The Women of INCEIF Receives International Recognition

Kuala Lumpur, 31 July, 2019 – INCEIF congratulates its faculty members and alumni whose contribution to the Islamic finance industry received international acknowledgement when sixteen of them made it to the list of top 300 influential women who have made their mark in Islamic business. In total, the women of INCEIF made up the biggest representation on the list.

This is the second time that the INCEIF community is represented on the list since it was introduced last year. In 2018, 11 INCEIF women was included on the list of 100 influential women. INCEIF is proud of this acknowledgement as it further strengthen its mission to be the knowledge leader in Islamic finance, and be part of the decision making and policy setting of the industry.

A special ceremony was held in Kuala Lumpur this week to honour the Malaysian-based recipients, including the women of INCEIF, seeing that a large number of them were from Malaysia and were unable to attend the award ceremony in Dubai in June.

The WOMANi2019 report is compiled by financial services intelligence company Cambridge IF Analytica which publishes Islamic Finance Review, the official publication of UK-based Islamic Bankers Association. In compiling this year’s list, Cambridge IFA said it canvassed a wide range of market opinions and conducted extensive data mining exercise before drawing up a definitive list of the 300 most influential women in Islamic business and finance (IBF), assessing their influence and leadership over their institutions and market sector, as well as career and performance to date.

The assessments were carried out using a methodology based on professional leadership, advocacy and industry-wide recognition.

The roll call of honour is:

  1. Alumna Dr. Azura Othman is ranked 13th, an improvement from No 17 last year. A Malaysian, she is the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF). Since April 2015, she is also a Non-Executive Director of Bank Muamalat Malaysia, and in this capacity also serves as Chairman of its Audit Committee. She completed her Chartered Islamic Financial Professional (CIFP) and PhD in Islamic Finance at INCEIF.
  2. American Joann Enriquez (Masters in Islamic Finance Practice at INCEIF) is ranked 17th, up from No 62 last year. She is the CEO of IAP Integrated Sdn Bhd. She has over 20 years of experience in financial technology having worked in various S&P 500 companies in the Silicon Valley in California. In her previous role as the chief operating officer of Singapore-based Ethis Ventures, she was instrumental in developing the start-up’s operations until it grew to become a key player in the global Islamic crowdfunding space having strong presence in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
  3. Dr Irum Saba, who completed her CIFP and PhD at INCEIF, is ranked 18th, up from No 33. A Pakistani, she is currently an Assistant Professor at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, where she directs the MS Islamic Banking and Finance programme, and coordinates academics and research for the Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance-IBA. She is a Shariah-registered financial planner and the first Pakistani woman on the International Shariah Advisory Board in South East Asia and the Middle East.
  4. Nighat Tanveer, one of the first batch of CIFP graduates in 2009, is listed at 26th, up from No 44. As an Additional Director at State Bank of Pakistan, she is responsible for advocacy of Islamic banking in Pakistan. A Pakistani, she is also deemed as one of the most experienced Islamic banking trainers in the country.
  5. Dr Liza Mydin of Malaysia (PhD) is ranked 27th, up from No 66 last year. She is currently the Head of Research and Reporting at Maybank Islamic Bhd Malaysia. She previously worked at Pricewater-houseCoopers as part of the Global Islamic Finance advisory team, and Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia as the vice president of compliance where she provided advice on and reviewed and implemented regulatory requirements. In 2016, she undertook a visiting scholar position at the George Washington University in Washington DC, and was involved in conducting post-doctoral research for the Islamicity Index Project.
  6. Assoc Prof Dr Aishath Muneeza, INCEIF’s Faculty member and Subject Matter Expert on Shariah and Law, is listed at No 28. A Maldivian, Dr. Aishath Muneeza is acknowledged as of one of the founders of the Islamic finance industry in Maldives. She was a driving force behind the setting up of a number of institutions offering Islamic finance in her country. As a policy maker, attorney and also an academician who has tirelessly fought for the sustainable development of Islamic finance in her country, she is a role model and a mentor for numerous women who aspire to develop a career in Islamic finance.
  7. INCEIF’s faculty member and Subject Matter Expert on Waqf Assoc Prof Dr Magda Ismail is listed at No 42. A Sudanese, Dr Magda has written extensively and authored numerous books on zakat and waqf, and been consulted on this area globally. Over the years, she has received awards for her contribution and achievement in the field of Islamic economics and finance.
  8. Aziza Yerlaeva Ebrahim tied in at 42nd, up from No 70. Aziza, from Uzbekistan, is a Senior Advisor and Islamic Financial Sector Strategic Expert based in Cape Town, South Africa. She provides strategic advice on Islamic financial sector communication, implementation and development initiatives. She brings 9 years of experience in Islamic financial service industry, with a focus on regulatory bodies and international organisations. She has also hosted her own television shows on Islamic finance topics.
  9. Dr Thamina Anwar, a CIFP graduate, is ranked 66. She is the director and co-founder of New Zealand-based Halal Brand Hub. An author, engineer, Islamic social entrepreneur, educator, and consultant for various international institutions, governments, corporate/non-profit organisations and waqf institutions, Dr Thamina also founded Trade Not Riba dot Com (
  10. Dr Alaa Alabed, Best PhD graduate in 2016, is ranked 69. The Bahraini is a Senior Financial Analyst at the International Islamic Rating Agency in Bahrain.
  11. Nailya Yalalova, a MIFP graduate, is ranked 70. A Russian, Nailya is the Head of Islamic Finance at Islamic Business and Finance Fund of Russia which was created to encourage the development of bilateral economic and business relationships between Russia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member countries.
  12. Nurhastuty Kesumo Wardhani, a MIFP graduate, is ranked 79.The Indonesian is a Board Member at the Institute of Halal Investing in US. The institute aims to demystify Islamic finance by providing research on Shariah-compliant financial products. Nurhastuty is currently a Tutorial Fellow at University of Queensland in Australia where she is pursuing a PhD in Finance.
  13. Malaysian Suri Hanim, a MIFP graduate, is ranked 86. She is a Senior Consultant at Masryef Management House.She has over 24 years of experience in setting up and managing business divisions within Islamic banking and finance industry.
  14. Malaysian Noor Azian Ismail, a CIFP graduate, is ranked 88. She is a Senior Director for Shariah & Islamic Banking Group Audit at Maybank.She has broad experience in financial management, governance and financial & operations activities specifically in terms of internal control system of Malaysia’s financial institutions.
  15. Dr Omaima Eltahir Babikir Mohamed of Sudan, PhD graduate, is ranked 135. She is an Associate Professor at Bank Rakyat School of Business & Entrepreneurship, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak Malaysia. Her area of focus in Islamic finance are banking operations, takaful and wealth management & financial planning.
  16. Aigerim Marsali, a CIFP graduate, is ranked 140. She is a Legal Counsel with JSC Al Saqr Finance in Kazakhstan.

The WOMANi2019 report also acknowledged INCEIF Chancellor and former Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz as the leader of this band of influential and powerful women in IBF. One of the most iconic figures in Islamic finance and among its most prominent advocates, Tan Sri Zeti has relentlessly worked to promote Islamic finance not just in Malaysia but the rest of the world. Given her stature and the unmatched breadth of her work, Tan Sri Zeti remains the most influential woman in Islamic finance of all time.

Throughout Islamic history, women have played important and influential roles in major areas such as policy making, politics, academia and business. However, active participation of women in business and finance is a contemporary phenomenon which has its roots in the Western influence on lifestyle and business organisations. IBF in general have been traditionally dominated by men. But over the last two decades, we have seen more women shattering the industry’s glass ceiling.

INCEIF salutes the women of INCEIF for their achievements, and looks forward to see more joining the list in making a difference in the world of Islamic banking and finance.

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