Category Archives: GBA Team

Inez Murray

GBA Team

Chief Executive Officer

Inez Murray was appointed chief executive officer by the Financial Alliance for Women’s board of directors in November 2012. As CEO, Inez, who had previously served the Alliance as Vice Chair of the board, is responsible for setting the strategic direction, implementing the board’s vision, and overseeing the Alliance’s day-to-day operations. She is a globally recognized expert in women’s economic empowerment, speaking and publishing widely on that topic, and is also a seasoned executive with nearly 20 years’ experience running complex global projects, incubating new initiatives, and raising more than $20 million in funding from public and private sources.

Inez comes to the Financial Alliance for Women following a 17-year career with Women’s World Banking. The world’s largest network of microfinance institutions, WWB reaches more than 26 million low-income people, the vast majority of them women, with quality financial services. As WWB’s Executive Vice President, Inez was responsible for all aspects of WWB’s technical assistance practice group. Her division served WWB’s global network of 39 financial institutions with research and development, marketing strategies, and roll out of innovative microfinance products while integrating financial education and mobile technology. Her team also offered leadership development for senior staff of the microfinance sector through WWB’s Center for Microfinance Leadership and worked to keep the microfinance sector focused on the mission of empowering women through initiatives such as the development of key performance indicators to better target and impact low-income women.

Inez’s earlier career with WWB included positions heading the microfinance products team, developing WWB’s strong practice in savings services for women and youth, and heading the consumer research unit which she had founded and which significantly contributed to the understanding, on the part of both the WWB network members and the sector as a whole, into women’s financial behaviors and preferences. She also pioneered an innovative business development service called Servimicros which channeled large numbers of entrepreneurs from the sewn goods manufacturing sector towards a select group of suppliers, thereby allowing the entrepreneurs to negotiate supplies at a significant discount.

Inez worked as a senior consultant in the strategy practice of Booz Allen Hamilton in New York before joining WWB in 1996. She has also worked on consultancies for a range of clients in the microfinance sector and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She was a co-founder of WAM (Women Advancing Microfinance), the only global network of women professionals in microfinance, and currently serves on the board of B2D, a social enterprise focused on biomass energy technology to rural and semi-urban populations in Haiti.

An Irish national, Inez received her undergraduate degree in economics and business from Trinity College, Dublin. She also holds a master’s in economics and political development from Columbia University and a diploma in advanced management from the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Ruf, GBA

Rebecca Ruf

GBA Team

Executive Vice President, Programs

Rebecca Ruf, GBA

Rebecca Ruf is responsible for leading peer learning and knowledge programs for the Financial Alliance for Women, a global consortium of financial institutions that focus on building women’s wealth worldwide. She is also in charge of designing and managing the Alliance’s gender data analytics initiatives. Ms. Ruf has over 15 years of experience in international finance, having worked previously for Women’s World Banking, the world’s largest network of microfinance institutions, where she specialized in gender-focused analytics, developing WWB’s first gender performance metrics and leading work on performance standards for the network. She also worked at WWB’s Capital Markets Group, focusing on brokering and advisory and investor readiness activities. Prior to that she worked at Starwood Hotels & Resorts managing international hospitality investments globally. She has a Masters degree in International Development and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Hospitality Administration from Cornell University. Rebecca currently serves on the Board of Runa Foundation, a non-profit that is focused on creating sustainable livelihoods for the people of the Amazon through product innovation. She is an Ecuadorian and British citizen.

Karyl Akilian

GBA Team

Director, Marketing and Business Development

Karyl is the Director of Marketing and Business Development with the responsibility for increasing the impact of the Alliance’s communications, providing institutional support to members on Women’s Market program development as well as supporting the expansion of the Financial Alliance for Women.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Karyl worked for 12 years at BLC Bank, Lebanon, where she served as the Head of Product Development until she was assigned Head of Brand Management in 2013, leading the strategic planning process for the Bank’s brands to build the brand equity.

She played a fundamental role in developing, implementing and overseeing the execution of We Initiative, the Women Empowerment program launched in 2012 by BLC Bank. During her years managing the We Initiative, she was a speaker at numerous international conferences and in 2016, was selected as one of the Global Banking Alliance for Women network’s “All-Star instructors”. Throughout her years at BLC Bank, she has trained more than 50 banks around the globe on how to develop a Women’s Market Program.

Due to her active role in the women empowerment scene, she was elected on the board of the Lebanese League for Women in Business in 2015 and re-elected for a second term in 2017, where she holds the function of Treasurer.

Karyl holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and an MBA from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. In 2016, she received the AUB Computer Science Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.


Carine Fersan

GBA Team

Manager, Marketing and Peer Learning

As the Manager of Marketing and Peer Learning at the Financial Alliance for Women, Carine is responsible for designing and implementing the marketing strategy, the Alliance’s digital media and enhancing its brand positioning as the reference for Championing the female economy. In addition to managing the new and existing peer learning activities and their implementation globally. 

Carine is a marketing strategist, digital media and branding expert with more than fifteen years creating impactful solutions in the banking industry. She pairs a broad range of marketing expertise and gender-lens program development with an extensive experience in knowledge-sharing and mentoring contributing to the global community, women-led businesses, SMEs, and startups as instructor, trainer, speaker and mentor.  

Carine received her Master’s degree in Marketing from ESA Business School and the European School of Business (ESCP – EAP) after completing a BS in industrial Psychology and a BA in Communications both at the Lebanese University. She has over twelve years of experience at BLC Bank Lebanon, leading the brand management department using a customer centric approach targeting segments. She was also responsible for implementing, growing and enhancing the SME and We-initiative segment – the first holistic Women empowerment program launched in MENA region – overseeing the execution of its financial and non-financial solutions and the Brilliant Lebanese Awards. 


Tessa Ruben

GBA Team

Knowledge Manager


Tessa received her MBA from Yale School of Management, where she specialized in nonprofit management and inclusive economic development. During her time at Yale, she worked on a consulting project for a Brazil-based social enterprise, charting a path for the organization to achieve financial sustainability over the next five years. She also interned at Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian NGO, where she created externally facing strategies for local offices in ten countries around the world. Tessa brings experience working across the private and nonprofit sectors. She began her career at Run for America, a startup nonprofit, and then worked in media and communications as a digital strategist for Fortune 500 brands, focused on corporate social responsibility campaigns. She earned her BA in Political Science from Tufts University.