Diana Geldenhuys

As a part of the UAE Entrepreneurs’ Organization, EO is proud to have 40 female business owners across industries ranging from Tech to Education. The Women of EO have come together and built a collaborative, diverse, and supportive member community.

Beyond the rich networking, EO provides tailored learning opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Together they support each other to overcome biases, lead thriving businesses, and make a mark in the UAE. Here is what three of EO’s esteemed women members have to say.

Diana Geldenhuys

How do we identify ourselves? I’m a woman, a CEO, a founder and an owner of various businesses. I am a mentor, a mother, and a daughter.

My name is Diana Geldenhuys, and here is my story.

In the early nineties, I created my first business in the educational space in South Africa. It was a great start to the entrepreneurial life, and the lifestyle excellently suited my family. We moved to the UAE a few years later, and our family blossomed amidst wonderful diverse cultures. In Dubai, I worked hard on my career in HR, completed my Master’s degree, yet always felt the stirring of starting another venture.

I founded Outsourced Payroll Solutions (OPS) in 2008. I built it into a thriving and go-to payroll management and back-office HR support for the Middle East.

In 2011, I acquired the Gulf Solutions Group (GSG), with our flagship product gulfHR. This end-to-end HR software offers a unique value proposition to larger enterprises that need complex solutions.

A few years later, in 2017, I crafted a new venture in conservation tourism, and eco-friendly self stays in South Africa, aiming to build up communities by upskilling the women who are the pillars of these communities.

Today, that business is doing so well, and we love seeing the benefits.

But my most profound breakthroughs as an entrepreneur and a woman in business came when I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). The trusty community of like-minded peers helped me investigate challenges through their collective experience.

I had my deepest learnings and can engage with challenges in new ways and ever evolve as an entrepreneur and as a person.

We are the sum of the stories we create and the legacies we leave behind for others. May your legacy be beautiful.

Shabana Karim Image Credit:

Shabana Karim

I founded House of Enspa, a Dubai-based beauty and grooming concept with a chain of award-winning spas, salons and a beauty distribution company - Hair by Marquee, The Nail Spa and Espai — under its umbrella. Each provides exceptional customer experiences to discerning women in the region.

Customers are at the heart of everything we do. I am customer-obsessed and have operated within this industry for 20 years. I have scaled the business from one location to 20 across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with training and people development at the core. I am passionate about learning and development and have a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Edinburgh.

Women’s growth, development, and empowerment, particularly in the third world, is of great interest to me. I am a life-long learner - I have recently completed a post-graduate diploma in Digital Business Strategies from MIT and Columbia. Currently, I am working on a Mindfulness Meditation teacher certification program.

I have been an EO member for five years. The organization has provided me with immense support in my entrepreneurial journey personally and in business.

I am a fan of my Forum within EO, and they have become my second family. I particularly benefited from Forum and Mentorship training programs. These helped me strengthen and develop my leadership and relationship management skills. On the fun side, I have enjoyed attending many social events.

On the work front, it has given me access to learnings via seminars and webinars from high profile speakers from top universities like Harvard Business School, which was the highlight for me.

The icing on the cake is the networking opportunities and sharing each other’s connections and expertise.

Meher Mirchandani Image Credit:

Meher Mirchandani

I am a mother with a story, a business leader with a vision, and an author whose work focuses on transforming lives and relationships through a better understanding of self-love. I am the Managing Partner & Head of Corporate of Palmon Group, a well-respected and prominent group in UAE for over three decades now. We started in Jafza, Dubai, in 1985, and we have interests in diverse business categories.

In September 2015, I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). EO gave me great insights into life and business. The support and structure of my Forum, combined with learning events, contributed to my success as an entrepreneur.

I found a strong community of like-minded women entrepreneurs in EO. The experiences we shared helped me excel in my business and life.

In March 2018, I co-founded Manrre Logistics Fund, an Exempt Investor Fund registered in DIFC, as an extension of my family business, the Palmon Group. Manrre focuses on logistics and industrial real estate, a segment seeing exponential growth due to a regional surge in online sales and demand for seamless last-mile delivery.

In March 2020, Manrre was listed on Nasdaq Dubai’s CSD to enhance investor confidence through Nasdaq’s high regulatory standards and support of best corporate governance practices.

As one of Forbes Top Indian leaders, I advocate that culture is the cornerstone of an organization. I am responsible for creating and building a culture and a growth mindset at Palmon and Manrre that empowers our leaders to build strong and motivated teams.

EO has been the catalyst to my success on all fronts. In the eight years as an EO member, I discovered and understood myself while validating my journey through interactions with amazing members and the community.