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PLAYBOOK: Empowering Women in Emerging Markets

PLAYBOOK’s founding team: from left to right, CEO Wafa Al Obaidat, CMO Shreya Rammohan and COO Ismahan Al Saad.

Enter the world of PLAYBOOK, a company dedicated to addressing the global gap in leadership and economic participation between genders. In a world moving at a fast pace, PLAYBOOK uniquely tackles this challenge, weaving powerful stories of real-life female role models who share their success playbook.

What does PLAYBOOK do? What pain points does it solve?

PLAYBOOK combines powerful representative story-telling of real world experiences by real life role models that dissect their playbook to success. The solution combines active and passive learning through masterclasses and an engaged community that is powered by networking, attendance to live events and access to 1:1 mentorship and coaching resources.

PLAYBOOK’s mission is to accelerate the career progression of women in Emerging Markets, including MENA, ASEAN, and LatAm, where gender imbalance in access to equal opportunities is notably felt. The platform aims to guide women into leadership roles, empower female founders to confidently access VC funding with limited resources, and promote awareness of emerging professions in the realms of Tech, data, and financial well-being.

Traditionally, business has mostly been a men’s world. Women usually don’t go golfing, attend Majlis gatherings, or visit cigar lounges for business. There’s a need for safe spaces for women because we operate by different rules. Finding these spaces, like PLAYBOOK, is crucial. We want to join forces, invest in property, and support each other at work to redefine how things are done. PLAYBOOK is like a toolkit offering classes and content made by and for women. It shows how success works in different industries. Plus, it connects women with mentors, experts, and soon, capital too.

PLAYBOOK’s sought-after content features impactful masterclasses by inspirational women in MENA sharing insights on their journeys to the C-suite or roles as government ministers. Beyond job applications and marketing solutions, Playbook members can schedule sessions with over 100 mentors, covering topics from fundraising and angel investing to mental health, menstruation, and motherhood.

Can you tell us about your CEO?

Wafa Al Obaidat, PLAYBOOK’s CEO and co-founder, stands as a recognized serial entrepreneur and a Young Global Leader within the World Economic Forum. Her journey began at Obai & Hill in 2010, where, as a Founder, she led the organization to become a million-dollar business. Collaborating with CMO Shreya Rammohan for six years, they scaled the business and launched the largest women’s convention in MENA, laying the foundation for PLAYBOOK. COO Ismahan Al Saad, a former senior banker turned PLAYBOOK co-founder, initially participated as a speaker at the convention, later becoming a Founding Member, investor, and instrumental force in securing pre-seed funding and corporate advocacy for the company.

How was PLAYBOOK born?

Founded in the heart of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, PLAYBOOK emerged from the success of the Women Power Summit, an annual two-day conference organized by Wafa Al Obaidat’s communications agency. Before the pandemic, this summit, focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation, resonated with thousands of women, offering a vibrant atmosphere with coffee bars, DJs, and ample opportunities for socializing across the MENA region.

For Al Obaidat, alongside PLAYBOOK co-founders Shreya Rammohan and Ismahan AlSaad, transitioning to the digital realm was the logical progression. The Women Power Summit’s success laid the foundation for PLAYBOOK.

What’s next for PLAYBOOK?

“It is growing faster than I ever imagined. We already have more than 4,000 members who are supporting each other, making connections and sharing special experiences. We want to triple our membership every year.” says Wafa Al Obaidat. Currently comprising a team of 15, PLAYBOOK is gearing up to host in-person events in Saudi Arabia and beyond. These gatherings will offer members the chance to connect face-to-face, fostering even stronger bonds in real life.

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