Nihal ShaikhAssistant Director of Communications and Strategic Projects - Start AD- NYU Abu Dhabi

Nihal Shaikh is an award-winning communications leader and business strategist scaling exceptional brands and building thriving communities. She currently heads global communications at NYU Abu Dhabi’s startup accelerator, startAD, where she has been instrumental in developing the brand since inception; powering a global community of 380+ startups, 650 investors, 20+ corporations, and 12000 collaborators furthering UAE's transition into a knowledge-based economy.


Nihal comes with 12 years of business experience, a knack for making meaningful connections with audiences, and an insatiable appetite for helping others maximize their potential. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communications from Madras University in India. She has earned certifications from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in ‘Strategies that Build Winning Brands’, ‘Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption’ from INSEAD, ‘Digital Marketing’ from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in London, and ‘Project Management from the global Project Management Institute.


Nihal is an advocate for social innovation, has been recognized on PR Moment’s 30 Under 30 list, and has been a mentor for women business owners through the United Nations Women, and the Cherie Blair Foundation. She is passionate about creating opportunities for social innovation and for the youth and women to participate in the economy and is a sought-after coach for emerging startups, and students of communications and marketing.

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