Istaq Nadzril

Chief Executive Officer

His first love is the pursuit of knowledge and education. Second is business and entrepreneurship.

After finishing his degree in Political Science at the International Islamic University in Malaysia, he joined an education company for young adults designing program and training syllabus materials where he steadily rose up the ranks to become one of the senior executives of the organization. Istaq was instrumental in the implementation of major changes in the way his past company conceptualized and ultimately marketed the programs to cater to the changing demands of the demographic segment. Afterwards, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and was assigned as one of the country’s representative to the ASEAN office in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Istaq is often quoted as saying that forming Zanerva has been a “fulfillment of a goal,” because it combined both his passion for education and business. Creating an organization that was different, innovative and with a firm set of values is something that he strives to continue under his leadership.  His favorite past times are challenging people in the company to a mean game of squash as well as tinkering with his collection of renovated vintage cars


Maria Samilin

Director of New Ideas

She has a decade of experience in analyzing corporate training needs, designing programs, sales, marketing and event management.

Maria started her career in delegate sales and was quickly recognized as one of the top sales person in her previous organization. She was the youngest manager after which was given a promotion straight to being a director handling the entire Southeast Asian operation of her previous employer. Maria has set up branch offices all over Southeast Asia and researched and designing training programs - all while simultaneously leading a sales team on the side and exploring new markets in the Middle East.  Due to her success in accurately predicting the human development and training needs of clients, Maria was then assigned to be the Director of Research and Development where she overhauled procedures and created many unique and trailblazing programs. She developed programs on topics such as Nanotechnology, Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, Alternative Marketing Strategies and Exchange Traded Funds. 

Maria joined Zanerva because she knows that she has “finally found a company who understands that organization charts should be flatter, operations should be quick to innovate and embrace technology, and that employees should be allowed to be mobile and flexible.” She splits her time between the Malaysian head office and her family home in the United States where she also coordinates Zanerva’s North American and European business relationships.  She completed a Masters Degree in Management from the International Islamic University where she is also a debate trainer for the English Debating Club. 


Barack Ali Ahmed

Director of Customer Advocacy

He is a results-oriented  sales person and a dedicated team leader with the ability to build relationships with clients and put their needs first. 

In his previous organization, Barack was put in charge of technical and niche programs that were designed to open new markets and reach out to new target clients. He has deep knowledge and vast experiences in both the Southeast Asian and Middle East market that stretches from the oil and gas sector, governments, banking and financial institutions as well as telecommunications. In his tenure in the executive education and event management delegate sales, he has sold programs ranging from oil and gas, nanotechnology, marketing, corporate finance, Exchange Traded Funds, supply chain and product development. 

He is often quoted as saying that Zanerva “offers the change that this industry needs because it returns to the classic values of customer service, honesty, integrity, pride in its programs and people -- but at the same time unafraid to try out new things.”   He finished his first degree at the International Islamic University on Management Information Systems. He then earned his MBA from the Multimedia University of Malaysia.