Helen Williams

Founder & Owner of LifeWorks

“My mother died when I was young and the impact of this has been a significant factor in my life journey,” says Helen, who is the founder of personal development and training centre, LifeWorks, along with her daughter, Carmen. Helen’s loss inspired a strong interest in human development and, in particular, understanding the psychology of grief. She, along with a team of highly qualified counsellors and psychologists, gives guidance and support to people exploring some of life’s biggest questions. Although Helen says she’s living her ultimate goal, she would eventually like LifeWorks to offer retreats. With more than 35 years of experience in counselling, teaching and mentoring, Helen’s proud of her vision to create a space where people can seek happiness without judgement. She explains: “To be running a business that reflects all that I stand for means everything.”


Andrea DeBellis

Founder & CEO of NYLA Method & NYLA House

When Andrea lived and worked in New York’s competitive financial scene, she balanced her hectic lifestyle with regular barre workouts. Upon her move to London in 2010 she found a lack of fitness options to try at the end of busy days in the office. “I co-founded Barrecore, leaving the corporate world once and for all,” says Andria, who did teacher training with big names in barre and Pilates. Continuing to develop the ideal workout for modern women, she moved to Dubai and launched NYLA, with the vision to create a world-renowned destination for wellness. She now has a popular barre format, which encourages women to get healthy, and is developing a community of support through NYLA House. Although Andrea has accomplished a lot in a short space of time, she insists that: “My biggest achievements are ahead of me.”


Hala Kazim

Founder & Owner of Journey Through Change

Five years ago, Hala felt lost and was desperately looking for a passion. She began hiking, and one day, while walking alone in the heart of Camino in Spain, it came to her – combine her passions of counselling and hiking in order to help women learn to love themselves. Journey Through Change was born and since then, Hala has taken women on more than 20 trips to countries such as Italy, Austria, France, Japan and Mauritius. “We think aloud together,” says Hala of the hours she spends walking with women. Her holistic approach to life coaching also sees her offer workshops and retreats in the region, as well as being a guest speaker for women’s issues in the UAE. Hala says: “When you help a woman to love herself she will spread the love around her family and community.”


Nisreen Shocair

President of Virgin Megastore, Middle East

Nisreen has appeared on the Most Powerful Arab Woman’s list two years in a row, so it comes as little surprise that the career woman and mother of three loves a challenge. “The more challenges life throws your way, the more you are are able to manage,” she says. The London Business School and Columbia University graduate stays on top of the latest retail designs in order to give the Virgin Megastore brand an edge. Following in the footsteps of Richard Branson, Nisreen believes that only businesses that give back can succeed. With this in mind, she’s passionate about the community and regularly launches initiatives with local authors, artists and directors. Nisreen takes her inspiration and drive from women in the Middle East, “who have done so much with very little, in the name of a better future for their families”.


Uma Ghosh Deshpande

Founder & Managing Director of Queen Bee Production

“Television was at a complete nascent stage in this region,” explains Uma of her decision to pioneer local content. The former Mrs India runner-up started Queen Bee Production nine years ago and, through her flagship programme, The Uma Show, she has become a household name. The company also produces hit shows such as Top Guns, PropertyScape and Love4Food. It hasn’t been an easy journey though. “Sheer hard work, vision and perseverance got me where I am today,” she says, explaining that her next goal is to launch her own TV channel. Although Uma says she’s living her dream, her biggest achievement is being appointed celebrity partner of the United Nations World Food Programme, where she raises awareness and funds to help fight hunger.