ACS Board of Trustees Biographies
Matt Ayoub, Chairperson
Matt Ayoub grew up in Abu Dhabi, arriving in 1979 and graduating from ACS in 1994 as part of our second graduating class. He returned to Abu Dhabi in 2010 and currently has three children at ACS in 1st, 7th and 8th grade, providing the Board with a unique perspective as an ACS Alumnus, parent, and long-time community member.
Matt is employed by Mubadala, a government owned investment and development company that supports the growth of a dynamic and diversified UAE economy. Matt currently serves as a member of the organization’s Human Capital leadership team with a specific focus on the intersection of people and business, as well as company culture and longer-term organization development. Prior to joining Mubadala Matt worked in a range of roles in the life sciences and semiconductor industries, spending time in Europe, Asia, and North America, including San Diego which the family considers home when not in Abu Dhabi.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University and an MBA from the University of San Diego, where he served as the President of the Graduate Business Students Association. When not working, Matt enjoys taking his family to remote parts of the world to explore unique cultures and ecosystems.
Jodi Lefort, Vice Chair
Jodi and her family joined ACS in August 2016 but have lived and worked in the region since 2000. She has a daughter enrolled in ACS, Pilar in fifth grade, and three older children that have graduated from high school.
Jodi has twenty-five years’ experience as an educator. Before arriving in Abu Dhabi, she was Assistant Director of the Takatuf Scholars Programme, a scholarship program initiated by Oman Oil Company. Prior to this, most of Jodi’s career as an educator has been at the tertiary level working with academic writing and student support programs. In 2007, Jodi joined other like-minded colleagues in the region to form the Middle East North Africa Writing Centers Alliance (MENAWCA). Jodi served as the organization’s inaugural president and MENAWCA continues to work toward its goal of raising the profile of writing and academic writing support throughout the region. Jodi served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the early 90s, working as a teacher trainer at Luhansk Pedagogical Institute in Ukraine. Jodi has an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.
At ACS, Jodi has served as PTA Vice President and Secretary and has co-chaired and volunteered in various community events.
Christine Belanger, Secretary
Christine Belanger, with her husband and son, has lived in Abu Dhabi for twelve years. Her son Jeffrey is currently at ACS in KG2.
Christine holds a BA in Psychology from Concordia University, a BSc in Psychoeducation (Educational Psychologist) from Montreal University and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from HEC Business School.
Christine has 18 years of Human Resources experience within the Governmental, Banking, Engineering and Private Sectors.
Christine is currently working for Mubadala Investment Company as their Senior Vice President, Performance Development within the Human Capital and Emiratization Department, providing the Organization with a structured framework for the Goals Setting, Appraisal and Development cycle as well as identifying strategic KPIs and delivering projects aligned with the Organizational’ Scorecard and Strategy. Outside of work, Christine shares her knowledge and expertise through different HR conferences and events speaking engagements, provides career coaching and mentors university graduates as they are ready to start their professional journey.
This is Christine first year as an Elected Trustee and is the Board Secretary.
Philippe El Bacha, Treasurer
Philippe and his wife live in Abu Dhabi since 2006. He is father of two daughters in ACS; his eldest is Nour in middle school and Nosha in elementary. He went to school in Abu Dhabi for a good portion of his life and then moved to Canada to continue his studies and long term career. As a lot of other people that grew up in the UAE, he found himself back to start a new career. He graduated from Concordia University with a BA of Commerce Major in Accountancy and holds a CPA designation . He is a Group Chief Financial Officer for First Emirates Group For Technology and Trading; a holding company for a group of companies in different industries. Philippe recently joined the board as a selected trustee serving as the Treasurer.
Salem Al Noaimi, Member
Salem Al Noaimi is Chairman of SEHA -- the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company -- an independent public joint stock company that owns and operates all public hospitals and clinics across the emirate. He is also a board member of newly formed Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDHC), New York-listed AerCapHoldings NV, the world’s largest aircraft leasing company, and Nasdaq-listed oil and gas services firm National Energy Services Reunited Corp. (NESR).
Al Noaimi has extensive leadership experience in global investment and finance and has held various executive positions at high profile entities such as Waha Capital, Dubai Islamic Bank, the UAE Central Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
He is a UAE National from Abu Dhabi and now serving his fifth year on the Board. He and his wife have three children in grades 8, 6 and 3. He holds a degree in Finance and International Business from Northeastern University in Boston, USA.
Omar Asfour, Member
Omar Asfour is an SVP of Project Management at ALDAR Properties. Prior to joining Aldar in 2008, Omar worked at Turner Construction in Boston. Through his career he has worked on construction projects in Healthcare, Education, Residential Communities and Radio TV stations. Omar is a graduate of Tufts University’s School of Engineering. He attended ACS Tunisia and ACS Athens but graduated from ACS Abu Dhabi.
He has 3 children at ACS, Naia, Maysa, and Jude.
Adib Mattar, Member
Adib Mattar is the Head of Private Equity for Mubadala Capital. Prior to joining Mubadala in 2008, Adib was an investment banker at Credit Suisse in New York. Adib graduated cum laude from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a BA in International Relations and he received an MBA and Masters of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in Washington DC. He is an ACS Abu Dhabi Alumni Class of 1995. Adib is also an Aspen Institute Fellow.
He has 3 children at ACS, Raya, Ramizi, and Aya
Miran Farah, Member
Miran Farah Tarazi grew up in Abu Dhabi and has been a very active member of the ACS community for over a decade. She served on the PTA executive committee for many years, chaired several events and has held the position of MS Parent Liaison Coordinator for the past 5 years.
Miran holds a BSc and MS of Civil Engineering from Johns Hopkins University as well as an MBA from Cornell University.
Earlier in her career, Miran worked in the construction industry. She has lived in the US, Ireland and France.
Miran has 3 children at ACS, Rayane (Grade 11) Yazan (Grade 8) and Kaia (Grade 5).
Kirby Lindsey, Member
Kirby Lindsey and his family joined ACS in August 2019. They have lived and worked in the region since 2003. Kirby and his wife, Melissa have two high school aged children currently enrolled at ACS.
Kirby is employed as VP Operations of Occidental Abu Dhabi Ltd., a subsidiary of Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation, an international oil and gas exploration and production company. Appointed to his current position in 2019, Kirby helps manage the company’s operated assets in Abu Dhabi, as well as support Occidental’s joint venture operations in the region.
Kirby holds a B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He has earned certifications as a Professional Engineer and a Project Management Professional.
Muhannad Qubbaj, Member
Muhannad Qubbaj is the Founding Partner of Olive Rock Partners, a private equity firm based out of Abu Dhabi and focused on alternative investing in the GCC. Prior to that, Mr. Qubbaj was a Senior Managing Director of Private Equity, at Gulf Capital, an alternative asset manager in the Middle East. He led deal sourcing & origination for the Funds, deal screening and global fundraising activities, as well as the oversight and management of all investor relations. Before that, he was a Senior Principal at Investcorp International, where he was responsible for marketing and fundraising in the GCC and the UK, specializing in private equity, as well as a UK-based Senior Investment Advisor at Morgan Stanley and Investment Advisor at the Abdul Latif Jameel Group, one of the largest family investment offices in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Qubbaj holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with concentrations in creative writing and economics and has been an educational counselor for the university for over two decades. He is also an Endeavour mentor and sits on several related advisory boards. Mr. Qubbaj is a board member for the Middle Eastern chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
His has a daughter who recently graduated from ACS in 2018 and has a son in 12th grade and daughter in Grade 1.
Villiers Terblanche, Member
Villiers and his family have been at ACS since 2007 and the Terblanche boys are Class of ‘21 and 24, respectively. Like many ACS families, they came to Abu Dhabi for a three-year stint and fell in love with ACS.
Villiers is a partner at Latham & Watkins, a law firm, and specializes in infrastructure transactions. For more than 25 years he has been involved in the structuring, negotiation and financing of a wide variety of high profile energy, infrastructure, transportation and digital projects, joint ventures, acquisitions, and strategic investments in more than 60 countries in the Middle East, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He has advised on dozens of privatizations and regulatory reform projects in anticipation of privatization or public-private partnerships and has deep experience of special economic zone projects. Villiers was based in New York before relocating to the Middle East.
Villiers is a member of the New York State Bar, holds a PhD in comparative constitutional law, is an enthusiastic supporter of underdog sports teams and he likes to read biographies of fairly obscure historic figures. This is his second stint on the ACS Board.
Robin Solomon, U.S. Embassy Representative
Robin Solomon is an American diplomat specialized in public diplomacy, with experience in serving at US embassies and consulates in six countries. She has advanced American cultural, educational, and media relations in the US Foreign Service through assignments in Jerusalem, Moscow, Minsk, Bishkek, Adana, and now Abu Dhabi.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching English and supporting community organizations in Kazakhstan. Robin holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and also completed coursework at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Paris. She speaks Arabic, Russian, and French.