About - Faculty

Prakash Menon

Prakash Menon is regarded by many as an authority on personal leadership transition, and is an award winning retail business thought leader and inspirational speaker.

He is a global partner with Thought Leaders Global, Australia and Executive Director, Thought Leaders Middle East. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker, published author and dynamic mentor who specializes in the areas of thought leadership, career transitioning and acceleration, entrepreneurship and education. Prakash Menon combines strong, proven business acumen with wit, wisdom, finesse and poise.

Prakash Menon has had significant corporate careers across two continents where he fast tracked his career to the top. As a former board member and Director Of Supply Chain at MYER - Australia, a $3.2 billion retail giant, adding $25 million to the profit in just 10 months and a whopping $290 million to the profit over the next 3 years.

He is one of the most sought out Global Business Strategist currently engaged with multinationals and centers of excellence across the Middle East, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia and the USA streamlining processes, creating high-performance cultures and in adding significant value to the bottom line. His passion and expertise is to help industry leaders, corporate professionals and leaders of the future, turbo charge their careers and position themselves globally among the best in their field.

Prakash himself has been mentored by some of the world’s best coaches and has successfully mentored executives across a plethora of industries and stood by their side as they rose to career heights they never dreamed of.

Prakash Menon is the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Retail Academy.

Andrew Cavanagh

After over 20 years with Myer & Coles Myer and former Acting Executive Director at the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Spain, New York and Los Angeles), Andrew established a business to focus on what he loves most, developing the skills and competencies of Buyers and Planners in the retail sector.

Andrew is the expert in creating clarity from confusion and has successfully implemented profitable processes and procedures to new and dysfunctional areas of retail organisations internationally.

He has conducted public and in-company programs for well over 50 different companies across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, South Korea and South Africa. He is a key contributor at the Retail Academy of Singapore, which has provided training for students from Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as Singapore.

When Andrew first met Prakash Menon, he instantly recognised the great synergies that they could create. Andrew is the co-author of the Black Belt in Retail Series and together they have developed various tools and techniques that can turn around any retailer and make them profitable.

Rabia Zargarpur

Rabia is a multi-award winning fashion entrepreneur & designer and is hailed as a Global Pioneer in Contemporary Modest Fashion which today as an industry is valued at $322Billion (GIES reports). She is the founder of Rabia Z. -a brand that deemed ‘modesty is always in style’.

Rabia’s vision is to create high-performance female professionals who are truly world class leaders in all aspects of the fashion business; not just technical experts, but experts with razor sharp leadership skills. Her areas of expertise include, Business of Fashion, Creative Direction, Modest Fashion, Image Consultancy, Women Leadership, Personal Leadership Transitioning and Entrepreneurship.

As an award winning business thought leader and inspirational speaker she continues to inspire as she carries on her trajectory to empower Muslim women globally.

Rabia Z is the first Emirati designer and brand honorably representing the UAE and Dubai on renowned international forums, seminars, events and fashion shows outside the Emirates for over a decade. She is also featured alongside female world leaders and celebrities in the Book, ‘The Greatest, the Most Important and the Most Powerful Women of the Middle East and the Arab World’.

Kapil Malhotra

Kapil Malhotra, Chairman and Managing Director of the Total Solutions Group started his journey as an entrepreneur in the year 1998. Having qualified as the
amongst the youngest CA’s in the Country at the age of 21, Kapil Malhotra has the distinction of serving and addressing critical corporate advisory requirements for many of India and the world’s leading brands.

Kapil has also traveled to many countries and as a member of Prime Minister Modi’s delegation and has
spoken at many prestigious business strategy and investment conferences in Phuket, Athens and Tokyo.

TSG began its journey as the pioneer of Mystery Shopping in India and has become one of the largest and most dynamic solutions providers in India and the South-East Asian countries especially in the Retail Industry. TSG has 32 offices pan-India with over 5000+ certified and trained auditors.

TSG provides Mystery Auditing Solutions, Customer Centricity Programs, iTRAIN application-based employee training solutions, Business Re-engineering and Strategy Solutions, Asset Management Solutions, and Capital Raising Solutions. TSG helps businesses in a variety of different stages of maturity to grow their businesses and expand into new markets and offer investment banking solutions including private equity investing and listing services, with tie-ups with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Australia Stock Exchange.

Sajid Sayed

Dedicated Retailer with over 22 years of extensive experience in the retail industry across the globe. Sajid is a hard core retail professional who “walks the talk” and has earned his stripes by working through all aspects of retail management.


His leadership expertise encompasses all aspects of retail operations and branding, from controlling costs and maximizing revenues to harnessing team strengths to improve efficiency and hence organization growth. He is involved in developing and executing new brands into the market place which are both complex and competitive yet differentiated to create a strong impact.


Sajid is actively involved in leading retail industry bodies at senior levels, managing all stakeholders and raising the awareness on the importance of the interdependent relationship of retailers and shopping mall owners.

He is an advocate of change and innovation, maintaining that brands need to evolve, yet stay relevant to the consumer, to thrive in the 21st century.

Nick Peel

Nick Peel is a trailblazer in the world of retail. As CEO of Marka Holding, he is instrumental in leading the development and growth of the first ever DFM listed, publicly traded company focused on the UAE’s rapidly growing retail sector. Drawing on a wealth of experience, under his expert guidance, Marka is strengthening its influence across the region as a premier retail operator targeting the mid-to-high-range segments in sports retail, fashion and hospitality. His active growth strategy for Marka is based on acquisitions, franchise agreements and unique retail concepts that includes partnering with leading global brands in retail and F&B.

In his various high profile roles as UK Operations Director and Country Manager at McArthur Glen and as Retail Director with Arsenal F.C., he has delivered significant double-digit revenue growth while creating a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence.
As UK Head of Retail Property Management at Land Securities, a FTSE Top 50 company, he strategically managed the company operations and portfolio of 17 shopping centres and 14 retail parks across the UK.

Nick was also the Retail and Brand Director at Rangers Football Club for 7 years, renowned as one of the top two soccer teams in Scotland, his first association with merchandising activities for a premier status football team.

Aiisha Ramadan

Aiisha is a Lebanese Fashion designer, the creative genius behind the luxury couture brand AIISHA, which was established in the UAE in 2007. She has won a number of prestigious awards and has collaborated with international brands in the beauty and technology fields, making her one of the most influential women in the Middle East.

Celebrities such as Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Aishwarya Rai and Ariana Grande have adopted the label, which has resulted in international popularity for its elegant, yet sensual look.

By the use of intricate handmade details, fine embroidery, and the careful selection of the most luxurious fabrics and high quality construction methods, AIISHA succeeds in awakening the femininity of those who choose the brand as their own. What makes AIISHA unique is the ability to maintain all of these traditional elements of design at desirable prices.

Aiisha has achieved rocketing success in less that a decade and is a role model for aspiring fashion designers and Couture business owners internationally.

Mark Johnson

Mark has a retail career spanning 30 years predominantly in the UK and across the Middle East. He has operated at all levels starting from the shop floor to being a member of the board as Retail Director and most recently senior leadership roles in the Middle East. He has the experience of working within large international retail brands across multiple sectors including men’s fashion, women’s fashion, electrical, home decor, gifts, children's apparel andnon apparel.

As a Retail Consultant Mark mentored & advised Retail Board executives on strategy, leadership & behavioural change, he excels in developing retail operational strategy working with some of the largest retailers on the planet and is an expert at improving processes to gain optimum efficiency whilst keeping focus on sales and the customer; he has lead sales teams to achieve unbelievable results including over 200 stores achieving up to 6 months sales in just one weekend. He challenges the norms of retail operations helping cut through the noise to focus on what’s really important and makes the difference within your operation.

Mark is an expert on virtual leadership; conducting keynotes on the subject; he coaches teams on operating and leading change across multiple countries, locations streamlining operations whilst executing higher standards of performance. He has created operational excellence programs accredited by the George Washington University and developed a unique virtual leadership master class program “Driving high performance through effective leadership” aimed at multi site operators and multi country leaders sharing techniques used by the best of the best from around the world

Maha Zeibak

With a degree from Parsons School of Design in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, Digital Marketing and Media courses from Duke University, a BA from Tufts University in Economics and International Relations, Maha is a retail entrepreneur to the core.

With an illustrious retail career in fashion retail, initially making her name distributing womenswear brands to hundreds of boutiques and department stores across North America, she then set up her own UPC boutique, a luxury clothing and accessories boutique. This quickly became a destination store in Toronto's upscale Yorkville district and a laboratory for emerging designers.

With a desire to grow laterally, they collaborated with a design team to develop a private label, Thomas, which was distributed in New York and Toronto. UPC boutique also developed an e-commerce presence which propelled them to grow internationally.

Maha added a new dimension to her passion in retail and began to immerse herself in e-commerce, where she became Head of Digital Merchandising for the fashion category of the premier online retail platform in the MENA region, Souq.com.

With an array of experience and skills in the retail industry, Maha launched Vis à Vis Retail in the Middle East, Dubai being the new retail hub of the world, to offer emerging retailers and designers bespoke solutions to transform consumer experience and accelerate growth. Based in Dubai along with International reach, Vis à Vis Retail offers premium retail solutions & services at competitive prices.

Panos Manolopoulos

Panos Manolopoulos is the Global Vice Chairman and Board member of Stanton Chase, one of the leading Executive Search and Human Talent Firms in the Globe. He is also the Managing Partner for Middle East and one of the main shareholders of the Firm in the Balkans.

Before joining Stanton Chase International he served as Chief Administrator of the University of Wales Swansea, Athens Campus, and Managing Director of IKRP/RECON, one of the largest regional Law Business Consulting firms.

Panos has multiple professional associations worldwide. He was awarded, as CEO, the “Best Consulting Company of 2000 in Romania” award and the “Young Entrepreneur Award” for three consecutive years. Under his management, the Stanton Chase Romanian office has been awarded globally “office of the year” for 2006 and 2007.

He has also published over 100 articles internationally on financial and business issues, delivered keynotes at more than 50 Global Financial and HR Conferences and appeared on TV and Radio in several countries.
Panos has finished several Executive Leadership and Development based Executive Education Programs at Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School, Cornell University and Cambridge University.

Elisabeth Mac Hale


Elisabeth Mac Hale is the founder and CEO of The Design Directive, a fashion buying and design consultancy based in Dubai. Recognised as an industry expert, she has worked in all areas of the fashion business including apparel design; brand and product development; vendor sourcing; and contract negotiation.

A fashion graduate of the award winning LSAD college in Ireland, her career has taken her from senior design and buying roles in Ireland to the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
In the last 20 years Elisabeth has worked with some of the largest retail groups and global licensors in the world including Primark, Disney, Mattel, Nike, Nickleodeon, Sanrio and The Landmark Group. Her unerring eye for product along with her vision and attention to detail has enabled her to turn around and deliver stunning sales growth.

During her career she has spent time coaching and mentoring junior buyers and designers to senior management roles. She is committed to quality, growth and progress, and she inspires teams to strive for the same. She is deeply passionate about her work and has a very sound business acumen combined with outstanding vision and creative skills and an exceptional track record of achievement

Emile Bassil

Emile is a premier advisor and the go to reference and subject matter authority for supply chain and logistics solutions, strategy alignment, processes, systems, communication and people development for a number of companies in the Middle East, Europe, South Africa, South East Asia,West Africa and Australia.

He combines business acumen and strong proven technical skills to deliver end - to - end supply chain solutions to current business challenges and future growth opportunities & objectives by raising the bar on overall company performance. Emile works on diagnosing and transforming supply chains, designing, modelling, and optimizing supply chain distribution networks, designing warehouses, warehousing process improvement, demand planning and sales and operations planning and integrated business planning (S&OP and IBP), advanced planning and scheduling, and 3D simulation and optimisation of manufacturing and warehousing operations. In addition to project management, Emile implements and supports leading edge business execution software.

His is driven to developing and delivering supply chain education throughout the Middle East. He has collaborated with organizations like GS1 Saudi Arabia.

Hussam Raouf

Futuristic thinker, entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and senior executive with international experience of large scale, master - planned real estate projects, property development and management, shopping malls design, development and construction with over 20 years of development and retail experience in Europe and the Middle East.

Hussam’s expertise in Retail Real Estate and Property Development makes him the authority on the topics of Retail and Shopping Malls development, Mixed - Use real estate development, place making, asset management, design, urban planning, disruptive innovation and retail trends. He is pivotal in designing and managing FUTURE THINKING LABS and in fueling Innovative Schemes and Futuristic Vision retail businesses.

Hussam Raouf is the former head of the Retail Real Estate portfolio of Emaar Properties, Executive Director - Head of the Retail and shopping Malls Development and the lead in the Design and Delivery team of MAF - Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Malls in the MENA region. He is an Architectural Engineer and a certified Real Estate Developer. He is also enrolled in the advanced management in Real Estate Development executive studies at Harvard University.

Dr. Kumar Prasoon

Dr. Kumar Prasoon is an ICT Industry Process Centric seasoned Enterprise Architect, Business Process Management Expert and an Interface Manager with solid approaches towards Integration Technologies, Service Oriented Architecture using external interfaces concerning Systems Integration, Systems Architecture and System Infrastructure support for Mission Critical Applications. He has successfully led cross-functional teams across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Kumar is a prominent International Speaker and was also honored with CIO 100 Awards for outstanding Enterprise-wide Innovations by Computer News Middle East (CNME) in January 2015 and 2016 consecutively and “The Most Innovative Application of BigData: 2015” Customer Festival Awards Middle East Chapter hosted by Terrapinn UK and presented by Infinia.

Being the founder of the Fuzzy Analytics Framework, Kumar is also the global leading Industry Researcher, Scientist and Technology Evangelist for Smart Systems, Smart Retailing, Smart Cities, Smart Parking, Smart Engineering, Smart Instrumentation, Smart Metering and Industry Quantum Mechanics employing Modern Emerging Technologies. He chairs as an advisory board member with numerous national and international consortiums and is also the Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Safeer Group, a leading Retailer in the Middle East Region.

Conchita Mary Fonseca

Conchita Mary Fonseca believes that knowledge and learning is the path to development, growth and true transformation.

Her professional career of over 10 years spans from corporate to academia, making her the ideal Learning and Development artiste if you were to paint a new picture for your organisation’s professional development strategies.

As Program Director of the Global Retail Academy, Conchita has spent time developing and mentoring learning and development professionals, retail operations managers, retail business managers, area managers to high potential retail store managers roles in the UAE, GCC and in the Middle East region.

Her passion is in developing other learning professionals and setting a benchmark in learning processes and practices. Her love for her vocation extends to her personal and social life, where she volunteers her development and speaking prowess towards the uplifting of youth in the UAE.