MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

United Arab Emirates
Khaled AlShehhi
Executive Director of New Media and Visual Production UAE Government Media Office
ABOUT

Khaled AlShehhi

Khaled AlShehhi is the Executive Director of New Media and Visual Productionat the UAE Government Media Office in the UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. He is also the Marketing Director at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.

AlShehhi oversees and develops strategic plans and policies to increase the outreach, engagement and influence of various government initiatives and projects with local, regional and global dimensions. His mission is to strengthen the UAE’s reputation as an incubator for pioneering developmental, humanitarian, cultural and knowledge projects. To achieve this goal, he is transforming and humanizing G2C communications.

AlShehhi has managed the development and execution of the communication strategies of numerous nation-building projects. These include the Emirates Nation Brand - Impossible Is Possible, The Emirates Mars Mission probe launch and Mars Orbit Insertion, The World’s Tallest Donation Box and The Well of Hope.

The last two have won multiple awards in regional and international advertising competitions, including the Cresta, Webby and Shorty Social Good Awards.

In 2020, AlShehhi was named the “Digital Professional of the Year” by The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA MENA) and a Marketing Game Changer by Campaign Middle East. He also joined the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Strategy Board.

Previous positions include Digital Marketing Director at the World Government Summit and Director of Managed Services at the Middle East’s leading telco Etisalat.

He holds a Master of Law (LLM) - International Business from Université Panthéon Assas (Paris II) and is also a graduate from the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development’s ‘Impactful Leaders Program’.

United Arab Emirates
Rohit Arora
General Manager Liwa Content Driven
ABOUT

Rohit Arora

Rohit believes that for agile brands to be consistently purpose-driven, it’s important to catalyze their sustainable growth. The other way around is equally true. He does that by combining strategy with creative storytelling, data, tech & most importantly, intuition.

Over the last two decades, he’s held leadership roles with WPP agencies (Grey, Y&R, JWT & Bates) & in his current role he’s championing brands to harness the power of video-marketing & interactive with inbound-marketing to meaningfully add value across the sales funnel.

He’s also earned industry several recognitions like Effie, Jay Chiat, AME, AMEA, Cannes, Dubai Lynx, Digital MENA, Epica & MENA Crystal together with like-minded teams and clients.

He’s also an avid writer of opinion pieces, whitepapers and creative reviews that have been published in resources like WARC, Campaign Middle East, Campaign Asia, American Marketer, Luxury Daily, Brandchannel, Gulf Marketing Review, Brand Equity & several others.

He’s also a guest speaker in Hult International Business School, EMDI Institute of Media & Communication and Amity University.

Nigeria
Steve Babaeko
CEO & Chief Creative Officer X3M Ideas
ABOUT

Steve Babaeko

Steve is an unusual type of businessman. In an industry that seemed to have run out of inspirational stories, he stepped in and wrote a new chapter. Now, his X3M Ideas Group, which he founded in 2012, has become the yardstick for a new generation of Nigerian creative entrepreneurs. 

Steve’s unyielding belief in looking challenges in the eye and staring them down has attracted the best talents to his firm and pulled in clients from around the world. His next stop? South-Central Africa, via Lusaka and Johannesburg, where he recently opened independent offices for X3M Ideas.

Before starting X3M, which has now grown to include X3M Music, and Zero Degrees Productions, Mr. Babaeko was the creative director at 141 Worldwide. Over there, he sparked the fire of creativity that made that agency the trendiest for many years.

Steve began his advertising career at Mc&A Saatchi & Saatchi and later moved to Prima Garnet Ogilvy. For more than 23 years, he has been helping to create some of the most iconic marketing works on the continent. You might remember the “Proudly Nigerian” campaign for British American Tobacco, the “Now You’re Talking” campaign for Etisalat, “You Need A New Bank” campaign for Diamond Bank and so many others. 

He continues to represent Africa on the global stage, having been a member of the jury at the New York Advertising Festival, the Loeries, and African Cristal Awards. He has also been a speaker at the Cannes Lions Festival and also one of Adweek’s Top 100 Creatives in the world 2019. He was also conferred with the “Visiting Fellow” honours at the Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the esteemed Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is currently the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and member of the board of International Advertising Association (I.A.A), Nigeria. Outside advertising, he was the former Chairman, Public Relations Committee of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.

Steve has attended several international Leadership training, including some in Harvard Business School, Columbia University, New York and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Nigeria
Dotun Babatunde
Head of Digital Marketing Olam Grains
ABOUT

Dotun Babatunde

A multi-disciplined creative and digital marketing communication professional with over 18 years experience in a multi-channel environment across diverse industry segments and countries. With proven ability to combine vision and creativity in delivering digital marketing solutions based on a solid understanding of marketing communication needs.

He has worked on digital marketing campaigns for global and local brands such as Nigerian Breweries (Heineken), First Bank of Nigeria,  Etisalat (9mobile), Procter & Gamble, British American Tobacco, LG, Unilever, UBA, PZ Cussons, Society for Family Health, First Ally, Lumos, Dangote Flour Mills, Dangote Salt, Mantrac Caterpillar, Ecobank, Notore, Lafarge but to mention a few.

Currently he works as the Head of Digital Marketing (B2C), Olam Grains Nigeria, where he his responsible for planning, developing, implementing and managing the overall digital marketing strategy and digital assets.

He is also the co-founder of Lagos Digital Academy, a social enterprise that is strongly committed to teaching and inspiring a new generation of digital professionals and entrepreneurs. He has spoken at various conferences and seminars over the years including Lagos Social Media Week, 02 Academy and he his a regular facilitator with Advertisers Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). In 2021, he was recognized by Marketing Edge magazine as the “Outstanding Digital Personality of the year”.

United Arab Emirates
Paul Banham
Regional Executive Creative Director Mullen Lowe MENA
ABOUT

Paul Banham

Paul has been the ECD of seven world-class agencies over the last 20 or so years. In that time, he's helped to steer the way to 22 'Agency of the Year' titles. His work has collected more than 650 awards for creativity and effectiveness. And he's ranked in the world's top twenty ECDs three times - 2008, 2014, 2016. He's judged at D&AD, One Show, Campaign BIG, NYF, IAB, Caples, Immortals, Lories, TIKTOK and many other global shows, and he has spoken on a variety of subjects at the likes of Cannes and Lynx. His work/opinions have been published in many advertising books/annuals and editorials in the Guardian and The Wall Street Journal. After coming to Dubai in 2012, he helped steer FP7 McCann to the enviable position of Nu1 – 'The World's Most Effective Agency' (Effie's). Currently, he's working to lift MullenLowe MENA to equally lofty heights - In 2021 alone, they've collected 130+ global Awards - And three agency of the year titles, including the Campaign Tech's - Global Agency Of The Year and New York Festivals Regional Agency Of The Year 2021.

 

That aside, Paul is just one of a few genuinely strategically-minded creative directors that have worked in and won awards across practically every marketing channel. He has held senior creative positions at Mullenlowe, McCann, JWT (London & Dubai), Archibald Ingall Stretton, Agency.com, and WCRS. Over the last 20 years, he has built his fully integrated credentials working in top 5 agencies across Branding, Design, Direct, ATL, Integrated, and Digital. His unique cross-channel experience gives him the ability to deliver truly integrated solutions for any marketing challenge.

 

United Arab Emirates
Krisztian Cvitko
Head of Marketing Mai Dubai
ABOUT

Krisztian Cvitko

Krisztian Cvitko leads Mai Dubai’s brand awareness as Head of Marketing. Experienced in complex and competitive markets, Krisztian strives to identify challenges and deliver superior results. As an established consumer marketing expert and senior management professional with 24 years of experience, he is a unique leader who possesses the skills and expertise to effectively drive Mai Dubai's success.

Krisztian has been a successful leader for many years, steering firms like Agthia Group (and its subsidiaries), Diageo, and Reckitt Benckiser to success, from 1997 to 2018. His expertise further extends to International Marketing and Business Management with over 24 years of experience in major FMCG organisations in Eastern Europe, and the MENA region.

He also possesses impeccable knowledge in brand communications, including new media management (digital/social), product development, event management and sponsorships, market research, and more, allowing him to manage power brands like Vanish, Calgon, Cillit, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness, Al Ain Water, Monster Energy Drink, and many others. In light of his proven track record of business turnarounds and the development and execution of long-term strategies, Krisztian is certain to take Mai Dubai and its operations to newer heights.

In addition to his professional expertise, Krisztian also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Pallas Athéné University, Faculty of Economy, Hungary, along with a degree in General Mechanical Engineering, from Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary.

Egypt
Dina El -Dessouky
Head of Strategy FP7McCann Cairo
ABOUT

Dina El -Dessouky

Dina El-Dessouky is FP7/McCann Cairo’s Head of Strategy, with a total of 14 years of communication experience and a big passion for culture, people, behavior and ideas that make an impact. She is a true believer in advertising that doesn’t stop at “entertainment value”; and rather extends to adding a “meaningful value” to businesses and to people’s lives.

United Arab Emirates
Youmna El-Asmar
Planning Lead Leo Burnett
ABOUT

Youmna El-Asmar

Youmna has over 10 years of brand planning experience, including strategic lead roles on a number of local and international accounts across industries - FMCG, banking, telecom, food services, real estate, and others.

Her expertise spans brand strategy, communication strategy, research, social strategy, experience planning, as well as workshop design and moderation.

She recently joined Leo Burnett Dubai’s team. Prior to that she was leading the strategic departments of Leo Burnett Beirut, Leo Burnett Jordan and Publicis Beirut for a number of years, She was also heading the baby care and oral care categories in the EMEA region for Procter & Gamble, as well as the gum category in the MEA region for Mondelez. In addition, she regularly leads cross-regional pitch teams in the GCC and has been instrumental in the group’s business development effort.

Youmna has earned numerous awards including a Gold Lion at Cannes’ Lion Festival, and several LeoIntel Awards, which recognize outstanding pieces of intelligence produced within Leo Burnett’s global network of strategists. In addition, she was named 10th Best Strategic Planner worldwide in the Big Won Report of 2015.

She holds an M.A. in International Communications and Development from City University in London, and a B.A. in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut.

Egypt
Lina Fateen
Managing Director Momentum MENA
ABOUT

Lina Fateen

In advertising since 1995. Started in TMI (JWT), and walked her way from intern to Regional Account Director Unilever Mashreq in 7 years. Briefly joined Leo Burnett, after which she joined FP7/CAI in 2002, and stayed on for 13 years, 8 of which she was the General Manager, leading on business, training, culture, systems & procedures. After which she fully orchestrated the Momentum relaunch in Egypt in 2016. Across the years, has worked closely on mostly every single category, and across different markets, other than Egypt. Namely the Mashreq zone and in recent years, Yemen. Specializes in setting up companies; operations, systems, policies, culture & teams.

United Arab Emirates
Alok Gadkar
CEO & CCO Tuesday Communications
ABOUT

Alok Gadkar

Born Sagittarius, 1977.

Dribbles the ball at Don Bosco High School. Clicks the shutter & acquires BFA from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art. Wins state & art school awards.

Hopps, skips & jumps as Art Director from Mudra Communications to Leo Burnett to Enterprise Nexus.

Works hard on brands like Times of India, Killer Jeans, McDonald’s, The Economic times & more.

Represents Lowe from Asia as one of the youngest creatives at Cannes Lions on invitation by Adrian Holmes. Drops into Dubai on the way back. Falls in love with the hottest melting pot of culture.

Moves to Dubai. Joins Partnership in 2003. Named Campaign Magazine’s young creative to watch in the region. 

Quits Partnership in 2007. Joins Lowe MENA. Moves back after 9 months

Creates Iconic Splash Calendar in 2011. Continues to be Iconic every year.

Wins first One Show Silver Pencil for, Khaild Javed a humble cobbler in Bur Dubai. Wins first Gold & Silver Cannes Lion for Aster Clinics & the UAE in Health.

Starts judging at Cannes Lions in 2018. Continues jury journey at Clio Health, LIA, Adstars, AME Awards, The Global Awards, New York Festivals & KYIV Festival.

Keeps winning. Amassing over 200 awards at Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, One Show, D&AD, & more. Named among region’s Top 10 ECDs multiple times.

Creates first-ever global campaign on invitation by SA Federation for Mental Health in 2018.

Speaks on the global stage at Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx, Mena Cristal. Mentors students at GEMS International School, FAD Fashion Institute & Middle Sex University.

Continues the show as MD & ECD.

United Arab Emirates
Aakriti Goel
Strategy Lead - Middle East & Africa Leo Burnett MEA (Middle East & Africa)
ABOUT

Aakriti Goel

Brand Strategist, Digital Marketer, Social Media Expert, Entrepreneur; Aakriti’s business cards are as diverse as the many countries she calls home.

Her journey in the industry began with a focus on establishing digital capabilities and defining social strategies for renowned FMCG, Telco, Finance, Retail, Automotive, Beauty, and QSR clients, back when a ‘tweet’ was just a sound birds made.

She then progressed to leading regional strategies for Nestlé, Unilever, Uber, Arla Foods, and Subway at McCann Dubai, contributing towards their global effectiveness accolades. 

Along the way she worked on some amazing campaigns, launched many successful products, won some global awards including Cannes Lions, WARC, Effies, The One Show, and launched a social enterprise.

She has also been recognized as Brandberries ‘Women to Watch in Middle East’, '30 Under 30' - Campaign Magazine Middle East, and B&W Report's MENA Top 10 Planners. 

Currently she heads the Strategy & Data team for Cheil MEA overseeing several exciting technology and digital brands – spearheading the strategy and data solutions for the agency and its brands.

South Africa
Conan Green
Executive Creative Director DDB
ABOUT

Conan Green

Conan Green is a Lifetime Grand Prix Award winner in Creative Effectiveness. He believes that great advertising is measured not just by a big idea, but by how effective that idea was in solving the business problem.

United Arab Emirates
Shagorika Heryani
Chief Marketing Officer The Social Loan Company
ABOUT

Shagorika Heryani

Shagorika is a multi-discipline brand strategist and business leader with 18+ years’ experience across categories, geographies and diverse consumers with a deep understanding of all aspects of marketing from business and brand strategy, customer journeys and communication.

She’s the Chief Marketing Officer, for The Social Loan company (TSLC), a global fintech, with a vision is to revolutionise money so that it benefits every person on the planet. TSLC continuously disrupts the guardrails of legacy financial systems which are slow, complex, and exclusionary and transforming the fundamentals of money and how its distributed so that its honest, affordable, and seamless for everyone. Shagorika leads the team that creates and scales a purpose-led brand driven to make tech-based financial freedom a reality for millions globally.

In previous roles, she has worked across marketing companies, advertising agencies and a brand consultancy. Some of those world-class companies include Grey Worldwide, Bharti airtel, Seagram, Cheil Communications, Draft FCB Ulka amongst others.

She was awarded ‘Top 50 most influential strategy leaders APAC’, ‘Top 100 Women Leaders 2022’ and ‘India’s most influential digital media professional’. She also writes frequently for publications including Campaign, WARC, Little Black Book etc. She’s also been a judge for Adfest in Asia, Creativepool Awards and Immortal Awards, WARC Strategy in the Middle East, the MENA Effies and Pakistan Effies amongst others.

Saudi Arabia
Ali Khalil
Director of Strategic Planning FP7McCann
ABOUT

Ali Khalil

Experience

Ali’s career in advertising started in 2006 when he joined J Walter Thompson Riyadh as an account executive. After 3 years Ali moved to research & analytics as a knowledge officer, and 5 years later Ali landed a new role in the planning department.

Today, Ali’s role as a Strategic Planning Director at FP7 KSA involves several functions and practices like market research & analysis, psychographics, branding, behavioral change, business development, public speaking, consumer trends & brand strategic development.

Ali has worked with several reputable local, and global brands including stc, Pfizer, HSBC, Shell, Al Jazeera TV, Maaden, KAEC, Nova, Al Rajhi Bank, Emirates-NBD, Salam Telco, Jarir Bookstore and Burger King where he was among the team that brought the first Silver Lions from Cannes for the Saudi market.

Interests:

Beyond advertising, Ali is interested in Architecture, Urban Planning, Sciences, Arts, Gadgets & Technology, Music, History, World Cultures, Sustainability… among others.

Israel
Shmulik Kitainik
Creative Planner No, No, No, No, No ,Yes | Tel Aviv
ABOUT

Shmulik Kitainik

 Smulik Kitainik is Creative Planner for No, No, No, No, No ,Yes He has more than 20 years of experience in the advertising and marketing industry. Shmulik has worked in several agencies (JWT, Grey, Publicist, Euro RSCG) with many of the world’s biggest brands - Nestle, Lexus, Skoda, Seat, Ford, Yamaha, Kawasaki, HSBC, Bayer, The Coca Cola company, Unilever to name a few.

In 2017 he was selected by J Walter Thompson Worldwide to take part in the prestigious HIP program, reserved for a few of the agencies talents from all over the world where he served as VP Strategy.


Mr. Kitainik holds a BA degree in management and communication from the Israel College of Management.

Shmulik is a great believer in human insights and his passion for multi-cultures comes from the fact that he was born in Israel but spent 14 years in South America before turning back to Tel Aviv.

Shmulik teaches in the Israeli College of Management  as part of a graduate program in strategic communications, He has been a  Jury  member in the Effie awards and  part of the team that won the Cannes Chimera award;  A joint initiative from Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Shmulik lives in Israel with his wife +  two kids & restores vintage cars in his spare time.

United Arab Emirates
Rafael Lavor
Head of Strategy TBWA\RAAD
ABOUT

Rafael Lavor

Strategy Director at The Community, Thany is a Brazilian multi-disciplinary strategist, currently based in Argentina. 

With more than 10 years of experience, Thany’s started her career working with media and digital strategy, but it was her curiosity and passion for culture what led her to brand strategy. She’s collaborated with BBDO Argentina, DDB Latina, Heads, HouseCricket and others, leading strategic projects for global, regional and local brands such as Porsche, Ford Motor Company, Rexona, McDonald's, Grupo Boticário, Subway Restaurants and Positivo Tecnologia, in more than 15 markets across Latin America. She’s also engaged in non-profit initiatives as the “Bluehook Creative Hackathon”, co-organizing its special edition for the LGBTQ+ pride month, in Brazil. 

South Africa
Petra Mc Cardle
Chief Executive Officer Wetpaint
ABOUT

Petra Mc Cardle

As the founding member of Wetpaint, bringing 27 years of experience to the table, I set the tone and the vision for the business and am constantly at the heart of all projects being undertaken by Wetpaint. I see myself as an integral part of my client’s business, developing and rolling out strategies that yield results.

My experience and industry insight allow me to ensure clients objectives and targets are met, timeously and within budget. I manage a new breed of agency, employing a team of highly creative strategists and instil the belief of quality over quantity in any job we do.

We each bring a unique offering of brand-enhancing skills and expertise to the collective. By combining data analytics, creativity & technology, I help build and develop unique strategies with specific solutions in mind. With measurable targets and KPI’s set on every campaign, clients’ objectives are aligned and delivered.

South Africa
Ryan Mcfadyen
Founder and Head of Strategy haveyouheard Group
ABOUT

Ryan Mcfadyen

Ryan has been at the forefront of influence marketing and marketing innovation for over 18 years. Having started his career within various marketing departments in global companies, Ryan was frustrated with the traditional advertising approach and so in 2008 founded haveyouheard, an agency immersed in culture and with the ability to influence it.

Since then, haveyouheard has been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative companies in the world and Ryan, himself has been recognised as one of the 30 most innovative business leaders in Africa.

United Arab Emirates
Maxime Menant
Brand Strategist METAP TikTok
ABOUT

Maxime Menant

Maxime is a brand strategist within the Global Business Marketing team at TikTok METAP, consulting across the retail and consumer businesses.

Although he grew up in France, his professional adventure started in New York City, working in content strategy for American Media Inc. and Universal Music. That’s when Maxime fell in love with strategic thinking and decided to make the move to advertising - earning his stripes as a strategist at DDB, Ogilvy and finally traveling across the world to Dubai where he became an award-winning strategist working with TBWA.

His love for understanding people behavior is what ultimately has allowed him to help clients embrace cultural movements within their communication strategies, and most recently guiding them through the limitless evolution of entertainment that TikTok has brought into the world of communication.

United Arab Emirates
Kate Midttun
Chief Executive Officer Acorn Strategy
ABOUT

Kate Midttun

Kate Midttun is Chief Executive Officer at Acorn Strategy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business with focus on Marketing and Public Relations from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and a master’s degree in Business Administration, with focus on Marketing and International Business Strategy.

Kate has 18 years of experience in strategic marketing consulting with a specialisation in destination marketing and a deep sector knowledge across the real estate, leisure and hospitality industries in Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and other countries. She has demonstrated success in creating impactful strategies with quantifiable business results for large global brands, including Mubadala, Miral Asset Management (Yas Island), Duracell, Oman Arab Bank, Hilton Worldwide, Viceroy Hotel Group, World Future Energy Summit, and National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed), amongst others, giving her a deep cultural understanding and adaptability to local and international markets.

Kate is strategically minded with a pragmatic approach, and it is under her vision and guidance that Acorn Strategy has tripled in size in less than three years, becoming an award-winning and internationally recognised powerhouse of integrated marketing and communications on three continents.

Areas of expertise:

Research and analysis

Marketing operations

Destination strategy

Strategic planning

Integrated communications

Strategic partnerships

Public relations management

Crisis communications

Qualifications:

Master’s in Business Administration

Destination Marketing and International Marketing Strategy

Bachelor’s in Business

Marketing and Public Relations

Length of service: 18 years

Personally, Kate has three children - Anders, 9; Lilly, 7; Oliver, 5 - Is an avid tennis player and swimmer, crossing the Bosphoros from Asia to Europe in August 2021.

United Arab Emirates
Elina Nambala
Senior Strategist Mindspace
ABOUT

Elina Nambala

UAE
Tahaab Rais
Chief Strategy Officer Middle East & Turkey Publicis Group
ABOUT

Tahaab Rais

Born ‘84, Tahaab’s first word was "Astronaut". In ‘94, he watched a movie that changed his life: Forrest Gump. It taught him how to make an ordinary life, legendary. Just like Baby’s Day Out. In ‘97, he met Mr. Adolescence with a myriad of regrettable haircuts. 

Today, based in Dubai, he heads strategy, data, intelligence and creative effectiveness for FP7 McCann across the MENAT region, and he is part of the Strategy ExCo for McCann Worldgroup globally.

Possessing strategic leadership, integrated communications, creative strategy, and management experience spanning MEA and Asia, he specializes in Business and Data Analysis, Brand Strategy, Creative Strategy, Content Strategy and Digital Strategy, Cross-channel Integrated Solutions, Relationship Marketing and Customer Experience Management and has worked on brands across all categories. 

He has won 470+ regional and global awards across Cannes, Effies, NYF, D&AD, Andy's, Clios, Midas, Warc, Lynx, One Show, among others, including a record of 180+ Effies. He is the most awarded strategist in the MENAT region

His strategic leadership has been integral to FP7 McCann from MENAT, being ranked the Most Effective Agency globally in 2016 in the Global Effie Index (a first for the region). He has also driven efforts that have won FP7 the Effie Agency and Network of the Year, for 7 years consecutively, from 2013 to 2018. He is the first MENA juror on the Global Effie and 4A’s Jay Chiat stages, and is the first winner from MENAT of a Global Effie. In 2019, he has led FP7 McCann to being the most awarded agency for strategy, globally.

As an industry thought-leader, he speaks on international (including Cannes Lions) and regional stages and also, acts as a creative mentor for young marketers, advertisers and start-ups on all things to do with creativity and marketing in the new-age. He is also an award-winning ad film director and song writer.

He loves playing with creative technologies and gaming, he enjoys learning from movies, and expresses himself through photography and poetry. He also runs his own sports-tech start-up and an NGO. 

United Arab Emirates
Weera (Shahwir) Saad
Regional Director, Middle East, Africa & Turkey META Creative Shop
ABOUT

Weera (Shahwir) Saad

Regional Director, Facebook- Creative Shop, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and
Central Europe (Interim)
As Head of CEMEA’s Creative Shop, Weera’s core task is to inspire and drive
innovative ideas to help unlock the creative power of Facebook, Instagram and
WhatsApp for clients, content creators, creative agencies and media partners.
Almost 6 years ago, Weera joined Meta from the world of advertising where she spent
over 25 years in an eclectic career playing creative hack, business head, and most
recently, Executive Director Strategic Planning at DDB and BBDO across the MEA
region.
Recognized in the industry for her wide-ranging experience in the communications
business, Weera brings together strategic research & analytics and trend-spotting to
create powerful brand stories. She spent 2 years at ADMC and ImageNation, where she
relaunched several media brands for the company. At ImageNation, she mentored
young scriptwriters and directors and helped develop their ideas into award-winning
feature films. Her work has won several creative and effectiveness awards at the Effies,
Lynx and Cannes.
Weera lives in the future and believes it belongs to communicators who blur lines, and
smash through existing silos in order to create unexpected, exciting connections in this
brave new world. Her quest at Meta is to create a platform that scales up and gets out
to the world compelling “powerful stories” from the region

South Africa
Sisinyane Sihlali
Strategic Planner TBWA\Hunt Lascaris
ABOUT

Sisinyane Sihlali

Sisinyane Sihlali is an experienced Strategist who has 7 years experience in adland. She obtained her undergrad in Integrated Marketing Communication at the AAA school of Advertising and a Honours in Strategic brand communication at VEGA school of brand leadership. Her career ambitions was to always work with the best of the best in her field; hence she has worked for three major agencies; starting her career at an agency that has a reputation for creating South Africa's favourite campaigns through iconic work for some of the country's biggest blue-chip brands i.e FCB Johannesburg from 2014-2017 and then later on joining Joe Public United (2017 - 2021) whose philosophy is grounded in growth and currently working for the Global disruption company TBWA\Hunt Lascaris. During her time as a strategist she has worked across multiple industries including FMCG, Automotive, QSR and NGO and currently working on financial services. 

United Arab Emirates
Lora Charmaine van Hoof
Strategy Director Impact BBDO
ABOUT

Lora Charmaine van Hoof

Lora is proudly part of a well-oiled, all-women strategy team at Impact BBDO Dubai — The most awarded creative agency in the Middle-East.

She’s the strategic lead on clients like Dubai Tourism, Lipton and Reebok but finds most job satisfaction in working on (and winning) new business. She’s always trying to improve the way she tells and sells brand stories and disrupt the pitch process. It’s a constant learning curve that pushes strategists to be interesting and this is exactly why she loves it.

For the past 8 years, Lora’s been in advertising, but if she wouldn’t have ended up in the creative industry she’d probably be a slightly eccentric psychologist today. Her insatiable curiosity for people and what moves them is what makes her tick and it colors the way she lives life — From writing creative briefs to picking books to planning holidays.

To Lora, a winning piece of work is driven by insightful creative thinking that universally touches people and doesn’t need additional explanation. The best thing about seeing an incredible ad is being able to say ’This is why I made advertising my career’ to an industry outsider.

Lora holds a degree in psychology and applied communication which she obtained in Antwerp and Paris before moving to the Middle-East.

South Africa
Stuart Walsh
Chief Strategy Offier Grey
ABOUT

Stuart Walsh

Insatiable curiosity and love of problems - the more intractable, the better. And able to articulate solutions to those problems in a forthright, brutally simple, but elegant manner.

I'm an award-winning strategy director, and former award-winning CD who graduated with a degree in Psychology & Law before working as a copywriter and eventually Creative Director at most of the top agencies in South Africa. And even some of the rubbish ones.

I won most of the industry’s major creative awards locally and internationally (including Golds at Cannes) before making the switch to the Dark Side, strategic planning, in 2003 while CD of Lowe SA.

In my 20-year career, I've worked as either a planner or creative (sometimes both) across all manner of brands and industries including airlines & travel, cars, banking & financial, service industries and telecommunications.

I have a Mini-MBA in Marketing via Professor Mark Ritson so i'm as likely to be as at home in a marketing dept as I am in an agency.

Talents I'm proudest of: making the complex simple and the incomprehensible clear i.e. not talking bollocks.

Oh, and I can still turn out a pretty hot headline when the mood takes me.

Iran
Houman Yegani
Corporate Advertising Strategist /Planner Freelance
ABOUT

Houman Yegani

I am a creative strategist and brand communication consultant. I began my professional activity as an advertising manager and expert in 2001, and entered the field of consultation and training a few years later. Over the past 19 years, I have worked with nearly 100 organizations, companies, and brands in different industries including clothing, banking, insurance, food industry, charity, construction industry, IT firms and startups, auto parts industry, porcelain and tableware manufacturers, and cosmetic, hygiene, and detergent brands, as a consultant and project executor (in brand communication, institutional advertising, public relations projects), or as a manager (in advertising, public relations, and international affairs departments). I am also currently working with a few advertising and creative boutique agencies on a project-by-project basis and as a consultant in the area of brand strategy and communications.

I worked as the strategy documentation consultant and international communications manager for standardizing and helping Iranian brands in their competition at international festivals in projects such as corporate video, TV advertisement, and branding. All of these efforts yielded successful results, including silver and bronze medals and qualifying for the finalist level in several reputable festivals in the US, UK and France.

I was the first Iranian to manage to sit on the grand jury of international advertising, marketing, and business festivals and for the first time in Iran, I have been working as the executive judge of grand prizes with several international festivals.