Meet The Judges of Masala! Awards 2018

Just like the awards, the judges’ panel this year is bigger and better too!
Meet The Judges of Masala! Awards 2018


Founder and MD, Verve Marketing & Communications

The quintessential woman about town, Shamira Mitha’s forte lies in PR & Marketing in the hospitality, tourism and luxury industry. Her company offers bespoke services and creative solutions for a wide variety of exotic destinations and properties, and over the years, has garnered an enviable client list. But while work is her passion, her heart also beats for women’s issues and to this end, she works tirelessly, motivating and providing opportunities for women who require special assistance. Listed as one of the most influential Asians by the ITP Media Group, Shamira’s incredible work fetched her The Middle East Women Leadership Awards earlier this year and the UN-recognised Women’s International Day Award in 2011. A true inspiration!


CEO-Managing Director, Dhamani Jewels Group

It was in 1990 that Amit Dhamani took over the Bangkok office of the Dhamani Jewels Group, an 1969 establishment founded by his father, the veteran LN Dhamani. The prodigal son proved to be a worthy successor, and his dynamism led the group to great heights, instituting it as a widely based supplier of diamonds and gemstones - ruby, emeralds and sapphires. Following this, he turned his attention to the GCC, where he found greater success. In the past 26 years, Amit has become a force to reckon with in the trade, not just in the Gulf but also worldwide, resulting in the brand becoming popular among luxury consumers around the world. The accolades have come in thick and fast. At 39, Amit was on the board of governors of The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the youngest in GIA’s history. He is also the President of the Harvard OPM ( he had completed OPM39 program from The Harvard Business School in Boston, USA), besides being in the Board of Directors at the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE). Above all, he is the President of the GIA Alumni Chapter in the Gulf and was the Board of Director of NCDIA – USA and is on the Board of Directors of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group as well. An active participant in international trade activities and a distinguished speaker at global forums, Amit Dhamani continues to shine bright in the competitive world of jewellery.


Managing Partner and CEO, The Foodsters Inc.

With 17 years of combined experience in hospitality, healthcare, wellness and F&B and hospitality, Reema Shetty proves that entrepreneurship indeed runs in her DNA.  Beginning her career in the family-led NMC Group, founded by her father, the great industrialist BR Shetty, Reema has branched out to other realms as well. She not only played an integral part in the expansion of the group in every sector it was involved in but also proved her mettle in setting up and making a success of the Balance Wellness Club, a key project for the Landmark Group in the world of wellness. Currently, she is the CEO of, leading the group’s strategic initiatives apart from being deeply involved with the BR and CR Shetty Foundation, the family’s not-for-profit arm focusing on sanitation, gender issues, education etc. A mentor and strategist, a compassionate philanthropist and last but not the least, a proud mother, Reema continues to seek new horizons to conquer.


Director, Landmark Group

Aarti Jagtiani leads the direction and corporate strategy for Landmark Group’s home brands, Home Centre and Home Box, across the Middle East and India. Her dynamic business approach and customer-centric focus has resulted in driving growth and innovation across the brands. Prior to becoming a Director with the Group, Aarti spearheaded the brand development, expansion and retail operations for Home Centre across the region as General Manager. A firm believer in leading from the front, Aarti takes an active interest in multi-dimensional operational aspects of the businesses she is involved in. Her strength lies in leveraging her understanding of the market dynamics to the commercial benefit of the business.

After graduating with a Master’s degree in Strategic Planning and Management from Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, Aarti worked with Watsons, Hong Kong as a Senior Analyst, Strategic Planning & Development (M&A) before joining the Landmark Group business. An avid reader and traveler, Aarti has a great penchant for journeys through the roads less taken. Having lived in London, Washington, Hong Kong and Bangalore, this global citizen is now settled in Dubai with her husband and three children.


Founder, Carnival

She is spunky, spirited and stylish. Gulzeb Owais’ love affair with fashion started literally during her childhood, but belonging to a family of bankers, it was expected that she would follow the same path. Thus, after completing her masters from London, she shifted her attention towards Dubai and as expected, started working with a bank. The stint lasted for three years but by that time, she knew that fashion was her true calling. It started with setting up Carnival, a multi-brand store with a strong focus on regional and Asian designers. Carnival also represents her own brand ‘Hello Beautiful’, that allowed Gulzeb to apply her creativity into enhancing the female silhouette through vibrant colors and designs - both Asian and Western. The ensembles are mostly made to order for clients. When she is not working on her designs, Gulzeb divides her time between her family, travel and Arabian Gazelle, the first women-only supercar club in the UAE, of which she is a proud member.



Ask any Dubai socialite, or well, any well-heeled fashionista from the Middle East or India or Pakistan about who they would turn to, for dressing them up like a dream, and Faraz Manan’s name is sure to be on their list. He was already a hugely established name in the Pakistan design fraternity but in the last few years, Faraz has won a huge fan following in India and the UAE too. Especially after celebs like Jacqueline Fernandes and Kareena Kapoor (his favourite muse), flaunted his drool-worthy creations. In 2017, the late Sridvei wore his aristocratic gown for the Russian premier of Mom. Faraz’s initial inspiration was his mother Memoona, a couturier herself and he put his economics degree to good use by making a huge brand of his business. Today, the Faraz Manan brand is the final word for luxury bridal ensemble as well as couture because every woman knows that every single creation of his is a work of art.


Co-Chairperson, Zulekha Healthcare Group

She is her mother’s daughter. A committed healthcare ambassador, Zanubia Shams has been shouldering the operational responsibilities at Zulekha Healthcare Group since 2005, supporting her indomitable mother, Dr Zulekha Daud. Under her leadership, the group has furthered their footprints in both, the UAE and India with three hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies and a pharmaceutical store. Her guidance helped her teams blend technology with the human touch, creating centres of excellence across key specialties like Oncology, Cardiology, Gynaecology and Bariatric. Most importantly, she has spearheaded health-focused philanthropic campaigns, such as the ‘Pink it Now’, ‘Screen and Survive’ and ‘No More Excuses’, initiatives for breast cancer, colorectal cancer and cardiac health awareness respectively. She has also promoted ‘She Works’, a global campaign with IFC - World Bank Group, to improve women employment.  This initiative compels a 60:40 women to men employee ratio to be achieved by the organization, a goal that was met proudly by the Zulekha Healthcare Group.