Board of Directors


Ossama Hassanein

Ossama is an entrepreneur, mentor and venture capitalist. Over the last 35 years, he managed over $1 billion in 14 international technology funds at Berkeley International in San Francisco, Technocom Ventures in Paris, Newbridge Networks Holding in Canada, and Newbury Ventures and the Rising Tide Fund in Silicon Valley. In the 80′s, he spearheaded the mezzanine financing of 80+ IT companies that became notable successes including Oracle, Cirrus Logic, Atmel, PMC-Sierra, Linear Technologies and LSI Logic. In the 90′s, he led or co-founded six successful startups including ACC (acquired by Ericsson), Algety (merged and listed on NASDAQ), HighDeal (acquired by SAP), Highwave Optical (Listed on Euronext), NetCentrex (acquired by Comverse), and nCipher (listed on LSE). He is currently chairman of the boards of BDNA in Mountain View, Echovox in Geneva, Zong in Menlo Park and the Egyptian American Society in Silicon Valley. He served on the Boards of Advisors of Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC San Francisco, and the American University in Cairo (AUC). He is a frequent guest lecturer on international business leadership at AUC, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, UC Berkeley, the University of British Columbia, and the University of San Diego.

Hala Fadel

Hala Fadel

Founder, MIT Enterprise Forum, Pan-Arab Region

Hala is currently a portfolio manager for European Equities at Comgest, a $16bn fund based in Paris and Dublin. She started and now runs the Shariah fund practice within Comgest as well as the SRI (Socially Responsible) Investment practice there. She started her career as a financial analyst for Merrill Lynch in London in mergers and acquisitions. Hala graduated from HEC in France with a Masters in Financial Economics and Berkeley Haas School of Business, and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. While at MIt she participated and won the MIT 50K business plan competition. She started Booleo, a telecom software business. Building on this experience, she started the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, that now receives thousands of applications from more than 20 Arab countries. She chairs the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan-Arab region and is a member of the Global advisory board of the MIT enterprise Forum, as well as a board member of the MIT enterprise Forum of turkey. Hala is also an Angel investor in a few start-up companies in the Middle East.


Habib Lahlouh

Habib is Chairman of the Board, CEO and Co-Founder of Lahlouh, Inc., a full service marketing, printing and fulfillment house. Building on the lessons Habib and his brothers learned from working for their father in Syria, they built Lahlouh, Inc. into one of the largest companies in the Northwest, employing over 300 professionals. At their state-of-the-art facilities, Lahlouh offers turnkey innovative solutions to Fortune 500, from conceptual design through fulfillment and distribution. Clients are the Who’s Who of Silicon Valley including Yahoo!, Stanford University, Google, Genentech/Roche, Intel and Oracle to name but a few. In addition to the full range of marketing services they offer, Lahlouh, Inc. has dived into software development with a proprietary SaaS model for online ordering and fulfillment. Habib is President and Co-Founder of the Syrian American Association of Northern California as well as a Board Member of Kalima Foundation, a non-profit based in Syria that owns both a hospital and a senior center.

Deena Shakir

Deena Shakir

Deena Shakir leads business and partnership development for Google's social impact work, focused on global development and civic innovation. She was previously a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of State, where she served as a Global Partnerships Advisor. Deena was a key architect in the launch, management, and development of The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IDEA) and The Secretary's Global Diaspora Forum. She was also responsible for liaising with the Silicon Valley tech community to apply lessons from design thinking and innovation to the USG’s development and diplomacy efforts. Deena has previously worked with USAID’s Global Development Alliance, The Aspen Institute, World Affairs Council, and Global Philanthropy Forum. She also covered the White House for BBC News and was the Lead Anchor for a bilingual news show on Al Arabiya. Trilingual in Arabic, French, and English, she has worked in the UAE (as a Strategy Consultant for the Prime Minister’s Office and an Analyst at the Dubai School of Government) and France (The French Institute for International Relations). Deena holds a joint BA (cum laude) in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard College and an MA in Arab Studies (honors) from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Of Iraqi origin, Deena is the youngest member to have served on the Board of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association. She is also the youngest member to have served on the board of the Abraham Path Initiative and the Harvard Alumni Association.


Youssri Helmy

Newbury Ventures, General Partner

Youssri brings over 25 years of experience in engineering, product management, marketing, and business development in a wide range of technologies to Newbury Ventures. He is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully cofounded, operated and exited several startups globally. Youssri is an angel investor and advisor to several startup companies. Prior to Newbury, Youssri cofounded and served as Chairman of IdealRatings, a global financial information provider for socially responsible investors. Prior to IdealRatings, Youssri co-founded and served as CEO and Chairman of ITWorx, growing it to become the largest software services provider in the Middle East with 800+ professionals. ITWorx was acquired in 2007 by a private equity consortium. While at ITWorx, Youssri led the acquisition, scaling, and successful exits of and Youssri was also co-founder and CTO of Swan Labs. As the original inventor, Youssri capitalized on the then nascent network optimization segment, leading Swan to acquisition by F5 Networks for $43 million, doubling investors’ money in less than 12 months. Youssri received his B.Sc. in electrical engineering from Cairo University and sits on the Boards of TechWadi and Endeavor Egypt.

Nayla Rizk

Nayla Rizk

Nayla is a Partner and Senior Director at Spencer Stuart, a global leader in executive search. She is a member of the firm's Technology, Communications & Media Practice in North America, the Private Equity Practice and the Business & Professional Services Practice. She is also a leader in the firm's Board Services Practice on the West Coast. Nayla has placed key executives at Fortune 100 through startup companies in the software (both SaaS and on-premise), digital media, communications systems and services, technology systems (including cloud computing), and professional and business services sectors. Before joining the firm in 1995, Nayla served as director of strategic planning and re-engineering at Network Equipment Technologies. She previously served as an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company in New York and began her career as an operations research analyst for Chevron U.S.A. in San Francisco. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; trustee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California; former member of the Pacific Council on International Policy; former board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association; and former board chair of the Harvard Business School Club of Northern California, where she remains a board member.