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Conference & Exhibition: 1 - 3 November 2021
Workshops: 30 - 31 October & 4 November 2021
Zabeel Halls 5 & 6, DWTCDubai, United Arab Emirates

Cheryl J. Thornton
Group Director, People Services at RAK Academy


Cheryl is a senior business leader with multi-sector experience and more than 25 years working in the education, not-for-profit, retail, real estate, banking and aviation sectors. She has worked across several jurisdictions including UK, Asia, Oceania, Middle East and Africa.

Cheryl is highly experienced in leading people strategies for growth, business turnaround, technology and cultural transformations. Presently Cheryl is the Group Director, People Services with a large education group and responsible for the business verticals of People and Culture; Growth and Retention; Customer Experience; Community Engagement; Marketing, Brand and Communications; and Legal, Governance and Compliance.

Cheryl is very active in the international, regional and local business communities. She is an Adjunct Lecturer and Assessor with the PwC Academy Middle East, an Assessor with the Dubai Quality Group and Mentor with the Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. Cheryl is a Panel Judge for the prestigious MEED Gulf SME Awards; Emirates Women’s Awards; TiE Women’s Awards; and Future Workplace Awards.

Cheryl has a Higher  Education Teaching Certificate from Harvard University, and a MBA and Bachelor of Adult Education from the University of New England, Australia. Her professional qualifications include Fellows with the Chartered Management Institute; CIPD UK; Australian Human Resource Institute; Institute of Management & Leaders UK; and Learning and Performance Institute UK.

Cheryl comes from Australia, is married and has one son. She has lived in the UAE since 2005 and is a passionate advocate for education, inclusion and social impact programs with an emphasis on supporting women and children in developing countries.