I reject stereotypical thinking. Perhaps because I don’t myself fit the mold – as a woman in the male domain of mechanical engineering, as an engineer working among business founders and business leaders, as the first woman in history to occupy Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism position, as a spiritual Moslem fighting for equal rights for all.
You can read a lot about my roles and duties and also my work priorities and my expertise on my homepage and online. Perhaps you would also like to know what makes me tick above and beyond those things. The first thing I would mention would be my intercultural background. I was born in Tunisia, studied in Germany, obtained my doctorate in Great Britain and have worked in Austria, the USA and South Africa. The fact that I have lived in and had a plethora of experiences in a variety of cultures has shaped me. It has taught me flexibility and has meant that I needed both to learn to let go of my black-and-white way of thinking, as well as to understand that there are many ways of reaching your goal. Above and beyond that, I love my family, yoga, mindfulness and dancing. I am moved by beauty in any form such as architecture, nature, poems … And I love having deep conversations.
When I look back on what I have experienced to date, the highs and the lows, I can say in summary that I am much more vulnerable than I thought, but also much stronger and resilient than I thought.
Important career and academic stages:
CEO, The Education Outcomes Fund in London
My role as CEO is to raise $1 billion in a blended fund of impact investing, aid and philanthropic funds, to support governments in the outcomes of educational investments. Our team brings together world leaders in the corporate sector, education, impact investing, innovative finance and government institutions.
May 2015 – October 2017
Secretary General, Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF Think Tank) in Geneva and Tunis
Appointed as Secretary General to develop MEF into a think and do tank committed to renewing the region’s politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age with the vision to generate big ideas, bridge the gap between technology and policy, and curate broad public conversation as well as building a new generation of responsible leaders. Overseeing effort to build a strong and sustainable institution in a difficult and often hostile environment.
- Appointed to the Audit and chaired NRC committee.
- Secured funding for all programmatic areas: employment, education, leadership and gender equality anchoring all action in the 2030 UN SDGs.
- Secured long term partnerships with government agencies (German foreign office, IDRC …) and leading foundations such as the BMW foundation & the Bosch Foundation among others.
- Within the first year of transformation, MEF has been recognized by leading figures as a non-partisan platform convening and connecting leaders from public, private, civil society, academia and media sectors and thus creating a new type of cross-sectoral dialogue and impact.
- Moved into a non-executive director role as per November 2017 after a successful onboarding of a new executive director as per the original agreement with the board.
January 2014 – February 2015
Minister of Tourism for transitional Tunisian government in Tunis
Appointed as minister to lead the establishment of the first democratic society in Arab nation; increase electoral process transparency; begin economic reform and improve safety and security, as member of 20 senior leader Cabinet. Instrumental in development of both senior government and tourism leadership teams challenged to spearhead transformation. Oversaw efforts of 1.5K direct reports. Served as one of the transitional government’s primary international relations and media spokespersons. Increased tourism revenues by 11% (dinar) and 6.4% (€) from four of the main European markets; assembled government and industry task force; led development and commencement of a three-digit M€ seven-year strategy to increase service, quality, diversification, operational restructuring, branding and awareness initiatives.
- Successfully realized attainment of safe, credible election process and transfer of government to new regime.
- Provided 13 hours of testimony that resulted in securing vote to allow visitors of all religions and nations.
- Created and deployed effective pioneering digital media publicity and marketing campaign for government on very limited budget; recognized by World Tourism Market as creative; shared globally as a success.
July 2007 – January 2014
Founder and CEO, Change, Leadership & Partners in London, Cologne and Tunis
- Founded and operated global executive leadership, coaching and change management consultancy firm.
- Acquired and retained key clients from DAX300, Fortune 500 and private organizations. Built and led project teams through goal setting; coached and supervised performance. Simultaneously provided corporate education as a visiting professor at several leading business universities.
- Led from start-up to profitable, seven-digit revenue-generating enterprise with more than 200 internal/external consultants.
- Facilitated resolution or execution of restructuring, new strategy introductions, global challenges; design, implementation and evaluation of interventions during and post-major transformations for industry-leading organizations such as Deutsche Telekom, Daimler, Roche, DuPont, Lufthansa, SAP, Villeroy & Boch and Doctors without Borders.
- Educated leaders and consultants on the field of international leadership, communities of practice, change management and strategy implementation. Designed and delivered programs for organizations such as Bosch, Ergo, Plansee, Stryker, OMV, KWS, Microsoft, UNHCR and World Food Program.
- Conducted workshops throughout six continents—Europe, North & South America, Middle East/Asia, Australia, and Africa.
June 2006 – January 2014
Visiting Professor, Orchestrator & Executive Coach, Duke Corporate Education in the UK, USA, India and South Africa
- Collaborated with CEOs and top leaders around the world by offering new insights to problems; using innovative, engaging learning methods.
- Equipped leaders to raise their games and have increased impact on their organizations’ performance.
- Contributed to achievement and retention of #1 rank in the world in Custom Executive Education for 11 consecutive years by Financial Times and BusinessWeek, 2003–2013.
August 2002 – June 2007
Managing Partner, Consultant, Beratungsgruppe Neuwaldegg GmbH in Vienna
- Commenced as a consultant; ultimately became one of nine managing partners of think tank dedicated to technological, sociological and systemic change through organizational and leadership development. Established and maintained key account relationships across Europe with mid-large sized companies. Project-managed change management initiatives. Held rotational, cross-functional, back-office line management responsibilities for the group.
- Acquired and managed two largest strategy implementation and change projects/clients in the history of the group.
- Generated among highest revenues in the group; as one of 100+ full-time employees and external consultants.
October 2001 – March 2002
Strategy Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group, in Düsseldorf and Cologne
- Provided analysis, ideation and implementation support for service innovations undertaken by German-American industry client.
- Analyzed industry trends and completed competitive benchmark study to increase the profitability of an insurance company.
January 2000 – September 2001
Manager Knowledge Transfer, Daimler AG in Stuttgart, South Africa and USA
- Enhanced knowledge transfer and best practices sharing between Daimler and Chrysler executives through four direct reports and 40 indirect reports.
- Enabled analysis and definition of core business areas—research and development, mergers & acquisitions, purchasing, etc. and linked them with corporation’s strategic needs.
- Built relationships with executives from both organizations and brought them together in networking, learning and working sessions.
- Fostered and increased community of knowledge management agents throughout the organization; facilitated and led community.
- Became an invaluable sparring partner for business unit heads and advisor on how to elevate knowledge transfer and learning within their units and from other global units.
January 1998 – January 2000
Project Leader Innovation Management, Mercedes Benz global procurement and supply, Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany
- Led development of the new partnership between Mercedes Benz and suppliers to improve collaboration and co-creation amongst resistance, fear and doubts.
- Orchestrated cross-organizational teams to identify five, major emerging trends in the automobile industry; create new ideas to meet consumer demands and needs; then collectively developed and patented intellectual property for five auto industry technological advances.
November 1996 – December 1997
International Management Associate Program, Daimler AG in Stuttgart, South Africa and USA
- As a junior consultant in a training program; worked independently with five business leaders to support goal achievement. One of ~80 trainees accepted into prestigious program from >18K applicants.
- Undertook a wide variety of projects and learned from broad range of experiences on multiple continents, including the organization of a supplier event for the launch of M-Class in USA and testing of an engine in Germany.
- Resolved a logistics and communication issue in South Africa; realized $7M return on $15K investment.
- Earned five job offers following the training program by developing strong relationships with decision-makers and gaining reputation as a valuable contributor.
Current Board Memberships
Advisory Board Member at the Global AI Index
The first index to benchmark nations on their level of investment, innovation and implementation of artificial intelligence.
Tech Panel Member at the Global Tech Panel
Launched by the European Commission, the Global Tech Panel brings together leaders from the tech industry, the world of investment, and civil society to foster new types of cooperation between diplomacy and technology.
Commissioner at The Education Commission
The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity is a major global initiative engaging world leaders, policy makers and researchers to develop a renewed and compelling investment case and financing pathway for achieving equal educational opportunity for children and young people.
September 2015 – December 2019
Member of Advisory Board at Change, Leadership & Partners (CLP)
April 2016 – April 2019
Member of Advisory Board at Global Business Coalition for Education (GBCE)
October 2015 – June 2018
Member of Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne
Member of the Global Diplomacy Lab
Member of the “responsible leader cadre” at the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt
Visiting professor at Duke Corporate Education, ZFU International Business School, University Frankfurt, MCI
2000 – 2001
University of Southern California, Virtual Networks Research Project
September 2011 – February 2015
Doctorate (DCM) in coaching and mentoring at University of Oxford Brookes, UK
September 2001 – October 2006
Coaching education at the Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, USA; Education as systemic consultant and coach at the IFW Institute, Munich; Education as trainer for organization simulation Celemi, “the power of learning”, Sweden
October 1992 – October 1996
Master’s degree Mechanical Engineering at University of Karlsruhe Summa cum laude, award as best in class, Scholarship for intellectually gifted students (DAAD and Tunisian Government)
October 1991 – July 1992
PNDS Intensive German language course, University of Heidelberg, DAAD scholarship
Here you can download my profile as PDF in English.