In a spectacular opening ceremony, within the walls of one of Madrid’s historically iconic buildings, The Westin Palace Hotel, Egyptian entrepreneur, Nehad Sharaf, launched her new business network club, Alya Society. The special event, which took place on Friday, December 3rd, was attended by notable and influential figures from Spain and the world.
The event first saw Alya Society Spokeswoman, Bellinda Higgins kick off the evening introducing herself. A former co-founder and former President of Stay Online Corporation, an American power cord manufacturer founded in 1987 and based in the United States, Bellinda recognised her 30 year tenure during which her company grew from a startup into a multi-million dollar corporation recognised for being a global supplier and manufacturer of data center power cords and connectivity solutions, with the largest inventory of power cords and plug adapters in the world.
She then presented Nehad Sharaf, founder and president of Alya Society. Nehad first acknowledged some of the special guests including, Her Excellency Doña Maribel Ortiz, Vizcondesa de Garcigrande; Sofia Suescun, TV presenter and winner of Gran Hermano 16; Ivan Helguera, the former Real Madrid football star; His Excellency Mr. Youssef Mekkawy, the Egyptian Ambassador to Spain, Her Excellency, Ms. Danka Savic, the Bosnian Ambassador to Spain and Don. Augusto De Castañeda, Vice President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Madrid.
Nehad also thanked the many companies represented at the event such as El Pais, Bvlgari, Libertad FM or Amazon, and the partners who provided gifts and prizes for the guests; Oliver Peoples, Clinique La Prairie, Marriott Bonvoy Hotels, Lisi Fracchia and Christofle.
In her speech, Nehad introduced Alya Society as Madrid´s first international English-speaking business networking club whose members are accomplished in their fields and hail from around the globe. An organisation that reflects the taste and feel of a luxury brand —affording its members exclusive access to a variety of luxury lifestyle experiences throughout the year, highlighting EXCELLENCE as a common theme, Alya Society’s members are focused on supporting each other in reaching their personal and professional goals whilst collectively enjoying access to unique events ranging from exclusive presentations by award winning speakers, participation in private gastronomic experiences, and more. The club even offers the Alya private jet exclusive for its members!
Nehad explained that the name Alya comes from Arabic meaning high status, eliteness and exclusivity. She followed with introducing Alya’s team, then explained the Alya Award including the criteria and selection process. The prestigious award honours outstanding performers from various sectors for exemplifying in one one or more of the following categories, Resilience, Reinvention, Social Impact, Adaptability and Sustainability.
The award is represented in an exquisite trophy exclusively designed in both Egypt & Spain. The collaborative trophy design incorporates the ancient Egyptian symbol of highness and pride together with the Spanish aesthetic designer creativity. The luxurious design house of ELEMENT&Co. led by Bryan Yihsiang Ou Yang and Sasha Sanchez, collaborated to create a beautiful and noteworthy design that embodies a unique symbol of Alya Society.
Nehad then welcomed to the stage Bryan and Sasha to honor their great work in the designing and making of Alya Award trophy.
Besides the iconic trophy, the award comes with precious gifts and offers from Alya’s distinguished partners including Imperia Fine Art and Bizzari Jewellery and to whom Nehad extended special thanks.
Bellinda then took the floor to present the awardees for the first Alya Award edition starting with the first awardee for the evening, Antonio Ragusa.
An international entrepreneur and founder of educational institutions and businesses operating across no less than five continents Antonio is the founder and President of Rome Business School and Rome Business School, Nigeria.
The famous Argentinian soprano Virginia Tola who has shared the stage with the world’s best performers, was next to receive the Alya award for her impressive career.
Marcelo Ordás also received the award. With an inspiring career story, Marcelo is the world´s largest collector of elite football relics and founder of the Legends Museum, ranked by Fitur as the most important touristic project in Madrid for 2022. Located in the heart of Madrid with 5000m2 overlooking the Plaza de Sol, the Legends Museum will open its doors in May next year.
Egyptian entrepreneur, Mohamed Fouad, founder of Egypt Oil & Gas platform was also commended for his professional achievements. A mover and shaker, Fouad established, managed and excelled Egypt’s first Oil & Gas information provider serving as a reliable source for an entire strategic sector in Egypt & the Middle East.
Jose de Carvajal Escalada, CEO of Sesderma Dermatology Laboratories received the award which recognised the Spanish giant’s achievements. Founded in 1989 by Dr. Gabriel Serrano, a world renown dermatologist, Sesderma is a pioneer in the use of nanotechnology in dermocosmetics.
London-based entrepreneur, Yoanna Chikezie, founder of the Assembly Innovation Hub, Nigeria’s leading creative hub, that focuses on upscaling and up-skilling talent and entrepreneurs in fashion, design and visual arts received the next award.
Manu Romo, Mister international Spain 2020, was also awarded. A young ambitious entrepreneur, Manu will soon be representing Spain in the Manhunt International Contest.
The next award was received by Ivan Perujo, World’s Elite Personal Trainer. An entrepreneur, founder of Efit Studios, and owner of largest franchise network in Spain and Europe under his own brand ZEUSXT, Ivan’s fitness methodology is adapted in over 200 fitness centres across 35 countries.
Carmen Ramírez Moreno, Startup Demand Generation Leader of growth Markets at Amazon Web Services, representing a true example of a female success story in the Tech industry, also received the award.
Miguel de la Castro received the last award for the evening. A Communication & Public Affairs Executive, Miguel is Head of Communications for Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel at IBM, and Corporate Diplomacy Professor at IE University.
The dinner ended with a spectacular performance by the bass baritone, Andrés Jiménez-Ramírez, accompanied by the Mayko quartet. Andrés is considered one of the most important performers of classical songs of our time.
To wrap up the gorgeous event with an extra element of excitement, a raffle took place where some lucky winners from the attendees enjoyed one or more prizes from Alya Society’s luxurious partners.