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Manara's DEI Champions

Diverse teams are better teams. Celebrating this year’s diversity equity and inclusivity leaders in the workplace as they champion hiring qualified diverse tech talent and embody the spirit of Manara’s mission & engineering community.

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Malar Patel Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager & Founder of Pathfinder at Google Boston, United States

Malar's story is a remarkable journey of resilience and dedication to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Raised in a family that faced significant challenges after immigrating to the USA, Malar's early experiences instilled in him a deep understanding of the value of community support and equal opportunity.


His commitment to social empowerment began in his youth, actively participating in community initiatives while balancing his academic pursuits. This dedication carried into his professional life at Google, where he serves as a DEI Program Manager. Malar's significant contributions include the founding of several global DE&I initiatives, focusing on talent development, community outreach, and Employee Resource Group mentorship.


Malar's most notable achievement at Google is the co-founding of Project Pathfinder. This initiative has helped revolutionized the company's approach to hiring, advocating for the inclusion of talent from diverse educational backgrounds, leading to 1000+ hires into Google from underrepresented groups and the support of over 10,000 individuals into the Tech Industry as a whole. His efforts have played a crucial role in diversifying Google's workforce and fostering a more inclusive environment. Colleagues at Google admire Malar for his relentless drive and passion. Beyond his role, he actively supports initiatives like Manara - social impact start-up that whose mission is to connect the top tech talent in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) to the best jobs in the world, with a focus on women and Palestine.


As we honor Malar as a DEI Champion, his story stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact of dedicated advocacy for inclusivity. Congratulations, Malar, on your well-deserved recognition!

Tolu Oke Global DE&I Customer Engagement Leader at AWS London, UK

Aside from her day to day work helping AWS customers reach their DE&I aspirations, Tolu Oke has launched or supports a huge variety of impact initiatives. She launched the very first Autism at Work program in Amazon history, a tech skills summer camp in Ghana for 100+ youths, she is supporting the scaling of a language translation app for refugees and displaced people, and works with disability and Black mental health charities across the UK, among many other things. A true enabler of change!

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Virginia Tirado Director Talent Acquisition at Zalando Ascot, UK

Virginia Tirado leads a team of 150 talent specialists at Zalando and is responsible for delivering over 3500 hires a year. Throughout her work, she focuses on initiatives that drive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including building alternative talent pools to offering internal talent re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities to pursue a career in tech.

Azadeh Khojandi Engineering Manager at the TradeDesk Sydney, Australia

Azadeh Khojandi is an accomplished Senior Engineering Manager at The TradeDesk in Australia, where she leverages her expertise in software engineering. As a trailblazer in the tech industry, she co-founded GEEQ (Geeks with EQ) alongside Katrin Schmidt, a charitable not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering a more inclusive environment for women in IT. The overarching mission of GEEQ is to empower women in their IT careers by enhancing both their technical and soft skills.

Under Azadeh's leadership, GEEQ has flourished into a thriving community with over 5,000 members. The organization is committed to inclusivity, welcoming all individuals to participate in its various events. However, GEEQ places a special emphasis on supporting and empowering women who aspire to enter or advance in the field of IT. The community orchestrates an array of virtual and in-person networking events, such as Speed Hiring sessions, Fireside Chats, Book Clubs, and noteworthy occasions like the annual all-women hackathon and Hybrid workshops.

Azadeh not only contributes to the success of GEEQ but also dedicates her time internally at The TradeDesk, where she engages in mentoring and coaching initiatives. She actively participates in the Women in TTD programs, contributing to the creation of a more supportive and empowering workplace.

Azadeh's remarkable achievements were recently recognized with the prestigious B&T Women in Media Award in the Tech category in 2023. This is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the tech industry and her commitment to advancing the role of women within it.

At the core of Azadeh's professional ethos is a passion for creating an inclusive environment. She tirelessly works towards fostering equality and providing growth opportunities for everyone, embodying a commitment to making the tech industry a more diverse and welcoming space. Azadeh Khojandi stands as a beacon of inspiration, actively shaping a future where all individuals, regardless of gender, can thrive and contribute meaningfully in the world of technology.


Geeq Meetup 

Geeq LinkedIn

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Theo Smith Co-Founder - Evangelist and Speaker, Neurodiversity World Manchester, UK

Theo Smith is a leading neurodiversity advocate. Smith promotes 'Neurodiversity by Design' rather than neurodiversity by accident and points to companies from IBM to EY to Microsoft who now see neurodivergent talent as a key element to their success. Theo is a passionate speaker, author, and podcaster, bringing a unique voice to an emerging area of DEI strategy.

Annahita Esmailzadeh Head of Customer Success Account Management at Microsoft Munich, Germany

Annahita Esmailzadeh is one of the most important and widest-reaching business influencers in the German-speaking region. She uses her voice on social networks and in the media for more diversity in business as well as modern cultural and leadership approaches in the working world.

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Oana Iordachescu Associate Director - Talent Acquisition at Wayfair, Podcast Creator Berlin, Germany

Oana Iordachescu is a Talent and TA Executive Advisor and DEI Strategist with over 15 years of experience in Technology Talent Acquisition and DEI solutions. She is the founder of We Include, a consulting firm that helps organizations build sustainable businesses and inclusive workplaces by co-creating and implementing personalized DEI strategies, workshops, trainings, hiring, and events design.

Oana is also the Conference Director at Fair Barcelona, an immersive event that connects policy makers, DEI experts, and inclusive leaders for a more equitable and inclusive future of work. She is a professional speaker and podcast host, a CIPD certified HR professional, and a Yale School of Management alumna. She is passionate about amplifying initiatives that create an inclusive and resilient workplace, and empowering leaders to take action with confidence.

Gaurav Singh Acquisition Entrepreneur Toronto, Canada

Gaurav Singh is the founder and Managing Partner of Guddi Growth. Before embarking on his journey as an entrepreneur, he served in a handful of operation roles across functions such as sales, marketing, product management, engineering and research. In his last employment, he served as a Director of Technical Marketing at Untether AI, a Toronto based series B startup building AI accelerator hardware. His remarkable accomplishments include being recognized as one of The Peak's Emerging Leaders in Canada for 2023 and earning the prestigious "Rising Star - Under 30" accolade at the TU Automotive Awards in 2020.

Gaurav received his MBA from Harvard Business School, his MS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a B.Tech degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from NIT Trichy, India.

Prior to his MBA, Gaurav amassed nearly five years of invaluable experience within the autonomous vehicle industry. He embarked on his journey as a machine learning researcher, later transitioning to the business strategy group, both at Ford. As a seasoned professional, Gaurav has also shared his expertise as an invited keynote speaker at international AI and autonomous vehicle summits
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Lucy Milenkovic Talent Acquisition Lead at HelloFresh ANZ Sydney, Australia

What people say about Lucy: “Lucy goes above and beyond to champion our DEI initiatives and is spearheading a global OKR DEI group. Here at HelloFresh, Lucy, our Talent Acquisition manager, has created a safe space where we can all collaborate globally. A space dedicated to creating an inclusive experience for all candidates.“

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Ali Mahlodji CEO and Founder: FutureOne & Vienna, Austria

Born in Iran and growing up in a refugee camp outside Vienna, Ali Mahlodji struggled to figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up. He moved from being a software developer to being a teacher and finally a founder. He is CEO of, a career platform which gives young people access to different career professionals. His focus is empowering people of all backgrounds to pursue their dreams.

Marcell Edwards Global Talent Acquisition & Diversity Inclusion at adidas Manchester, UK

Marcell Edwards works for Adidas in Global Talent Acquisition, he also Chairs the

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