Leading international business entrepreneur Chris Gabriel has been appointed Non Executive Director of Talent International and Chairman of Talent International’s foundation, Talent Rise, inaugurated earlier this year.
Mr Gabriel has over 25 years’ board leadership experience and has deliver ed outstanding results in telecommunications and technology companies across five continents. He has a passion for operational excellence and over achievement in high growth start-up, turnaround and emerging market environments, and is recognised as the pioneer of cross-border mobile commerce in Africa.
He is renowned for building, developing, leading and retaining high-performance teams; a goal focussed team player who is proactive and creative, with a strong readiness to “challenge the norm”.
Mr Gabriel’s wide range of experience and skills include business development and revenue growth; strategic planning and execution; mergers, acquisitions, divestments, funding and IPOs; financial control and performance optimisation; information technology and strategic architecture; project management and delivery; business process engineering; organisational and cultural transformation; leadership, training, coaching and mentoring; corporate social responsibility; and communication, public relations and public speaking.
Mr Gabriel is now an angel investor, and also currently holds various strategic roles including senior advisor to Macquarie Group (Middle East and Africa) and Chairman of Alive Mobile Group.
From 2007 to 2010, Chris was CEO of Zain Africa, one of the largest providers of mobile telephony products and services across the Middle East and Africa, employing 10,000 people in 15 African countries and 5,000 people across seven countries in the Middle East.
Chris funded the rebuilding of schools in Africa including one in Tanzania that had been damaged by an explosion at the munitions factory next door. In Kenya he received a guard of honour as he arrived, was involved in the re-build in Ghana where a storm had decimated the school, and in Zambia, where the school is now named after him.
For more than a decade, Chris has been integral in the work of not-for-profit Nelune Foundation, which supports patients with cancer and their families.
He has an exemplary array of qualifications in finance, law, marketing, strategy and information technology gained at London Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, University of New England and other institutions.
Talent Rise’s first initiative is to give disadvantaged young people an opportunity to develop their full potential through education, mentoring and support, career guidance and work experience. This initiative could be undertaken independently or in partnership with established foundations in this space.
Talent International Managing Director, Richard Earl, said: “Chris has an extraordinary track record of success in all of his many impressive business endeavours, and we’re privileged to have him join Talent Rise to lend his exceptional skills to the foundation.”
Mr Gabriel said: “It is with pleasure and pride that I join Talent International to leverage the skills and passion of its global team to improve the lives and prospects of unemployed and underprivileged young people, through an extensive program of education, mentoring and work experience opportunities. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to build on Talent International’s existing workplace giving program and develop our leaders of tomorrow”
Mr Gabriel’s appointment was announced by Mr Earl on the latter’s return from a recent trip to Cambodia to visit various projects established by the Classroom of Hope, a not-for-profit organisation that improves education, health and literacy for underprivileged children in that country.
Talent Rise is an enthusiastic supporter of Classroom of Hope and has held a number of key fundraising initiatives involving Talent International employees and Talent contractors.
Mr Earl said he was delighted to witness the “fantastic progress” that Classroom of Hope founder Duncan Ward and his team have made in their efforts to bring elementary education to the young children of regional areas of the country.
A major highlight of the trip was an inauguration ceremony at Battambang, where several hundred school children and government officials turned out in the early morning heat to provide a rousing welcome and appreciation for Classroom of Hope, their supporters and representatives from a number of other global aid organisations.
This was followed by a remote tour of several supplementary and elementary schools spread around the area that have either been set up or are awaiting refurbishment from the funds that Classroom of Hope has recently raised.
“We were provided with an uplifting and emotional insight into the positive change that has occurred as well as the tremendous challenges that still lie ahead,” Mr Earl said.
Duncan Ward, a self-employed management consultant and social entrepreneur with 16 years’ experience working in various different IT, leadership, consulting and management roles, was the winner of this year’s inaugural Talent International Unleashed Award for Impact in recognition of his work in setting up Classroom of Hope.