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Media faces to watch 2017

Campaign profiles some of the most promising and talented individuals aged 30 or under working in the media industry. Data crunchers, strategic planners and shrewd deal-makers, they all raise the game of their agencies and the industry

Here they are….


Zeina Kettaneh, 24, integrated account executive, MEC Beirut

Kettaneh was one of the six candidates chosen to represent Lebanon in the IAA Apprentice programme in 2014. Since joining MEC, her passion for her job has seen her expand her scope to digital marketing, paid social media and on-ground activations. Currently leading the social strategy for several clients, Kettaneh was chosen as a first candidate of MEC’s induction programme, when she was seconded to Dubai for
a month.


Vinita Sheth, 29, account manager, MEC

Vinita Sheth is the persistent roaring engine of change at MEC, a media maverick who powers growth for her clients and the agency.

After joining MEC in 2013, Sheth was immediately thrown into the deep end with retail giant Landmark Group, as an account executive. Four years on, she manages a team of 10 people across the GCC. At any given point she manages 30-40 campaigns.

In 2017, Sheth was selected as one of the agency’s “Thrivers”.


Reem Wazzan, 23, strategic planner, MEC Dubai

In the two years since she joined MEC, Reem Wazzan has proven to be dynamite, say her colleagues. If Google were a girl it would be her. With limitless determination to find answers, she earned a reputation as a walking consumerpedia. She is the go-to person for insights about virtually any audience – from traditional Arab mothers to luxury car owners.


Mona Abulhasan, 25, digital account manager, MEC Dubai

Mouna Abdulhasan started her career in media as an intern with MEC in 2013, only to get a full time job there that same year. In 2016, she was one of three selected from the global network to attend the MEC Digital Academy at MEC’s headquarters in the UK.

“Mona is one of the most driven individuals I have worked with in my career,” says Nadine Essinawi, business unit director at MEC Dubai. “She is always thriving to improve herself and never fears any challenges.”


Marzia Daudzai, 26, senior integrated media planner, MEC Dubai

Marzia Daudzai was part of the team that won MEC Agency of the Year in the 2016 Festival of Media, and has worked closely on award-winning campaigns such as KitKat’s “Celebrate the Breakers”. Born into a family belonging to the most conservative tribe in Afghanistan, she says: “If I had been told that I would have anything to do with such achievements, I would have thought it to be an impossible dream.”


Mais Amad, 29, integrated media planner, MEC Dubai

Mais Amad graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours degree in political science & sociology, then taught English in the West Bank. “There I learned that in order to be a part of change, you have to learn the forces of change that lie in the heart of the corporate world,” she says. Back in Canada she joined the World Wildlife Fund, before moving to Saudi Arabia. After a short stint with a creative agency, she discovered a passion for data and science.


Lily Shafik, 25, digital media executive, MEC Egypt

Lily Shafik is a “digital fighter,” say her bosses, and expresses a considerate competitive spirit in the field and in her everyday life. As well as being on the national dodgeball team and playing for Egypt in the World Cup, she has taken on roles beyond her scope of experience and has over-performed in them.


Ibrahim Samir, 24, senior executive, search,MEC Dubai

Ibrahim Samir has called Belgium, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Ireland, and the US home. He made the move to Dubai from New York about seven months ago, where within 24 hours of landing he got started at MEC MENA. Now he is responsible for Jaguar & Land Rover’s paid search in the Middle East.

“The perfect combination of his creativity, innovation and technical ability, coupled with his infectious enthusiasm, completely transforms the search space into opportunities that drive the client’s business objectives” says Mehdy Mamode, digital director on the Jaguar Land Rover account.


Jawaher Mohammed Shakib, 26, senior account executive, MEC Bahrain

Two weeks after graduating, from Bahrain Polytechnic in 2014, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Jawaher Mohammed Shakib oined MEC Bahrain as an account executive, and was promoted to senior account executive one year later.

She handles new businesses pitches on behalf of
MEC Bahrain, including the development of innovative and unique media strategies and successful execution
of pitches.


Rim Darazi 29 associate director, planning, OMD

In today’s fragmented world, clients increasingly demand simplicity and seamless integration, and this is where Rim Darazi excels. She joined OMD in 2010 and has grown from planning executive to associate director, leading on one of OMD’s top global accounts, McDonald’s.
Her commitment to delivering high-quality work, coupled with her deep and immersed understanding of her client’s businesses, has positioned her as a key business consultant. During the transition
of OMD from media agency to business performance agency, Darazi’s managers say, she mastered the challenge of elevating the dialogue with key stakeholders.


Yasser Ibrahim El-Sarw 29 associate director, digital media, BPG Maxus.

 “Enthusiasm, persistence, determination and passion is what defines me and keeps me always charged and ready to accept new challenges in my career,” says Yasser Ibrahim El-Sarw. “Working with multinational agencies and handling more than 30 regional and global brands added massively to my progress and the learning curve that’s fueling my career leap. I do believe that having a vision for brands and businesses based on in-depth understanding of their needs, data and audience insights is what makes the difference for clients’ businesses and guides them through this cluttered medium, and this is exactly what I’m mastering.”

He adds: “With eight years of experience in the digital field, I’m an award-winning digital strategist who knows how to put businesses on the right direction within the digital space and optimise their investments for maximum ROI. I was able to win regional and global businesses for BPG Maxus and managed to achieve remarkable shifts in their digital performance, exceeding their expectations at all levels. Winning silver and gold Effies awards is crowning my efforts in delivering impactful results to my clients.”


Myriam Ghorayeb 29 manager, planning, OMD

 At the age of 29, Myriam Ghorayeb has earned the strategic marketing investor title at OMD, handling and leading the conversation on the most awarded brand in the region, Infiniti Middle East.

In the nine months after she joined OMD, Ghorayeb played an instrumental role in the launch of Infiniti Q30, making it one of the most successful automotive launches in the Middle East, exceeding the sales forecast and becoming the most searched for model of its kind on Google.

A few months later, she took part in the ideation for the Infiniti Q50s launch and, through a combination of innovation, data and raw human emotion, created a unique and talked-about launch at The Dubai Mall fountains. 


Ruba Hachem, 27, manager, planning, OMD

Ruba Hachem’s dedication and commitment to her work define her. Her work ethic is unparalleled, and going the extra mile for her client is what she does daily, to the extent that colleagues say they often have to tell her to go home. Her effort and dedication have put her on the fast track in OMD, and within a little over three years she progressed from being a fresh graduate, joining as junior executive, to a planning manager leading communication strategies for her brands.

Dana Rahal, 26 manager, planning, OMD

Dana Rahal’s alignment with client needs is what makes clients listen to, respect, and admire her. She ensures that she fully grasps what clients require, and sees the bigger picture before putting forward recommendations. Within OMD, she is the queen of insight software, and knows how to navigate and mine consumer, category, and brand data better than most. This translates to her always uncovering that one key insight that becomes the fuel for any campaign. She loves brand challenges, and this has led to her working on a host of different accounts and industries, including Hilton, Henkel, ADCB, and flydubai, in each of which she has increased client satisfaction.


Viktor Maksymov 26, senior media executive, Havas Media

Viktor Maksymov began his career in Ukraine’s biggest e-commerce portal, Prom.ua, as an SEO & SEM specialist. Since relocating to Dubai in 2015 he has developed an advanced level of knowledge and skills within his field. An expert in performance, attribution modelling and data analysis, Maksymov currently oversees the implementation of performance campaigns across Google products for a diverse portfolio of clients.

Apart from his exceptional technical skills, Maksymov has proactively trained more than
45 team members on digital performance strategy and implementation.  Additionally, he led digital performance training across all departments
of Havas.   

His colleagues say Maksymov is a creative mind who likes to challenge the norms within his field. He was the first in the Middle East region to launch a 360-degree in-stream YouTube video ad for one of his clients. He is highly innovative, proactive and reactive on all topics.

“Viktor is an asset for the agency,” says Houda Tohme, general manager of Havas Media Dubai. “His collaborative spirit, positive attitude and exceptional talent are qualities that distinguish him not only internally but also with his clients. We are proud to have him on our team and look forward to seeing him grow and become the leader he is set out to be.”

Farah Benbakir 27 senior media executive, Havas Media

As a digital expert at Havas Media for one of the agency’s largest accounts, Farah Benbakir has been a key player in bringing her team members up to speed with digital integration since she joined the company in 2016.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing communications and a master’s degree in strategic marketing.

“Farah’s dedication and commitment are second to none,” says Houda Tohme, general manager of Havas Media Dubai. “In addition to her technical skills, she has exceptional self-motivation, which drives her and the team to always deliver and outperform. It is a pleasure to have a team member like Farah within the Havas Media Group; she is an exceptional talent with promising future ahead of her.”


Simon Jenkins 29, global social director, Havas Media

Simon Jenkins has more than seven years’ experience leading social departments in London, Paris and Dubai, where he relocated to two years ago. He is currently the global social director in charge of driving the extremely successful social strategy for Emirates airline across more than 80 markets.

His role extends across strategic leadership, capabilities management, best practice implementation  and leading the coordination of a network of social media traders based around the world.

Jenkins is a sought-after social media expert for industry events and has spoken at key marketing conferences including the Social Media World Forum, eCommerce Expo and Marketing Kingdom (Bahrain and Jordan), in addition to being a guest lecturer at several universities across the UK.

Jenkins has a master’s degree in digital marketing and is a member of the IAB Social Media Council.

“Simon displays a significant level of business acumen and is comfortable with the full spectrum of audiences – from one to 1,000 people, from graduates to CEOs,” says Tony Ruddock, global client officer at Havas Media Middle East. “He is a true leader in his field, and it is indeed my pleasure to have Simon leading the global social team at Havas. He is an excellent asset to the group and the Dubai communications community.”


Geo Joseph, 26, manager, programmatic, Omnicom Media Group MENA

Geo Joseph started his career as an intern at Omnicom after completing a degree in econometrics, and has risen through the ranks to manager in four short years, leading on programmatic for many of the group’s key clients. Mature far beyond his years, he is one of the region’s brightest programmatic talents, says the agency.

It didn’t take long for him to shine, winning awards for high performance and advancing technology. “Geo is one of the most talented digital operators I have had the pleasure of managing,” says Christos Solomi, executive director of programmatic. “He keeps me on my toes each and every day, mixing a hard-nosed practical approach to delivering performance for our clients with a passion to continuously test new ideas and technology.”

Joseph’s work has contributed to numerous digital awards and he is now charged with training and leading the next generation of programmatic traders entering the doors at Omnicom.

Merin Jose, 27, manager, marketing science at Annalect

Merin Jose joined OMG’s Annalect early last year as a senior marketing science analyst. In the past 12 months she has exhibited the attitude, skillset and leadership to take Annalect MENA towards its vision of marketing based purely on science and data, say her bosses. She has single-handedly built automated data processes that pull in and compute millions of rows of data from several data sources every day, offered cost-saving and enhanced data solutions for many of OMG’s clients and created complex mathematical and statistical models from scratch using multiple computer languages, some of which she learnt on the job within days.

“She has always gone above and beyond her duty to always find a better, more efficient way for any internal or client project,” says Raouf Ketani, head of Annalect MENA. “Within a year at the company, Merin has gone on to win an employee of the year award, achieve a promotion and is now managing a team of analysts, programmers and developers.”

Jeena George, 28, senior executive, SEO at Resolution MENA

Jeena George started her career as an intern at Omnicom Media Group after completing a degree in human resources. So how did the jump to SEO happen? “I took up SEO as a temporary assignment while doing my postgraduate degree,” she says. “Three months in, I found myself intrigued with the world of organic search and its many facets. It was a whole new world for me and a chance to develop very specialised skills.”

George’s ability to quickly grasp the technical aspect of SEO in a short time has resulted in her leading on several strategic client accounts including McDonald’s and Beiersdorf. She has won a number of employee awards at Resolution.

“Both clients and other stakeholders love working with Jeena, since she has an objective and level-headed solution to most challenges,” says Adrian Turcsan, head of SEO at Resolution MENA. “Her people-first approach in managing projects always drives great results and keeps our team constantly motivated.”

George has contributed to numerous search shortlists and awards and is now preparing for her next role: fully taking over all the client/team operations management in Resolution MENA.

Julià Pujol Ardèvol, 29, marketing engineer manager at Annalect

Julià Pujol Ardèvol joined OMG’s Annalect from Barcelona and has been with the company for just over one year. In this time he has taken the group’s data and analytics capabilities to the next level. His superior knowledge of how online data works, from collection, to storage, to transfer, to activation, makes him an amazing asset to any organisation wanting to take their business into the age of big data, say OMG’s management.

Ardèvol has helped set up and enhance digital and data capabilities for several clients, elevating knowledge of their consumers from the basic level to granular behaviour insights. Then he takes the setup a step further and ensures all data collected can be activated on any platform online with a click of a button.


May Karim, 29, senior manager, exchange, Mindshare Lebanon

Joining Mindshare in 2009, Karim is now one of the star performers at the agency. She is a talented multitasker who links projects together for “maximum synergy”. Her work has featured in award-winning campaigns for Kotex, Gap and Nike, leading to her selection as employee of the year in 2014 and recent recognition by Mindshare MENA CEO Ravi Rao for her innovative ideas. She maintains a strong relationship with her clients while successfully teaching the essentials of media planning to university students at Notre Dame University. Karim has been recognized by the IAA Lebanon chapter and works with them on projects bridging professional and academic fields.

While juggling all her professional achievements, Karim didn’t want to miss out on being an active mother to Mia, her one-year-old girl. In February 2017, May became a certified baby swimming coach, giving her an opportunity to bond with her baby while practising her favourite sport.


Zeynel El Glaoui, 28, digital manager,Mindshare Tunisia

Zeynel El Glaoui is a digital native who is passionate about technology. He is always eager to recommend technological solutions, brand content and adaptive content on social media to Mindshare clients.

With his interest in consumer behaviours, the continuous evolution of the consumer journey and new ways that people are consuming media, El Glaoui transformed his vision of digital solutions to an integrated one, making all types of media work together to deliver brands’ messages in the right way. He strives to put digital at the core of any 360-degree campaign strategy.

As a manager today, he embodies the attitude that every media agency needs to face the future evolution of the industry. He has won in several creative and media award festivals in the region and earned distinctions within Mindshare for work for Nescafe, coaching platform Nana en Confiance, KOBC for TT, and the Bac 3G network.


Reine Hammoud, 30, senior manager, Exchange, Mindshare KSA

Reine Hammoud combines an insightful approach to client-related problems and an ability to build relationships that has yielded many positive returns to Mindshare. Colleagues describe her as having a passion that is contagious, a strategic mind, a natural sense of curiousity and creative problem-solving skills.

She has run multimillion dollar accounts from a young age and managed the business in a way that has expanded relationships into many functions beyond traditional media. Her strength lies in her ability to listen, understand, think, organise, and implement with excellence.


Samer Slim, 29, senior manager, Exchange, Mindshare KSA

Samer Slim is the modern-day marketer who won’t rest until clients are convinced. In 2016, not only was he a cornerstone of the agency, receiving excellent evaluations, but he was also singled out by a client for his achievements with a special recognition letter from the CMO, which is not something that happens very often in the media industry.

His biggest strength is his curiosity, refusing to set aside a subject until he fully engages with it, understands its complexities, then goes on to produce work that constantly and consistently elevates the agency’s position in front of the client. Slim is a master in using different departments to solve clients’ marketing problems.


Selim Bdioui, 25, Exchange executive, Mindshare Tunisia

Joining Mindshare Tunisia at the age of 24, Selim Bdioui became one of the agency’s star performers. Always suggesting innovative ideas for his clients, he sets himself
apart with his unique way of approaching problems.
Although he has been in the industry for less than two years, Bdioui has rapidly adapted to the media environment, say
his colleagues. He quickly understands his clients’ needs and demonstrates a strong proficiency when it comes to creating strategic recommendations, such as his highly successful campaign for KitKat that quickly went viral and exceeded projections significantly.

Bdioui collaborated on Nescafé’s regional media strategy. A valuable asset to the agency and his clients, he has been proposing creative ideas for several departments’ clients in addition to his own. Fond of cutting-edge technologies, he never misses the chance to showcase his commitment and passion for the media and digital world.


Ahmed Jamoussi, 28, senior Exchange executive, Mindshare Tunisia

Ahmed Jamoussi joined Mindshare Tunis at 23, and now has had six years of experience. He is a multitasker who handles his work with speed and efficiency. His interest in technology and all things digital, combined with his culture and open-mindedness, offers a powerful mix of offline and online inspiration for his strategies and ideas. He was the first in his office to adopt Mindshare’s new strategy framework and put it to work.

Jamoussi was employee of the year in 2015, has been to the Cannes Lions Festival twice and made it his mission to share every tip, trend, and insight with the team.


Natalie Choufani, 29, senior analyst, PHD

In an age when data reigns supreme, the role of an analyst in driving planning strategies for a digitally-minded agency cannot be understated. As a senior analyst, Natalie Choufani conceives data strategies for PHD’s clients. She creates bespoke platforms that allow them to extrapolate maximum value from this data, such as dashboards to monitor and act on the most critical pieces of intelligence. And she implements new methodologies to future-proof clients’ businesses. What makes Choufani stand out, says PHD’s management, is her ability to go beyond data, extracting intelligence from insights to identify what will drive additional efficiencies for clients.

“Natalie is a planning scientist who pieces together a complex puzzle of diverse and valuable data points to create a higher level of confidence in those moments when decisions are tough,” says Elda Choucair, CEO of PHD UAE. “Moreover, her constant drive to refine these techniques and encourage her colleagues to adopt this approach not only elevates the agency’s offering and expertise in data management further, but also takes us and our clients to new levels of accuracy and performance.”


Oussama Yahgi, 24, planning manager, PHD

It would be easy to just produce what is expected, but this simply isn’t enough for Oussama Yaghi. He has turned his natural curiosity into a talent and an asset. By exploring and asking questions, he’s sharpened his understanding of his clients’ business and earned their trust. Working collaboratively, he’s become a valuable partner, rather than a mere supplier, to them. This attitude has allowed him to build invaluable positive client relationships that ultimately yield stronger results, including in terms of client satisfaction and retention levels. Yaghi’s colleagues say he is naturally gifted at explaining things, which sees him being actively involved in client onboarding and strategy sessions. He often leads from the front with innovative services, elevating both PHD’s and its clients’ game.

“In spite of his young age, Oussama embodies the qualities that drive us: dedication, passion, innovation and purpose,” says Elda Choucair, CEO of PHD MENA. “He’s already achieved a lot and shows a great deal of promise.”

Aya Badawy

Aya Badawy, 28, media manager, Magna Global

Aya Badawy graduated from the American University in Sharjah with honours, and started her career as a media executive when she was selected from more than 900 applications for a training programme.

Badawy has worked on the Federal National Council account and currently handles the personal care category of Unilever Arabia at Magna.

“She is one of the most dynamic members of the Unilever team; passionate about challenging the region’s status quo and always pushing the norms to come up with a creative solution to the business. She is definitely a leader in the making,” says Abdallah Safieddine, business director at Unilever Arabia.