Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance
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About CELA

Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance (CELA), founded in 2002, is the premier network for Central Eurasia’s leaders to consistently expand their leadership skills, grow their professional network, and enhance the positive impact they make on their families, businesses, and communities. With 16 academies, more than 600 Alumni, 30 Annual Reunions, and 2 Global Network Summits under its belt, CELA has demonstrated its effectiveness in developing partnerships among our members for business, professional, altruistic, and personal purposes.


We design an array of opportunities and means for members to continuously learn, developing themselves and their skills so that they can accelerate the successes in their lives. CELA offers direct access to successful business leaders worldwide with the ability to network and connect with those leaders online and through various hosted summits and events. The wealth and depth of knowledge and expertise available in the network are only matched by its members' warm hearts and kind deeds. CELA continues to nurture a growing group of young leaders who are there because they care; we are a family one can trust and always depend on.

CELA in numbers
The best way to improve your professional skills and increase your value
  • 10
    COUNTRIES
  • 608
    ALUMNI
  • 16
    ACADEMIES
  • 2
    GLOBAL NETWORK SUMMITS
Mission & Vision
Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance (CELA) is the premier forum and network for Central Eurasia’s leaders to consistently expand their leadership skills and the positive impact they make on their families, businesses and communities.
Global Networks

CELA was the first regional network established as part of the growing Global Network, which currently includes affiliate organizations such as SIBF, MELA, and SEALA, all closely connected.

SIBF (Society of International Business Fellows) is the parent organization of CELA, SEALA, MELA and SIBF LA. Formed in the US by a group of CEOs, corporate executives and leading entrepreneurs about 35 years ago to bridge the gap between regions.
MELA (Middle East Leadership Alliance) was launched in 2010 by SIBF and a group of Arab business leaders on the model of CELA. MELA draws it members from across the Middle East annually for their masterclass.
SEALA (South East Asia Leadership Alliance) is a not-for-profit initiative launched in 2013 by SIBF. SEALA draws its members from across the South East Asia annually for their leadership workshop.
NALA (The North American Leadership Alliance) is an intensive, five-day immersion program. It brings together leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Board of Directors
Any institutional affiliations of CELA board members are provided for information purposes only and do not represent an endorsement by any named organization or entity.
  • Julya Sahakyan
    ARMENIA
    Julya Sahakyan has ten years of experience working in the development sector in Armenia. She is Senior Program Manager at Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), where she manages EPF’s Good Governance portfolio, including Civic Engagement and Civil Society Development projects. She has extensive experience of managing large scale donor-funded projects. Prior to joining EPF, Julya worked for CRRC Armenia, USAID funded Support to Armenian National Assembly Program.
    Julya has a Master’s Degree from American University of Armenia, Department of Political Science and International Affairs and another Master’s Degree from University of Glasgow, UK, in Public Policy and Management. She studied at Riga Graduate School of Law, Advanced Program in Law and Economics for Eastern Europe and Central Asian Countries. Julya is a member of several regional and international networks and initiatives.

  • Anar Huseynov
    AZERBAIJAN
    Anar Huseynov has 20+ years of experience in marketing, corporate communications, and business development.
    Anar is a PR Director of NEQSOL Holding, a diversified group of companies operating in nine countries across the energy, telecommunications, hi-tech, and construction industries. He previously held various managerial positions at Nobel Energy, PASHA Bank, DemirBank, and Bank Respublika. He was also a visiting lecturer at Azerbaijan State University of Economics and Azerbaijan Bank Training Center. Anar started his career as a marketing specialist at consulting company in 2001.
    Anar completed with distinction the Executive MBA program of the Maastricht School of Management (the Netherlands) and ADA University (Azerbaijan). He has a Bachelor’ Degree from Azerbaijan State University of Economics.

  • Gvantsa Murghvliani
    GEORGIA
    Gvantsa Murghvliani is a management professional with 10 + years of working experience in the Banking sector in Georgia. Her main area of expertise is HR, Change management, Lean Management, Business Transformation, and Organizational Development. Currently, she holds the Head of Human Capital position at TBC group. Gvantsa holds an Executive Diploma in Organizational Leadership from the University of Oxford, Said Business School. She was awarded the First Oxford Diploma Scholarship for Women. Furthermore, she graduated from Lund University, Sweden, and holds the degree of Master of Science in Business and Economics with a specialization – In managing People, Knowledge, and Change. Gvantsa also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgian Technical University in Computer Science.
    Gvantsa is involved in teaching and training. Her main areas are leadership, organizational behavior, and change management. Gvantsa Murghvliani is CELA 9. She resides in Tbilisi, Georgia.

  • Mandkhai Jambaldorj
    MONGOLIA
    Mandkhai is an upcoming Wayfinder Life Coach dedicated to personal development who translates books and leads various workshops. Her career spans freelance journalism, event organization, and project management. A devoted CELA member since 2017, Mandkhai has honed her leadership skills further as the charter president of the Rotaract Club of Nairamdal in Mongolia.
    She holds an MBA from the University of Applied Science Anhalt, Germany, and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Utah, USA. Beyond her professional life, Mandkhai balances her career with family as a dedicated mother of two daughters, and she recently ventured into India for an immersive yoga science study. Her creativity shines through in her filmmaking, having directed two short movies and winning a local award for one.
  • Sholpan Primbetova
    KAZAKHSTAN
    Sholpan is a Deputy Regional Director at Columbia University Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, dedicated to developing evidence-based solutions for emerging public health issues. Her role involves co-investigating significant studies in Kazakhstan, focusing on gender-based violence, HIV care linkage, and reducing stigma to promote HIV testing among youth. Armed with a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and qualifications in Pharmacy, Finance, Jurisprudence, and Bioethics, her educational achievements are noteworthy.
    Sholpan has received accolades such as the U.S. Department of State scholarship for the International Visitors Leadership Program and recognition for Leadership and Excellence from Columbia University.
    Sholpan is a member of CELA 14 and has served as the CELA Kazakhstan Council since 2019. She is also a Vice President of Kazakhstan Columbia Alumni Association and actively involved in various boards and initiatives. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Sholpan enjoys skiing, global travel, and expanding her social circle.
  • Medet Tairov
    KYRGYZSTAN
    Medet Tairov has a Master’s degree in economics and, since 2011, has been working in the banking sector. He has worked in different roles at CJSC “Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank” and OJSC “Aiyl Bank.” For two years, he also consulted for a World Bank project on developing electronic and digital financial services in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. Since September 2018, Medet has been a Board of CJSC Bank of Asia member.
  • Gulnora Mukhamadieva (Chair)
    TAJIKISTAN
    Gulnora Mukhamadieva leads gender equality integration in programs and provides strategic direction for the Aga Khan Foundation’s civil society portfolio in South and Central Asia.
    She has been with the AKF for over two years. Gulnora has worked with development agencies such as (former) UK’s Department for International Development, Swiss Development Cooperation, and GIZ in Central Asia, as well as UN Women, UN Relief and Works Agency, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Jordan Her experience and expertise focus on governance and social development: public administration reforms, public finance management, migration management, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, strategic planning. She is passionate about social justice, gender equality, and girl’s empowerment. Gulnora holds a Master’s in Development Studies from the University of Leeds. Gulnora speaks English, Russian, and Tajik.

  • Dinara Dultaeva
    UZBEKISTAN
    Dinara (CELA 13) is a publisher of high-end books, communications and nation branding professional with 15+ years of experience. She runs Dinara & Co. Publishing House and DNA Uzbekistan Communications Agency. She is an Editor-in-Chief of Visit Uzbekistan magazine, the first travel magazine in the country. Her coffee-table book 10 Reasons to Visit Uzbekistan earned a letter of appreciation from HM Queen Elizabeth II.
    Starting her career as an intern at the Presidential Press Office Dinara gained he experience as part of the media relations office of the Cabinet of Ministers, Central Election Committee, Tourism Board and at other PR roles in public and private sector.
    Dinara had been teaching at international universities in Uzbekistan and delivering trainings on journalism, communications and marketing. Dinara received her degree in journalism from Cardiff University after being awarded Chevening Scholarship.

  • Muzaffar Atamirzaev
    UZBEKISTAN (Treasurer)
    Muzaffar Atamirzaev is a Partner/CEO of the International Lending Center based in Moscow. Mr. Atamirzaev was a core CELA staff member from 2008 to 2013. For the previous years, he worked in the microfinance field of Uzbekistan. Earlier, Mr. Atamirzaev worked at the Social Complex division of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan for several years.
    Mr. Atamirzaev holds an MA in Economics from Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow and BA in Economics & Management from the Tashkent Transport Engineering Institute, coupled with research at the WBI in Washington DC. In 2005, he studied lending to SMEs in Arizona State University on a Cochran Fellowship.

  • Charles Meade Sutterfield
    USA
    Meade Sutterfield is an angel investor in tech enabled services with 32 investments over three decades. After graduation from Georgia Tech (BEE) and Harvard (MBA) he began a career in technology companies. In 1985 and 1991 he founded two regional wireless carriers which merged into the rollup creating Nextel Communications.
    He is active in volunteer leadership at Georgia Tech and is a past Chair of the SIBF and the Global Network Foundation (GNF). In 2002, he was one of the founders of CELA and has participated in the MELA and SEALA programs as well.
    He is married to Susan and they have four married children and nine grandchildren.

  • Steven Raab

    USA
    Steven Raab is the Chairman of The InSource Group, which provides a variety of Information Technology services and highly qualified Information Technology professionals to its commercial clients on a contract basis. The Insource Group was a three-time qualifier in the SMU Cox Business School of Business Dallas 100, has received numerous other awards, and previously was recognized as one Texas’ fastest growing Women Owned Businesses.
    Mr. Raab began his technical career at IBM, where he held various line and staff management positions in sales and vertical industry markets over a period of 17 years. He also has been the founder and President of his own custom home building company, Executive Vice President of Real Estate and Real Estate Lending for Champion Savings & Loan, and EVP of Real Time Financial Systems, Inc.
    He is the past President and member of the board of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, past Board Chair and Board member of Social Venture Partners Dallas, board member of Social Venture Partners International. Steven served as a facilitator at MELA, CELA and SEALA programs.
    Steven is keenly interested in geopolitics, international security, and foreign affairs and in that pursuit, he is a member of The Tower Center Forum at SMU, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth and Dallas Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Raab is a Fox Hunter and is also interested in social innovation, travel, hand and shot gun sports (particularly skeet/sporting clays) and reading.
    Steven is currently pursuing a Bachelors in International Relations and Political Science at Southern Methodist University.
Testimonials
  • I was one of first three Mongolians who participated in CELA 13. In other words, we were impressed with the athletes who did not have the coaches, and they all changed the first day just as we had expected. I have realized that we have not been paying close attention to the importance and the precious things of our lives, and those amazing 10 days that reminded me of such things and one of the important parts of the program gave us great lifelong friends with similar values and interests. Being in touch with CELA teams through different channels not every day gives me an impression that CELA academy was never over and it is still happening right now. If you are interested in a unique leadership program that you cannot describe in a few sentences, then it is CELA!
    Enkhtuya Sharavnyambuu (CELA’13 - 2017)
    Head of Business Services Department, Transwest Mongolia LLC
  • For me, CELA is a new planet, full of interesting people, ideas and challenges. Once you are in, it is difficult to be out. Why? Just because of the incredible energy and spirit that this network gives to you. You really get a chance to revise your goals and strengths, to get the “objective” feedback and find people who care about you and your well-being. CELA 13 gave me a new breath and made me think about myself and community from another angle. CELA is the best present you can give to yourself, if you are a curious, brave enough and developing personality.

    Arpi Karapetyan (CELA ’13 - 2017)
    Founder and Managing Partner of Cascade People & Business, Armenia
  • If I had to use one word to describe my CELA experience, it would be sincerity. Now, that may seem like an odd word to describe a leadership program but this is what makes CELA unique. Faculty, staff, guest speakers, participants – they all sincerely want you to understand who you are and where you are going in life. The ten-day jam-packed academy is such an emotional roller-coaster that you are guaranteed to re-emerge as a new person – from slightly altered to fundamentally shaken. And just when you think the program is over, the real journey begins.
    Rashad Bayramov (CELA ’9 - 2012)
    Modernization & Transformation Manager, BP Azerbaijan Georgia Turkey Region, Azerbaijan
  • CELA is more than an academy. CELA will become the part of your life to bring perspective and forever since it is great people, it is a new opportunity, the opportunity for the personal and professional growth, the opportunity for the expansion of business and geography, the opportunity that I experienced myself. The main point is that it is the opportunity to create something valuable together in my country and for my country, in my region and in a global way. CELA is for those who are in action!
    Ainura Sagynbaeva (CELA ’5 - 2006)
    Founder, SIAR Research & Consulting Ltd & Co-founder, Steppe Learning KG Ltd, Kyrgyzstan
  • Gift yourself the best present you can – CELA!! A place which will stay in your heart and mind forever. CELA is a chance to make your life more interesting and meaningful! Importantly you will realize how many we are, a huge network of people around the world with the same mindset and goals – to make world better place to live!
    Kakha Kuchava (CELA ’12 - 2016)
    Member of the Parliament of Georgia
  • I consider this vibrant network as one of the most valuable parts of my life. CELA became a new source of knowledge, wisdom, inspiration, personal stories, chance to meet likeminded people both within my country and the globe. I highly recommend it to those who are looking for change & challenge for the better, those who wish to build global & regional links and can capitalize them in their personal lives, be it business projects or careers in general.

    Hikmat Abdurahmanov (CELA ’9 - 2012)
    Chair of the Association of International Business and Technologies, Uzbekistan
  • CELA is an investment to your education and business. One of the largest professional networks in Central Asia and Caucasus provides you with tools and mechanisms for future prosperity in life and career. When I look for inspiration and energy, I find them in and within CELA’s network. Meanwhile, CELA is about each of us, our commitments, and our beliefs. They drive us to reach horizons.
    Ainur Nurtay (CELA ’8 - 2011)
    Owner of MANAR GROUP Real Estate Management, Kazakhstan
  • In a fast world you have to withdraw yourself to an ‘island’ to rethink important values and priorities on how to lead people and processes for the benefit of your personal and professional life.

    CELA is one such ‘island” where in a short period of time you can have an opportunity for you to set the right questions on how to lead your life.

    Not only CELA program will present such an amazing opportunity for having the conversation about Leadership but you get to meet one of the most extraordinary and bright Leaders. You get to see different facets of Leadership through diversity of fields, cultures, regions and experiences. As a bonus you get access to one of the most prominent Network of Leaders who will always be happy to spare and share their personal and professional time!

    Ozod Dalvatshoev (CELA ’9 - 2012)
    CEO, Tcell 5G, Honorary Consul of Sweden to Tajikistan, President of Cycling Federation of Tajikistan, Global Director - Accelerate Prosperity
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