MEPRA announces chair & vice chair for 2021-23

MEPRA appoints Taryam Al Subaihi as chair and Rashid Al Awadhi as vice-chair for a two-year period.

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) announced its new chair and vice-chair, who will serve as the leaders of its executive board from 2021 to 2023. Taryam Al Subaihi, head of corporate communications at Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), has been appointed as chair and Rashid Al Awadhi, chief executive officer at New Media Academy as vice-chair for a two-year period.

This is the first time two Emirati Nationals have been elected to lead MEPRA and drive the association’s initiatives, which aim to promote industry standards, share knowledge and build capabilities of communication professionals in the Middle East. Al Subaihi and Al Awadhi were voted in by the MEPRA Executive Board this week, following an advisory ballot by the wider MEPRA Strategy Board in November. Both will assume their roles on 1st January 2021.

Through his role as the Head of Corporate Communications at EWEC, Al Subaihi leads a diverse team of professionals responsible for managing all aspects of the company’s branding, marketing, and communications. Prior to joining EWEC, Al Subaihi served as the director of corporate communications at TAQA – Iraq, as well as global head of external communications for TAQA. He has also led communications for Masdar and Etihad Airways. A UAE National, Al Subaihi began his career as a journalist, working as a writer and columnist for some of UAE’s top English language newspapers including Gulf News, Emirates Today and The National. He has served on the MEPRA strategy board for the past 12 months while also helping to spearhead MEPRA’s first Virtual Leadership Majlis and MEPRA’s UAE cultural workshops.

Speaking on his appointment, the newly elected MEPRA chair, Taryam Al Subaihi said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be elected as Chair of MEPRA. I think it’s important right from the start to recognise the outstanding accomplishments achieved by Jonty, Lisa, Sabrina and the team, particularly during these challenging times.”

Al Subaihi continued: “MEPRA has not only weathered the storm thus far but has successfully launched new initiatives in 2020 at no cost to its members, including the Workplace Wellness Programme designed to provide mental health support to MEPRA members, the Covid-19 Resource Centre, offering a dedicated online platform to promote connectivity and knowledge sharing, and the Virtual Summer School just to name a few.”

“My personal commitment is to continue to offer the same unwavering support to our members whilst focusing on helping our organisation evolve and grow through positive change. I look forward to working with the MEPRA team and Boards in developing a 2021/2022 strategy that will undoubtedly continue to raise awareness and understanding of the communications industry whilst promoting knowledge sharing and co-operation amongst communication professionals in the UAE and the region.” said Al Subaihi.

MEPRA Vice Chair, Rashid Al Awadhi has over 24 years of marketing and communications experience, including various senior-level positions in the Middle East based multi-national companies, as well as UAE government entities. He was named CEO of the New Media Academy earlier this year, leading its three divisions: Education, Talent and Content. Prior to that, Al Awadhi was the senior vice-president for marketing and communications at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), leading the transition of the organization into digital media and content marketing. Before joining DIFC, Al Awadhi founded and managed Barza New Media. In 2009, Al Awadhi became the first Emirati Government Employee to win MEPRA’s Young Communicator of the Year. He was also chosen as one of “The 40 Most Influential Emiratis Under 40” during the UAE’s 40th National Day celebrations and was featured on the Forbes Middle East list of “50 Impactful Marketing and Communications Professionals in The Middle East” in 2020. Al Awadhi joined the MEPRA executive board in January this year.

Following his appointment, MEPRA vice-chair, Rashid Al Awadhi said: “I am very honoured to be elected as vice-chair of MEPRA and very happy to support the industry in any way possible to help drive the profession forward in our region. We are coming out of an extraordinary year, which has led to innovative thinking and new strategies in the way we do things and I know there’s going to be a lot of amazing things to implement in 2021. I look forward to working with Taryam and the team to take MEPRA to the next level.”

The newly elected chair and vice-chair will present their preliminary strategy for MEPRA during the 2021 Annual General Meeting scheduled for January.