Masala Awards 2015
Sarah Belhasa
Vice Chairman, Saif Belhasa Group
No stranger to awards and recognition, Sarah Belhasa is equal parts fashion maven, businesswoman and trendsetter. Her list of accolades read impressively: She won both 'The Face Of The Year' and 'The Boutique Of The Year' in 2010 at the Masala! Awards (for the multi-brand store Studio 8 - her trendsetting fashion hub), was named the 'Emirates Woman Of The Year' in the artists category in 2009 and the 'Businesswoman Of The Year' by Arabian Business magazine in December 2009. Not content to merely rest on her impressive accomplishments, the overachieving lady has also been the brains behind the Dubai Fashion Week awards and was one of the jury members for the FiFi awards in 2010. A staple on the creme de la creme circuit of the UAE, Sarah's impeccable style is lauded in the region and beyond. She brings her discerning taste and class to our esteemed panel of judges this year.
Khurshid Vakil
Co-Founder, Marina Home Interiors
Khurshid Vakil is co-founder of the hugely successful Marina Home Interiors retail chain. The avant-garde lifestyle and home decor company is headquartered in Dubai and operates its large format stores across most Middle East markets, North Africa and India. Stylish, cosmopolitan and unique in its concept with strong emphasis on high quality, Marina Home is a desired name of repute in the markets it operates in and offers a strong aspirational value. Born in India and having lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain and Dubai, Khurshid Vakil understands cross cultural influences very well and can be vividly seen coexisting in his company's corporate culture and in the design harmony of its product mix that the sprawling Marina Home showrooms feature. Khurshid remains at the fore front of Marina Home's acquisition, expansion and brand building strategy and its vision to take the brand forward globally through company-owned operations as well as its continued franchise roll out plan. As its co-owner and brand ambassador,Khurshid ensures Marina Home's philosophy is clearly visible in its environment, thus bringing in continued year-on-year growth and global accolades for the organisation. A member of several international business forums,Khurshid Vakil is a thought leader who is regularly seen as a speaker at international business events and conventions.
Advet Bhambhani
Chairman, Advet Bhambhani Ventures
As the founder and chairman of Advet Bhambhani Ventures (ABV), which includes investments and businesses in healthcare (Lifeline), hospitality (Delish), real estate (Conjure) and entertainment (Constellation), Advet Bhambhani is a man whose pioneering creativity seldom allows him to rest. His plans for growing his ventures' portfolio are ever-evolving and become more ambitious as they are strategically revealed every year. At a relatively young age, Advet Bhambhani has earned a reputation as an astute businessman who has achieved immense success and accolades for being a visionary leader who firmly puts ethics and principles before profit. A graduate of Purdue University, Advet is a highly qualified professional in engineering, business administration and hospital management. His utmost passion is to create sustainable businesses that enhance the lives of those who work in them daily and the clients whom the businesses cater to. It is, therefore, not a surprise that under his leadership, ABV has grown from being a US$ 8 million company in 2002 with 24 employees to an over US$ 300 million company with 1000+ employees in 2015.
Ayesha Depala
Fashion Designer
Where fashion, Bollywood and style are concerned, Ayesha Depala is the go-to girl. Celebrated by Vogue India, Grazia Middle East, Tatler and Harper's Bazaar Arabia as one of the leading designers to emerge from the Middle East and India, Ayesha has received several accolades for her craft. Working extensively in Bollywood, Ayesha Depala has been worn by the likes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit and Kareena Kapoor Khan, among scores of other glamorous women in the world. An icon of style and grace, Ayesha has collaborated with both Lacoste and Kiehl's to design her own custom products and labels, and has served as a brand ambassador for Mont Blanc Jewellery.
Shabana Karim
Founder and Owner, House of ENSPA
When Shabana Karim set up Nail Spa, the region's first spa solely for hands and feet, little did she know that she would become a pioneer of sorts. Hailing from a family of businessmen and entrepreneurs, Shabana was quick to notice a void in the market and very adeptly found her niche when she opened the first Nail Spa in 2002. With the motto of 'perfection at your fingertips', the multiple award-winning House of Enspa, which Shabana founded, now operates 13 spas and salons in Dubai. Born in India and raised in Pakistan,Shabana acquired her masters degree from the University of Edinburgh. In 2010, she was recognised by Dubai Quality Group as Business Woman of the Year. After 13 years of leading the company, Shabana says that her greatest achievements are her three children. Balancing family life and business, Shabana Karim's dream is to aspire for organic growth without compromising on quality and the highest standards of service.
Vipen Sethi
CEO, Landmark Group
Vipen Sethi heads the corporate function of the Landmark Group. Upon completion of his bachelor's degree in commerce, Vipen proceeded to continue his education in chartered accountancy in India. He began his career training with Sharp and Tannan Chartered Accountants, which gave access to numerous large businesses and enabled him to take on management experience while still in his early twenties. After his three-year stint with them, Vipen joined as a management trainee with Steelage Industries Ltd., a physical security equipment manufacturing company in India. In 1990, Vipen embarked on his first Gulf voyage to join the Landmark Group in Bahrain overlooking all aspects of the territory business. He moved to the Dubai office six years thereafter in 1996 as Director, International Operations, spearheading the Group's entry into new markets, businesses and operations. It was at this time that the Group decided to enter a new market, India, and in 1998 opened 'Lifestyle', a highly successful chain of department stores. Vipen moved on to become the Group Director, Finance, in 2002 and following this string of high-level appointments, today, in his role as the CEO of the corporate office, he is involved in driving all corporate activities across the various markets where Landmark Group has a presence. This requires him to work closely with finance, administration, logistics and IT, and he spends a sizeable percentage of his time overlooking the various businesses of the Landmark Group and recommending various strategies to support growth. This multi-faceted role also begs his large involvement in the development of new business opportunities, HR and marketing initiatives. Vipen spearheads the financial integrity of the organisation. Financial management, strategic planning and budgeting, cash flow management and capital investment are just a few of the areas that require Vipen's refinement to ensure accurate implementation of the overall financial infrastructure and processes to support the gigantic organisation. Vipen is known for his credibility, commitment and passion at work. A people's man and an avid golfer with a handicap 5, Vipen never misses an opportunity to take time to tee off. He believes that "a little competitive spirit is always good for the soul". Vipen Sethi is also a board member at the Landmark Group.
Dhiraj Saluja
Managing Director, SEL
Dhiraj Saluja is truly a connoisseur of all things luxurious! When he isn't adding to his already impressive collection of royal luxury cars or travelling the world with his family, this automobile engineer is busy running his $950 million empire with equal fervour and gusto. As the managing director of SEL Group of Companies, he decided to take his passion for cars a step further and launched SEL Car Rental and SEL Limousine. Guided by his clear vision and strategic knowledge, Dhiraj, who was also the winner of Best Entrepreneur of 2014 (Male) at the Masala! Awards, has spearheaded the company's growth, making business performance and customer satisfaction the cornerstones of his business strategy. Recently venturing into the F&B sector, the company has introduced unique stylish dining concepts like Tribeca (JBR) and GQ Bar Dubai.

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