The Women in Family Business Committee Members are the key ambassadors of the project. In collaboration with the Advisory Committee they support the team in developing the right strategy and help to find ways to address the challenges facing women in family businesses.

The Family Business Committee

Patricia Ghany, Trinidad and Tobago

Patricia Ghany is the Chief Financial Officer at Esau Oilfield Supplies Co. Ltd., a leading supplier of pipes, valves, pipe fittings and gaskets to the petrochemical and oil and gas sectors in Trinidad & Tobago. Ms. Ghany has over 20 years’ experience in various aspects of the Oil & Gas sector with an emphasis on Procurement, Business Development and Project Management. Ms. Ghany graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology and her Masters of Business Administration. She has also completed graduate courses in International Management and Cross-cultural Counseling at Harvard University. Before returning to Trinidad in 1995, she was an International Trainer and Consultant in the areas of Cross-Cultural Management, Diversity and Team Building in Austria and Germany. Ms. Ghany was recently awarded the Family Firm Institute GEN Certificate in Family Business Advising, and is currently working on establishing a practice to increase public awareness and broaden the understanding of trends and developments in the fields of family business and family wealth in Trinidad & Tobago. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad & Tobago and continues to be actively involved in the Programs and Events committee for the past 19 years. Additionally, she has served on several boards in the education and nonprofit sectors.

Veronica Maldonado, Venezuela and US 

Verónica Maldonado is the Executive Director of the GEM (Grupo Economico Maldonado) Family Office since 2002 and the president of the foundation, La Compañia Humana, which supports education and environmental awareness. The Maldonado Group is a Venezuelan family business active in various industries and investments globally. Prior to her current position, Veronica worked in the development of international business ventures in Phoenix Home Life Insurance Company (1997-2001). She was based in Hartford, Connecticut and in New York City, New York. Her main responsibility was the establishment and opening of an asset management company in Tokyo, Japan. Prior to joining Phoenix, Veronica worked in the International Insurance and Finance department of The Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company in Tokyo. Veronica graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, United States. She has completed the Family Business Program of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IESA) in Caracas. She is on advisory boards and has been a speaker in family business matters in the 16 , 18, 19 ,21, 22 and 24th summits of the Family Business Network, JP Morgan Next Generation program, the YPO Latin America Family Business Seminar and YPO Venezuela, Campden Conferences, The Women’s Forum, and is co-chairman of NMS Management’s Family Office Forum in Palm Beach, Florida. She has also given guest lectures in Cornell University and in the EAE business school in Barcelona, Spain. She has written articles, completed various family business management programs and has extensive experience in corporate structures in US, Japan and Venezuela. Veronica is fluent in English, Spanish and Japanese.

Priyanka Gupta, India

Executive Director at MPIL Steel Structures Ltd- oversees financial planning and business development at MPIL. Since Ms. Gupta’s joining MPIL’s management team in 2007, the company has seen an exponential growth in its annual sales and production capacity.  She has also set up groups such as MPIL Circle of Trust and MPIL & The Arts to explore ways to invest in human capital and public art. She has previously worked with financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Fund for the City of New York. She holds a Bachelor’s in Economics from Connecticut College, a degree in Development Economics from Oxford University and a Masters in International Finance from New York University. Ms. Gupta is a nationally acclaimed entrepreneur of India who has been honored by business magazines, prestigious awards and the media. In 2012, Economic Times Now (ET Now) named Ms. Gupta Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Ms. Gupta is an avid reader and has lectured at some of India’s leading educational institutes. Her book titled Reclaiming Family Businesses is scheduled to release in December 2014. This book about the landscape of family businesses in India is an attempt to unleash the social capital of small- and-medium sized family enterprises and explore their potential for community transformation. Ms. Gupta is the Curator of the Mumbai Hub of the Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum.

Dania Besher, Yemen and Egypt

Dania Besher is an Architect by profession, and after finishing her higher education in Germany she has been working in Cairo/Egypt in her field as a freelancer since the end of 1998. Projects include both residential and commercial developments, as well as various renovation projects. In addition she has started leading the governance process of the family in her family business in 2010. Her Family Business originated in Yemen and is very diversified in various industries and investments, mainly in the region of the Arab World. Dania is a 3rd generation member of this large Family Business. Since she has started the governance process of her family, she has helped establish the Family Council in October 2010, of which she is also a member. She has started introducing a Family Office at the beginning of 2012 and is part of the Education Committee. Dania has also led and managed the process of formulating a Family Constitution with a group of other 3rd generation members and her uncles, which has been signed in June 2012. She has been a speaker at the Owner’s Forum in Jordan; at the Continuum conference in London/UK, Tharawat Family Business Forum; in October 2012 she was a speaker at the FFI conference in Brussels/Belgium; at the NMS Family Office Forum in Palm Beach; and in 2013 she spoke about the ongoing Governance process for her family in a workshop at the FBN Next Gen summit in New York. Dania is fluent in German, English, Arabic, French and  Spanish.

The Advisory Committee

Prof. Pramodita Sharma, USA

Dr. Pramodita Sharma is the Sanders Chair & Professor for Family Business at the School of Business Administration, University of Vermont. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany. A visiting scholar at Babson College, she is the Board Chair & Academic Director of the Global Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project. See more about Dr. Pramodita Sharma

Dr. Claudia Binz Astrachan, Switzerland 

Dr. Claudia Binz Astrachan is a lecturer and researcher at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Switzerland), and a Senior Research Fellow at the Witten Institute for Family Business at Witten/Herdecke University (Germany). She is the chair of the Strategic Interest Group “Family Business Research” at the European Academy of Management (EURAM), and manages the doctoral and faculty development consortia at the annual conference of the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA). Her research interests include management of the entrepreneurial family, the role of women in the family business, organizational identity and values in family firms, and family business branding and reputation.

 Dr. Rania Labaki, France

Dr. Rania Labaki is Associate Professor at the University of Bordeaux where she teaches and conducts research at the intersection of the fields of finance and family business. Her main interests revolve around the role of family emotions in financial decision-making. Being ultimately passionate about family businesses, Rania developed a unique mix of academic and practical knowledge throughout extensive experience with leading international organizations specialized in family business education, networking, advising, and research. She is a recipient of several international awards in recognition of her contributions to the family business field. See More about Dr. Rania Labaki.

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