Toward Peaceful & Secure Communities
Yemen, Palestinian Territories
Strive for #peace #security humanity #freedom #CVE
--CSR CVE customized private labeled program creation and implementation
--strategic youth and at-risk populations program development
--Mid East based program delivery and measurement
--youth development, entrepreneurship and workforce training advisory
--white paper creation and knowledge development
international relations, cross cultural training and communications
--foreign diplomacy and protocol advisory
--foreign market analysis and reporting for business entry and expansion
--advocacy and conflict resolution
--civil society capacity building
--government stakeholder engagement (education and lobbying)
--tactical and localized communications
Rod Azama, Vice President, has spent 30 years in risk management, international trade, and venture/project development for security and defense sectors in the government and private sector. As a career soldier, Rod has served at strategic, operational, and tactical levels focused on intelligence, defense, homeland security, and information assurance programs. He has served in an advisory capacity to the DoD Biometrics Management Office & Task Force. Rod has been a Special Forces A-Team commander, DoD inter-agency coordinator and cryptologic plans branch chief, chief for the Combined Field Army (ROK/US ) intelligence operations, chief of the NE Asia branch in J2/JCS, and national military intelligence team chief during Operations Desert Shield & Storm. He has taught at the US Military Academy and the University of Pennsylvania. Education: Army War College and Marine Command & Staff College, MS Systems Mgmt, USC, MA Business Economics, The Wharton School, U Penn, BS, U.S. Military Academy at West PointHometown: USA Current: Bethesda, MD
We are Americans and Arabs, Christians and Muslims with high level regional connections in government and the private sectors of key nations in the Middle East, USA and Africa. The global diversity and breadth of professional expertise of DIRE's team makes us well poised and uniquely positioned to affect improvement over today's counter terrorism/CVE 'soft' challenges on the ground. We live and breathe at the strategic, operational AND tactical levels. Strategic insights, youth, trends and technology are within our comfort zone.
DIRE's core team of 7 is multi-lingual and speaks 5 languages natively, 3 languages fluently, and 3 more with proficiency enabling true insights into minds and hearts, and empowering us to to create measurable and compelling impact cross-culturally, as second nature.
Our team is at home, adaptable and able to bridge the needs of government and business. Transcending education, our team is naturally capable of deep understanding of varying cultural perspectives and has delivered real results equally in the private sector as well as in government and military circles. We know how to get things done.
Reza Mirabirshani, CIO, (IT/Information) is a cybersecurity specialist and technical Certified Project Manager. Reza has engineered scalable solutions that drastically improve security and productivity and is adept at vision/development, architecting, and performing all technical/programming work. Education: MS Cybersecurity University of Maryland. Hometown: Iran Current: Tehran, Iran / Gaithersburg, MD
Edwin Gommers, COO, has over a decade of consistently exceeding financial targets including efficiencies, productivity and financial improvements for clients in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Previously Edwin was the Head of Global Business Processes & Controls at Lenovo. Prior to this Edwin was two years in Vietnam and Singapore where he served as Engagement Leader/ Operation Head of Supply Chain Management & Transfer Pricing Ernst & Young Education: MBA The Wharton School Hometown: Netherlands Current: Richmond, VA
Richard Boehne, Africa Specialist is a successful business developer and project manager with 30 years of global experience. Richard formerly served as VP of International business for Merrick & Company and Gulf Regional Director of Raytheon in the Middle East. He has developed innovative Corporate Social Responsibility programs, has advised and led on pandemic disease response
programs in biotechnology engagement and managed science programs for the US government in
Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Richard has traveled and worked extensively throughout
East Africa and is a legacy US Peace Corp volunteer in Kenya. Richard’s has served as a Professor at Grand Valley State University. Education: BA History, MS Environmental Health. Hometown: USA Current: Saudi KSA
Saad Hakim, CEO, is a seasoned strategic communications professional in Dubai for 20 years,
concurrently serving as Communications Consultant to National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Saad formerly served as Head of Communications at Rolls Royce and Dubai Islamic Bank and was charged with
PR/Events for Mashreq Bank and Al Ghurair Group where he handled PR for the Chairman, a Forbes'
billionaire, Saad began his PR career at Hill and Knowlton. Education: BA, English Literature
Hometown: Syria Current: Dubai, UAE
RK., CFO, brings 20 years of experience in all finance areas (group consolidation,
annual reporting, strategic controlling, M&A and internal audit). As a director of internal audit at
Spectrum Brands Europe, he was actively involved in prominent M&A holding senior finance/
controller roles at eBay Europe (Germany), and most recently Sweden's Alfa Laval Middle East.
Rene is a graduate of INSEEC Bordeaux and the Wharton School Exec Program. Education:
MA Strategic Marketing, MS Business Management Hometown: France Current: Dubai, UAE
Alwaleed Abdelrahman., CIO, (Investment) has 18 years experience and a proven track record in private equity building teams sourcing and executing deals, and managing portfolio companies. Alwaleed was a
VP at Abraaj Capital, VP of Gulf Merchant Bank, Managing Partner/CIO Aflaj Capital. and Sr. VP at
Abu Dhabi Investment Company, where he helped restructure their private equity portfolio and launched a new buyout fund resulting in the largest PE buyout in the mid-2000's as well as super-
vised portfolio companies, sourced and executed deals. Prior to this he launched and ran the Dubai office for Saudi Arabia's Amwal Alkhaleej where he served as Executive Vice President. Alwaleed was raised in Saudi Arabia and has worked approx. $1BB of private equity deals. Education: BA
Economics and Econometrics from the University of Reading, UK.
Hometown: Sudan Current: Dubai, UAE
Annie Ortiz, Program Officer, MATTER and Khalas!, has over a decade of expertise in youth engagement, training, international relations, and risk management. In Dubai, Annie excelled as the STEAM@Mall Events Manager for the Arab Youth Venture Foundation delivering programs for youth of over 100 nationalities in areas of STEM and space education. At AYVF Annie initiated and lead the establishment of the GCC’s first United Nations Association to further citizens’ understanding and support of the work of the United Nations (UN), serving as the UNA-UAE’s co-founder and Director, Model U.N. Programs convening academia, government, and the private sector. Annie next joined International SOS and took on the role of Operations Coordinator, Controlled Risk in which she managed day to day operations to provide integrated medical, clinical and security risk management advice and assistance to organizations with personnel and customers located in high risk nations of Middle, Far East and Africa. Education: BA Politics and International Relations, London University Hometown: Dominican Republic/USA Current: Dubai
Dr. Saleh Elzahiri, Program Officer: ReelFriends: BFFsBB, has a 15 year track record in educ- ational and organizational leadership. Dr. Elzahiri established a private school in Sana‘a in 2007 and worked as its principal until the launch of Yemen’s first high school for gifted students, Jamal Abdulnaser Gifted High School, where Dr. Elzahiri took over as it’s Principal in charge of managing all aspects of school operations: recruiting teachers and employees, writing standards, preparing policies and admission tests, and students' screening process, and staff development, training and evaluation. Hometown: Yemen Current: NY, NY
Our Advisors belong to/are associated with:
Due to in some cases sensitive government affiliation, thus for discretion we
do not publish our Advisors names online. For more information about out Advisors, please contact us with your specific inquiry. Thank you.
Lisa La Bonte, President, is a Silicon Valley raised technology and social impact investor who's spent 20 years overseas as an entrepreneur and advisor, within 21 nations. In USA, as a DoD contractor, Lisa created her first strategic economic development program under executive order of the White House (Bush43). Lisa secured an historic Int'l Space Act Agreement from NASA and served as the Secretary-General of the Arabian Gulf's first United Nations Association, a U.S. Dept. of State joint initiative. Lisa is the founder of the Middle East based NGO Arab Youth Venture Foundation, MENA's first social enterprise for innovation and strategic workforce development in specific areas of STEM and Aerospace. Lisa is a Thunderbird alumna and Asian/Mid East emerging market and start-up business subject matter expert. Lisa has advised U.S. defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin on MENA/local market political landscape, competitive mapping and tactical targeting and positioning to support education and training for GCC nationals. Education: MBA International Business, MS Internet Strategy/Tech Mgmt, BA Political Science Hometown: USA Current: Washington DC, USA