Catalyzer Team


Ira Kaufman, PhD

Ira’s 40 years of management experience spans three worlds: business, nonprofit and education. Earning his PhD in Marketing and MA in Sociology under the mentorship of Dr. Philip Kotler at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Ira worked with Dr. Kotler to advance early initiatives in social marketing.

Visiting 40+ countries, Ira developed a cultural sensitivity integrating values and sustainability into workshops on purposeful leadership, marketing strategy and digital transformation in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

He taught digital marketing at the senior executive programs at Kellogg and Virginia Tech and Lynchburg College School of Business and Economics. As a digital strategist, he guides companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals with their innovation, social branding, integrated digital marketing and transformation strategies.

He has a deep commitment to working with Legacy International’s Emerging Leaders Network to develop their skill sets as transformative agents for a sustainable future.

J. E. Rash

President and Founder of Legacy International, Mr. Rash’s career includes studies in law, cross-cultural communication, and comparative religion; work in advertising and media; and the design of training programs and curricula for educators, parents, and youths.

He has traveled extensively throughout the US and to Greece, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, and Turkey to lecture on education, conflict prevention and resolution, dialogue, democracy and civic education, and inter-religious understanding. He specializes in working with teams to integrate their core values into the organization’s culture and outreach strategies and projects.

For 35 years Legacy’s staff and associated trainers working in Teams of Excellence™ have designed programs that are culturally sensitive and practical, with an evidenced based approach toward improving lives. Legacy’s customized training programs increase the potential for success while helping to build capacity of local communities.

Kristina Nyzell

Kristina is a global strategist, Impact investor, futuristic idealist, cognitive and computational linguist, creative venturist, purposeful innovation and serious play specialist with a passion for co-creating transformational and sustainable change in purposes, people and organisations.

She is an experienced dialogue partner, public speaker and facilitator that works with clients to build strategies for sustainable communities including democratic innovation systems, open source-, lead user innovation and co-creation. 

She is Principal at Sevenbridge, a Swiss consulting firm offering strategic advice on how to position and scale businesses and projects with positive effects on society and the environment; Founder and CEO at Disruptive Play and former Global Marketing Manager, LEGO CLUB

Aissa Azzouzi

Aissa Azzouzi has held senior roles over the past 30 years as CFO/COO with publicly listed companies in the IT and Professional Services sectors, as well as senior-level strategic & financial consulting roles with two major Consulting firms he has extensive international experience in Europe, North America, North Africa and Asia.

Aissa is a Chartered Accountant and holds MBAs from INSEAD & EMLYON Business School, an MSc in Decision & Control from Paris Dauphine and a Master in Law from Université  Lyon 3. He is fluent in French, German & English, and is conversational in Arabic.

Snjezana Slabek

Snjezana graduated Computer Science and got a Master Degree in using digital technologies in business. She is also a certified international trainer in the field of project and knowledge management and holds an international NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) certificate.

She is author and instructional designer of many game-based learning and e-learning projects with proven ability to develop corporate training programs which target business objectives by increasing engagement and competencies of employees.

Snjezana is TEDx presenter and guest at conferences and events as a speaker or panelist on knowledge management, digital learning, gamification, lifelong learning.

In 2016 she was awarded for women leadership and excellence by national award „Future leaders“. Two times (2014, 2016) she won national human resources reward “Best HR Practice” for projects in the fields of knowledge and innovation management.

For her achievements in the area of digital and social learningin 2016 she was among top ten “Movers and Shakers” list for Europe, selected by Training Press Releases (UK). In 2017 Snjezana has been named on “Platinum section” on World’s annual “Movers and Shakers” list, among 100 the most influential people in digital learning, selected by

Stephen L. Gomes, PhD

Dr. Stephen L. Gomes, has become one of the leading experts in the U.S. in all forms of strategic inter-organizational cooperation and collaboration. Steve specializes exclusively in creating, implementing, and revitalizing joint ventures and strategic alliances and working with early-stage start-up companies and non-profits.

He has focused both on applied business strategy as well as teaching the principles of international business strategy and alliances at universities all over the world. In 2008, after a several year-long sabbatical, Dr. Gomes returned to a very active business practice.

At last count, he has lived, worked and taught in over 78 countries to date.

Muhamad Catic

Muhamed Catic received his BS from University of Sarajevo in Theoretical Mathematics/Physics and MSc from the University of Zagreb in Information Technology. He is an alumnus of the Stanford GBS.

He is Board Member of FISB-Malaysia, Senior/Strategic Advisor in IFFCO-UAE, MBDC-USA, C2C Products Innovation Institute-USA, Global Footprint Network-USA. He is a strategic advisor for Middle East and Central Asia on geo-political issues and regional development projects for Global Communicators, Inc – USA.

He is a former member of the Advisory Council of Shaikh Mohammed Technology Park in Dubai, and a former member of the Executive Committee of EAN-international (Int’l Article Numbering Association). His expertise is in international business development, innovation and technology management, and international public relations. He has been living in United Arab Emirates for over 25 years.

Adil Kassabi, PhD

Adil Kassabi is the founding partner of Tadafur Consulting, a leading consulting firm spanning the MENA region and Europe.

With 21 years of international experience in digital Transformation of private and public sectors, he advised and trained leading numerous government authorities and leading companies in Europe, the middle east and Africa.

Mr. Kassabi is conducting regularly research on digital transformation of the public and private sector with more focus on strategic management, change management, service transformation and digital leadership.


Saleema Vellani

Saleema Vellani is an award-winning innovation strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and the author of the forthcoming book, Innovation Starts With ‘I’. At the age of 21, Saleema launched Brazil’s largest and #1 language school to finance an orphanage and social development programs. Shortly after, she co-founded and ran a leading online translation agency to help companies of all sizes expand their digital presence globally, which was acquired in 2012. For over 12 years, Saleema has led technology companies, startups, economic development organizations, and international finance institutions to the next stage of growth and innovation. 

Currently, Saleema is the Co-Founder of Innovazing, a strategy consulting firm that helps organizations develop business growth and innovation strategies centered in design thinking and agile processes. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University and an advisor to several startups and mission-driven organizations.

Saleema holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development from McGill University and a Master’s degree in International Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian and has lived in Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Italy, and the USA. Born and raised in Canada, she is proud of her multicultural upbringing as a Toronto native with East African and Indian roots.

Osama Al Saleh

As a graduate of The George Washington University School of Business concentrating in International Business, with a minor in Sustainability, I had the privilege of engaging across the globe in emerging markets including China, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. My diverse background has contributed to a globally-focused business mindset.

I have enjoyed developing my professional and personal skills through actively participating in youth engagement with multilateral institutions at the United Nations, direct involvement with Forbes 30 Under 30, Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity, Student Sustainability Committee (Co-Chair), Student Senate (Secretary), and GW Polo Club.

I have the passion to perform and desire make this world a more sustainable place, economically and socially.

Jean Abinader

Jean Abinader is a leading practitioner of training and education services, providing specialized resources to U.S. and international clients—in both the private and public sectors—that enhance opportunities to succeed.

Our programs include:
• Cross-cultural programs for all levels of project personnel.
• Negotiations and group integrity workshops for more effective team performance.
• C-suite executive sessions on critical topics of project management, intercultural skills enhancement, and marketing/client development.

With clients in more than 40 countries as well as expertise in telecoms (ITC), defense, transportation, construction, hydrocarbon and renewable energy, agriculture/water resources, human resources, and other sectors, we have accumulated an array of experiential and management capabilities that inform and enrich our client services.

Velimir Srića, PhD

Velimir Srića is professor of management at Zagreb University and a visiting professor at UCLA, with a PhD in IT management and an MBA from Columbia University. He is a Fulbright scholar and Eisenhower Fellow and was elected President of Zagreb’s city assembly.

He is also a program director of DELFIN (Developing Effective Leadership for Innovation), a private executive development and consulting firm. Also, he is a World Bank expert on Change Management and a member of The European Academy of Science and Art. As a consultant, he worked with many regional companies, including Coca Cola, Fina, Gorenje, dm, Uljanik, INA, PBZ and Krka.

He is a coauthor of the International Encyclopedia of Business and Management and has published more than 70 professional books and 500 articles. Other publications include a collection of poetry (Various games), strategic monograph “Croatia 2020,” a collection of political essays (From Crisis to Vision), picture book (The Small Globe’s Big Journey) and a novel (Private investigations). Velimir is married to Ana, father to a daughter Lana and has three sons Dario, Davor, and Luka.

Jennifer Pardee

Jennifer Pardee is an accomplished Executive, thought leader and developer with more than 20 years of success across the web design and development, online advertising, healthcare technology integrations, and computer software industries.

Leveraging extensive experience in digital marketing, e-commerce, and a change in markets, she is a valuable advisor for an organization that is integrating systems, undergoing online content development, and video-based marketing. Her broad areas of expertise include going from B2B to B2C, technical SEO and search, e-commerce development, developing revenue streams, content marketing, ERP systems, online marketing, and restructuring.

Tariq Qureshi

Tariq is currently the Founder/CEO of MAD Talks, an integrated digital storytelling platform and media brand for the emerging world. This platform captures stories shaping the future, of leadership & innovation, entrepreneurship and breakthrough thinking, in video and audio digital platforms and packages them for distribution through various digital and traditional channels.

Executive leadership roles with top global organisations including;

  • Bloomberg Media – Media Rep & Advisor/Consultant MENA, (2010-2014).
  • The Times & Sunday Times newspaper, CEO/Publisher, Middle East (2007-2009).
  • Dow Jones Markets, Regional Director EMEA. (1987 -1998).

Shagorika Heryani

In the last 14 years as a marketer I’ve worked in marketing companies, advertising agencies and a brand consultancy to create brands and marketing thinking that’s purpose driven and people- focused. Some of the world-class companies I’ve worked with include Bharti airtel, Seagram, Cheil Communications, Digital5, Draft FCB Ulka and Bharat Bambawale & Associates.

I’ve been mentee and mentor for the most talented, eccentric, wonderful crazy folks and led some transformational programs at the workplace. In 2015 I was honored to be awarded as “India’s most influential digital media professional” awarded by World Marketing Congress and CMO Asia. I am a mentor and writer for the world’s largest professional career ecosystem where I guide women professionals as they navigate their careers.

This is how I view myself and my purpose in these chaotic but oddly exhilarating times. As a business leader, creating and earning both attention and trust and thereby building transformative companies and brands.

Klaus Michael-Christensen

Klaus-Michael Christensen is President and co-founder of Swiss Impact Investment Association. Klaus-Michael envisions that “Impact” will become the third standard criteria for taking investments decisions in the future, alongside risk and return. Klaus-Michael Christensen recently headed the Independent Wealth Managers department at Coutts & Co. Ltd and worked for Lloyds TSB & Co, and Rothschild Bank AG. Before entering banking, he was an entrepreneur founding several companies in IT, Finance, Healthcare, and Retail. He studied Economics and Finance in Boston, USA. He lives in the Canton of Zug since 1989.

Mona Itani

Mona Itani is an engineer, academic, and social entrepreneur. After several years of working in telecommunication multi-national companies, she joined the American University of Beirut in 2011 where she served as a lecturer and researcher at the faculty of engineering and school of business. Currently, she is appointed as the coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture where she is driving the faculty’s mission to become a leading entrepreneurship and innovation school in Lebanon and the Middle East. She is a published author on entrepreneurship, women, ethics, and engineering education. She is the managing director of Girls in Tech Lebanon and the ex-chair of IEEE Women in Engineering Affinity Group Lebanon Section and has co-founded several social initiatives that aim to promote women in technology such as She Develops Hackathon and Girls got IT initiative. She is the Founder and CEO of Riyada (Arabic for entrepreneurship) for Social Innovation SAL, a social enterprise that offers innovative education programs, corporate training, and consulting services to foster social entrepreneurship and innovation in the Arab world. She has completed her PhD in Management from the University of Leicester’s School of Business, UK in 2020.

Sam Rasoul

With two decades of management experience with both for-profits and non- profits, Sam Rasoul delivers pragmatic solutions for organizations facing disruption and change in the Digital Age.

His experiences as a millennial, Entrepreneur, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer, enable him to provide clients with a holistic view of their company, helping them to understand their company’s dynamics, identify opportunities and barriers, and deliver people-centered solutions for organizational change.

Whether working abroad with United Nations agencies and government leaders, or locally as a Virginia State Legislator, Sam builds trust with and listens to team members who have a shared vision, and he works with all stakeholders across generations to optimize the employee and customer experience.

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