Nominated by Zainab Alhassan, managing director, Pop Communications
“Zoya’s approach to managing the team echoes her approach to life: she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, she has a wicked sense of humour and always has a positive attitude. Since joining the POP Communications team a month ago she’s started regular training sessions for junior members of the team, helping with writing, presentation skills and industry knowledge. As well as managing the team, she works closely with senior management to grow the business and expand the current client portfolio, approaching and pitching for new clients on a daily basis, leading on new business proposals and working with clients to ensure accounts are running smoothly.”

Career path
“I’ve worked in PR in the Middle East for nine years and have honed my skills at smaller homegrown agencies such as Active PR and Q Communications, as well as international agencies like Ogilvy and Edelman. I’m now overseeing the PR team at POP Communications, a vibrant millennial-run PR agency founded in 2017 by Sarah Curtis and Zainab Alhassan. During my career I’ve been an integral part of a number of award-winning campaigns such as the SYFY No-End House (PRCA Gamechanger Award), GROHE Green Mosque (SABRE Award) and LinkedIn’s Hear It From Me (shortlisted for a MENA Effie Award). During my career I’ve also worked to announce the first Arab, Muslim woman to sign with WWE, which made international headlines, and spearheaded the Nissan PR account for KSA. In my current role I oversee the POP Communications teams on social media and PR as well as new business.”

Guiding principles
Be an extension of your client’s team. Your client needs to know you’re always at the end of the phone or email and available to help them out.
Learn how to predict the future.
Know what your client is going to ask you before they do, and then deliver it.
Know what’s going on in the world. Whether it’s award-winning campaigns, a new social media platform making the rounds or industry news affecting your client, it’s important to have your ear to the ground.