Cambridge IFA, a UK-based financial intelligence house, hosted the second Woman in Islamic Business and Finance (WOMANi) Awards ceremony and gala dinner on the evening of June 17, 2019 in Dubai, UAE. WOMANi is a part of the women empowerment programme by Cambridge IFA to highlight enormously important roles that exceptionally talented women are playing in Islamic business and finance.
“Our WOMANi Programme is a small contribution to the global movement to make the world an equitable place to live in,” said Dr. Sofiza Azmi, CEO of Cambridge IFA. Prof. Humayon Dar, founder of WOMANi, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. A large number of successful and influential women in Islamic finance participated from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, China, the Middle East, South Asia and the ASEAN region. At the event, 300 women were acknowledged and their efforts in Islamic business and finance recognised.
The WOMANi300 List and the WOMANi inaugural Report were released, featuring the top 300 most influential women in Islamic business and finance. The report is published by Cambridge IFA and supported by DDCAP Group, Noor Bank and Abu Dhabi National Takaful.
In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Sofiza Azmi said, “In compiling the WOMANi300 List, Cambridge IFA canvassed a wide range of market opinions and conducted extensive data mining exercise before drawing up a definitive list of the 300 most influential women in Islamic business and finance, assessing their influence and leadership over their company and market sector, as well as career and performance to date.”
She added that these assessments were carried out using a methodology based on three factors: Professional leadership, Advocacy, and Industry-wide recognition. “Next year, we aim to expand the list to 500,” she said. Stella Cox CBE, Patron-in-Chief of WOMANi and Managing Director of DDACP; addressed more than 170 guests in attendance at the awards ceremony and gala dinner.
“Not only does WOMANi elevates and raise awareness of the significance of women working across the Islamic financial spectrum globally, but it also serves to connect us to each other,” said Stella Cox in her Special Address as Patron-in-Chief of WOMANi. She further highlighted the important role of WOMANi in reweighing gender balance in the Islamic financial industry and the wider global financial market place.
In congratulating the women for their achievements and prominent role in the overall development of the industry, she urged that women must continue to be vocal and visible to enable that rebalancing to continue and to further accelerate. Stella Cox Stella headed the WOMANi list in 2017 and 2018 as the Most Influential Woman in Islamic Business and Finance.
This year she has voluntary excluded herself from the list to take on a bigger role as Patron-in-Chief of WOMANi. This year’s WOMANi award was presented to Datuk Noripah Kamso, who was named as the Most Influential Woman in Islamic Business and Finance 2019. An international figure in the global Islamic finance industry, Datuk Noripah has a solid and comprehensive 29 years’ experience across businesses in investment banking and asset management.
She is currently serving as the Chairman of Bank Rakyat, Malaysia and aims to establish it as Malaysia’s first Sustainable Bank. Prof. Dr. Normah Omar, Director of Accounting Research Institute at UiTM, ranked No.2 on the 300 WOMANi List; followed by Professor Dr. Engku Rabiah Adawiah Ali at No.3, Dr. Hurriya El Islamic at No. 4, and Professor Dr. Rusni Hassan at No.5.
The WOMANi Special Award 2019 was presented to Datin Maznah Mahbob, Partner, Finance & Investments at Strategic Swiss Partners AG, for her long-standing contributions to the global Islamic finance industry. She is ranked at No.22 on the WOMANi300 List 2019. Although the Top 20 was dominated by leading Malaysian women, several key women leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Indonesia have risen to rank this year.
These include Maureen Badjoeri, CEO of Trustbank Amanah at No.5; Sayyida Dr. Rawan Ahmed Al Said, CEO Takaful Oman SOAG at No. 8; Dr. Dian Masyita, Associate Professor at Padjadjaran University at No.9; Nida Khan, Doctoral Researcher at University of Luxembourg, at No.12; and Umera Ali, Partner & Head of Islamic Finance at DWF at No. 14.
Other notable women who made to the list of Top 50 Most Influential Women in Islamic Business and Finance 2019 were Professor Dr. Meryem Duygun, Professor of Banking and Finance at Nottingham University Business Business School, at No. 21; Hajara Adeola, Managing Director of Lotus Capital, at No. 23; Zaineb Sefiani, Founder Carrera Learning, at No. 27; Dr. Nerma Saracevic, Director of Regional Centre Zenica at Wiener Asiguranje, at No. 32; Latifa Al Zaabi, General Manager of Siraj Finance, at No. 47, Farah Arakji, Chief Financial Officer at Abu Dhabi National Takaful, at No. 50; and Hind Al Attar, Head of Human Resources at Noor Bank, at No.50.
Commenting on the WOMANi Programme, Professor Humayon Dar stressed that Cambridge IFA’s WOMANi Programme aims at empowering at least one million women at different levels in different regions across a range of professions. “Each and every woman featured in the WOMANi inaugural report is a story of hard work, dedication, multi-tasking, professionalism perseverance, and success,” said he added. “Grooming the next generation of woman leaders with relevant skill sets to meet these changes in the business environment is vital for the future of Islamic banking and finance.
For this reason, we have developed another programme like Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme, which aims to fast-track and groom the next generation of C-suite executives and leaders,” added Professor Dar. During the event, the recipient of the DDACP-CIFLP Bursary was announced by Cassim Docrat, Director of DDCAP (DIFC) Limited. Angelia Chin-Sharpe, CEO and Country Head for Malaysia and Brunei at BNP Paribas Asset Management, was awarded this prestigious scholarship. She is ranked No.14 on the WOMANi300 List. In his speech, Cassim Docrat explained that the DDCAP-CIFLP Bursary is a partnership between DDCAP and Cambridge IFA to support the attendance of one of this year’s WOMANi list achievers at the 2019 Cambridge Islamic Finance Leadership Programme.