Meet UAE's inspiring women- visionary, creative, brimming with ideas and tenacious enough to implement them and turn them into success stories.
It is often seen that finesse goes missing when one tries to juggle with several career options, but Ursula Manvatkar makes sure she excels in whatever she does. Managing Director of Medulla Productions, a perfectionist, Ursula by dint of sheer hard work and a creative vision has proven her mettle as a Management & CSR Consultant, Casting Director, Actor, Producer and now a director.
Ursula, a qualified Chartered Marketer, with a rich experience in Marketing & PR, worked with various multinational companies before she founded Medulla in the year 2013 to focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. The company has now diversified into Film Production and Casting. Giving up a flourishing corporate career to follow what she is passionate about, Ursula has definitely come a long way.
Ursula entered the field of marketing in 2006. She made her foray into CSR accidentally in 2008 when she spearheaded an animal rescue project for over 1500 abandoned pets. Within couple of years, she went on to another project of providing hot food handouts in Labour camps on behalf of companies in Ramadan. The success of these initiatives made Ursula realize that this was her calling and she finally bid adieu to her corporate career in 2012.
Having nurtured her secret dream to be associated with the entertainment industry, Ursula’s wish came true while she was volunteering for the Gulf Intenational Film Festival in 2009 where she networked her way into the UAE film making circle.
Eventually, she came in contact with a line producer and was introduced into the field of casting by being part of Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’. She then worked in Bollywood projects such as ‘Airlift’ and ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’. She has also been part of several commercials and short films as well in various capacities. Ursula intends to showcase socially relevant themes and other interesting ideas in her films. She wants to use her creativity and intellect to evolve into a mature filmmaker someday.
Her films are ‘The Final Straw’, ‘The Kick’, ‘Let it Go’, ‘Chappal’, ‘Shadow Island’, ‘The Janitors’, ‘Emporeradas’ and ‘The Evidence’. Her latest film ‘The Last Chance’ is her debut as a director and will be released on Digiplex OTT platform soon. All these films have won several awards and official selections in film festivals across the world. Her future short films are ‘Gustaakhi’, ‘The Switch’, and ‘The Complete Woman’. She is also working on a sci-fi series called ‘La Rouge’ and an upcoming Marathi feature film called ‘Pichchkari’.
Mimi Nicklin created global waves in the business world after releasing her book, ‘Softening the Edge’ which describes how we all need more empathy and how business leaders can balance humanism and capitalism.
Now the creative entrepreneur, keynote speaker, podcast host and leading empathy advocate is set to cause a paradigm shift in global business thinking with the launch of the world’s first organisational empathy platform, Empathy Everywhere, which manifests her authentic passion to drive better business via deeper understanding of the science and art of empathy, communication and human understanding.
Mimi wants to inspire more business leaders to employ emotional intelligence and understanding in the workplace – and in every aspect of life. She calls this approach ‘Regenerative Leadership.’
The empathy specialist says, “There’s been a 48% decline in empathy over the last three decades, and we are now seeing an empathy deficit all over the world. My vision is to offer training, education and organisational solutions that offer brands and businesses a process to create more inclusive wellness, connected culture, workplace performance, creativity and marketing effectiveness.”
“I believe, based on more than 15 years of experience, that empathetic influence is our most critical human and scientifically validated skillset. The ability to connect authentically as people, has the power to not only change our business performance, but to change the shape of our world.”
Backing her theories with a series of lectures, podcasts and her book, Mimi’s mission is to help create more sustainable and inclusive wellness in the workforce, encourage deeper understanding in the workplace, and to define the future of effective leadership.
Driven by the pursuit of bringing conscientiousness to the role and impact of Regenerative Leadership, with a desire to make the world of work a more empathetic, valuable and sustainably healthy place to be, ‘Softening the Edge’ is her debut book.
This book delivers a strong message of how we will must harness empathy to influence and genuinely connect with people on a deeper level. She aims to reverse 30 years of declining global empathy levels and to fill the gaps plaguing our workplaces, teams and marketing.
As with the Empathy Everywhere online platform, ‘Softening the Edge’ explores a more effective, more human way to do business. The book speaks to a cross generational group of managers and leaders who are looking for ways to work and lead that don’t go against their personal values.
“Post-pandemic, I believe we are all keen to look into better ways of working. Our new reality, as we return to the office, demands for more conscientious thinking and a far more balanced relationship between the members of an organisation. It isn’t just the planet and our societies that need regenerative thinking today, we also need regenerative relationships in our teams if we are to inspire our teams to truly thrive. Empathy Everywhere, and my book, offer an answer to formalising this critical shift to understanding driven organisations and business growth” says the change advocate.
Purva Grover is a best-selling author, international journalist & editor, TEDx Speaker, award-winning playwright & stage director, published poetess, spoken word artist, and creative entrepreneur. Backed by a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature, she is the founder-editor of The Indian Trumpet, a quarterly digital magazine for Indian expats and works as the assistant editor with a UAE national daily, and editor, for a magazine for young adults.
She made her debut as an author with book ‘The Trees Told Me So in 2017. Her second title ‘It was the year 2020 in February, 2021 was instantly recognised for its profound pandemic prose. Her third title, She (August 2021, Ukiyoto) is currently making waves for its honest, relatable and fun approach on the topic of womanhood.
Purva has been granted the UAE Golden Visa for ten years in June this year under the category: Class of Creators from the People of Culture and Art as a writer. In the capacity of director-founder of the Dubai Written Words Society, she conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE.
In 2020, she wrote and directed a play for Short + Sweet Theatre Sharjah, the largest festival of 10-minute plays in the world, and won the Best Writer and Overall production Award. In April 2017, she was selected as one of the five local writers in the UAE to write and direct a theatrical production for a show called Queens of Drama, which focused on women-centric themes. In August 2017, she won the best director & playwright award at Short & Sweet Kolkata (India). In Dubai, in 2016, she had won the Judges’ Choice Award as part of the same festival. Her writings and productions have been recognised for the bold content and unique directorial approach.
She is addicted to the idea of penning down tales to discover her favourite word. Her current favourite word is Meraki (Greek) – ‘To do something with soul, creativity or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work’.
From a very young age, Fatema has been passionate about all things fashion and beauty!
After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Business Management and an MBA, Fatema decided to combine her love of style & selfcare with her flair for entrepreneurship.
She opened her first beauty salon, Blonde Luxury Beauty in 2011 and committed to offer women in the community a haven of tranquility & relaxation. A place where they could enjoy all of the latest treatments in body, nail, skin and haircare in a luxurious yet modern setting.
Fatema always has her finger on the beauty industry’s pulse and keeps up to date with the latest innovations in treatments, products and equipment. Priding herself in delivering result-driven services and a unique experience to all of her customers, Fatema’s main mission is to support women in feeling beautiful inside and out, confident and empowered.
She was always and still is very much inspired by women’s beauty. The name “Blonde” comes from the golden, glowing aura that surrounds women of all walks of life.
Fatema created a range of treatments that suits wide range of clients. mani-pedi or blow-out for the busy ladies, to relaxing spa-like experiences for those in need of a little pampering, and organic skincare treatments for the more environmentally-conscious ones, Blonde Luxury Beauty was created with women’s overall wellbeing in mind. All treatments are delivered using the highest quality products to ensure best results are achieved.
Building on the success of Blonde Luxury Beauty’s first branch, Fatema and her team recently opened their 2nd salon in Khalifa City, bringing their glamourous concept to this new, up & coming area of Abu Dhabi. She will continue to work hard on establishing Blonde Luxury Beauty as a trusted destination of wellness.
Moving forward, Fatema hopes to expend her own range of carefully crafted perfumes and, soon, her own fashion collection.
Hanan is an experienced and certified positive discipline educator for both parents and teachers. A parent herself, Hanan is based in Dubai and has been teaching and educating for over eleven years in four different countries. She holds a master’s degree in Education and is currently working on her second in Psychology from the prestigious Harvard Extension School.
A positive discipline educator for parents and children, Hanan launched her hugely popular online platform, The Family Hub, designed to educate, support and inspire parents to raise well-balanced children who are a positive addition to society.
Hanan is also a lead examiner for IBDP Economics where she leads and trains teachers on examining the IB exams and methods of learning and teaching. She also leads workshops and talks supporting parents and teachers on a variety of topics such as bullying, dealing with change, managing screen time, communication, special needs in children, raising third culture kids, managing a child’s self-confidence, anger management, sex education, raising responsible children and more.
Hanan is hugely passionate and loves what she does. Whether educating parents or children, she finds it thoroughly inspirational, humbling and uplifting to be able to support others with the experience and education she has gained on her journey so far.