Programme Advisory Committee

Israel Pons

Israel Pons is the CEO and Partner of Angels Nest LATAM, Angels Nest is an Angel Investment Network operating in Mexico and LATAM. It has been named “One of the most active Angel networks in Latin America” by XCALA.

  • Co-founder of Pitch at the Beach a global startups and investors event taking place in the most beautiful beaches around the world. More than 38 countries take part.
  • President of the WBAF Angel Investment Fund with more than 50 angel investors from 32 countries
  • Partner (GP Assigned) in BillioNeurons USA based, focused on the AI industry. (US$1 Billion )
  • President of the Board of investors in “E-Uno” a VC fund investing in the Agro-tech industry.
  • Investor and advisor to Canadian fund, Brickhouse Ventures Ltd, eSports, Sports and Entertainment Technologies.
  • Board advisor in Blue Forward Bio-marine (Blue sea economy) VC fund based in Luxembourg.

Israel developed his academic and professional career during his 24 years in the UK, where he served 5 years as Operations Director for the largest leisure company in Europe, he became an entrepreneur and founded 4 companies in the UK. Israel has delivered training workshops and full courses in mentorship, social impact investing and how to manage investors (Angel, VC, Family Office) and others in various institutions such as universities, forums, exhibitions, innovation agencies amongst others.

Lucy Chow

Lucy Chow is focused on the innovation space, both in terms of supporting founders and as an investor. She is the Secretary General, WBAF Global Women Leaders Committee and an Executive, Investment Committee, WBAF Angel Investment Fund. She is also a Director of WAIN (Women’s Angel Investor Network and an investor with NextWave Impact Fund, The Founder Institute and Mindshift Capital, the former two based out of the US. She has a video series targeted at entrepreneurs titled “Down to Business.”

Lucy is passionate about developing entrepreneurial skills in students and was one of #LinkedInTopVoices 2020 for MENA. She has been a contributing author for “ Life on the Move,” an anthology of stories about expat life and The Possibilities Project: A Young Person’s Guide to Career Success. She is currently authoring a book focused on esports and gaming. Lucy has degrees from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management Northwestern University and HK University of Science &Technology and the University of British Columbia.

Maryam Najafi

Maryam Najafi is the head of the Global Mentorship Department at the WBAF Business School of the World Business Angels Investment Forum. As a faculty member, she delivers a course in investment readiness for startups and scaleups. A certified prize assessor of the European Foundation for Quality Management EFQM, Maryam serves as an international jury member for the WBAF Global Fundraising Stage. In addition, she conducts one-on-one mentoring sessions for WBAF Senators and International Partners and organises business mentoring programmes for selected startups of the Global Fundraising Stage.

Maryam was head of the WBAF project proposal team for the Fintech Hub Centers Project of the Qatar Development Bank. She is the designer of the WBAF Angel Investment Fund structure. She was previously executive manager of Karaya Angel Investors and business development advisor to the Kaarmaan Business Club. She is currently CEO of Nik Venture Capital. Maryam graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology and also holds an executive MBA degree. She is currently pursuing a PhD in marketing management. Department of the WBAF Business School.

Nelson Gray

Nelson Gray has been a Business Angel investor for over 20 years and is recognised internationally as a thought leader and public speaker. He Nelson received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2015. Nelson’s extensive experience allows him to blend a practical application of investment and company growth with an understanding of public policy at an international level.

He managed two early stage investment funds responsible for funding 53 SMEs. He acted as the fund manager for Scotland’s leading Business Angel syndicate, established in 1992, is a member of Angel groups in Scotland and the USA and has invested in over 50 companies personally. He has extensive international experience in supporting Angels, entrepreneurs and government bodies.

Nelson has been a non-executive director and mentor to many high growth companies and continues to provide his wide ranging knowledge and experience to business leaders; coaching and training them to become businesses of scale. Nelson has been described by Bill Payne, 2009 US Angel Investor of the Year and Arch Angel of New Zealand in 2010, as “one of the most knowledgeable Angel Investors in the world”.

Nelson graduated with an Honours degree in Accountancy from The University of Strathclyde. He went on to work with Deloitte Haskins & Sells (later absorbed into PWC) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant having worked in the audit and insolvency departments.

Sheree Martin

Sheree Martin is known as an inspiring and strategic leader with the proven ability to establish effective teams and deliver results, she has a track record of achievements in the areas of Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales and Organizational Transformation.

Sheree has spent most of her professional career at the NCB Group where she has led Marketing & Service Delivery, the Digital Channels business, among other roles . In 2013, Sheree led the Innovation Strategy for Digitization before leaving NCB to join the Energy sector at JPS Company Limited in 2014. During her time at JPS, she led Human Resources, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Revenue Management, Customer Service and Energy Delivery (Transmission & Distribution Grid Operations). Sheree was also responsible for establishing the new Business Development arm of JPS and initiated the process for the setting up of a new JPS subsidiary for alternative energy solutions, before starting a new executive role at New Fortress Energy (NFE), a US based global energy infrastructure and LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) company in January 2019.

In July 2020, she returned to NCB to drive the Group’s Client Experience and Organizational Health strategies. In April 2021 Sheree was appointed to head the Retail Banking Division, assuming responsibility for the Consumer and SME segments of the Bank.

Sheree was Jamaica’s representative in the IWF Global Fellows Program for women leaders. She is a regular speaker on personal empowerment and a leadership development strategist who has worked with Executives and Entrepreneurs across the region. She serves on the boards of several entities including Allied Insurance Brokers, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and was a former Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Harry ‘Tomi Davies (TD)

Harry ‘Tomi Davies (TD) is Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Greentec Capital Partners, Frankfurt, Germany a venture building firm specializing in Africa. He is also “Collaborator-in-Chief” at TVC Labs an entrepreneurship support organization in Lagos, Nigeria.

TD is co-founder of the Lagos Angel Network (LAN), Chairman of the Diaspora Angels Network (DAN) and ccHub Syndicate, founding President of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) and board member of the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN).

After graduating from the University of Miami, TD led innovative technology-led transformation initiatives for influential global brands Elf Aquitaine, Marks & Spencer, Ernst & Young and Sapient across Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia.

In 2000, his focus shifted to Africa where he led various innovation initiatives using his goal-oriented approach to project delivery which inspired his 2014 book “The African Project Manager”.
TD is Chairman of TextNigeria (Telecoms) and Non-Executive Director at MBO Capital (Private Equity) and sits on the boards of Big Cabal Media (Media & Entertainment) and Laptops4Learning (L4L) Nigeria (Edutech NGO), and Chairs the Innovation Committee of the Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC). He is a thought leader with insights gained from a growing portfolio of tech-enabled startup ventures originating from Africa.

Valerie Fox

Valerie Fox is best known for the co-founding and execution of The DMZ, launched in 2010, which by 2015 was named the number one University Business Incubator in North America and number 3 in the world. She left soon after to found The Pivotal Point where she helps grow community-based incubators worldwide through coaching, mentoring and co-creation.

Val’s passion is enabling thriving entrepreneurial communities of communities locally, nationally, and internationally based on new economy practices of partnership and intentional diversity.

Val has over 30 years in the digital world, where she started a graphic design business and then had the fortune of being sought by IBM, to be part of their senior innovation network, where she led design teams for enterprise software design, was creative director for large online experiences such as the Sydney Olympics, and was awarded 5 patents, including the Universal Shopping Cart for the Web. Other awards include the Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the 2016 CNE Woman of Distinction award and the honour of being part of the 2016 Canada Innovation Leaders team.