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Founder and CEO, Ghaya

Mentors in Dubai

Roberta Calarese

Founder and CEO


Roberta Calarese is strategic advisor with 25+ years of experience in the fields of financial services, investment banking, policy making, international relations, corporate and board governance, data protection, regulatory matters, real estate and family offices. She is a well-respected management professional with passion for leadership, innovation, culture transformation and employee engagement.

Roberta started her career in 1996 as an investment banking lawyer with Goldman Sachs in London, followed by ABN Amro and Prudential Bache. In 2002, Roberta joined the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) where she spent twelve years developing a comprehensive policy and legal framework that allowed the DIFC to become one of the top financial centres in the world and the leading financial hub
for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. During her tenure in DIFC, Roberta held many positions including Chief Legal Officer and Secretary General of DIFC Authority, Data Protection Commissioner,
Chairwoman of the Legislative Committee of the Board of Directors, and Director Policy and Legal Services of the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Her previous board positions include Vice President of the board of directors of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the UAE (2004-2016) and Chairwoman of Art Dubai (2012-2014). In 2013, Roberta was voted Best Female Lawyer for the Middle East by the International Financial Law Review.

Roberta graduated from the University of Warwick in 1992 with a Bachelor of Laws (“LLB”). She then obtained her Master of Laws (“LLM”) specialising in international legal finance from University College London (“UCL”).

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