About us

Takalam [Arabic for ‘speak’] is an online counseling and wellbeing platform​, connecting individuals and organizations directly with professional counselors through a private and personalized digital experience using video, audio and instant messaging, ​via a highly secured technology.

Our ​mission is to promote overall well-being ​and the pursuit of having a healthy state of mind by making online counseling available to anyone, anytime, anywhere and ​breaking the cultural stigma around mental health ​for a greater social impact.

Our ​vision is to offer online counseling ​across the MENA region as well as the Arab communities living in western countries.

Our values









The team

Khawla Hammad

Founder & CEO

Khawla has international experience and expertise in Business Development, Strategic Partnerships, Media & Communications. She held several positions in various Abu Dhabi based government entities, including Emirates Foundation & twofour54. She also worked as an independent consultant for startups between the UAE & the US while she was based in Washington DC. Khawla holds a Master’s degree in International Business from Georgetown University in Washington DC and a Bachelors degree in Media & Communication Sciences from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.

Inas Shashieh

Co-Founder & COO

Inas is a distinguished business professional with an established record of holding senior executive positions at both private and government entities in the UAE. She worked with USAID funded projects in Jordan as a consultant for designing projects. Inas holds a BA with Honors in Computer Science at the Princes Sumaya University for Technology in Amman, Jordan, and she was a Scholarship student at the Computer Science College. She is also internationally certified by PMI institute as a Professional Project Manager (PMP)).

Our story

We [the founders] launched Takalam after going through personal experiences during challenging times. We were dealing with depression and anxiety and had no convenient way to access professional support, mainly due to logistical limitations and reluctance due to cultural judgment. While this should not be the case for anyone in need of mental health support, we figured we were not the only ones. In fact, many individuals are on the same boat. Our aim became to find a convenient solution for this problem and create a social impact.

Our inspiration comes from our passion for helping others. We both had experiences working in philanthropic entities and had roles focused on community development.


John L. Habib

Mr. Habib is a commercial transactions, dispute resolution and government affairs attorney who has represented corporate clients, family offices and entrepreneurs in the US, the UAE and throughout the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Across his 30-year career, he has held a diversity of leadership management and outside legal advisory positions for law firms, large corporations, start-ups and trade associations including Leadership Positions in US and Foreign Law Firms, General Counsel, Officer and Director of Corporations and Startup Companies, Chair, Officer and Director of Trade Associations. Mr. Habib worked full-time in the UAE in the following capacities including Managing Partner of the Abu Dhabi office of a boutique Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Abu Dhabi, Member of Board of Directors at AmCham MENA, Board of Directors Member at the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development. Mr. Habib is admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and the State Bars of New York and Arizona. He holds a law degree from Emory University School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Emory International Law Review, and a Bachelor's Degree in International Affairs and Political Science from Colgate University.

Pam King Sams

Pam has 29 years leading and advising successful academic medical centers and universities in building relationships and partnerships that improve the health and well-being of society worldwide, raising more than $1.5B. In her 12-year role as Executive Vice President at Children's National Health System on the Sheikh Zayed Campus in Washington, DC, Pam led a development team of 110 professionals, raising nearly $750M. She also established the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgery in Washington D.C. Pam has served in advisory roles for University of Cambridge in the UK, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania - Penn Medicine, Mount Sinai Health System in New York, Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, The Ohio State University, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, University of Illinois, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of San Diego, and several for-profit companies.

Talal Al Kaissi

Advisor of Strategic Projects at the UAE Space Agency. Talal has mentored and advised numerous startups and has been on many startup competition judging panels. He is also an Angel Investor in several early stage start-ups. Talal’s role at the UAE Space Agency focuses on the development of a national space economy with an emphasis on attracting space startups and investments to the UAE. Talal was recently appointed as the UAE representative to the World Economic Forum Council on Space Technology. Prior to his role at the Agency, Talal served at the UAE Embassy in Washington DC for 9 years as a Sr. Advisor for Trade & Commercial. Talal graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science in International Business.

Samy Al-Mubarak

Samy is the co-founder of Taghreedat - the Arab world's first and largest crowdsourced digital content and localization brand that specializes in large scale crowdsourced projects he lead the brand partnering, creating, localizing, and launching the Arabic products for key Silicon Valley ventures and platforms including Twitter, TED, WhatsApp, Google, Netflix, Deezer, Keek, Empire, Foursquare and more. With over 15 years experience in developing digital projects for government, commercial as well as non-profit organizations he specializes in digital/social media, gaming and creative marketing - managing the localization of over 180 digital products, games and applications created for local as well as international brands and studios such as Walt Disney, Hasbro, Universal, 20th Century Fox, MARVEL, Pixar, Sony Pictures.

Dr. Wasseem

Dr. Wasseem manages Zayed University’s award-winning Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiatives and has coached over 100 entrepreneurs on strategic business development. He was also an advisor for H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Dubai Executive Office and the Dubai Future Foundation in developing a University Entrepreneurship Program for the Emirate of Dubai. In 2019, Dr. Abaza was voted one of the Top 100 Leaders in Education by the Global Forum for Education and Learning. Additionally, he operated two successful businesses in the US over the course of 17 years and is currently an active Angel Investor.

Hanan Khalid

Manager at Krypto Lab. Hanan is a qualified international advisor to the European Bank on the EBRD program, a business consultant and professional entrepreneurship lead, managing technology accelerators and business hubs for innovative high potential start-ups across the MENA region with focus on the UAE, KSA, and Egypt. She combines 10 years of experience in corporate innovation, business development, program management, incubation and acceleration for business start-ups, and running major events for talent showcase and fostering entrepreneurship. Additionally, Hanan has extended experience in designing innovation programs that cater for public and private sectors, integrating entrepreneurship in the workplace and introducing transformation and groundbreaking solutions.

Rohit Mahji

Rohit has lived a life at the intersection of technology entrepreneurship and strategy consulting. As an entrepreneur he has helped raise $20 Million in funding for his startups, and successfully led the development of teams that sold products to fortune 500 companies like GE, Coca-Cola, and Medtronic. As a strategy consultant he led the innovation and digital programs for Monitor Deloitte for the Middle East, and for over a decade has advised national governments and businesses on their public policies and growth strategies leading to several billion dollars invested in projects. Rohit serves as an advisor for multiple early-stage startups in the region and mentors their product growth plans.

Dr. Joanne Hands

Dr. Joanne is a Psychologist with a License as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Professional Counselor (LPC), from the state of Louisiana, USA. In addition, she is a Certified Counselor by the American National Board of Certified Counselors (NCC) as well as Certified in Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory. She is the President of the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA) and a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), American Counseling Association (ACA), and Venezuelan Federation of Psychologists (FPV).
Dr. Joanne graduated with a PhD in Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago Illinois, USA, earned her Master’s in Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University, New Orleans Louisiana, USA and her Professional Clinical Psychology degree from The Rafael Urdaneta University in Venezuela. She has over 23 years of experience working with individuals in private practice as well as in educational and corporate settings. She is an experienced bi-lingual (English-Spanish) psychologist whose passion is to promote well-being and personal growth. Dr. Joanne has received several awards and the latest is a Presidential Award by the American Psychological Association for bringing Mental Health in the Middle East to a higher level. Her well rounded experience together with her multicultural background makes Dr. Joanne a unique therapist who is ready and eager to assist with all the challenging situations she is approached with.

Faces behind Takalam



Hub71, ADGM Square, Al Maryah Island,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Please call these numbers if this is an emergency: 999 for Police, 998 for Ambulance