivals and Retail, which has a direct impact on the Tourism façade of the young emirate of Dubai. With her visionary strategies and relentless ambition, Ms. Suhail is not one who is known for taking the easy way out, as she creates her own paths driven by the passion for success and achievements, whilst capitalizing on the support of Dubai’s leadership for women who want to make a difference.
Ms Suhail was appointed CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an Agency of Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), in 2008, making her the first woman to lead this dynamic organization following a string of influential men before her. She took the responsibility of changing the overall strategy for the Establishment, steering the development of its public and private sector partnerships, and promoting the growth of Dubai’s retail, events and tourism sectors. As head of DFRE, Ms. Suhail manages the internationally acclaimed Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises and “Eid in Dubai”, in addition to “Ramadan in Dubai” campaign, and Modhesh World, one of the region’s most popular family edutainment destinations.
Managing such a heavy and impactful portfolio of international brands is not an easy task, yet Ms. Suhail was able to carry out the development of these brands very successfully, putting each of them on the map of international family tourism must-attend-events. The success of DFRE’s events and festivals under Ms. Suhail leadership has greatly contributed to the Government of Dubai’s long term objective of positioning Dubai as a main family destination whilst reaching the ambitious target of attracting 20 Million visitors by 2020.
Ms. Suhail was part of DFRE’s growth from its inception, she was part of the team that launched DSF back in 1996 as a coordinator, and celebrated the landmark 20th Edition of DSF as a CEO. Along the way, she has contributed significantly through her creative skills in creating new brands and festivals including Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS, 1998), the DSS mascot Modhesh (2000) and Eid in Dubai (2008), and in 2011, the Ramadan in Dubai and the Dubai Calendar, the official calendar of events in Dubai. She added 2 more innovative festivals in 2013, Dubai Motor Festival and Dubai Food Festival, and With such growth and the ability to successfully develop and manage events and taking on the role of a Government adviser to the event organizers in the city, these factors have contributed to Dubai being named as the World Festival and Event City for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012) by the International Festivals and Events Association.
A career milestone for Ms. Suhail was when she was awarded the Government Excellence Award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, for creating a new benchmark for the highest sponsorship revenues during the DSS 2000 edition. A milestone which she remarkably achieved again in 2015 when she was awarded by HH another Excellence Award for her unrivalled contribution to the city wide festivals industry in Dubai.
Ms Suhail has also played a vital role in building relationships with private sector partners and was instrumental in the establishment of Dubai Shopping Malls Group and Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group, in which she continues to play an active role, as well as building strategic partnerships with corporate sponsors for DFRE events. Ms. Suhail is also a Board Member of the Dubai Events Council, which was established by a decree from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to further develop and promote the festivals and events industry in Dubai.
In a true testament to her active role as one of the women leaders in Dubai, Ms. Laila Suhail was also appointed by His Highness, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, when he assigned her to head the Women’s Sports Committee as one of the active members of the Executive Committee of the Dubai Sports Council. She was also appointed as the vice president of UAE women sports committee. As part of her current responsibilities, Ms. Laila Suhail has launched an ambitious 3-year strategic plan aimed at elevating the standards of women sports in Dubai which envisages the involvement of more Emirati women in the sports field and providing them with the technical support and guidance that would enable them to compete on a local, regional and an international level.
Ms.Aisha Rashid Ahmed Al Mazrooei
Aisha Rashid AL Mazrooei ,
Head of the Gemstone and Precious Metals Unit in the Dubai Central Laboratory [DCL] department
Ms.Aisha Rashid Ahmed Al Mazrooei serves as the Head of the Gemstone and Precious Metals Unit in the Dubai Central Laboratory [DCL] department. The 'Dubai Central Laboratory Department' was established in 1997 with aim centralizing all the labs within Dubai Municipality under one department. DCL mission is to “ Provide Product Conformity Assessment and perform Tests, Studies, Standards Development and Measurement Control, relying on our experties and accredited laboratories; aiming at contributing to consumer protection and achieving customer satisfaction” In our relentless effort for monitoring and maintaining product quality, the testing and related services and enforcement of Dubai Municipality regulations play a vital role. We are guided by simple objective and that is “ Enhancement of Quality of Life in Dubai”.
The DCL is the first Department within Dubai Municipality to be certified to ISO 9001: 2000 and recently DCL achieved DAC certification to ISO IEC Guide 65.
Mr. Tamjid Abdullah
Board Member and Deputy Chief Executive Officer - Jawhara Jewellery
Born to a family of jewellers, it is no surprise that Tamjid was raised surrounded by artisans and goldsmiths. The early exposure to craftsmanship sparked his keen focus and interest in designing and manufacturing outstanding jewellery designs. At a young age, Tamjid has perfected the jewellery making business – a skill which he turned into an art.
With over four decades of jewellery business experience, he has reaped numerous awards and recognition for his talent and creative mind in designing and craftsmanship. Most distinctive and prestigious of which were – The De Beers Millennium Award for the Best Jewellery Piece in 2000 and then again for the Ghaff Tree Necklace which was adjudged the Best Jewellery in 2004. In 2008, he was also awarded The Best Retail Personality in the Middle East.
Ms. Nirupa Bhatt
Managing Director for GIA India & Middle East
Nirupa Bhatt is GIA (Gemological Institute of America) managing director for India and Middle East.
With more than 30 years’ experience, Nirupa Bhatt is recognised for her valuable contribution to the Indian gem & jewellery industry, and for her in-depth understanding of the global diamond value chain. Prior to joining GIA in 2008, she was with the mining conglomerate “Rio Tinto” (owner of Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia & Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada) for 20 years. While at Rio Tinto, she managed technical assistance programmes to improve the yield and make of diamonds, and managed the Indo Argyle Diamond Council to promote diamond jewellery made in India.
She has been recognized by several global and domestic trade organizations, including the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), All India Gem & Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF), The Indo Diamond & Colorstone Association (IDCA) & Women’s Jewellery Association (WJA) in the U.S. for her contribution to the industry. Ms Bhatt has been on several judging panel for industry awards.
She established the India chapter of Women’s Jewellery Association (WJA).
GIA is the world’s foremost authority in Gemmology that sets the standard for determining the quality of diamonds and performs research-based identification of colored gems and pearls.
Ms. Naida Akaeva
Assistant Professor in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing at Zayed University
Born in Dagestan, Russia, Naida Akaeva graduated with a BA in jewellery making from Dagestan Art College, and an MFA in metal artistry from the prestigious Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry.
Naida was invited to the UAE as a jewellery designer in 2002, and has designed customized high-end jewellery and accessories not only for famous companies such as Robert Van and Chopard, and the UAE company Damas, but also for the UAE royal family. Naida’s work has featured in numerous national and international jewellery exhibitions, and she has won prizes for her work, including the Tahitian Pearl Trophy and the Dubai Jewellery Design Award in 2012. Naida is actively involved in the local art community and has collaborated with local and government institutions in the UAE for various projects, including bringing young Italian designers to the UAE to work with local jewellery designers, and acting as an expert judge in the Emirates Skills National Competition 2017.
Now working as an adjunct Assistant Professor in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, under her tutelage students have won prizes for their work in local and international competitions.