MEDIA FACES TO WATCH 2018

AHMAD DARRAJ 30 Senior Branded Content Specialist, OMD Dubai
CAREEER PATH: Ahmad started his career at an advertising agency before moving to the group in Jan 2015. Won the advancing content & experiences award in 2017. NOMINATION: Ahmad is constantly pushing the boundaries & utilizing the full scope of C&E. Ahmad has recommended and executed multiple projects that include influencers, creative, content integration, experiential and production. He has made a significant impact on the revenue within the department.
What is the best bit of your job? Working on content production and being on set with the production team guiding the creative direction of the shoot. Brainstorming and bringing ideas to life.
What is the worst bit of your job? Following up on payments.
What one thing would you change about the industry? Improve and Increase risk taking and move away from traditional advertising solutions. What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? With the extensive speed in AI development there will be a shift in the skill sets required to provide better solutions and enhance the offerings to all clients. Focusing on the creativity and the strategy to excel in the industry.

ANNA RIERA 27 Analytics Manager, OMD UAE
NOMINATION: Anna has been a driving force of innovation in data and analytics since she joined. Her curiosity to understand her clients’ businesses has helped her craft solutions beyond media, with real impact on the bottom line. More importantly, she has managed to humanize data in a way that is easily understood and always outcome based. Within the scope of a year Anna has lead on data visualization and automation projects, e-commerce basket analysis projects, segmentation and dynamic creative optimization, as well as attribution projects. Her work has had a significant impact on formulating data driven strategies for the planning teams deployed.
What is the best bit of your job? People’s reactions when you share that unexpected insight, the ability to dig into data from different industries and constantly being involved in innovative projects tailored to solve different client needs.
What is the worst bit of your job? The risk many analysts face, reporting for the sake of reporting rather than analyzing (has not happened in OMD yet!)
What one thing would you change about the industry? The expectation on performance from clients towards agencies grows at a faster pace than their willingness to share business insights and data with the agency. I believe that to deliver the best results it should be a partnership approach.
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? As technology evolves alongside new workforce technical skillsets, infrastructures which currently require big investments will be replaced with more agile, affordable and democratized solutions. Additionally, the evolution of personalization and consumer data consent policies will give users the ability to receive messages tailored to their taste, rather than the highest bidder.

NAWAR AKAWI 27 Manager Social media , OMD UAE
NOMINTAION: Nawar is very creative and comes up with great integrated ideas. A lot of his client’s quick wins are attributed to his thinking. He worked on several award-winning campaign plans and ideas. He also played an important role in setting up always on strategies across the PepsiCo portfolio.
What is the best bit of your job? Despite the fact that my title says “Social Media”, the fact that I am constantly exposed and actively engaging in other elements within campaign planning such as overall digital strategies, outdoor activations, content and influencer strategies, and more, is what keeps me going.
What is the worst bit of your job? Not seeing great ideas come to life due to budget restrictions or any other unforeseen circumstance can definitely take its toll on you
What one thing would you change about the industry? More strategic approach to campaign planning, specifically within the bigger brands with big budgets. Sometimes, less is more and focusing on one area as opposed to being everywhere is what makes a campaign mention worthy.
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? Clients will be much more careful and selective with their spends.

TAMARA SULEIMAN 27, Senior Executive Social Media, OMD Dubai
NOMINATION: Tamara is very methodical and works hard at optimizing her time to deliver on objectives. She acts as a valued advisor and is very professional with both clients and colleagues alike. In the past couple of years, Tamara has done a fantastic job taking full ownership of paid social on the entire PepsiCo portfolio.
What is the best bit of your job? Being able to look at data and turn it into an incredible insight to crack a brief after hitting road-blocks for days
What is the worst bit of your job? Putting together something great and never having it see the light
What one thing would you change about the industry? Limitations
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? Everyone will become a specialized hybrid

ADON AHWACH 27 Senior Executive Planning, OMD Dubai
CAREER PATH: Adon started his career with OMD four years ago as junior and got promoted twice to be a senior planner on the snacks vertical within the Pepsico. Last year he won the “advancing innovation” award, part of the OMD award ceremony that recognizes talent within the group.
NOMINATION: Adon is a star, a team player, a colleague that other units within the company envy to have him on their team. He is dedicated and passionate about the work and always strives to deliver a great product. His curiosity drives his desire for knowledge and he is someone that will always push the boundaries. He even went the extra mile by teaching himself “visual basics” in order to solve a recurring request that was coming from the client, this ultimately improved efficiency across the board.
What is the best bit of your job? The best part is when you can step away from the routine task and work on strategies that require your critical thinking and analytical skills.
What is the worst bit of your job? It gets so intense sometimes that you’re thinking about work 24/7
What one thing would you change about the industry? Everything we do is for our consumers, The amount of consumer research, specifically 3rd party research is minimal and not as frequent as it should be in a fast paced industry. It would greatly increase investment on consumer research.
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next 5 years? Traditional digital KPIs will fade and will make space and importance to attention metrics, probably powered by AI. We started seeing it today but it will be the predominant way of assessing digital activities in the future.

RANA NAZIH 26 Associate director, OMD Egypt

NOMINATION
“Rana has an excellent demeanour and high level of professionalism, especially in her relationships with clients. Always respectful, she is effective in her communication, ensuring the OMD values shine through. She has demonstrated a very strong level of leadership and always pushes herself and her team to excellence in every task.”

What is the best bit of your job? Results.
It’s great to create and have a real measurable impact on both the people and the business.
What is the worst bit of your job? Getting the work-life balance right.
What would you change about the industry? I’d make it less chaotic.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Advertising investments per capita in Egypt are still fairly small in comparison to other markets, so there’s plenty of room for growth. Should this happen, we will then be able to reverse the recent brain drain in our industry and develop our homegrown talent.
ALIA AMR ABDELAZIZ 24 SENIOR PLANNING EXECUTIVE, OMD EGYPT
NOMINATION
“Alia always goes above and beyond to achieve excellence, both in her day-to-day role and pursuit for personal development. Her thirst for knowledge and drive speak volumes about her work ethic, always tackling everything with a positive attitude and smile on her face. She is extremely dynamic and a rising star at OMD.”

What is the best bit of your job? The incredible range of diverse opportunities that I experience daily, both from a client and task perspective, encourages me to think outside of the box to find new and creative solutions.
What is the worst bit of your job? The fast-moving pace of our industry means that we must adhere to very tight deadlines, which then dictate how you conceptualise and execute your work. As such, you can’t always unleash your full creative capabilities.
What would you change about the industry? The media landscape in Egypt is ripe for modernisation and the digital transformation will provide the catalyst for this shift. Traditional media will still play their part but they will evolve too, as they have elsewhere.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? I think we’ll see traditional media migrate even more towards digital and programmatic platforms.

 

 

DALAL ALMALIK 26 Senior integrated planner, UM

NOMINATION
“Dalal has a unique personality. She captured my attention and appreciation with her passion about marketing. I’m sure that with such energy, determination and enthusiasm, she is going to be the person she is dreaming of becoming
and more.”

What is the best bit of your job? The best bit is that I’m working on one of the most exciting and challenging clients, Saudi Telecom Company. The exposure is huge and I’m learning as fast as a fibre internet.
What is the worst bit of your job? Waking up in the morning.
What would you change about the industry? The process between client, creative agencies and media agencies could be more organised.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Programmatic will move to other media channels such as OOH, TV and radio.

 

ZEINEB BENKHEDHER Senior data analyst, Havas Media Middle East

NOMINATION
“Zeineb is a rare breed of storytellers who speaks the language of data, acting as a translator between its raw form and the ultimate insight. In her first weeks at Havas Media, she turned a mundane weekly report into a relevant update that captured the client’s full attention. Her understanding of agency disciplines beyond analytics allows her to anticipate user needs and adapt her analysis and recommendations to the right audience. Zeineb’s data science skillset, combined with her proactivity and willingness to challenge the status quo, makes her a rising star in the industry.” – Mary Anne He, data and analytics director.

What is the best bit of your job? It is the fusion of data and creativity allowing me to leverage market and customer insights to create effective marketing actions, especially in the digital channels.
What is the worst bit of your job? As in any fast-growing environment, the challenge is to remove a siloed approach completely and also to encourage people to be more receptive to change
What would you change about the industry? Encourage people to acquire multiple skills and build diverse teams, and to educate and raise awareness about digital marketing and e-commerce.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Further leveraging data to personalise customer interaction and communicate with them effectively in the digital channels. Data-driven marketing is extremely powerful. Understanding the customer during their (digital) journey and influencing their behaviour in real time, at every step in the funnel, will be paramount in digital marketing success and will translate to real revenue in the e-commerce context. However, data privacy will be one of the biggest challenges to overcome to ensure personalisation does not rhyme with intrusiveness and cause a contrary customer effect.

 

SADE CHANTAL SHARIFF 29 Media supervisor, Initiative

NOMINATION
“Sade has been with Initiative for less than a year and yet we get along as if we had been working together for a long time. She cares about others and puts effort into both her tasks and the work environment. She is technically strong, very knowledgeable in her field and keen on pushing our deliverables in line with Initiative’s drive to data analysis, technology and business results for our clients.” – Saadeddine Nahas, digital director.

What is the best bit of your job? Variety. I enjoy the variance of digital media. I get to work with a variety of people across ad ops, developers, creative teams and platform managers. I’m constantly learning from everyone and this is what keeps me interested.
What is the worst bit of your job? I think there is an air of negativity within the industry, which I think comes from the nature of the jobs being very ad hoc at times. Your day doesn’t always go the way you plan it. The negativity can greatly affect the morale of a team. I try to remember that it’s all part and parcel of the role, and working as a team always makes this easier.
What would you change about the industry? Digital agencies are often the last to be involved during the creative stage of a briefing. I believe they should be involved from the start. One size doesn’t fit all and I feel that the executions for digital are often refits of other channels. In fact digital is the most interactive and personal medium, and this should be taken into account during the creative stage to really ensure brands are communicating effectively through online channels.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Self-serve – with self-service platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Google products. It is increasingly easier for brands and companies to do their own online advertising. These self-serve platforms are very simply to use and they have helpdesks that are on hand to support. And with the automation of ads the size of the teams needed isn’t the same as it once was. Just like traditional trade desks, this may mean we become more and more redundant within our fields.

 

MARAM ABOUEITA 26 MANAGER, DIGITAL MEDIA, BPG GROUP
NOMINATION
“Maram has been a great person and is a source of inspiration for most of us in the organisation. Over a fairly short period of time, she has managed big corporate entities single-handedly and continued delivering the best of her work. She is an excellent person, a team player and provides valuable insights andexpertise to our business. I wish her all the best and more success in near future.”

What would you change about the industry? It should be more idea and creativity driven, than performance and ROI.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Automation is the next big thing; we have already started to notice it around us in the media industry. It has the potential to fundamentally change the way we work nowadays.

 

BRANISLAV ILIC 30 DIGITAL PERFORMANCE MANAGER, IPROSPECT
NOMINATION
“Bransilav is a rising star and has great potential. He understands the full picture of our business model and can self-start and lead by example each on his own level. While he’s only been in the business for a year, he’s showcasing maturity in his way of thinking and able to handle both the operational and the business side of things on his accounts.”

What is the best bit of your job? Seeing the successful end results of my performance campaigns and growth of the brands assigned to me. It gives me great satisfaction to see how our detailed cross-channel media planning and campaign execution delivers measurable ROI.
What is the worst bit of your job? We are sometimes faced with challenges to introduce our services to newcomers who are unaware of the direct and measurable results we are capable of achieving.

 

KARIM MASRI 28 SENIOR DIGITAL PLANNER, CARAT KSA
NOMINATION
“Karim joined the industry in a pivotal era when the digital economy was booming in the Saudi market, driving major media budget shifts from traditional to digital channels. Being part of Carat’s growing digital team, Karim has quickly developed his skill set and worked on major projects for leading clients such as Al Rajhi Bank, GM and IKEA, amongst others. Karim is now an integral member of the regional digital talent pool at Dentsu Aegis Network and the management is committed to accelerate his career growth accordingly.”

What is the best bit of your job? Success is mostly measurable.
What is the worst bit of your job? Digital is still vague for many clients.
What would you change about the industry? For clients to start considering digital media for brand building and not only as a performance driven platform.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? The seamless integration between offline and online channels.

 

NADIA OUBRAHIM MEDIA EXECUTIVE, HAVAS MEDIA MIDDLE EAST
NOMINATION
“Since joining Havas Media two years ago, I have seen Nadia grow at a pace that would take most people years. She is driven, hardworking and her client-centric approach enables her to look at things from multiple perspectives, aligning communications planning to business objectives. She is someone I can trust with leading and managing a project from beginning to end, like the Emirates Skycargo content approach, where she has been instrumental. Nadia brings a level of passion to the team that is refreshing, and her willingness to learn and apply her strategic mind to creatively tackle problems is a skill that is lacking nowadays. She is a great asset to the team and to Havas with immense potential – a true rising star.” – Naveen Mathews, global account director.

What is the best bit of your job? I love having the ability to bring in my marketing and management solutions background to the media landscape, whilst continuously learning the new media platforms available both regionally and globally.
What is the worst bit of your job? The least enjoyable part would most likely be when campaign ideas are shot down due to budget restrictions, however we are lucky enough to work with a client who pushes for creativity and escalates great ideas for approval internally.
What would you change about the industry? I’d like to see content redefined. Moving away from content developed purely to fulfill a commercial objective (or as a response to the rise of ad-blocking) and into content that is based on real consumer needs and triggers. As consumers’ trust towards brands continues to decrease, we have a responsibility towards brands and consumers to add value, and a big part of that is more meaningful content.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? I believe the biggest change we will see in the next five years within the industry will be the increase of virtual and augmented reality. The technology will help marketers enhance brand storytelling; in turn media agencies will elevate their content services.

 

SYED HISHAM 28 SENIOR MEDIA EXECUTIVE, HAVAS MEDIA MIDDLE EAST
NOMINATION
“Hisham continuously never ceases to amaze myself and the team with his curious mind, hardworking ethos and dedication to any project he is given. Working on a power house client such as Emirates, you need to have the prowess to match their forward-thinking nature. Hisham has gone beyond this, and is set to make his mark further on this industry. I look forward to witnessing his further accomplishments achieved.” – Deborah Arnott, media director.

What are the best and worst parts of your job? The best part of my job is most definitely the team I work with– both local and global; they are by far one of the best I have ever worked with. If I had to mention a negative aspect of my job, it would be the lack of media research that’s available in this market.
What would you change about the industry? Minimum levels of standardised service (sanctioned in collaboration with key stakeholders from the industry and the government) is something I would like to see being introduced here. Overall product offerings should be judged more by “soft” offerings (project management, social and emotional intelligence, cross-cultural communication) than “hard” offerings (costs). Media space should ideally be sold as a commodity and its price be regulated by the government, since integrity of information is a fundamental requirement in any progressive society.

 

KAMAL KASTOUN 26 SENIOR MEDIA EXECUTIVE, BPN
NOMINATION
“Kamal is a passionate and hard-working young man. He is not afraid to tackle new tasks – an approach that positively affects all parties involved. Nothing is too big or too small with Kamal. To sum it up, Kamal’s ‘give-it-your-all’ attitude, combined with his aptitude to learn and imbibe, is pretty rare to find – and it is this quality that sets him apart, makes him a pleasure to work with and will propel his career path.”

What would you change about the industry? Altering client expectations. For example, convincing them to strike a balance between their short-term gains versus their mid- to long-term benefits.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? We’re becoming more and more dependent on data. And big data will play a bigger role in planning media and communication strategies.

 

ALI MOUZANNAR 29 SENIOR MEDIA PLANNER, INITIATIVE
NOMINATION
“No matter how often and hard the boat rocks, Ali is always ready to withstand the ride and survive for another day. His ability to control his emotions and maintain his professionalism in challenging situations has proved to be one of his most prominent gifts.” – Ali Berjawi, media director.

What is the best bit of your job? Being around people at my age who share the same interests as me.
What is the worst bit of your job? I would say the long hours, sometimes under stressful conditions. However, as long as you are satisfied in your job, you will see the success out of this.
What would you change about the industry? Agencies should create an employee retention programme to lower the rate of employee turnover.

What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Rise of new communication technologies, including VR and 3D.

 

MARC KADI 26 SENIOR DIGITAL PLANNER, BPN
NOMINATION
“Marc is a huge advocate of technology. He is curious and eager to explore new ideas. His passion towards his brands drives his motivation. And, most importantly, his penchant for going above and beyond to fulfil the brand’s needs and hence achieve the set objectives.”

What is the best bit of your job? Having the freedom of decision for the media selections. I am able to multitask between planning and implementing, which I like very much.

What is the worst bit of your job? I think there is a lack of education and awareness of the industry, which affects our strategic recommendation across all digital disciplines. Another point would be that I would rather start planning from a strong creative concept instead of working it backwards or discovering the creative upon approval of the plan.
SAFWAT ABDULKHALEK 28 MEDIA MANAGER, INITIATIVE
CAREER PATH
“I ended up in media by accident. I came to UAE as a tourist and some of my relatives were already working in the industry. I was also surprised to discover that most of my friends had also worked in the field. It seemed like a more fun, social industry as well so I said, “why not?””

NOMINATION
“With his diverse experience across two major cities in the GCC and various clients, Safwat has established himself as a dedicated individual pursuing a fruitful career in media. Safwat has many goals awaiting to be achieved, yet with the right attitude, support and focus these could be reached sooner than planned.” – Ali Berjawi, media director.

What is the best bit of your job? Constant change, new ways of implementation in a fast-paced environment where you’re constantly tested, and simply learning from the industry.
What is the worst bit of your job? Continuous battles to secure budgets and always trying to exceed our clients’ expectations in an unstable economy.

What would you change about the industry? Finding a healthier relation with the crowded digital demand and real-life human interactions. The excessive use of digital media leads to fewer people interactions.

 

SARAH HANI 29 SENIOR INTEGRATED PLANNER, INITIATIVE
NOMINATION
“I have worked with Sarah for almost
three years and not one day has passed without her showing me that she has learned something new. Sarah started
her media journey as an offline media planner. However, being the motivated, competitive and curious person that she is, she has become today one of the first – if not the first – integrated planner at the agency, thus becoming an even greater asset with her combined knowledge in offline and digital media. Working with Sarah is a pure pleasure.”

What is the best bit of your job? I love that there is always something different to learn, someone new to meet, fresh challenges that keep you on edge, the empowerment to work alone on projects and finally the adrenaline rush you get when you’re about to present during a pitch.
What is the worst bit of your job? Every job in the world comes with its routine parts; I would have to say that the repetitive tasks that don’t intrigue my analytical or creative thinking can be a bit boring.

What would you change about the industry? Accommodating the digital nomad lifestyle.

 

LEENAH ASHRAF FAHEID 29 MEDIA MANAGER, MAGNA EGYPT
NOMINATION
“Leenah has been an integral part of the UL Mashreq business since she joined as a media executive. Ever since she joined the team, she has used her passion, drive for success and continuous eye for what’s new to make sure that the Unilever brands are a step ahead in the game. In an ever changing volatile market, a business that’s fast and always evolving, Leenah has been a catalyst in the success, both regional and local, of the Unilever campaigns in Egypt, both offline and online.”

What is the best bit of your job? Seeing a campaign go live or seeing the launch of a brand. Exposure, winning awards and seeing our hard work and dedication to the campaigns get regional and global recognition.
What is the worst bit of your job? Team turnover – that is part of the market challenges, the stress that comes as a part of any job.
What would you change about the industry? Market inconstancy and offline suppliers resistant to change.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Agencies and clients will need to cope with the drastic and fast changes that are happening with the consumer’s media consumption habits. We also need to adapt to global technologies that will help us with the planning and executions of the campaigns.
WAFAA ABUDAQQA 26 DIGITAL ACCOUNT MANAGER, MAGNA
NOMINATION
“Wafaa is very committed with a high sense of self awareness, and has a fast learning curve. She expresses a strong desire towards exponential growth. This combination of desire, commitment and perseverance to deliver value for the client is why we nominated Wafaa.”

What is the best bit of your job? The chance I am given to learn and prove my capabilities early in my career. Also, the sense of fulfilment I get when my recommendations deliver business results.
What is the worst bit of your job? I feel that I have the appetite and desire to offer more to the business, however, given the business needs and nature, finding the space and time is the most challenging part.
What one thing would you change about the industry? Today, I believe that brands in this region are not yet able to fully match the consumer’s agility in technology adoption, and this is a huge missed opportunity.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Technology will drive automation and will impact the roles we play currently.

ELIAS EL RASSY 29 INTEGRATED MEDIA SUPERVISOR, UM
NOMINATION
“Ambitious in nature, Elias is always on top of every project he handles, taking full ownership and delivering above expectations. He spearheaded the campaign launch of one of the key fragrances in the market last year and was able to achieve very successful results driven by the creative implementation and on-going campaign optimisation on both offline and digital media, while working closely with all parties to ensure synchronisation across all campaign elements.”

What is the best part of your job? The fast pace of the business and the constant change of the industry make every day a new challenge, driving me to stay on top of all the topics and verticals I work with.
What is the worst bit of your job? Last-minute deadlines.
What would you change about the industry? I would merge all channel agencies into one hybrid ecosystem.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? The agencies will be moving from the rigid planning and buying position to a more agile position and providing clients with a personalised consultancy based on data and insights. In addition, agencies will be more involved in the creation of content and will allocate more resources to the growing e-commerce industry.

 

 Ayat Mohammed, Haneen Abuieda, Ramzy Al-Taher from Hearts & Science

AYAT MOHAMMED 23 PLANNING EXECUTIVE, HEARTS & SCIENCE
NOMINATION
“As an urban design graduate, she took a leap of faith when she entered the media world. Within a year, Ayat has proven her capabilities as a hybrid planner and data enthusiast. She is thick-skinned and can handle the pressures that come her way, always exerting her fun, quirky personality in everything she does.” – Noma Afiouni, associate director at Hearts & Science.

What is the best bit of your job? The best part of my job is the people that I collaborate with. Regardless of the challenges and tight deadlines, we support each other to excel and become a stronger team every day.

What is the worst bit of your job? Tight deadlines often result in crazy schedules. But, after all, that is the agency life, and I can rely on my team to balance the workload.

What would you change about the industry? I would
like to ensure that media continues to evolve with the audiences’ interest in mind. As an agency, our role is
to collaborate with our clients to ensure that we communicate brand messages in the most positive
and beneficial way for all parties involved.

What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Working at Hearts & Science, we see first-hand the role that data plays in shaping decision making. In the next five years, data will become an even more significant and integrated part of media. It will continue to merit investments towards digital over traditional media.

HANEEN ABUEIDA 24 SENIOR PLANNING EXECUTIVE, HEARTS & SCIENCE
NOMINATION
“Haneen is everything and more you would want in young talent. She exuberates energy, and her positivity is contagious. She is always the first one to raise a hand to contribute to an idea and explains her points of view with tangible validations. She leapt from being a social community manager to an all-round, data-led communications enthusiast in record time. Other than planning, she has also grasped a hands-on understanding and application of digital operations, which makes her expertise unique and analytical.” – Aisha Ali, senior director at Hearts & Science.

What is the best bit of your job? The excitement and challenge. Every day is a new day, and you can never predict how it will go. We are always adapting, evolving and learning.
What is the worst bit of your job? Performing so many different tasks within the timelines that we manage leaves no room for errors. That, at times, adds pressure that can be rather overwhelming.
What would you change about the industry? The gap between this region and the West. It seems like we always wait for the news, technology, and knowledge to come from abroad rather than creating it ourselves; which, let’s face it, we are more than capable of.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? There will be fewer TV stations and printed magazines. Data will lead the market and brands will be able to target more accurately and effortlessly, fully tailoring the message to each user.

RAMZY AL-TAHER 26 Planning executive, Hearts & Science

NOMINATION
“Ramzy has an infectious and enthusiastic personality that has transformed our work culture since he joined, back in early 2017. He is extremely collaborative and has remained positive throughout all the challenges that have come his way (and there have been plenty). He has quite a creative mind and looks forward to seeing what he can bring to the table.” – Noma Afiouni, associate director at Hearts & Science.

What is the best bit of your job? The way in which we plan media at Hearts & Science, marrying creative thinking and data analysis while always keeping the consumer at heart. As media planners, we don’t just crunch numbers on Excel all day long; we have fun facing the challenges set out by our client briefs. After all, being analytical and being creative aren’t mutually exclusive.
What is the worst bit of your job? Finance-related tasks. Sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in a sea of numbers.
What one thing would you change about the industry? It’s easy to be blinded by all the sales and business KPIs. I would like to see creative advertising go back into being a form of entertainment that has helped build pop culture, especially in this region. Like Ogilvy said, “You cannot bore people into buying your product; you can only interest them in buying it.”
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? Technology and data will rule media. Everything will be sold programmatically, including TV, and the data that we foster will help us create deeper, more meaningful, personalised relationships with our consumers. Brands will have a one-to-one relationship with billions of people at the same time.
HARRIET CHECKLEY 24 DATA PARTNERSHIPS & ATTRIBUTION SPECIALIST, ANNALECT
NOMINATION
“Harriet sees every process through, from beginning to end. With her digital analytics expertise and exceptional client skills, she can translate complex tech and data terms into simple, easy-to-understand language. The entire Omnicom Media Group MENA leadership teams rely on her, and she is an integral part of the momentum that Annalect began to gather in 2017.” – Raouf Ketani, head of Annalect.

What is the best bit of your job? That no two days are the same, and every day is a learning curve. As I work with such a broad range of teams across Omnicom Media Group, I am involved in a variety of simultaneous conversations that either seek to achieve new outcomes, resolve issues or advise on different client projects across many verticals.
What is the worst bit of your job? Working inside when the weather is so beautiful outside.
What would you change about the industry? I would ban buzzwords to make everyone stop using them.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Automation. Everything will be much more automated. Also, clients will use, value and understand more of data.

RITA KTEICHE 27 Media manager, Zenith
NOMINATION
“Rita is the type of person you are blessed to have in your team; she is passionate, proactive, brilliant and always happy to learn. Her combination of insatiable curiosity and high energy makes her one the Zenith face to watch.” – Nassima El Mounfalouti.

What is the best bit of your job? I love to work with and engage with all sorts of people, learning and developing my approach to my work along the way.
What is the worst bit of your job? Approaching my work from an analytic perspective, I can find it difficult to have subjective conversations without any data direction.
What would you change about the industry? Working across MENA, I would like to see the industry develop its data capabilities. I think we talk a lot of the challenges in TV measurement, which is certainly a major challenge, but we often overlook the fact that digital data is lacking behind when we compare it with major European markets or certainly the US. I would love to see a major push on the data agenda across our region so that we can do our clients justice; be platform-agnostic, focusing on reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right places.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? The robots are coming! Artificial Intelligence will change the world.OK, maybe that is a little dramatic for a five-year outlook, but AI in combination with a helping hand from Machine Learning, will change the way our industry is shaped, and the roles media planners fulfil within it. Digital media will certainly be optimised by AI optimisation engines, plans will be devised and budgets allocated based on machine learning algorithms that analyse historical data and seasonal performance. And, in good time, this will spill over into programmatic TV and auction-based digital OOH buying.

 

AHMED KASHEF 30 Senior Media executive, client management, Zenith
NOMINATION
“Kashef started his career in media around two years ago, during which time he showed many quality traits. His enthusiasm and attitude to learn, and above all his spirit are the main reasons that put him on the fast lane of success. The way Kashef carried himself during the past two years has definitely proved that he is moving in the right direction. Listening to comments and learning from his mistakes, as little as they are, developing his abilities, techniques and approaches when dealing with suppliers, clients, colleagues, and management have been his key features of success.”

What is the best bit of your job? For me, I enjoy working on clients’ briefs and coming up with solutions to overcome the challenges that I am thrown into through creative buying and innovative ideas that best fit the brand’s objectives and identity.
What is the worst bit of your job? The worst thing for me – and I think for all planners – is the sudden and irrational budget cuts from our clients. Such budget cuts always lead to revisiting annual media plans and re-negotiations with suppliers with a ton of rigidity from them, which takes a lot of back and forth and persistency from our side to accommodate.
What would you change about the industry? We are in a very dynamic industry and witnessing a lot of changes every day, especially with the enormous digital evolution. This led the consumer to embrace such change at an enormously fast rate, which affects their media consumption and behavioural habits. However, some marketers are not agile enough to cope with such change, preferring to stick to their traditional marketing strategies, and are not in any way eager to explore new methods and thinking outside of the box.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? In a digital era, change is the only constant, with brands relying heavily on data gathering and consumer insights in order to market their brands as efficient and effective as possible. I believe AI will play a huge role, with agencies moving more towards automation and creating more proprietary tools for us to extract sound conclusions from the load of data that we are exposed to. Also, new technologies such as VR, IOT, chat bots and conversational interfaces will all be considered the norm in the upcoming years.

 

YASMINE MOKHTAR 26 Senior integrated media executive, Zenith
NOMINATION
“Yasmine Mokhtar is one of the top performing young talents in the Media market. She is one of the few who portrays ownership and dedication towards her work religiously. In the past three years she had the hybrid exposure (offline and online planning) working on strategic accounts such as Nestle, Sanofi, Mastercard and Coca-Cola. Yasmine is a great example of how a great work ethic and never-say-never attitude can take you far. She is one of our young stars that adds a lot to her team and agency at large.”

What is the best bit of your job? The most satisfying aspect of my job is the know-how of strategies that will deliver my client’s message to a tailored audience or the mass. When this is reflected in sales or becomes topical due its wide occurrence on multiple touchpoints, it is fulfilling given the difficulty of appearing within a cluttered and creative Egyptian market.
What is the worst bit of your job? Being the middle man requires extreme patience, in a sense the outcome of your work is heavily dependent on the work of other parties, essentially the suppliers, that said, it’s extremely important to constantly monitor and optimise communication/campaign performance and make the necessary adjustments to make sure that we’re on track or, better yet, exceeding expectations which leaves no room for error.
What would you change about the industry? Referring to how this industry operates in Egypt in particular, I believe there is a lack of system and insufficient research on consumer behaviour to support much of our work, yet most clients are now investing in data collection without proper utilisation.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? This is a very fast-paced industry that requires constant change to be able to accommodate to consumer interests and ever changing habits. However, I believe the future of this industry is tech, whether AI or machines or digital, and we must thoroughly and continuously understand and adapt to consumer habits to be able to lead their journey.

 

AAZIM HAQUE 26 Senior executive, analytics, Publicis Media
NOMINATION
“In less than three years, Aazim has made a big impact on how Publicis Media measures and optimises digital campaigns for clients. Putting his mathematics background to good use, Aazim has created a market-leading digital attribution model from scratch that puts us at the forefront of this space globally. This new model has been extremely well received by clients because of the richness of insights and optimisation recommendations that it gives, and this has resulted in significant improvements in campaign performance. The approach has already been rolled out across a wide number of clients and campaigns to date.”
MOHAMED ZAKI 29 HEAD OF UM STUDIOS, CAIRO
NOMINATION
“Zaki is a real creative catalyst. His innovative strategies have led to creating new differentiators and a unique offering for us at UM Cairo. Since he joined as head of UM Studios he has proved instrumental and has impacted our offering positively in a very short period of time. Working on a very challenging portfolio and a competitive landscape, he has managed to grow our business in Cairo.”

What is the best bit of your job? What I love most about my job is that I constantly explore new ways of merging creativity with technology in order to build brands and create a truly engaging experience.
What is the worst bit of your job? The most challenging bit of my job is the effect of devaluation on the clients’ abilities to invest in new technologies and creative executions. We are still missing out on a lot.
What would you change about the industry? I would increase the need for research in order to have space for trial and error experiments, which will provide proven approaches to the industry. This will enable us to constantly reflect and critically analyse our work.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Big data will lead to the innovation of new forms of advertising, which will positively impact the advertisers’ abilities to develop personalised and targeted content.
SANGEETHA ANANTHAKRISHNAN 26 ANALYST, DATA VISUALISATION, ANNALECT
NOMINATION
“Sangeetha has mastered the end-to-end data processing cycle in record time. Her expertise has expanded to so many areas that she now covers: API development, data extraction, transformation, loading, as well as data visualisation and analysis. She is a true Annalectual.” – Raouf Ketani, head of Annalect.

What is the best bit of your job? There are many interesting bits about my job. To highlight some of them: my exposure to different clients and multiple industries, the challenges that we face, handling large volumes of data, exploring and testing new tools, amongst many others. Every day is exciting and new.
What is the worst bit of your job? Being in the tech space means that things are constantly changing. So by the time you master something, it quickly becomes outdated.
What would you change about the industry? Again, because the industry is constantly evolving, playing catch-up can be challenging. I think all stakeholders, whether you’re an agency or a tech company, need to be on the same page. I think there’s an opportunity to have even more open lines of communications with each other, so we can evolve together.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? With the proliferation of connected devices, we expect a lot of data sources and new platforms to be leveraged for analytics. The number of data sources and the possibilities for performing analytics and deriving insights could increase manifold. However, with the recent developments, there could also be significant changes in the way consumer data is used. Privacy and transparency are still major concerns that need to be addressed, before we can make use of this data.
ALAA BOU ANTOUN 28 JOB TITLE DATA & PERFORMANCE MANAGER, STARCOM
NOMINATION
“Alaa is a rising star within the Samsung team, and more broadly within the agency, as he is the go-to-person for anything related to digital media, performance marketing and data. He was part of the team that developed DCO, an outstanding optimisation tool for all Samsung digital campaigns, and recently led the biggest data-driven marketing project for Samsung with the launch of the Galaxy S9.”

What is the best bit of your job? Working for one of the largest global tech clients, we need to innovate and lead on new media thinking every day. It fast tracks our growth and our exposure. Our learning curve is limitless.
What is the worst bit of your job? Clients are usually going for tried and tested methods and changing these mindsets is always a tricky part of our job as digital specialists. Also, legal and long approval processes that usually limit the opportunities to implement new technologies.
What would you change about the industry? Break the silos between departments, agencies, and clients to deliver best in class strategies and ensure smooth and successful activations.
CARINE SABRA 24 MEDIA EXECUTIVE, STARCOM
NOMINATION
“Carine is a diva in the making, super sharp, super passionate and not scared of venturing into the unknown. Carine came from a creative background, which explains her random and quirky ideas. She is like a fireball throwing energy everywhere. So with a bit of guidance, she managed to channel her creativity down the right route to become more scientific. This unlocked something she never thought she would be interested in: performance marketing and numbers. See, ideas are always nice to come up with, but carrying them through and reporting on an ROI is the real challenge. Carine took this as a challenge and ventured into performance marketing, testing around dashboards and breaking stuff yet learning. What Carine combines is the best of two worlds: the art of creativity and the science of performance.”

What are the best and worst bits of your job? Media is constantly changing, and is shifting its focus towards digital growth innovation and technology. I like the challenge of keeping up with changes. The media industry is reliant on several parties and sometimes our message will end up being lost. And don’t we all hate reporting and follow ups.

 

GHIDA ISMAIL 24 Media supervisor, Levant, UM
What is the best bit of your job? The dynamism of the industry; leading on different accounts makes the job so interesting as every client has a different mentality and direction in the market. Working on different briefs triggers the challenge in each planner. Also, the connections and networking we make out of our job from different suppliers and clients is definitely an added value to our career path.
What is the worst bit of your job? Every single thing has its pros and cons, so as much as it’s exciting to meet new people, sometimes dealing with different parties leads to obstacles when launching campaigns and finalising deals for clients.
What would you change about the industry? More studies on digital, conducted frequently for brand and consumer insights.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Digital will have an even bigger share in clients’ media budgets, since they are aware of the direct business results that can be driven from digital. Budgets might not increase, though, so it’s a matter of shifting media split. Also, clients are expecting detailed studies on all plans recommended, so data analysis through different tools will be a prerequisite for any agency selected by any account. As an agency, the load will be focused on planning rather than buying and we will be working more as media consultants.

 

HADIL EL ZANATY 28 Digital Media Manager, UM Cairo
ACCOLADES
“Star Performer” Award from The Coca-Cola Company on The Ice Bottle Campaign “Summer Campaign” in 2016; Lynx Bronze Award – Integrated Media on Coca-Cola’s ACN Campaign in 2017.

NOMINATION
“Hadil is an exceptional talent with a passion and drive to excellence that makes her push the boundaries of her challenging job far. She has transformed our digital offering and capabilities since she joined us. In a very competitive and growing market Hadil is a key asset to success.”

What is the best bit of your job? Digital advertising is one of the most creative and innovative industries; communication messages need to be continuously refreshed, renewed and transformed in order to cut through the clutter. We have to always apply new approaches; from developing the campaigns’ strategies to the details of the execution. And when it all clicks; when a campaign gets a massive response and enriches the brand’s KPIs it feels awesome.
What is the worst bit of your job? Having to convince our business partners that digital media is a key differentiator to their marketing strategy and should be tackled differently from any other traditional medium.
What would you change about the industry? That digital is no longer a complementary medium
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? The next few years will be an incredibly exciting time in the digital industry. The rise of smartphones and technologies are allowing us to push the boundaries in the brand/consumer relationship. The engagement model will be transformed to be much more curated and customised, which will make advertising better and more valuable in the hearts and minds of consumers, hence more effective. Accordingly brands will give more attention to digital and we will witness a significant growth in the digital investments.

 

SARAH EID 24 Senior digital media planner, Levant, Spark Foundry
NOMINATION
“Sarah Eid is a unique talent who never stops impressing, a combination of creativity and analytical thinking. With her entrepreneurial spirit, Sarah has implemented first-in-market technologies for her clients and was behind multiple activations that Publicis Media Lebanon has been awarded for, raising the bar to many across the organisation. Her curiousity and eagerness to learn and always be up-to-date with the latest trends made her become our go-to person for any digital query.”

What is the best bit of your job? It’s that it doesn’t feel like a job at all. I just get the right mix of stress and fun. Every campaign offers something different, so there is no way to feel the routine. The company’s culture and nurturing environment have always been major players in unleashing my creative side to the fullest.
What would you change about the industry? The media industry is still considered as a secondary priority within a client advertising campaign. Heavy budgets are being put behind content production, which is jeopardising the impact of media campaigns. I would say the perfect recipe would have media and content set at the same level.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? With e-commerce being on the rise in Lebanon specifically, I would say it will definitely pick up even more in the next five years, with both brands and consumers partaking in it and being accustomed to it. More of a habitual behaviour.

 

SARA KHALIFEH 27 Senior media executive, Spark Foundry
NOMINATION
“You wouldn’t miss Sara Khalifeh’s presence in a room filled with people: her self-confidence, bubbly attitude and ambition will easily make her the most charismatic person there. Since joining, Sara managed to earn the trust of her clients, going the extra mile every time, never missing a chance to create and innovate. In a record time, Sara was able to translate the same passion she has for TV to online planning. Her constant thrive for learning and growth as a multi-channel planner definitely make her one to watch out for.”

What is the best bit of your job? Media’s hectic pace, my passion for the industry and the need to create success stories excite me every day to get to the office. It’s the most fulfilling side of media. Not to mention the fact that I work and interact with brilliant minds around the agency on a never-ending learning curve.
What is the worst bit of your job? The worst bit would definitely be working in a market that’s still in its infancy when it comes to understanding the enormous advantage of media on brands. We are trained to be hybrid executives and yet we still face resistance from clients every time we try to recommend things outside of their comfort zone.
What would you change about the industry? Transparency and work ethics. In the industry with the biggest spends, we often come across suppliers who will give the agency one rate and the client another.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? With digital media being this measurable and transparent, offline media will have to become equally measurable and accurate to stay an attractive choice for advertisers or it will lag behind and begin its inevitable decline.

 

TAMARA BAHOUS 25 Senior media executive, Starcom
NOMINATION
“When Tamara joined Starcom, she faced a big challenge, learning the best of two media worlds, the online and the offline. Yet she was lucky to learn media as a whole without biases or prejudice. She learned in two years what took others eight. Tamara is the first hybrid planner I have met that looks agnostically at media like pieces of a puzzle; each has its value and role with no prejudice to any media over the other. She has mastered the art of storytelling, which helped her in challenging my strategies, forcing me to rethink them over and over. Her ability to grasp the operations and see projects through is impeccable. Tamara is the rock of the team. She still has more to learn, but I see her as a leading female figure in a male-dominated media industry. I would give this four years max.”

What is the best bit of your job? Getting to see and measure the effectiveness of our recommendations for our clients, be it promoting a product, an offer or a branding campaign. I recently started working on campaigns in which we can track the actual conversions (ticket sales), and seeing how online media influences consumers. Motivating them to purchase products or even show interest makes our job worthwhile.
What is the worst bit of your job? Having to tell our partners such as publishers that you will not be able to test their product. Throughout the two and a half years I have been working in media I learned that even if you do not believe in the product suppliers have to offer, always give them a chance. From that learning I have tried out almost five different products and three of them shocked me with their performance (I am referring to both online and offline).
What would you change about the industry? I am a strong believer in online media, I believe it grew drastically in the past three years and it will continue to grow. But I strongly believe in offline media as well, particularly outdoor. What I dislike about the industry nowadays is that it became very data driven; everything needs data proof, when some things are just obvious.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? I believe the industry is moving towards an e-commerce and mobile dominant industry. From recent studies and readings we can see that souq.com, noon.com and other e-commerce sites are growing drastically. I am a victim of online shopping myself and year on year my online purchasing habits are growing and I can see the same happening around me. Moreover, most of the purchases are happening from mobile phones for multiple reasons, one of which is most of the e-commerce platforms have apps that are very user friendly.

 

ANDY PTASINSKI 28 Senior exec, DTI, Publicis Media
NOMINATION
“Andy Ptasinski has been instrumental in driving efficiencies in ad operations across Publicis Media MENA. Andy created an automated platform across the group that drastically reduces the digital trafficking process end to end. This has reduced the man hours required for trafficking a typical campaign by 90 per cent. This has resulted in a significant improvement in getting client campaigns live in a near real-time manner, but also allows us to focus efforts in advance of technology deployment for our clients in areas such as advanced website and app analytics, offline conversion measurement and data management platforms.”

What is the best bit of your job? Working in an ever-evolving ecosystem, with clients from all major sectors that all require tailor-made solutions to suit their media needs. Every client, big or small, requires a bespoke mix of tools that exposes you to a whole spectrum of technologies, ranging from ad servers and tag management solutions to database management and AI frameworks.
What is the worst bit of your job? Struggling with outdated mind sets, processes and legacy implementations that often hinder the opportunities to implement new solutions. The technology sector, which the digital media industry is very reliant on at this point, is so fast-paced that companies that don’t keep up with the curve will get left behind sooner rather than later.
What would you change about the industry? Change the mindset of only needing media planning or creative knowledge to work in the current media landscape. If you consider how reliant digital advertising is on data that needs to be stored, processed and analysed, everyone working in the digital media industry, on both the agency and client sides, needs to at least understand the foundations of data manipulation and the tools that are being widely used.

What will be the biggest change in the next five years?
I believe that both machine learning and blockchain technologies will impact the industry in a major way. Technologies such as Albert and Marcel will drastically change the way media planning and activation will be happening and blockchain implementations such as BAT or Ad Shares will hopefully challenge the monopolies that currently exist in the industry.

 

SAJID ISMAIL 29 Senior manager, Social Strategy, Publicis Media
NOMINATION
“Sajid represents the ultimate in the pursuit of creating social content that pushes the feed forward. In one word: lit. His name in fact should be first because that’s what he does best: MENA’s first Canvas; the first Global Story with real-time drone footage; making the first animojis before they were a thing, or word, in fact. You better watch quick because Sajid’s face won’t be sticking in the present for too long – he’s already two swipe ups into the future.”

What is the best bit of your job? Apart from the steady
pay cheque? The industry is ever-evolving. Every month, there’s something new that pops up and you have to crack how it works for your client. Or there’s a massive pitch.
But a job is like any other relationship and what makes it worthwhile is the people you share it with. We have the
best minds in the industry here but what’s more important
than just talent? Dependability. They always come through, no matter the hour.
What is the worst bit of your job? Social is at the bottom of the attention list. The arena has evolved and today clients are much more involved and savvy about the medium but it still, unfortunately, is the last thing on their mind. We have many case studies showing social delivering on KPIs across the consumer journey, showcasing the true potential of the medium, but the lack of trust is sometimes frustrating.
What would you change about the industry? Can we please stop looking at “reach” as the primary KPI? The real KPI, no matter what the brand, is “conversion”. Everything we do must influence this one metric. If it doesn’t, we’re kidding ourselves. It’s what matters to (a) customers because they’re persuaded by a brand to buy through a variety of factors (message, medium, experience, purpose, time, etc.); and (b) to clients, as that’s how their business grows. We need to have a laser focus on that and be business consultants and not ‘media’ experts.
What will be the biggest change in the next five years? Privacy. What’s happening in Europe (General Data Protection Regulation) will shape the way media functions. Prepare for countless debates on what’s right, what’s not and what’s necessary.

 

LEA BITAR 24 Planning Manager, PHD UAE

ACCOLADES: Marketing is in Lea’s DNA, having been raised amongst a family of advertisers. Upon completing her studies in 2014, she joined PHD and was immersed in a diverse range of accounts. Her affinity to provide hybrid solutions for optimal campaign results, is at the forefront of her communications planning. Lea has led and contributed to several projects over the years, but her work with Arla Foods is worth highlighting. Her work on the campaign ‘Cook With Her’ resulted in three awards at the 2017 Effies and was shortlisted for the 2018 Festival of Media Global awards. She has also been recognized internally, winning the award for ‘Leader in Advancing Content & Experience’ at last year’s Omnicom Media Group’s annual ceremony celebrating its brightest talent.

NOMINATION: “Lea has impressed since the moment she stepped foot into PHD. Her innate inquisitiveness, desire to learn and push the boundaries of what is possible has made her one to watch from the very beginning. She is trusted and valued by her clients, appreciated for the knowledge and support she provides to her team and respected by the PHD network as a true leader in driving change. Lea’s genuine passion to deliver quality, innovative work is the embodiment of our agency mantra of ‘Finding a better way’.” Nawal Nasreddine, Senior Director of Planning, PHD UAE

What is the best bit of your job? – One of the best aspects about my job is the people. I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse group of clients and colleagues all from very different backgrounds and industries. PHD’s diversity is one that has only made us stronger and smarter, and has equipped me with invaluable experience. As a fresh graduate entering the industry, I couldn’t have asked for a better platform to learn, grow and thrive.
What is the worst bit of your job? – The fast-moving pace of technology and the effect it has had on what we do is a gamechanger, but equally a challenge. To thrive in this environment means to find a thrill in the speed of the shift while also anticipating the next turn so you can be one step ahead. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you need to be a sponge, take in everything that comes your way, and accept the changes as opportunities to do more – and do it better.
What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? – New tech and data have really changed the way we plan, create, design, write and sell. At a time when we are seeing more and more clients seek an integrated team to handle their marketing business and to lead the tech and data wave, it only makes sense to break down the current silos. It’s a shift that would not only lead to managing marketing budgets more efficiently but would also allow clients to integrate new tech and data launches more accurately, by utilizing everyone’s expertise to identify which tech to use, how to use it, when and why. Consider the rise of voice for example, and the myriad of operations needed to deploy a search function related to this, or with the increasing popularity of AR. How would you manage this effectively with multiple entities involved? Media, creative, PR, content and social media will need to work cohesively together on one project. Naturally, the wall that exists between these agencies and departments will have to fall.

 

STEPHANIE MEDLEGE 28 Associate Director of Planning, PHD UAE
ACCOLADES Stephanie has operated across several market categories during her five years with PHD. Her data-led and creative approach to helping brands communicate effectively is only half of the success story. It’s Stephanie’s expertise, combined with her natural ability to build trusted and collaborative relationships that makes her a standout, amongst her team and clients. Her contribution to the business has been well-recognized, winning numerous accolades over the years, including the PHD UAE awards for ‘Advancing Data & Analytics’ and ‘Client Satisfaction’ in 2015, and the ‘Sustained Performance Award’ a year earlier, at Omnicom Media Group MENA’s annual honors ceremony.

NOMINATION: “In an industry where client servicing is key, it is imperative to be agile, confident and diligent. Stephanie’s ability to be all three, while utilizing her strong regional and multi-market expertise ensures she always delivers an exceptional output and makes her as a leader of note. Never one to accept the status quo, Stephanie leads from the front to challenge convention and influences how we, as a team, work as a result. It is this foresight and initiative that safeguards our commitment to driving continuous value for our clients.” Karen Doumet, Senior Director of Planning, PHD UAE

What is the best bit of your job? PHD’s future-facing vision for what it needs to do today to prepare for tomorrow is inspiring. Being in an environment like this, which is embracing the evolution of marketing, really pushes you to think differently and find a better way in everything that you do.
What is the worst bit of your job? I see challenges only as drivers for growth and development. For me, it’s about juggling all of the pieces as best I can, remaining focused on what I can control, and never letting the standard lapse. I also practice a bit of yoga, which helps keep me zen!

What one thing would you change about the industry? At the moment, we are working in silos when it comes to developing creative, planning and even PR, but we’ve reached a point where data is driving every action we take. In the future, we will need to somehow merge every component of media into one cohesive unit, which will ultimately allow us to deliver superior standards for our clients.

What will be the biggest change to the industry in the next five years? The merge between technology and humans will transform everything we do as marketers, even more than it has already. Data too is something we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of. We can anticipate a future where our understanding of data is much deeper because of technology and as a result will be in a position to more accurately tailor our communication.

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