Arif Zaman

Executive Director, CBW

Arif Zaman is Executive Director, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBW) which was incubated at the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in consultation with the Commonwealth Secretariat while he was Advisor, Corporate Governance, South Asia and Women in Business at CBC. Arif represents CBW on the main governance body on gender for the 53 Commonwealth Governments and on the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group. He is also CEO, Riscaire providing training and advisory services on governance and reputational risk in partnership with leading firms in related areas in the UK, Dubai and Pakistan. He is on the visiting faculty at Henley Business School, University of Reading. The author of the bestselling book on Reputational Risk (Financial Times, 2004 and published in Russian, 2008), still the only international researched based publication of book length on reputational risk from a major business publisher, Arif served in 2012-13 on the Drafting Panel for British Standard BS13500 on Delivering Effective Governance and is working with the Panel on the development of an ISO based on BS13500

Arif is on the Advisory Board, Institutional Capacity Building Initiative of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and devised, developed and delivers the programme on risk and governance pro bono for a range of Muslim community organisations in the UK. He is also on the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Young Leaders Network Taskforce.

Arif was Global Market and Industry Analyst at British Airways (1996-2005) where he won several company awards including for his contribution to BA’s Business Principles and Sustainability Policy and industry awards for his work on logistics, trade and strategy. He previously worked in HSBC’s Corporate Finance division and financial PR for Valin Pollen, a leading consultancy during London’s deregulation of financial markets and privatisations in the late 1980s. Arif was a Visiting Researcher at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Associate Fellow at the Royal Institution of International Affairs (Chatham House) during a sabbatical from BA in 2003-04, the first person of Pakistani-origin to hold such a position. In 2011 he received an award from former Malaysian PM Abdullah Badawi for his ‘excellent contribution in the field of public relations serving world communities.’

Deborah Leary, OBE, FRSA

CEO Forensic Pathways Ltd/Clarity Intel
Twitter @deborahleary

Deborah is CEO of Forensic Pathways (FPL) and ClarityIntel an international company specialising in the development of innovative software and consultancy in criminal/business intelligence markets. Whilst Forensic Pathways is responsible for the development of unique software in these markets, its Consultancy division, ClarityIntel provides support in the area of Due Diligence/Risk, Fraud Investigation and I.P. Management. The Company has a diverse and international client base, including the Police, Government, Banking, Insurance, Financial Services, Law Firms, Retail and Telecommunications industries.  Forensic Pathways has won a number of awards for innovation, including the Orange National Business Awards 2009 and latterly the Digital Forensic Award 2013.

Deborah is an international motivational speaker and consultant on entrepreneurship and innovation, regularly speaking on issues such as entrepreneurship, international trade, optimisation of innovation, IP strategy and financial strategy, personal branding, strategic networking and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Additional roles:

  • President – British Association of Women Entrepreneurs
  • Member of the All Parliamentary Party Group on Enterprise
  • Deputy Director – United Nations UK Global Compact on Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Board of Directors – European Network of Women in Leadership
  • Co-founder & Executive Board Member (Chair) of CommonWealth BusinessWomen’s Network
  • Advisor – Funny Women
  • Marie-Curie Fellow
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts


  • Honorary Doctorate – Birmingham City University/Creation of Deborah Leary Award – English in the Wider World
  • O.B.E. (2008)
  • Voted Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs – Real Business Magazine (2009)
  • FCEM International Woman Entrepreneur of 2007/8
  • European Woman of Achievement 2007
  • British Female Inventor 2005

For fun:

  • Performing Stand-Up Comedy
  • Extreme trekking
  • Helicopter Pilot training

Ms Freda MiriklisMs Freda Miriklis

Co-Chair: Freda Miriklis, CEO Equity Edge

Freda Miriklis is a proven leader in developing effective business coalitions focused on women’s empowerment. Currently Co-Chair of Commonwealth Business Women (CBW) and this follows three years leading the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) as International President, an organisation she has worked with for over 10 years. Prior to this Freda spent 20 years’ in progressively senior investment advisory roles, becoming one of the first female Stock Exchange Automated Trading System (SEATS) Operators. 

A recognised authority on women’s economics empowerment, Freda is an inaugural member of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Leadership Group and has been a Member of the international advisory committee since 2010. She is also a member of the judging panel for the WEPs Leadership Awards.

Kimberley-Jane Turrell

Director of Kimberley-Jane Design Ltd

Executive Board Member Future Faces

Twitter @KJDesignLtd

Kimberley Turrell is no stranger to web design and all things creative. She helps businesses to create their dream brand identity and brings their ideas to life on a regular basis. She holds a strong position within the industry and has the ability to manage both aspects of website development and graphic design. She also has a vast and knowledgeable understanding of how to convert online visitors to customers.

After graduating from Loughborough University with a BA Hons in Printed Textiles Kimberley leapt into the world of design. She started Kimberley-Jane Design Ltd in 2010 and has grown the global award winning business to include past clients like McDonalds, University of Wolverhampton and BBC’s Dragons Den competitor Feisal Adams. That’s just UK based they stretch as far as Australia, Abu Dhabi and New York.

When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends her time helping young and aspiring career minded individuals with support and advice. Kimberley is as an Executive Committee member for Future Faces, part of the Chamber of Commerce, and due to her start-up success is well placed for the focus on growth and development of its entrepreneurial membership.

Kimberley is a regular attendee at networking events and in particular her involvement with British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) has provided some rewarding relationships. BAWE is an exclusive women’s business network designed for women entrepreneurs who are looking to build high growth, globally recognized, sustainable and profitable businesses.

Kimberley currently resides in the creative heart of Birmingham, the Jewellery Quarter. She can be contacted at

lizze bateLizze Bate

Director of Kindred Sole and Business & Professionals

Lizze, 26 years old is founder of Since launching in October 2009, has become internationally recognised for being a destination for online designer shoes for women. In 2013 Lizze was announced as ‘Young Business Executive of the Year’ and ‘Rising Star and Future Leader’. In 2013 Kindred Sole was a ‘Finalist E-Tailer of the Year’ at the ‘Footwear Industry Awards’ and in 2012 was announced as ‘Highly Commended Footwear Brand of the Year’. continues to offer designer shoes from around the world by up and coming designers as well as established brands. eye for detail and ability to identify key trends/designers is unparalleled resulting in offering their customers premium styles. Social media has had a huge impact on the business and in July 2011 Retail Week announced as the 10th most influential UK retail Twitter account.

In 2012 Lizze was appointed as a Director of Business & Professionals Ltd. The company behind, the biggest online business and professionals network to aid solutions matching, collaboration, networking and share business opportunities online. With 10,000 users already using BusinessXchange the brand is set for expansion.

Lizze graduated with a First Class Honors from Fashion Retail Buying at De Montfort University Leicester in 2009. In addition to her business responsibilities, Lizze takes an active role in speaking to students at varying academic institutions. This year Lizze was appointed as a mentor at De Montfort University on their Enterprise Inc Business programme for students. Lizze was invited as one of ten graduate businesses in April 2013 to attend Houses of Parliament ‘Start Up: a story’ event in partnership with University Alliance. The event marked the success of graduate businesses on the economy and set policies to government of how graduate businesses can be supported. Lizze is also a member of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

IMG_0489Mayeesha Jamil

Mayeesha has over five years of experience working with non-profit and intergovernmental organisations and four years of experience working on international development in the academic sphere – focusing on gender, inequality and women’s economic empowerment in the global market.

Working with the Climate Finance and Small States section within the Economic Policy Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mayeesha’s work involved research around Small State’s human development trajectory with an emphasis on gender and education. She was also involved in a research digest focusing on youth entrepreneurship and the challenges faced by business-owners in a Small States context.

Mayeesha was previously working within the Enterprise Development Program at the Cherie Blair Foundation and is an active member of the Gender and Development Network, participating in various working groups including the ‘Economic Justice’ and ‘Post-2015’ groups. Her work has spanned across research and communications in international development and she describes herself as an advocate for feminism and gender equality, especially in the economic sphere.

Mayeesha holds a BA (Hons) degree in Economics and Development Studies and an MSc degree in Globalisation and Development from the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London.

Profile 02Erum Masood

Erum Masood is Adviser, Media and Asia, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network. In her career she has been promoting the new media and marketing strategies to support the South Asian Media on an International platform. Making sure her work is getting multicultural working exposure in the United Kingdom. Her understanding on the growth of the South Asian Media Industry has flourished and this has made for the different communities to share their cultural and traditional values on globally.

She was awarded the Madison’s Who’s Who (New York) 2011 – 2012 for her work in media and marketing. From 2006 to 2013 she was Programming Controller, Prime TV where she was instrumental in turning it into one of the largest Asian channels serving the entire South Asian Diaspora across Europe with a reach of more than 50 countries and 100 million viewers.

She has had the honor of interviewing top politicians in the UK, being a renowned representative of the Media Women Publishers Journalists Organization in Pakistan. She has written more than 700 articles. She has also organised a number of charity events and contributing for the BBC Urdu Services London. She was also placed in the ‘Women on Top’ (2001) in the daily Newspaper “The News” on the Women’s International Day. She has attended workshops on reporting and digital media, while her strength lies in public relations, marketing and media planning. Additionally she is a Member of the Commonwealth Journalists Association – UK Chapter.

Farzana - ProfileFarzana Varachia

CEO, Xanopia Women’s Business Group (South Africa), Regional Partner, Africa and Head of Strategic Partnerships & Sponsorship

Ms Varachia’s drive and commitment to achieve success can be attributed to many moments and experiences in her life, from watching her mother’s strength after losing her farther at a young age, to engaging with influential women made Farzana the determined ambitious entrepreneur she is today.

Her experience ranges from Finance (preparing and interpreting financial reports, budgets and financial statements), Human Resources, Marketing, Business Operations and implementation of new companies. Her strategic experience was showcased when she had to implement new companies into current organizations – understanding the dynamics of a new business and assisting them in the integration with the current company proved to be challenging, but successful.

Her current business projects are widely spread across Financial Consulting, Agriculture and SMME Training and Development for women and children, all of which encompasses her passion to empower.

Farzana’s leadership qualities are honesty, forward-looking, competency, inspirational, intergritious and passionate about humanitarian rights.

She was awarded Entrepreneur of the month in October 2013, when she was the owner of two beauty and wellness companies. She also sat on one of the Boards in the Wellness Industry as a Board Treasurer.

Among other notable achievements include a Financial Management Diploma and New Managers Programme (NMP – NQF level 7). Farzana is also planning to purse a MBA qualification.