// CET Annual Conference

Current Speakers/Panelists

Previous Speakers/Panelists

Kutalmis Damar

Senior Solution Executive at SAP Hybris

Kutalmis Damar is the Senior Business Solution Executive in SAP MENA responsible for Customer Engagement and Commerce (SAP Hybris) line of business. Kutalmis has a vast experience working with customers from various industries and regions across Americas, Europe and Middle East to help them in the Sales, Marketing and Commerce domain for over 10 years. He is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer & holds an MBA degree from Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, USA and is a Marketing Ph.D. candidate from Bahcesehir University, Turkey.

Mr. Adam Szucs

MEA Sales Director at Emarsys

Adam has hands-on experience from last 6 years in top brands’ digital marketing challenges from the Middle East. By meeting with hundreds of CRM directors, CMOs and CEOs, by using his IT and Marketing background, and by having direct access of the leading B2C Marketing Cloud’s software innovations, he feels truly fortunate that he could help many companies to elevate their Customer Engagement game.

Mr. Shubhojit Mahalanobis

General Manager at Danube Home, Danube Group

Shubhojit, heads Danube Home, the retail arm of Building materials giant, The Danube Group.

Shubhojit joined Danube Group, on 2010 as Retail Head and since then, Danube Home has grown multifold, and has emerged as a leading Home Furnishings and Improvement retailer in the region.

The Danube Home stores are present across all important markets of UAE, Oman, KSA & Bahrain, with expansions, soon in, Qatar and Kuwait in the offing.

Before Danube Home, Shubhojit has been heading several leading brands in India and has taken them to sky rocketing heights in shorter spans of time.

Retail Management, Operations, Marketing, Training & Skill development and Strategic Expansion are his core forte that has helped these businesses to succeed and surge ahead in competitive and tough economic conditions.

Mr. Ahmed Aly Shaban

Senior Consultant at Prime Minister's Office - UAE

Ahmed is Customer Experience Strategist, currently working as Senior Consultant in Prime Minister's Office of UAE.


Ahmed is PhD candidate in IBS-UTM (International Business School - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) and holds MBA degree from the University of Atlanta in USA and Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Engineering from Cairo University of Egypt.

His PhD Thesis and White papers are about how to improve customer experience using the power of data in order to achieve the ultimate goal of customer happiness.  

Ahmed has over 15 years of professional experience in Service development, Service delivery, Research& Consultancy, Excellence and Organizational development in both government and private sector corporations, where he led different related initiatives in federal and local government entities in UAE..


In addition to his extensive experience in one of the leading Research and studies firms in consumer research studies where he was leading most of Government research studies in UAE and regionally in middle east.

Mr. Jesper Broberg

VP Business Development, Customer Experience at Sitecore

Jesper Broberg is the VP Business Development for Sitecore, based in Dubai.

In the past Jesper has been working with growing the Asian markets, expanding Sitecore’s footprint. 

Prior to joining Sitecore in 2010, Jesper spent 10 years in consulting and business development, working with clients across Europe and Asia.

Having worked with a wide variety of clients in FSI, Public Sector, Shipping, Retail and several other industries, Jesper brings along great insights into how clients can develop customer experiences strategies that creates customers for life.

Mr. Amit Viyas

Co-Founder and CEO at Nexa

Under Amit’s leadership, Nexa has grown into one of the largest independent Digital Marketing Agencies in the UAE with over 35% year on year growth recorded over the last 8 years. Originally from the UK, Amit regularly speaks at some of the largest digital marketing events in the US sharing local insights and increasing the awareness of regional opportunities with that audience.

Mr. Furqan Athar

Partner/Director at McARTHUR + COMPANY & Managing Director at SPRET Retail

Over the past 20 years, Furqan Athar has been instrumental in the financial and administrative strategic planning and management of some of the most successful shopping centers and mixed-use developments in the Middle East and Asia.

Furqan began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG before taking on management positions with Dubai-based developers Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Shopping Centres and Al Futtaim Group Real Estate. An expert in business process and IT set-up, he has participated in the deployment of major ERP solutions such as JDE 1 World, Navision and SAP in major multinationals.

In previous management positions with Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Centres and Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, he has been instrumental in the financial and strategic planning of some of the Middle East and Asia’s most successful shopping centers and mixed-use developments.

Furqan is a trained Chartered Accountant (CA) and a Chartered Management Accountant (CMA) from the UK with wide-ranging experience in investment portfolio management, from planning to divestment and exit strategies.

In 2004 he launched SPRET Trading; he founded Retail Solutions, an investment management and advisory firm based in Dubai. He’s the Managing Director of SPRET Retail, a multinational retailing company with over 250 employees within various locations across the Middle East.

In 2011, Furqan became a partner at McARTHUR + COMPANY. As director of strategic planning and finance, he leads the team on various assignments throughout the Middle East, North America and Asia.

He has extensive experience in all aspects of the shopping centre industry, more specifically in investment management and value creation.

Furqan is well known throughout the region as an expert in shopping centre investment, underwriting, and operational finance, as well as planning and Retail Operations.

Dr. Ali al-Azzawi

City Experience Advisor - Smart Dubai Office

Drawing on his multi-disciplinary experience spanning business, government, technology and applied psychology, Dr. Ali al-Azzawi is responsible for the Happiness Agenda at Smart Dubai Office (SDO), including the development of the scientific and assessment models that underpin its activities. His academic and professional interests focus on the theory and impactful applications of smart technologies towards happiness on a city scale. 

His working experience started with physics (BSc), electronics and computing, in an academic setting at the University of Oxford and Dartmouth College, moving to the commercial sector, installing, developing and supporting medical and research MRI equipment, taking him to various locations around the world. However, due to his strong interest in how people use technology, he undertook his PhD research at the Psychology Department and the Digital World Research Centre (University of Surrey, UK), where he has remained as a Visiting Research Fellow. These activities added to his growing list of over 35 publications in the fields of UX/CX and MRI, where Ali has also published a book on the psychology of People’s Experience with Technology, being used as a core text at some Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate courses.

During the time running his UK-based IT consultancy for 13 years, with clients such as NHS (UK) & Abbott Pharmaceuticals (USA), his drive towards the cutting-edge helped him win funding for multiple innovation projects from UK government competitions. Further, maintaining a strong interest in transferring psychology theory into design practice, Ali led the research and design for projects such as EVG.ae and Saudi Ministry of Interior portal. He later setup and led the first government-based CX Lab in the Middle East, where he also lead the research and design for the multiple-award winning app, DubaiNow, as well as the subsequent complex omni-channel government service portal & personal dashboard (DubaiNow) and the upcoming Dubai Smart City Platform.

Whilst he is not reading, sending a balloon into space, or planning the next exciting project, Ali can be found sailing, diving or flying light aircraft.

Mr. Hesham Almekkawi

Former Group Managing Director at Marka Holding, Founder and President Ahramiz

Hesham Almekkawi is an accomplished executive, entrepreneur and college professor. He has dedicated his career to adding value to companies through their greatest assets – its people. It’s a task, or rather a mission, he has carried out with profound success for over 23 years, contributing to the success of various US and Middle Eastern organisations in the service industry. Currently, he is the Founder and President of Ahramiz, a Leadership Development and Corporate Learning Company. . Among his most notable accomplishments are directing the operations of two of the largest restaurant franchises in the US and the UAE; with a combined revenue and personnel of over $500 million and 8,000-plus employees, respectively. Almekkawi holds a bachelor degree in Engineering with an EMBA in Service Strategy and Operations Management from Zicklin School of Business in New York. In 2003 he was appointed by Baruch College as an adjunct professor to teach service strategies and operations management to senior undergraduate students. In 2012, he became a certified International Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. He is also a certified John Maxwell public speaker and an author to an upcoming book "Hero Brands" expected to be published in June 2017. 

Mr. Pablo Durante

Chief Marketing Officer at Luxury Closet

Pablo has 14 years of experience in Marketing and Digital, mainly in e-commerce business. In his career, he has led projects in the field of Acquisition, Retention & Product Marketing, covering positions in 10,000+ employees’ companies such as eBay Europe HQ, as well as in early-stage start ups. 

He has worked, lived & learned cultures of 5 countries, in 7 cities (Milan, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Barcelona, Madrid, Dubai). Today he serves as Chief Marketing Officer at The Luxury Closet, a Dubai-based marketplacea for luxury fashion items.

Dr. Ayoub Kazim

Managing Director at axs

Dr. Ayoub Kazim serves as the Managing Director for axs, TECOM Group’s smart gateway for integrated business services. He is responsible for leading a centralized government and corporate services department in the handling of over 200 government, employee and corporate services to partners across 11 of TECOM Group communities, and enhancing the ease of doing business for over 5,100 business partners and extending services to over 90,000 employees, dependents & students. Dr. Ayoub Kazim was formerly Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Park and Dubai International Academic City. In this role, he was responsible for strategically steering the academic entities and further consolidating their status as leading centres of learning excellence in the region. With over 20 years of industry experience, he previously held leadership roles at UAE University and Dubai Municipality. Dr Ayoub Kazim holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama and a Master’s from the Polytechnic Institute in New York University He received a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Miami in 1998.

Mr. Rangarajan Kalyanasundaram

Vice President & Head of Marketing Du

Rangarajan is currently a Vice President & Head of Marketing – Enterprise and Government with du in UAE, after earlier roles with du, Bharti Airtel and others. 

His skills encompass leadership in marketing, sales, brand, communication, commercial and customer experience. He has over 18 years’ professional experience and an excellent track record of driving increase in revenue and profitability in the highly-competitive Indian and UAE telecoms markets. Rangarajan possesses an MS /MBA (marketing and finance) and speak fluent English and Hindi. He has very strong knowledge of mobility,fixed line, VAS,devices,roaming, data products, managed services and converged solutions. 

Ms. Parerna Bahl

Director of Merchandising at Boutique 1 Group

Parerna is a driven retail professional with over 15 years experience of maximizing sales and profitability of recognizable brands, ranging from hi-street fashion to some of the well-known designers in the industry. She completed her Bachelors in Commerce along with a Management degree in International Trade. 

During her career, she has been positioned in brands to review and strengthen the product mix directly impacting bottom-line profits. Other than her passion of gauging numbers, she is an avid traveler and contributes to volunteer activities that support humanitarian causes.

Mr. Vinay Sharma

Group IT Head at Gulftainer

More than 18 years of cross functional managerial experience in Information Technology with core focus on alignment of IT strategies with business objectives. Capable of handling diversified business processes, working experience on multicultural environment and functional experience in business verticals of maritime industry (ports), logistics & transportation, manufacturing, contracting, property, retail and distribution.

Strategic leader with an ability to define IT vision at the enterprise level, define & source the appropriate IT solutions to meet business objectives. Capable of building cost-effective & scalable solutions that support business growth. Visionary leader with efficient resource management, team building, motivation, mentor and lead subordinates to achieve goals.

Vinay is the Group IT Head of Gulftainer and spearheads the global IT operations within the group. He joined Gulftainer in 2012, with over sixteen years of cross functional experience in ME. He comes with vast experience & expertise and has utilized them to bring significant changes within the IT infrastructure & various applications of Gulftainer. This has greatly improved IT enabled services positively affecting all business areas of the Gulftainer group.

Mr. Nitin Sharma

Director - Marketing Strategy at UAE Exchange

Marketing professional with over 18 years of rich experience in strategy, brand management, and advertising. Solid communications experience with leading advertising agency networks including Leo Burnett and Ogilvy & Mather. Created, nourished & managed an array of Indian & global brands across a wide spectrum of categories ranging from F&B, retail, FMCG, consumer durables, financial, automotive & services. 

Presently leading Global Marketing Strategy for UAE Exchange - one the most recognized & respected financial brands in the Middle East - driving both business & brand through innovative, consumer focused strategies. Guiding teams in 30 countries across the world, from Americas to Europe and Africa to APAC.

Mr. Ali Alauoubiy

Former VP, Senior Strategic Platform Architecture at Credit Suisse

Extensive experience delivering large-scale technology solutions on-time and on-budget for the financial services, digital transformation, regulatory, tax & accounting, payment solution, insurance, and airline industries. 

Demonstrated ability to build and lead large, international, efficient product technology organizations. A committed, collaborative, energetic, and ethical leader who believes that the key to success in our industry is building a strong team, challenging them with the right goals, and giving them the freedom to innovate and deliver. Areas of 

Expertise: technology leadership, digital transformation, innovation, big data, strategic planning, organization building, acquisition due diligence, project portfolio management, financial management, vendor management, turnaround situations, crisis management, and cross organizational collaboration. Leading and managing the digital private banking strategy and platform architecture for the likes of Credit Suisse, Leonteq Securities AG and Mubasher Financial Group/DirectFN. Also led and managed the Software Engineering teams for the EmPact programme at Emirates Airline.

Davide Guzzetti

Managing Director at Tinext Middle East

Davide is a digital technology consultant based in Dubai to manage Middle East operations of Tinext, a Swiss company that helps enterprises to embrace and implement transformational digital technologies. In his 10-years experience in the industry across Europe and Middle East, Davide consulted several Clients in different industries, including AlArabiya News Channel, Prada Group, Royal Caribbean International, and Zain Telecom.

Mr. Stefano Ferro

Managing Director at Chaos Global

Stefano was previously Managing Director at Wolff Olins for the MENA region and India (based in Dubai) over a period of 7 years. He was also Global Principal at Wolff Olins with responsibility for emerging markets within the Wolff Olins group.

Born to Italian parents, brought up in West Africa and educated in Italy, France and Britain, Stefano’s upbringing introduced him to different cultures, customs and languages from a very early age. He made use of his varied background and built on it over the years through project engagements that stretched across the globe.He now lives in Dubai with his wife and three sons.

With over 23 years experience, Stefano specialises in the overall leadership and management of branding and brand related projects.

Here are some of the clients he has worked with over the years and across many sectors: 

Aldar, Mubadala, Emirates NBD, RTA, Noor Bank, Emirates Islamic, Noor Awqaf, EmaarHospitality Group, RTA, Etisalat, Majid Al Futtaim, VOX Cinemas, Just Falafel,

Mobily, Ras Al Hamra (PDO),Tata Group, Adani, Hero Motorcorp, Lufthansa Aviation Group (Ger), Tohoku University (Japan), AEON (Japan), Unilever Ice Cream (Italy), Sony (Japan), Chiswick Park (UK), Liverpool One (UK), Bank Audi (Lebanon) and Sunglass Hut (US)

Stefano has a BA degree in business administration from Oxford Brooks University and a Masters degree in Entrepreneurial Studies and Business Administration from Stirling University in Scotland.

Mr. Abdulla Mahmood

Director- Marketing and Corporate Communication at Al Ahli Holding Group

Abdulla Mahmood is multiple-award winning marketing professional with over 16 years of international experience in strategic marketing, corporate communications, digital marketing, strategic brand alliances and global business development.

Abdulla is on board with Al Ahli Holding Group as Director- Marketing and Business Development in 2014 and has been developing the group’s overall marketing and business development strategy across different continents covering varied business segments which includes construction, manufacturing, real estate, retail, hospitality, lifestyle, live events and entertainment. 

Last year Abdulla was amongst Asia’s top 200 influential CMOs and received the Fabulous Achievement in Marketing Excellence Award at Dubai’s Asian Leadership Awards, where he was acknowledged to lead the first ever Arab-based company to strike an unprecedented 5-film strategic brand alliance with Marvel- Disney and unveil its products at Marvel’s world premieres.

In his previous role as a General Manager of MARCOM at RAK Ceramics, Abdulla was awarded the Marketing Professional of 2013 and Corporate Communication Professional of 2012 at CMO Asia Awards in Singapore for his innovative branding and strategic marketing activities which enhanced RAK Ceramics’ global brand image and led to organization winning a series of laurels and accolades.

Previously, Abdulla has worked with some of the region’s well-established organizations, Fosroc, Commix Ltd.  and Tameer Holding playing a key role in expanding the brand reach and opening new markets for these organizations.

Abdulla is the Advisory Board Member in US-based Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Council representing MENA region, Advisory Board Member of World Brand Congress and UAE representative on international forums that focuses on global marketing challenges.

Abdulla provides training and mentoring programs that involved students from various international universities such as University of Maryland and Georgetown University, USA; EDHEC Business School, France and Lausanne University, Switzerland; Birla Institute of Management and IIM-Indore, UAE

Mr. Jonathan Richards

Group Digital Strategy Director at Gulf News

Jonathan is from London, UK and started as a copywriter before going on to be an award-winning Creative Director, running the Digital and Creative teams for large agencies, including Redwood (Omnicom) and OgilvyOne Business (WPP). He has worked across every sector producing digital solutions, from websites and social media strategies to apps and complex platforms, for Nando’s, BBC North, BAE Systems, MI5 (and Security Intelligence Services), Virgin Media, M&S, Land Rover, Barclays, Mazda and Boots to name but a few.

At Gulf News Media Group Jonathan’s aim is to bring exciting, intuitive and informative digital experiences across all our audiences. His main philosophy is that the customer is the centre of the universe. Every digital interaction is about the human being at the end of it. For him, that experience should be simple and useful for customers and this must translate into a visible, positive effect on sales and advocacy.

In a few spare moments he is also spectacularly failing at learning how to play golf.

Nizar Abou Saab

Managing Director at Mindshare

Hired to launch MSPlus and focus its potential toward growing business opportunities in expanding markets and categories (Abu Dhabi & Qatar governmental, and Mindshare’s global conflicting business, like ABBOTT, Ecco, Pfizer, etc.. 

Structure and build up a new team for MSPlus (up to 12), also lead the operation to deliver higher efficiency and effectiveness in quality of work and bottom line results. 

Set up the task to grow the diversified business portfolio for MSPlus by 20% in first year, while introducing new products and solutions (won Pfizer regional business in September 2016)

Recognized for successfully launching the first full integration approach in the region across all disciplines (business journey, online, offline, data, and data automation). Requested to develop a customized workforce sessions to drive “the journey of integration, the new structure, the challenges, the positive changes, and the outcome” across Mindshare MENA. 

Mr. Steve Bell

VP EMEA Solutions Consulting at Verint Systems

Steve Bell is Vice President of Solutions Consulting EMEA for Verint Systems. Steve has overall responsibility for Verint’s Solutions Consulting Team, promoting their Workforce Optimisation, Customer Analytics and Engagement Management solutions across the EMEA region. 

This group advises customers how Verint solutions can help their organisations enrich customer interactions, improve business processes, and optimize their workforces in order to enhance customer loyalty, increase revenue, mitigate risk, and manage operational costs. 

Steve has 20+ years of experience within the Contact Centre and Customer Engagement industry. He joined Verint over 10 years ago, and prior to that held Solutions Management roles with a number of other Contact Centre solutions providers such as Aspect and Enghouse Interactive. 

Mr. Chandra Shekhar Jajware

Chief Information Officer at Khimji Ramdas Group

As the Chief Information Officer of Khimji Ramdas Group he is responsible for managing IT & digital strategy for the group with IT investment, projects and IT operation management which includes one of the largest infrastructures in the country with 4 core ERP systems and various other applications systems for very diversified business units in the group. Wholesale & distribution, retail,  Infrastructure development, air-conditioning, construction, pharmaceuticals, contracting, manufacturing, electrical, FMCG, restaurants, education, shipping, logistics & supply-chain, IT etc.  He has contributed remarkably to transform fragment IT department from just a cost center to core strategic function and key differentiator. Keep Khimji Ramdas abreast of IT developments with emerging technologies by way of implementing appropriate, innovative and cost effective solutions to achieve competitive excellence. Prior to Khimji Ramdas Chandra Shekhar was working with global MNC  in shipping and logistics as Director IT and Customer Care – South Asia and was instrumental for many innovative IT solutions for business advancement, productivity & efficiency gain, operation cost saving  and customer satisfaction with best practices which eventually become industry bench marks.   

With more than 20 years of experience in IT Chandra Shekhar has been a frequent keynote speaker at many IT conferences and symposiums and have led many initiatives for business transformation, operational excellence, Growth enablement and customer engagement in Khimji Ramdas Group. Drawing on his insight into technology management and ability to create highly effective IT / digital frameworks, he has effectively leveraged IT as a key catalyst for Khimji Ramdas exponential growth over the past few years. 

Organization: Khimji Ramdas LLC is one of the largest conglomerates business house in the Sultanate of Oman. The Group consists of wholesale & distribution, retail,  Infrastructure development, Air-conditioning, construction, pharmaceuticals, contracting, manufacturing, electrical, FMCG, restaurants, education, shipping, Logistics & supply-chain, IT etc. Khimji Ramdas LLC itself has grown from a small beginning to play a substantial role in the modern Oman. Today Khimji Ramdas LLC continues to nurture and develop its strategies and activities as a successful business house. 

Mr. Dave Evans

VP of Social Strategy at Lithium

Dave is the VP of Social Strategy at Lithium, based in Austin, TX. Dave has worked in social technology consulting and development around the world and the author of best-selling "Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day" and "Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement." Dave is a regular columnist for ClickZ, and a frequent keynoter.

Mr. Mohammad (Abdulla) Al Madhani

Data Analytics and Strategy Expert, IT Director at Federal Demographic Council - UAE

Mr. Mohamed Al Madhani works at the intersection of business, technology and advanced analytics and turn data into knowledge that solves complex problems. He believes that analytics needs to provide answers to the real-time needs of business and create solutions that address and support everyday decisions. 

As a senior executive with a background in Information Technology, Data Management and Advanced Analytics, I understand the bottom line needs of the businesses he works with. With expertise in data science, Mohamed knows how to apply advanced analytics to gain insights and create strategies that drive important business decisions and solve real-world challenges. His experience spans industry sectors across Government, Banking, Insurance, Finance, and Telecommunications and I know how to use the latest tools, software and methodologies to draw conclusions and translate findings into strategies that answer important questions and drive value for business. Mohamed brings professional communication skills with the ability to turn analysis into a relatable story for top management and key stakeholders, and he is experienced in working on a variety of business engagements, across functions, clients and industries. 

Ms. Safae Farhi

Customer Marketing at Unilever

Safae Farhi origin moroccan. Academic background: graduated of a master's degree majoring in international management between France and the US.

Professional background : had several experience as A fashion Marketer in NY; business development with Chalhoub, channel development and shopper and customer marketing with Unilever.

Favourite color : pink :) very cliché :)

Hobbies: tennising, cooking and swimming

My logo : success is a choice :)

Mr. Mohamed Sheta

Worldwide Marketing Director, Consumer and Shopper Connections at Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies

Mohamed is a a leadership executive with solid success in helping serve patient needs, developing and executing commercial strategies, accelerating business growth and delivering aggressive P&L targets. He has passion and expertise in formulating and executing behavior-design  programs that stimulate positive patient engagement for better self-efficacy, adherence and measurable improvements in health outcomes. 

Mohamed has embarked on a learning journey of 20+ years in the healthcare sectors of pharmaceuticals, consumer health, medical devices and technology. Mohamed spent the first 10 years of his career in growing sales leadership roles in Pfizer Pharmaceuticals then Organon – Akzo Nobel. He then spent the next 10 years in marketing leadership roles in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health and then Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Care Companies. Mohamed has hands on experience in diverse market/payer models. He spent the last 5 years focusing on helping and impacting the lives of millions of  people with diabetes in global lead markets like US, Canada, France, Germany, China, Russia, India, Brazil and Middle East.

Mohamed is A listener, a social learner, an influencer and a relentless entrepreneur.

Dr. Paul J. Hopkinson

Assistant Professor of Marketing at Heriot-Watt University

Dr. Paul Hopkinson is an experienced academic and marketing professional with over 25 year’s work experience, 13 years of which have been spent in the Higher Education sector. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Heriot Watt University’s Dubai Campus and leads the University’s MSc programmes in International Business Management and International Marketing Management with Digital Marketing. He was previously Principal Lecturer and MBA Director at University of Gloucestershire and a part-time member for faculty at Birmingham Business School (University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr. Hopkinson’s main area of expertise is in the field of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and he holds a PhD in Marketing from the University of Gloucestershire in the UK, his thesis focusing on the management of independent intermediary relationships in the UK Life and Pensions Sector. His current research, teaching and consultancy activities encompass Strategic Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social CRM, Customer Engagement, B2B Marketing and Marketing Channel Management. 

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Dr. Hopkinson held various marketing and commercial roles (Marketing Research, Product Management and Procurement) in the Aerospace and Telecommunications industries. He has undertaken training and consultancy assignments for a range of clients including the Routes to Market Association (RTMA), ADNATCO, Via International and Krone (UK) Technique Limited (now CommScope).

Dr. Hopkinson is an experienced doctoral supervisor and examiner, with students based in UK, Germany, France and Switzerland and Dubai working in areas including: social media and customer engagement; neuro-science applications in the development of long-term salesperson-customer relationships, B2B Customer Based Brand Equity; and the influence of educational background on Franco-German B2B relationships.

Mr. Anas Haddad

Advisor Government Communication – Former Advisor of HE the Minister - Ministry of Labor

Anas Haddad is an Advisor Government Communication – He is a former Government Services Expert at Ministry of Public Sector Development. He participated in implementing public sector and regional strategic initiatives. Such as e-Government initiatives. Rolled out effective community outreach programs involving government entities and civil society institutions. And implemented Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, and social marketing interventions throughout public sector and civil society institutions.

Mr. Adel Shakeri

Director at Public Transportations Systems Road and Transportation Authority, Dubai

Mr. Adel Shakeri is currently serving as the Director of Transportation Systems. He has over 12 years’ experience in managing large and complex business transformation projects. He was also nominated for Dubai Government Master Franchisee of Domino’s Pizza & Wendy’s Square Burger in MENAP Region - member of Al Jammaz Group Excellence Award by RTA as the Best Government Employee.

Some of his major achievements include implementation and management of Bus Automated Vehicle Management System, Bus Automated Fare Collection System, Real-time Passenger Information System, Taxi Management System (Dispatcher 8) and several Smart Applications.

Mr. Ibrahim Youssry

Public Sector Regional Director Gulf at Microsoft

Before coming to Gulf 7 months ago, Ibrahim was the Commercial Director for Microsoft France for 3 years, before that was the General Manager for Microsoft French speaking Africa. Ibrahim is a a 25 years’ experience in Management, Sales and Marketing multicultural professional across many countries, industries & multinationals. Egyptian originally, spent most of his professional experience in France and in many expatriation experience in many countries.

Mr. Hani Masgidi

Head of GCMU at A.W. Rostamani Holdings

Hani has accomplished a professional and successful career spanning 15 years, managing diverse functions for reputed organizations such as Etisalat and Nakheel.  A keen planner & implementer, demonstrated abilities in devising marketing & customer retention strategies and accelerating the business growth. His expertise in tapping prospects, analyzing their requirements, rendering guidance to the clients and negotiating commercial terms for the orders and proficiency in developing & streamlining systems with proven ability to enhance operational effectiveness and meet operational goals within the cost, time & quality parameters earned him his current association as the Head of Customer Management Unit with A. W. Rostamani Holding Group, Dubai, which is among the most highly respected conglomerates in the Middle East. Their portfolio of companies is responsible for managing well established multinational brands across several industries including automotive, real estate, interior design and IT. With over 1800 employees and net assets in excess of US1.5 Billion, the A W Rostamani Group’s success story is one of the most inspired in the region.

Hany Maurice

Middle East Regional Channel and Alliance Leader at Eaton Corporation

Maurice been in the Information Technology industry for more than fifteen years where he held senior regional positions across Europe , Middle East , and Africa .Maurice began his career with Xerox as System analyst , and he held various positions with international firms includes  Tech Access ,  Intelligent Decisions and Dell He served as General Manager for Symantec Distribution at Tech Access , where he was able to increase the market share by double digits increment , where in the same year he earned the best personal contribution award to Symantec Channel across MENA. Outside the office , His passion goes to photography  where he hosted two international photography exhibitions to raise fund for the UN

Mr. Fady Kassatly

Principal at Strategy& - Formerly Booz & Company

Fady Kassatly is a senior member of the firm’s digital business & technology practice in the Middle East. He has been working as a management consultant. He has a vast experience acquired through consulting engagements in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Mr. Kassatly’s role involves advising top government leaders on a variety of topics. He also contributes to projects focusing on strategy execution and monitoring, new operating models and governance, organization design and restructuring, shared services design and implementation, customer relationship management (CRM), social media, and change management across various sectors with special focus on the public sector.

Mr. Ali Rebaie

Data Enthusiast and Evangelist, Speaker, Trainer, Business Intelligence/Big Data Expert, Top 100 Big Data Influencer

Ali Rebaie is a data enthusiast and independent Big Data consultant at Rebaie Analytics Group. Being a community mentor at School of Data of Open Knowledge Foundation, he aims at spreading data skills globally and educate on the use of big data for public good in the MEA region.  Ali is a frequent speaker at conferences and one of the leading Big Data experts in the Middle East & Africa. He was the founder & president for the first PASS SQL Server & BI chapter in Lebanon. Ali also led and developed several projects in Business Intelligence, m-health, social network analysis, data visualization and analytics and worked for clients in the Fortune 500. 
He was recently selected as one of the top 100 Big Data influencers on Twitter worldwide. Ali is a member of the internationally renowned Boulder BI Brain Trust (BBBT) in Boulder, USA, a membership-only consortium of leading independent BI and Big Data experts and analysts worldwide.

Mr. Anamitra Roy

CIO at Oracle

Former CIO of one of the largest Food Manufacturing and Distribution companies in the Middle East , and the largest Meat Business in India. Expert in the CPG / FMCG Industry segment. Responsibilities include oversight of the IT function across 15 Countries and 3 large Business Groups. Currently leading the single largest Oracle E-business Suite ERP implementation ever attempted worldwide in a CPG industry (over 100 M USD, 80 major application sets). Providing leadership and Change Management to the single largest Transformation in the business. Moved IT away from a pure Cost Center to a more Profit Center orientation.

Mr. Sami Zighan

Regional IT Project Manager at Americana Group

As the Regional IT Project Manager of Americana, Mr. Sami Zighan is responsible for managing IT projects across the region, with wide experience in Sites and projects management. his education and experiences have afforded him key skills in requirements analysis, budget control, team building and management, project planning, customer relationship management and implementing IT solutions to improve business efficiency, with a proven excellence in service management consistent with ITIL standards.

15 years of total IT background experiences mainly in Project management & IT Service Management, Joined Americana early 2011 where he introduced his experience that helped in successfully upgrading ERP systems project along with new implementation in new Americana branches in addition to the business indigence implementation across the region, moreover he worked on setting Americana IT strategy and strategic plan for 4 years ahead.

Mr. Ahmed Al Riedi

CEO at AIMS International

Ahmed ElRidi is the CEO of Advanced Interactive Media Solutions, UAE, and a renowned digital signage solutions professional, marketer, solutions developer and consultant. Ahmed's diversified digital media background spans multimedia programming, video editing and 3D animation. He specialises in developing digital signage sustainable solutions, marketing strategies, digital campaigns and initiatives focusing on enhancing end-to- end customer experiences. He has a proven track record of driving multiple marketing value propositions from business model to post-rollout measurement. Worked with several multinational clients in EMEA markets such as Virgin, Unilever, Nestle, Citibank, Motorola and LG to develop digital signage related campaigns.

Mr. Mike Bermingham

Head of Merchandising - Ecommerce at Landmark Group

Innovative retail leader with extensive experience in merchandising, brand management, store operations and eCommerce. Track record in achieving revenue, profit and market growth objectives, successfully building vendor relationships that drive sales, cost reduction and margin increases. Leveraged a winning attitude to successfully manage new and existing businesses, high-profile brands, complex project teams and multi-million dollar budgets. Developed and engaged teams to reach and exceed goals.
His specialties are eCommerce, Strategic Planning and Execution, Brand Management, Product Development, Global Sourcing

Mr. Tarek Karzon

Regional Sales Director at Souq.com

Souq.com was established in 2005 to become the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world covering Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, and soon expanding to new markets. Souq.com is the channel were thousands of buyers & sellers in the region meet on a daily basis to sell products over a trusted platform that offers both various local payment options and integrated delivery methods catered to the markets that we serve. From the first transaction we helped facilitate on Souq.com; we have been pioneering the field of e-commerce in the Arab World to offer our users a constant safe, easy, and fun place to conduct business. We started as the first online auction site and quickly evolved to a fully integrated e-commerce site offering Fixed price options, online stores.

Mr. Rami Zahran

Head of Digital Marketing - Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Rami heads Digital Marketing at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, where he is responsible for overseeing the brand’s online presence through the management of digital and social media platforms. Since joining in 2012, Rami has developed a solid integrated digital strategy for the hospital which has led to several accomplishments including being recognized by LinkedIn as one of the top four influential brands in the MENA region.  

One of Rami’s main objectives is to work closely with key stakeholders within the hospital to align the digital strategy to organizational needs and to business requirements. These objectives span from enhancing the patient experience, increasing awareness for services offered to recruitment related activities. 

Rami earned his postgraduate degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London where he completed an MSc in International Management for the Middle East and North Africa. 

Mr. Brad Moody

Associate Professor of Digital Media and Digital Media Coordinator at American University in Dubai

He is currently holding the position of Associate Professor of Digital Media at the American University in Dubai as well as Coordinator for the Digital Media Concentration within the Visual Communication Department. His personal work and research employs digital media, emerging technologies, hybrid physical ubiquitous design, mobile media, interaction design and new technologies and their integration in education. Brad holds a BS from Skidmore College in Art Education and an MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Responsibilities include teaching all level of courses in the new Digital Media concentration within AUDs Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication program. Student advising, research, involvement with community organizations and participating as a member on college committees. Advise and implement updating digital studio space.

Mr. Shaheen Haque

Türkiye & Middle East Territory Manager at Interactive Intelligence

Shaheen’s tenure started in 2008. Prior to Interactive Intelligence, he worked for over 15 years in sales & marketing/management positions across the Middle East and Europe, for mainly US software organisations such as IBM, Micromuse, AppsMart, Seagate Software, LBMS, Oracle and SPSS.
Shaheen holds a BSc degree in Computing Science (Greenwich University, London) and an MSc in Business Systems Analysis (City University, London)

Mr. Ethem Eldem

Senior Director / M2M Services at Etisalat

Ethem Eldem  has graduated from Austrian High school in Istanbul and completed his BA and MBA in Marmara university, Turkey.

He started his career in local management consulting companies for executive search, management assessment & training, organizational structuring and joined Pricewaterhousecoopers Turkey managing large organizational development projects for government and private enterprises.

He started his career in Turkcell, Turkey s leading mobile operator as Director for organizational Development in 2003.

In 2008 he assumed responsibilities as Group Coordinator. Between 2010-2011 he was responsible for innovation governance, consumer VAS and partnership management of Turkcell. Afterwards he became the Director for whole corporate mobile services including M2M, connectivity services, premium messaging, location based services, enterprise applications.

As of April of 2014 he joined Etisalat to lead M2M services in UAE.


Karim Hanafy

Dynamics Product Manager | Microsoft

Karim Hanafy joined Microsoft in 2008 as the Microsoft Dynamics Product Manager. In this role, Ahmed is responsible for managing Dynamics products such as ERP and CRM with closer focus on ERP for manufacturing Distribution, Retail, services and public sector industries. Before joining Microsoft, Karim worked in the business solutions area for 10 years, holding various positions within consulting, channel, pre-sales and Sales. Ahmed graduated with a bachelor of business Administration from the American University in Cairo.

Guillaume de La Tour

President/Owner | BlueFox, France

BlueFox is the European leading company for content in Digital Signage with more than 22 million viewers per day. He is a member of OVAB (European association of digital signage and DMAF (French's one). He is also former president of INTA (Telecom Company). Moreover he is father of 4 boys which is the most important.

Artour Severinov

Director E-Commerce | Hilton Worldwide - Middle East & Africa

Artour Severinov, E-Commerce Director, Hilton Worldwide, Middle East & Africa (MEA) joined the company in 2011 and is responsible for developing and overseeing all online and social media activitiesfor the company's 61 hotels in the area. Artour has a strong e-commerce background and a wealth of hospitality experience following spells at Jumeirah Group and Mvenpick. Under previous responsibilities in the Middle East, his projects have earned him a number of regional awards including 'Best Website' and 'Online Retailer of the Year'. Artour, a Bulgarian national, has lived in the Middle East for 12 years, and holds an MBA in E-Commerce. He is based at the Hilton Worldwide Middle East & Africa headquarters in Dubai, UAE.

Hani Masgidi

Head of CRM | AW Rostamani Group - UAE

An accomplished and dynamic Operations & CRM professional with a successful career spanning 15 years, managing diverse functions for reputed organizations. Currently associated with A. W. Rostamani Holding Group, Dubai, in the capacity of Head - Customer Management Unit. Expertise in tapping prospects, analyzing their requirements, rendering guidance to the clients and negotiating commercial terms for the orders. Proficient in developing & streamlining systems with proven ability to enhance operational effectiveness and meet operational goals within the cost, time & quality parameters.

Hans de Groot

VP Sales Asia Pacific & Emerging Markets | SDL International - USA

Hans de Groot was appointed Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific & Emerging Markets for SDL Content Management Technologies Division to help market SDL's Global Customer Experience Management platform. Mr. de Groot joined Tridion in 2001 which was acquired by SDL in 2007. He has over two decades of international business experience and is responsible for all customer and partners interactions and SDL's CMT division business expansion into Asia Pacific & Emerging Markets with a focus on Japan, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. Before joining SDL, Hans de Groot served as Sales Director at Paymate NG (an Exact division) and held senior sales positions at Baan Company.

Joe Tesfai

Senior Vice President Information Technology | Atlantis the Palm

Joe Tesfai is the Senior Vice President - Information Technology at Atlantis The Palm Dubai and Kerzner International and juggles his responsibilities with serving as a board member for du Customer Advisory Board - Hospitality, a role he fits in as glove by lending his technical expertise on matters of innovation, staying ahead of the game and improving service offerings with the growing customer base. Among many notable accolades Joe was the first Middle East representative on the Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), a global standards forum. Joe has amassed 20 years of experience, in the Hotel ICT industry with Executive and well as hands on expertise. A business visionary and a leader.

Mr. Ziyaad Khoja

Senior Product Manager at Landmark Group

Having spent his whole career around designing and developing Technology, Web and as of late Mobile, Ziyaad has found his sweet spot with the Landmark Group. As a Senior Product Manager, he is responsible for many user-centric areas, but focuses on bridging Shukran's 6.5 million member Loyalty base with LandmarkShops.com's offering. His next big step is to personalize the user experience by digging into intelligence that's around him.

Born, raised and educated in Toronto, Canada, Ziyaad has lasted 6 years in Dubai. With his wife and dog Dexter here, along with playing ice hockey, calling it home has never been easier.

Sameer Umar

Director - Program Management | Jumeirah Group

Sameer is hospitality professional with years of experience in Sales, Marketing, e-Commerce, and Business Intelligence. Currently he is based in Dubai and is responsible for leading the Business Intelligence efforts for Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts. Prior to that he was employed with TravelClick, a provider of e- Commerce and Market Intelligence solutions for the hospitality industry. He received his BSc and MS degrees from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, Texas.

Ms. Liz Riemersma

Marketing Director at The Entertainer

As Marketing Director at The Entertainer, Liz Riemersma heads up the brand’s marketing, communications and customer service across all 40 destinations in 15 Countries. 

Liz started her career as a real estate broker and marketer for a boutique real estate investment firm in Boston before earning an MBA at the University of Denver with a specialization in Marketing and eCommerce.  While earning her MBA, Liz joined  LinkShare Corporation in Client Services, where she ran online affiliate marketing programs for American Express, Disney, and Target. From there, Liz went on to become Marketing Strategy Consultant at Fair Isaac Corporation (now called FICO) in the US, designing data driven and digital marketing programs for clients such as ConAgra Foods, Newell Rubbermaid and Coca Cola North America. 

 In 2005 Liz moved to Dubai where she worked as Brand Strategist at Zaman Consultancy, a boutique brand and design firm, after which she took a job as Marketing Director for Dubai Holding, the private investment vehicle for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.  There she was responsible for the marketing of a number of retail and leisure destinations, including Global Village, The Tiger Woods Dubai, Dubailand and The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence.   Liz joined the Entertainer in her current role in 2012.


Promoth Manghat

VP Global Operations | UAE Exchange

Mr. Promoth Manghat holds office as the Vice President - Global Operations, UAE Exchange, a leading global remittance and foreign exchange brand. An 'on-the-toes' thinker, Mr. Manghat has been acknowledged as an accomplished performer, who has seen his company through many challenging times. His sheer grit, determination, farsightedness and workmanship are exemplified in his dynamic leadership qualities. His tenure in UAE Exchange began in 2001 when he joined its India operations as Manager - Accounts. In November 2003, he was elevated to the post of Finance Manager of UAE Exchange, UAE. Mr. Manghat has been heading the Global Operations of UAE Exchange. He is successfully leading a big team of various Regional / Country Heads and Departments at the Global Head Quarters of UAE Exchange.

Mr. Jean-Pierre Mondalek

General Manager (UAE) at Uber Technologies

Jean-Pierre (JP) Mondalek is General Manager (UAE) at Uber Technologies, a technology provider that connects riders with drivers at the tap of a button in over 200 cities worldwide.

Prior to Uber, JP has over seven years of experience with TA Associates, a growth-focused private equity firm with over US$18billion under management, and Credit Suisse’s Technology M&A Group.  During his career, JP has closed US$1billion worth of transactions involving leading global software and internet companies in the US and Europe.

JP is a MBA graduate from INSEAD, where he was co-President of the INSEAD Private Equity Club, and also graduated magna cum laude from Babson College.

In 2012, JP returned to Dubai, where he was born and raised. After consulting for the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s Global Special Situations group, he co-founded and launched an automotive services company, Autohaus Middle East, in Dubai.

Mr. Milind Samant

Research Director at TNS Middle East & Africa

Milind is recognized as thought leader in the customer experience/engagement in service sector with specific emphasis on his core sector of expertise including strategic consulting on service excellence evaluation to government, travel and tourism sector clients in the Middle East. He has worked on various major service sector brands in the region. He is a regular panel speaker & workshop moderator at key industry conferences & events in the region.  

Chandra Shekhar Jajware

CIO | Khimji Ramdas - Oman

As the CIO of Khimji Ramdas, Mr. Shekhar is responsible for managing IT strategy for the group with IT projects and IT operation management which includes one of the largest infrastructures in the country with core ERP system and various other applications for diversified business units in the group. With more than 16 years of experience in IT Mr. Shekhar has been a frequent keynote speaker at many IT conferences and symposiums and have led many initiatives operational excellence, Growth enablement and transformational in Khimji Ramdas day to day business operation.

Osama Romoh

Digital Marketing Lead | Dubizzle

Osama Romoh is the Digital Marketing Lead for Dubizzle.com, the Middle East and North Africa's leading online classifieds website. Since 2005, Dubizzle has been a one-stop-shop for people to buy, sell or find anything online in their own community. Osama's responsibilities include overseeing all social media marketing and online advertising across the MENA region. Osama started with Dubizzle in 2010 and is based out of Dubai, UAE. During his time with the company, Osama has been instrumental in developing many of the website's biggest partnership and barter deals.

Merlyn Colette D'Silva

Online Marketing | IHG Hotel Groups - Dubai

An integral part of the Marketing Communications team at InterContinental Hotels Group, Merlyn is the forefront of developing and implementing the online marketing initiatives for the group's four signature properties at Dubai Festival City. Having previously worked at Google, where her interest in online advertising stemmed, then later moved on to managing key accounts across a range of sectors in advertising agencies in Dubai, where her passion for marketing planning and communications grew.

Colonel Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi

Assistant Director General Inchagre of E-Services Sector

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai – DNRD


General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-- Dubai. He has received Bachelor of Science from Maryville University in Computer Science in the year 1997 from St. Louis Missouri – U.S.A and completed his Masters in Computer Resources and Information Management from USA in the year 1999. Alrazooqi has been working in many fields related to Information Technology Department. From System Administration, PC Support, Network, Information Security, Development Department. He started his career as System Administrator in 1999 at Dubai Police. In January 2007 been honored and has been asked to join DNRD to be Assistant General Director in charge of Information Technology.

Mr. Adel Shakeri

Director / Public Transportations Systems at Road and Transportation Authority/ Dubai UAE

Mr. Adel Shakeri is currently serving as the Director of Transportation Systems. He has over 12 years’ experience in managing large and complex business transformation projects. He was also nominated for Dubai Government Excellence Award by RTA as the Best Government Employee.


Some of his major achievements include implementation and management of Bus Automated Vehicle Management System, Bus Automated Fare Collection System, Real-time Passenger Information System, Taxi Management System (Dispatcher 8) and several Smart Applications.

Mr. Vikram Chadha

Vice President - SME Marketing Commercial - DU

Executive-level international experience in general management, marketing P&L, product management, sales strategy and management responsibility with over 15 years experience in Asia, Africa, America and Middle East in the telecommunication sector. Extensive senior expertise in international telecommunications marketing, sales, business development and customer experience. Marketing experience in the consumer, enterprise and SME segments. Go to market specialist with strong channel expertise.Experience in handling sales operations for direct, indirect and retail channels across both consumer and enterprise segments for both the fixed and mobile sectors. Impressive people management skills with the ability to lead from the front. Extensive skills and experience in turning around business and developing markets / business from scratch. Proven expertise in incremental value creation for the business. Thought leader in Mobile Data, Cloud Services, Digital space.

Mr. Wael Al Khumor

Consultant, eTransformation - Yesser e-Government program - Saudi Arabia

A consultant for government agencies to Build the strategic e-Transformation plans to optimize their IT investments using the Enterprise Architecture methodology. Responsible for defining, scoping and managing mobile government program to offer E-government services through mobile channels. The eGoverment program provides several services for government agencies that varies from funding to physical infrastructure connectivity.my job is to make sure that the client get what he wants and uses what he gets efficiently.

Mr. Thair Soukar

Head of Digital Strategy at Sky News Arabia

Thair is the Head of Digital Strategy at Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia, where he is responsible for strategizing and steering the station’s online, mobile and social media platforms.

Thair began his media career in 2000 with the ITP Publishing Group as an assistant editor for the Arabic language Windows magazine and website. While at ITP, he established and launched the Channel Arabic magazine and website – a first of its kind product for Arabic readers – before subsequently becoming editor of Arabian Business Magazine. In 2006 Thair joined the MBC Group as editorial manager of MBC.net, which he co-launched. 

Then he joined du in 2009 as Head of Digital for the telecom operator’s 21st Century Digital Arabia initiative and the tri-lingual anayou.com entertainment and social networking website before joining Sky News Arabia in 2011.

Mr. Abdel Wahed Bendaoua

Head of Enterprise - Emerging Markets - Google

Within this rapidly developing industry Abdel Wahed focuses on working with Google’s Partners on bringing the most innovative solutions to the market. Abdel also intends to help make Emerging Market Regions champions in the cultural, social and political world. Abdel Wahed carries 21 years’ experience in the software and telecommunication field and has held various management positions in leading corporations such as France-Telecom, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Abdel Wahed is really passionate about working in emerging markets and now being at Google he is relishing the opportunity in working with cutting edge “disruptive innovation”. He believes that the main role of technology, in particular Cloud Computing, is to reduce the social gaps between people and make on impact on the way business is conducted from a collaborative and productivity perspective.


Abdel Wahed graduated in 1990 from the French Institute of Physics and holds and engineering degrees and a Master in Physics from the University of Lyon - France.

Ahmed ElRidi


Ahmed ElRidi is the CEO of Advanced Interactive Media Solutions, UAE, and a renowned digital signage solutions professional, marketer, solutions developer and consultant. Ahmed's diversified digital media background spans multimedia programming, video editing and 3D animation. He specialises in developing digital signage sustainable solutions, marketing strategies, digital campaigns and initiatives focusing on enhancing end-to- end customer experiences. He has a proven track record of driving multiple marketing value propositions from business model to post-rollout measurement. Worked with several multinational clients in EMEA markets such as Virgin, Unilever, Nestle, Citibank, Motorola and LG to develop digital signage related campaigns.

Dr. Usman Zafar

Country Manager MENA Region - ]init[ Services for e-Society International Speaker, C Level Advisor, Social Media Expert & eGovernment Strategist

An accomplished Business Management and Technology Executive with an extensive experience in both private and public sector with successful track record in building, transforming and leading result oriented professional organization, leading complex programs & business change initiatives with full P&L responsibility.


Dr Usman have been at the forefront of many of the region’s (MENA) multi millions $ IT projects and extensively recognized for his expertise in the areas of eGovernment, e - services, ERP, process automation, specialized training initiatives and Strategic IT Planning. An integrity driven personality, performance-driven executive with proven success in developing effective and profitable partnerships with business stakeholders in risk adverse environments, strong communication skills with a reputation for being a detail oriented, and creative solutions provider focused on doing the right thing, the right way.

Mr. David Ashford

E-business & Information Director - Entertainer

More than 20 year career spanning marketing, technology, consulting and investment with a focus on e-commerce, mobile apps and e-business in general. Clients include Abbey National, Argos, Brandbank, British Airways, British American Tobacco, BT, Burford Research, Clive Capital, Coca Cola, COSMIC (Children of St Mary's Intensive Care), Cullen Investments, Divertimenti, DVDplus, Electronic Arts, Healys Solicitors, Hewlett Packard, Inmarsat, Intel, Lloyds TSB, Massive Pub Group, Mothercare, mymission2, NatWest, Net-a-Porter, OnMedica Group, OnStream Group, Oracle, Our Price, Pentax, PRG Powerhouse, Rapha Racing, Renault, Rock Asphalte, Sage, Smedvig Capital, St Giles Group, The Conservative Party, The Daily Draw, Virgin v.Shop, Virgin Megastore, Warner Bros Studios.

Mr. Ghaith Sheikh Hamad

Regional Social Media Director MEA at Leo Burnett Worldwide

A highly versatile digital marketing professional with over 8 years’ experience across Europe, Middle East and Africa offering an outstanding track record of revenue growth through integrated communication strategies. An all-round communicator operating at a senior management level developing and leading regional teams to offer excellence in strategic relationships, client servicing, sales and revenue growth with full alignment with Global operations.

Mr. Gavin Payne

Regional Head of Technology (MENA)- Heath Wallace

A seasoned digital executive, leader and strategist with a track record of success in multi-channel marketing and customer engagement. Over the past number of years he has been working with global clients such as Diageo, Emirates, Heineken, Kraft, La Prairie, Nokia, Nike and Unilever. A driven business professional with a focus on disruptive new media, emerging technologies, and innovation. Recognized as a leader in brand engagement with over 16 years’ experience building and leading cutting-edge digital and technology efforts in the marketing and advertising industries. An accomplished entrepreneur - involved in a number of technology startups and even awarded the Shell Livewire “Irish Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2009.

Mr. Umair Merchant

Head of IT - Abu Dhabi Finance Bank

Currently managing a Program which includes several Technology / Non-Technology projects to bring business benefits in terms of cost saving and performance improvement. Responsible for company-wide projects from initiation / design to implementation entailing feasibility and risk analysis with periodic update to Senior Management on the progress. Furthermore, responsible for ensuring continued High Availability within a commercially appropriate framework. Implemented system changes through automation, process change, management solutions and training along with the preparation of respective documentation such as project reports, User process manuals, presentations, strategic and other related information on assigned application analysis.

Ms. Ethar El-Shabrawy

General Manager – ACME Group

A driven Entrepreneur who’s focusing on creativty, interactivety, and novelty. The General Manager of ACME Group, creating engagement pltforms using digital and interactive technologies across different fields including dining, hospitality, brand communicaiton, education and many more, across the GCC and MENA regions. With over 8 years experience in media planning and marketing communication, building communication strategies for national as well as multinational companies such as Coca Cola, Unilever, Nestle, Danone, Mars, Kraft Foods, Natinal Bank of Abu Dhabi, LINKdotNET, Damac, Palm Hills Development, Credit Agricole, New Giza and Mobinil, Ethar believes in the impact of technology in brand communication as well as the power of both in customer engagement, loyalty and retension.

Mr. Jacob Lebo

Head Digital Communication Strategy Al Futtaim - Marks & Spencer

Jacob Lebo is the manager of Marks and Spencer digital communications across the Middle East. Working with Al Futtaim in a franchise partnership with Marks and Spencer, the entire organization applies international strategy across our 8 local operating markets. With major market expansions over the next 5 years, Al Futtaim, Marks and Spencer is pace to take advantage of the changes in customer engagement. Jacob thoroughly enjoys the complexities presented by a rapidly changing digital world coupled with great growth plans that transcend across multiple markets. In his spare time he enjoys both watching and playing Basketball.

Mr. Leith Matthews

Co-Founder - Restronaut and SNAP Mobile Loyalty Reward

Entrepreneur passionate about digital startups, social and influencer marketing and the restaurant industry. A passionate young businessperson with a successful track record of creating, launching and operating innovative startups, spaces and projects. Leithis a central figure and connector within the Startup ecosystem of the UAE. He specialises in building exciting initiatives and marketing platforms that excite consumers and hit business objects.

Mr. Sherif Dahan

co-Founder and Managing Director The Gamifiers

Sherif is the co-Founder and Managing Director of “The Gamifiers” a Dubai based Regional Digital Agency focused on delivering Gamification solutions to Brands, Enterprises and Governments.  “The Gamifiers” are the Exclusive Regional Partner of Badgeville, the Number One Gamification & Behavior Management Platform in the World with more than 300 customers worldwide including the likes of Microsoft, Samsung, Nestle, Orange, Expedia and eBay.  Previously, Sherif was the Managing Director of MSN Middle East & North Africa leading the relaunch of the brand in the region and achieving record audience growth for this tri-lingual portal in fourteen countries.  Previous to his MSN role, he spearheaded the establishment and growth of LINKdotNET (currently Orascom Telecom Ventures) business in the Gulf Region across its various divisions (Software/Portal Solutions, Online Media Agency, Hosting Services) from 1999 to 2010 in his role of General Manager - Gulf.  Sherif is currently one of the key figures dedicated to educate the market about, and spread the use of, Gamification in the Middle East.

Ms. Donna Benton

CEO & Founder at the Entertainer

Donna Benton started the Entertainer back in 2001 after she identified a market need for both providing consumers with dining incentives and enabling restaurants to reach new customers.  The Entertainer filled this gap by providing buy one get one free vouchers to the best restaurants, cafes, nightspots and attractions. 

Donna worked alone to build the business from the ground up – managing all of the corporate legalities to set the business up, recruited all of the merchants the first year, oversaw the printing and production and did most of the sales herself,  literally door to door. 

Over the past thirteen years Donna, 40, has used her passion and enthusiasm to drive the company from a single Dubai book to a Dubai-based international brand. The Entertainer is now active across the Middle East, Egypt, Cyprus, South Africa, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The portfolio now includes 51 products, in 33 destinations across 16 countries worldwide – with offers from over 10,000 merchant partners, driving US$ 1.3 Billion dollars into the global economy.  In 2014, the Entertainer launched brand new products in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Johannesburg and London as well as a free smartphone App, which allows consumers to redeem their buy one get one free offers directly from their phones.  

Mr. Paul Ellis

Head of Digital Marketing - Majid Al Futtaim Finance

Paul Ellis is Head of Digital Marketing at Majid Al Futtaim Finance and a Media and Communications Graduate from the University of Lancaster.  Paul possesses over 7 years’ experience in digital marketing having worked for one of the UK’s leading Digital Marketing Agencies before moving to Dubai 3½ years ago in the Online Trading industry.  Paul was approached to develop a brand new Digital Marketing operation for Majid Al Futtaim Finance in order to help support the company’s growing number of customers and products.

Mr. Ahmed El Rayes

CEO at Gamified Labs

BIO: The pioneer of Gamification in the MENA region and Founder & CEO of Gamified Labs. Ahmed is a Serial Entrepreneur, a Computer Scientist, and London Business School MBA graduate with a deep passion towards innovation and the effective uses of Technology and Gamification in creating a future where everyone, regardless of their age, feels enriched and enlightened in their daily lives.

Mr. Sebastien Marteau


Sébastien Marteau is the founder and CEO of ICONICTION. ICONICTION is a regional leader in proximity marketing and Omnichannel technologies.


He is a globally experienced (20 years) mobile & digital media/marketing professional who has worked in multinationals (Alcatel-Lucent, Gemalto, Newscorp) and start-ups in France, UK, Germany, Spain, China, Japan and UAE….He is also the co-founder of the ‘French Digital’ networking initiative in Dubai. 

Prior to founding ICONICTION, Sebastien was Vice-President Sales and Marketing at Intigral, the digital arm of STC Group. He was in charge of the Mobile, Internet and Advertising business lines and managed more than 120 employees. He leaded multi-platform, multi-screen content convergence initiatives across the company such as the Saudi Professional League in Football. 

He is married with three children and enjoys various sports activities. He and his family are avid travelers having lived in 6 countries and visited over 50 countries.

Mr. Maher Dosoqi

Marketing, Digital & Social Media Manager - Juma Al Majid Group

Maher is the Digital Marketing & Advertising division manager of Juma Al Majid Group, one of the leading diversified groups of companies in the UAE.

Entrepreneur by nature, employee by choice. Marketing professional with a track record who had the privilege to manage a select of reputed international brands in the MENA region (UAE, Saudi Arabia & Jordan) within the Banking, Trading, Consumer Electronics, Automotive and FMCG industries.

Maher comes with 13 years of online experience in Digital Marketing (eMail, SEM, SEO, Social Media, Content Development and PR), an award winner of the “Best Interactive Banking Website in the Middle East”, holds a bachelor in Computer Science from AUST and currently perusing his Master in Strategic Marketing from Wollongong University in Dubai.

An occasional writer, in love with Arabic language, passionate about Education and everything surrounds Marketing, Technology & Design.

Mr. Rohin Thampi

CEO at Zomato

Rohin is the CEO for Zomato in the UAE. He graduated with a B.Tech Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and went on to pursue a PGDM from IIM Ahmedabad in 2009. Prior to joining Zomato, Rohin has worked in multiple sectors such as FMCG and Real Estate. He has successfully handled and grown the business for Zomato in Bangalore, India and in his current role he oversees all operations for Zomato at a national level in the UAE.

Mr. Usama Qasem

Regional Digital Marketing Manager at IKEA

Usama has been working in web and digital marketing for over 10 years.  He is the now the Regional Digital Marketing Manager at IKEA. He is one of the pioneers, who early advocated for the importance of UX and social media in the region.
During his career at IKEA he has helped the brand become the first furniture retailer in the Middle East to sell furniture online.  In addition, his contribution towards the IKEA website and mobile website has earned the brand 2 awards for enhancement of these digital platforms. He as well launched the brand social media presence in the region.

Byron Koller

Co-Founder and Marketing Director at Safarna.com

Byron Koller is currently Co-Founder and Marketing Director at Safarna.com. Previous experience in the region includes, founding member and marketing director for Cobone.com as well as a position as Lecturer at the Digital Marketing Institute. Prior to living and working in Dubai, Byron has over 6 years experience in digital marketing & creative brand building in the UK and South Africa. Safarna translates from Arabic to 'Our Travel'. We are a local online travel agent featuring holiday deals, experiences & hotel room nights. We offer a local brand to customers in the UAE and Saudi.

Rabea Ataya

Founder and CEO at Bayt.com

Rabea Ataya is focused on providing employment opportunities for Middle Eastern youth by aiding in developing both the Internet and SME sectors in the region. Rabea is the founder and CEO of Bayt.com, the Middle East’s leading job site, which now serves over 17,500,000 professionals and 40,000 employers from its 12 regional offices.  He co-founded Gonabit.com, the region’s first group purchasing site, InfoFort, the Middle East's first and leading records management company, and he serves on the board of several Middle Eastern startups.  Rabea also serves on the board of the Queen Rania Foundation which is focused on empowering youth through education in our region. Rabea is a graduate of Stanford University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Engineering Economic Systems.

Kapil Bhatia

Former Head of Digital Marketing and Customer Engagement at Mashreq Bank

Kapil is working in the financial services industry for the last 12 years. Expertise in Online Channels, Payments, e-Business, Cross Sell and development of Digital Marketing strategies, with a sound Information Technology base.

Mr. Daniele Calderoni

Regional Brand Director at Mars

Daniele Calderoni is Regional Brand Director for Mars chocolate brands in the Middle East.

He started his career in Procter&Gamble in 2004 and held several positions in Brand Management in Italy and in the European Headquarters in Switzerland, working on Local, Regional and Global assignments in the Beauty business. In 2013 he joined Mars in Dubai and worked as Marketing Manager on the Chocolate portfolio for the Gulf countries before becoming Brand Director for the META Region.  

Daniele is a Bocconi University graduate and has attended executive programs at the London School of Economics and Stanford University. 

Mr. Ahmed Qurram Baig

Senior Director - Corporate Strategy, Risk & Excellence - Dubai Government Entity

Ahmed Baig is prominent speaker and cybersecurity expert in the MENA region; Ahmed previously was a Head of information security and compliance at a Dubai Government Entity, CISO at an Abu Dhabi Government Entity and Head - Business Management and Advisory Services at TECOM (A Member of Dubai Holding). He brings to his current role more than 16 years of experience in Risk Management & Compliance, and Information Security Advisory Services; He has previously worked on projects for Major Airlines, Banks, Defense and Federal Agencies across the Middle East.

He is also founder of CISO Council and Chief Architect for CGMS (Corporate Governance Management System) and ITGMS (IT Governance Management System) frameworks covering Risk Management, IT Governance, Information Security, and Business Continuity in service providers and government entities. He has been a key member of eSecurity domain within Interstandards (Web Security Standard) developed regionally and also been part of OISSG. Ahmed's key assignments as principal consultant for various GRC, ISMS projects to help clients comply with required standards and regulations mainly ADSIC, ISR, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ITIL, ISF and CobIT.


His experience also includes auditing of security solutions, architecture & Policy Compliance. Ahmed Baig has a Master’s in IT (UK) and PgD in Strategic Business IT (UK) and has several professional certifications to his credit some of which are CRISC, CBCP, CISM, CISA, CISSP, ITIL, ISO 27001 / 20000, ISO 22301 and others.

Mr. Safdar Zaman

Head of IT Strategy and Governance at Nakheel PJSC

Safdar Zaman, a recognized ICT leader with more than 15 years’ experience in IT Processes, IT Security, Project Management, Big Data and IT Governance. Safdar Zaman is currently the Head of IT Strategy and Governance in Nakheel PJSC, a leader in developing iconic innovative landmark projects in Dubai where he successfully drafted and executed a turnaround strategy to transform IT from predominantly service delivery to a strategic business enabler.

Safdar started his career in Banking Software Company and has served different technical and managerial positions and advanced to the position of IT Strategy and Governance Head. During his 15 years career he participated in numerous challenging initiatives across cloud computing, Big Data, Virtualizations, Security, ERP and business transformations. He has successfully managed several innovative and challenging projects across Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Hospitality and services sectors. 

Safdar holds in addition to PGMP, PMP, ITIL, COBIT, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CISSP, ISO27001, ISO2000, CISSP, CEH certificates and a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering.

Mr. Anas Almarie

Social Media Strategist & LinkedIn Trainer

Anas Almarie is a Social Media Strategist by The National Institute for Social Media, he's a LinkedIn Lecturer at Skyline University College and DM3 Institute, he’s also a public speaker (Toastmasters International) and a regular guest speaker at TV Channels like Dubai TV (#Mal & #MoneyMap) many forums like Marketing Congress, SME World Summit, MENA Social Media Club... 

Anas is an Award Winning serial entrepreneur based in Dubai with few ventures, Daleelio is one of them. A professional NetworKING™ connecting SMEs in the MENA region, currently welcoming ideas while he’s working on his own Radio Talk Show & co-authoring a book on LinkedIn, Social Selling, Personal Branding and Career Development & Job hunting in the UAE. 

Anas is a distinguished judge & chair judge at The International Business Excellence Awards (#IBXAwards), The Gulf Customer Experience Awards and The Digital Customer Experience Awards (#GulfCXAwards). 

Anas had worked previously for the world’s renowned corporates like KALTENBACH, Grundofs as well as with prestigious higher education institute: University of Sharjah. 

Mr. Arnab Goswami

Senior Manager Loyalty Programs - Etisalat

Arnab Goswami is a Loyalty and Customer Value Management (CVM) Expert and as someone who has witnessed and contributed to the evolution of CVM practices as a centerpiece of the marketing game plan. Currently managing the Etisalat Rewards program (a unique telco coalition program), he has 15 years of varied experience encompassing telecom, retail and media industries and associated with the launch of multiple rewards programs and co branded rewards initiatives.

Mr. Amir Sharara

Digital Marketing Consultant, Digital Producer and Project Manager

Amir Sharara is an experienced digital marketing executive, digital Producer and project manager. His skills and experience include the leadership of digital product, portal operations, development and communication projects in Web, Mobile & App covering the technical and commercial management, with a clear focus on driving operational efficiency & ROI. Led major digital projects, developed new products/services, led e-commerce operations and developed digital strategy. 

Amir has detailed understanding of how to leverage user behavior. His clients have included leading mobile operators across the Middle East and currently working on the digital governance for one of the major developers in the Middle East covering all sectors of properties, entertainment, malls and hospitality. 

Mr. Muhammed Yildirim

Regional Director at Insider

An avid entrepreneur at heart, following his studies in Electronic Engineering, Muhammed found Genshot Bilisim, an inbound digital marketing agency in Turkey.

Following a successful exit in 20XX, he co-founded Uniyemek in Turkey, an online food delivery service for university students, which was widely adopted by universities in Turkey within the first two years of operation. 

Following yet another successful exit, Muhammed joined Insider as a Regional Director responsible for the company's fast growth in the MENA region. After a successful year in Dubai, Muhammed and his team opened a second office in Riyadh.

Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine

Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at the American University of Sharjah (AUS)

Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates. Before coming to AUS in 2009, he served as an Assistant Professor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), Morocco. He served as a lecturer at the universities of Hamburg and Erfurt in Germany. In 2015, he attended the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute. In 2014, he was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, England. 

He was also Scholar at Residence at the Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, USA in 2009.  Ibahrine worked for Deutsche Welle, International Telecommunications Union, UNESCO and Open Society Foundation. He is the author of New Media and Neo-Islamism. He co-authored Mapping Digital Media in Morocco. Currently he is working on a new book on Communication Technologies and Socio-political Change in the Arab World.

Dr. Mohan Lal Agarwal

Director, International Horizons College (IHC Dubai)

With a strategic stake of the Gems Education Dubai- the iconic education foundation in the Middle East, India, USA and UK in the IHC Dubai, Dr. Mohan is heading the business education at IHC Dubai. The delivery agenda includes evolving and executing a vision and action agenda for the Executive Education & Training; founding the Dubai Case & Simulation Research Center for the Middle East on the model of Harvard Case Center, and creating global partnerships with select universities and business schools for faculty and student exchange courses and the degree/ certificate bearing courses and programs in business and management.

Mr. Alexandre Sliman

General Manager Retail at AMZ Group (Dubai), since 2015: HAMAC multibrand stores, VILEBREQUIN, HAVAIANAS

Over 20 years of experience in General Management, Sales, Marketing, and Strategy at an international level in the field of Accessible Luxury / high-end consumer goods sold through selective distribution channels.

Worked in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

MBA from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris

(ESCP - Europe)

International experience in Fashion and high-end Sportswear / Casualwear brands (LACOSTE, VILEBREQUIN, HAVAIANAS).

General Manager Retail of AMZ Group (Dubai), since 2015: HAMAC multibrand stores, VILEBREQUIN, HAVAIANAS.

Former Vice President of LACOSTE USA (New York) in charge of Strategic Projects (Omnichannel) and managing the LACOSTE SPORT brand. 2013-2015

Former Global Director of Strategic Marketing for LACOSTE brand (Paris, France): 2005-2013

Launched LACOSTE L!VE brand, developped the LACOSTE SPORT segment, managed worldwide consumer intelligence surveys (U&A, quanti & quali).

Specialties: General Management, retail & wholesale, brand management, marketing strategy, consumer insights, CRM & digital, competitive intelligence

Mr. David Ham

Head Of Marketing - MENA

David Ham is the head of marketing for Uber in the MENA region. His role is to oversee all marketing activities of the individual city teams in the region and put together strategies and processes to streamline the marketing roles and functions throughout the region.

David joined Uber less than a year ago, which may make him a newbie in most companies. But considering how fast Uber has been growing all around the world, he is now considered to be part of the old crew. Prior to Uber, David worked in advertising for Leo Burnett both in Korea and Dubai. 

Mr. Ujjal Kumar Ghatak

Group CIO - Al Hamra Group, RAK

Post Graduate in Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, India, Mr Ghatak has started his career with Tata Consultancy Services as IT Consultant. He has worked with many companies like ICI Plc., Reliance Industries Limited, Petrofac International Limited, Sharjah, Tata Power and currently he is working with Al Hamra Group, Ras Al Khaimah as Group CIO. Mr Ghatak has 30+ years of IT experience working in many countries.

Mr. Samer H. Zabian

Director- Residential and Commercial Property at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate

Samer is an experienced professional and frequent speaker in the area of customer strategy and service management having worked with numerous organizations in a variety of industries including two of the leading property master developers in UAE, the primary Oil & Gas company in UAE, the leading and largest private bank in UAE, and one of the world's premier online brokerage firms in the US. 

He started working at an operational level managing day-to-day customer service related issues and has eventually used this widely gained experience to move to a higher strategic level, whereby in his latest assignment as Senior Director CRM, Property management and Leasing at TDIC, he was extensively involved in helping them translate their prestigious brand into superior end-to-end customer experience that increase satisfaction, loyalty and long term value of their customers. Currently Samer is a Director - Residential and Commercial Property at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate

Mr. Nadim Khouri

Head of Content and Experiences at OMD, Omnicom Media Group

Nadim started his career in the communication world in 2004 at BBDO Dubai.  Throughout his 4 years there he managed Emirates, Pepsi, Snickers and M&Ms to name a few. In 2008, he then went and got a Masters at New York University.  That led to the development of a true passion, Digital. Upon returning to Dubai in 2010, he joined the digital arm of BBDO, Proximity.  Here his legacy with Pepsi and Emirates continued and he helped develop their digital touchpoints. In 2012, Nadim moved over to Omnicom Media Group Digital to head up the mobile division. Working on accounts such as Pepsi, McDonalds. Estee Lauder, Unilever and more, his knowledge within the mobile space is extensive.  As a mobile marketeer, he focused on ensuring that brands wisely invested in mobile.  As a turn-key solution for mobile, he helped brands in the ideation and development of mobile assets, whether applications, mobile optimized sites and mobility-led innovation.  From a media perspective, he ensured that brands invest in the right mobile display opportunities within the vast offerings available. As of January this year, he continues to lead the mobile and innovation agenda but within OMD.  He is now Head of Content and Experiences and has earned added responsibilities in the realm of content and creative.

Mr. Muhammad Ashfaq-Ur-Rehman

Head of Customer Experience & Strategy at Noor Takaful

Muhammad has 19 years of international experience in Banking, Takaful, Insurance and Management Consulting.

He heads up Customer Experience and Strategy at Noor Takaful. His role also includes marketing, project management and data analytics. He is responsible for digital transformation as to build superior experience for internal & external customers.

Before joining Noor Takaful, he was running an independent strategy boutique for financial and non-financial institutions to help them in improving their performance.

Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President - Head of Bancassurance at Standard Chartered Bank. Before joining SCB, He was Head of Takaful Project Development at FWU Group. He developed FWU markets covering start-ups, acquired distribution partners, rolled out takaful projects/products and successfully managed relationships with bank distribution partners. He led in deploying technology driven automated solutions for over 12 bank distribution partners and 4 Takaful Operators across the GCC, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Muhammad also worked for Jubilee Life as Senior Executive Officer where he managed direct customer relations with over 600 customers alongside developed Bancassurance business.  

Muhammad graduated from Cass Business School, and has additional qualifications in insurance, Islamic finance, private equity, investment strategy, advanced corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and innovation & entrepreneurship.

Mr. Yousuf J. Alsawalhi

Customer Loyalty Marketing Expert, Manager UAE Coalition - Etihad

A Loyalty Marketing Expert, public speaker & a proactive business development professional, worked for Aimia the world’s leading loyalty programme provider, RTA/ Dubai and currently with Etihad Airways (Global Loyalty Company), Yousuf has developed a strong managerial and business foundation, rising through the ranks by introducing innovative, creative & efficient Loyalty schemes & campaigns in various countries within GCC & Levant region

Mr. Jonathan Tarud

Founder and CEO at Koombea

Jonathan Tarud is the founder and CEO of Koombea, a digital product development company that specializes in building mobile and web apps for enterprise and start-ups. Jonathan has led projects for 500 Fortune companies like Aetna and Motorola as well as booming start-ups, like Betterworks. 

He is continuously contributing to empowering entrepreneurs and innovators around the globe who are creating the future digital experiences.  Jonathan is a sushi lover, always open to meet refreshing minds

Mr. Dave Haynes

Founding Partner at The Preset Group

Dave Haynes is one of the most well-known and respected experts in the digital signage industry. He is a founding partner of The Preset Group, a consultancy that helps both end-users and vendors develop and realize their digital signage projects. Clients have included Lexus, Nike, Samsung, Bank of America and MTN. Haynes is also the writer behind Sixteen:Nine (www.sixteen-nine.net), a blog that for 10 years and 4,500 posts has chronicled the emergence of the digital signage industry. Haynes is from the Toronto, Canada-area.

Ms. Niousha Ehsan

CEO – Chief Energy Officer at LINKVIVA Events

Niousha Ehsan is a highly effective CEO with 13+ years of experience in the Events, Activations & MICE industry. Niousha co-founded LINKVIVA, an integrated events management agency in 2003 and recently won the 39th position in the top 100 SME Companies in Dubai along with the Great Place to Work award, serving prestigious multinational and government clients such as Emaar, DP World, Jafza, 3M, Canon, Nestle, Lenovo to name a few. Her strategic thinking, results driven approach, uncompromising quality standards, focus on the big picture with a keen eye for details contribute to her success. What distinguishes her from others is that she treats every project as an opportunity to make a significant impact, with an energizing peer leadership approach and ability to empower people at all levels. A graduate of Middlesex University in Business Management, Niousha is grateful for her successful journey and is focused on giving back through woman empowerment and mentorship.

Mr. Thamer Temairik

Director, Marketing, Nutrition at PepsiCo Middle East & North Africa

Thamer Temairik heads Marketing for Nutrition in the Middle East and North Africa, and is responsible for building brand strategies, innovation and creative marketing to drive brand business objectives. He oversees marketing for brands under PepsiCo's nutrition business such as Quaker, which recently launched soup and pasta for the first time in the region.


During his four years at PepsiCo, Thamer has overseen Pepsi’s rise to number one consumer brand on social media in the region through several innovative marketing tools, including the launch of the first ever Pepsi Mobile app in the region. 


Thamer has also led the launch of several hugely successful marketing campaigns, including Aquafina Hydrate Your Life, which received the Global Performance with Purpose award. Industry awards include work for leading campaigns such as Football 2012, X Factor Arabia and the launch of Pepsi’s new global positioning of Live For Now in GCC.


Prior to joining PepsiCo in 2011, Thamer was the Head of Marketing for AMS Baeshen & Co in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During his ten-year tenure with the company, he held several positions, including Marketing Manager (Teabags) and Head of Marketing, overseeing its entire portfolio of foods and beverages and its long term corporate strategy. Between 1997 and 2001, Temairik worked at Procter & Gamble, where he worked on several brands including Pampers, Pert Plus and Crest Toothpaste. 


Thamer is a Saudi national and now resides in Dubai. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the George Washington University, USA.

Ms. Sofia Santos

Director of Marketing at the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort

As Director of Marketing for the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, Sofia leads the Marketing strategy of the 256 rooms hotel, its 9 Restaurants & Bars, Spa and HealthClub. 

Sofia began her career very young, gaining experience in customer service, sales and marketing across different industries. Sofia has an MBA from the School of Economics and Management, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she was awarded with the Best Student in Leadership and Organisational Behaviour for the class of 2008-2010. 

Sofia is also an entrepreneur, being the founder and co-founder of different start-ups in various areas such food & beverage wholesale business, apparel and creative marketing. Sofia’s extensive experience across so different industries that include IT, Retail, Aviation, Healthcare and Hospitality allows her to mix concepts which will lead to customer engagement and loyalty.

Ms. Maysoun Hanna

Strategic Planning Director at Ogilvy One

As Strategic Planning Director at Ogilvy One, May applies her curiosity and the lens of people’s behavior to uncover, distil and articulate insights for brands across the MENA region. Over her 14-year career, May has been a part of leading creative agencies including Leo Burnett, MullenLowe Group and Y&R and worked with clients such as McDonald’s, du, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Red Bull, Groupe Bel, The Dubai International Film Festival, Lacnor, Etihad Airways, Emaar, Etisalat, and ADCB.

With a strong belief that creative solutions deliver business results, her award-winning work has been recognized for effectiveness and creativity by the Effies, Cannes Lions, and the Dubai Lynx amongst others.

Mr. Konstantinos Kontinos

Head of New Business and Consumer Insights at Agthia Group

Konstantinos Kontinos was born in 1971 in Athens, Greece and is a holder of a Ma Degree in Marketing from the University of Westminster.

He currently works at the Agthia Group PJSC as Head of Consumer Insights & New Business, nurturing existing brands and leading a series of exciting NPD projects.

His past positions involved Market Intelligence, Strategic Planning, Branding, Trendspotting and Strategic Creative Direction in Research, Advertising and Consultancy Agencies.

Mr. Chirodip Basu Roy

Head of Marketing Operations at Noor Bank

Chirodip is currently leading the Marketing department of Noor Bank, a financial icon in Dubai founded on the ethical values of Shari’a principles. His scope of responsibilities cover strategic planning, corporate communications, execution of marketing and promotional activities, and development of appropriate marketing collateral, structures, performance metrics and processes to serve their clients with excellence in the UAE and around the world.

Chirodip has over 16 years of rich experience in Advertising, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management, driving effective marketing and branding strategies, managing product development life cycles and launches, and creating brand awareness and brand recall across the Middle East. His expertise also includes understanding customer needs, direct marketing, reaching and engaging target market demographics, big picture thinking, market research, and a friendly and personal attitude that has won him internal and external client accolades throughout his career.

With the bank’s mission centered around innovation, a key priority for him is in driving forward the innovation agenda of the CEO in all communications and media strategies, product marketing plans, campaigns and customer engagement.

A thought leader and practitioner of Strategic Marketing, Branding, Innovation and Digitization, delivering creative results-driven solutions in a collaborative way to branding and marketing communications challenges, Chirodip has developed specializations through direct experience in Integrated Marketing (ATL, BTL, Direct, and Digital), Digitization Strategies, Social Media, Consumer Insight Development, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Mr. John Preziotti

Director of Creative Technology, Innovation Partner at LINKVIVA

John Preziotti’s official title at The SuperGroup is Senior Director of Creative Technology, but he is often referred to as the resident “Mad Scientist”. The human touch has always been the signature of John’s work, and one of his main focuses at SuperGroup Labs is creating new and innovative ways to integrate the digital world with the physical one. 

Some of his greatest hits while with TSG include the award winning Small World Machines for Coca-Cola– a project aiming to connect real people in India and Pakistan, Behind the Screens Oculus-Rift VR experience for Ballistic Case Co, and the Window Walls telepresence exhibit which debuted at this year’s Roc Nation Made in America music festival. 

Mr. Gabe Aldridge

Innovation Group Head, Innovation Partner at LINKVIVA

Gabe founded and oversees SuperGroup Labs, an independently funded and staffed unit within The SuperGroup Creative Omnimedia umbrella, where he and his team incessantly tinker with and destroy new pieces of technology. This habit has cost his company a great deal of time and money, but has also led to the discovery of many unexpected brand marketing uses for technologies of all shapes and sizes.

Gabe got his start in the creative innovation field by spearheading enhanced CD technology for Universal Music Group, working with artists such as Sonic Youth, No Doubt, and Marilyn Manson. Throughout his tenure at TSG, Gabe has worked with brands such as Disney, The Weather Channel, Starbucks, 7-Eleven, and Georgia-Pacific, and also led the teams behind the award-winning Coca-Cola Small World Machines project, and the Holiday Inn Express Pancake Selfie Machines. 

Ms. Aliya Ahmad

Head of Marketing at Western Union

Aliya Ahmed, MBA and MSwith majors in Marketing is focused on Marketing Management and has worked in leading Multinational companies as Head of Marketing for 15 years and has proven herself as a seasoned marketer no matter which industry she is working in.Currently she is the Director Marketing at Western Union – responsible for MESA region and based in Dubai.

With her unique background of innovation management and marketing management, Aliya always wants to do things differently and has been exposed to both B2B and B2C environments and proved herself as a person capable of adapting to the requirements of any challenging situations. She takes pride in having a strong focus on customer loyalty with the ability to translate customer requirements into marketing deliverables in line with businesses targets and growth plans. She is also trained on project management skills and was given the opportunity to be part of various regional/global level projects.

With her new role as Marketing Director for MESA region at Western Union, she is exposed to different cultures, diasporas and ethnic diversities of people. Her role is to make sure that we are reaching out to our customer with the right product at the right time. She is able to demonstrate her passion for doing things differently at Western Union through many initiatives that includes signing leading Brand Ambassadors for the brand including Shah Rukh Khan and Amr Diab.

She is also quite apt at organizing events and have organized major event like Concerts, seminars and Trainings both for her organization as well as for the Clubs that she is working with. Her Public Speaking Skills also helps her in maintain the image of an outstanding professional and she has conducted several programs where she was the master of the ceremony. Also took part in talk shows at TV/radio.

Mr. Shaddad Abdulhq

KSA&GCC Product Manager - Diabetes & Alimentary Tract at Hikma Pharmaceuticals

Shaddad Yousef is currently (KSA&GCC Product Manager - Diabetes and Alimentary Tract Units) in Hikma Pharmaceuticals. He had joined Hikma since 2008 in UAE, worked in S&M division since then till today. Prior to his employment in Hikma, he had worked for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals outside UAE. 

Shaddad Yousef had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Palestine, later he had received his Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing from the University of Wollongong in Dubai. During the postgrad research, he had focused on Marketing Audit and Market analysis in MENA Pharmamarkets. He had conducted special projects in expanding marketing channels towards Social media in Pharma industry.

He is currently speaking on behalf of Hikma Pharmaceuticals in Diabetes & Alimentary tract related conferences and symposia. Moreover, he is responsible for marketing planning, execution and monitoring in the related categories. He had been involved in the commercial excellence project for UAE market.

Mr. Hani El Abid

Acting Head of Corporate Communications at United Arab Bank

Hani El Abid is a digital communications leader with proven record of achievements for more than 10 years at multinational companies in UAE, Qatar and Lebanon. As Acting Head of Corporate Communications at United Arab Bank (UAB), Hani is utilizing his hands on experience by reshaping the company culture and brand image. Leveraging his skills and talent, Hani is expanding his digital experience to include Media and Public Relations.

Hani’s work has made an impact with companies like Dubai Islamic Bank, United Development Company, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dubai Customs. With his ongoing review of new technologies and best customer experience practices, his success in communications is rooted in high level thought leadership and keeping his company at the forefront of developments in digital marketing and corporate communications.

Mr. Nicolas Esmieu

General Manager at Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Nicolas Esmieu is the General Manager for the Middle East for Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a US pharmaceutical company, based in the UAE.  He previously lived in Turkey looking after Middle East and South East Asia prior to joining Bausch & Lomb in 2002 in marketing and sales roles for Turkey, Middle East and Africa, who made sales of human healthcare products, from drugs to capital equipment. Nicolas moved to Dubai in 2011 as Pharmaceutical Business Unit Manager and, after the acquisition of Bausch & Lomb by Valeant, become the GM for the Middle East organization.

Mr. Raja Sowan

Regional Managing Director, MEA at Arc Worldwide

Raja Sowan is leading Arc – the activation agency that provides brands with insightful, innovative and imaginative creative solutions rooted in understanding people and their behavior always through the lens of a shopper. Arc is part of Publicis Communications MEA spanning across 18 geographies with more than 965 professionals.

Raja has a rich experience of over 30 years in the marketing communications field across the MEA region. He has a diverse communication competence experience (traditional advertising, digital, one-to-one marketing, retail and shopper marketing), and a diverse industry experience (FMCG, automotive, financial services, retail banking, entertainment, real estate, retail, luxury, telecommunications, new technologies and electronics). 

Ms. Firdaus Shariff

Head of Marketing at SAP South Europe, Middle East and Africa

Firdaus Shariff is SAP's Head of Marketing for the Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa region and is a member of the EMEA Marketing Executive Leadership team. Since joining SAP, the world's leader in Enterprise Application Software, in January 2011, Firdaus has been responsible for the overall Strategy and Development of the Marketing function and has implemented a number of measures to increase the market share and brand visibility of the SAP brand in the region. In her current role, Firdaus leads the integrated marketing strategy for SAP, working across the broad portfolio of SAP's innovation solutions. She has over 14 years' experience leading and managing highly effective marketing teams for global market leading companies, including 8 years at CISCO in various marketing management positions. 

Most recently, Firdaus has been recognized with the ‘Women in Leadership Achievement Award’ from the World Federation of Marketing Professionals, and the ‘Most Influential CMO Award’ for the ME Region, at the ME and Asia CMO Council. Firdaus holds a B.Tech. in Software Engineering from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

SAP is at the centre of today’s technology revolution, developing innovations that not only help our customers run at their best, but also improve the lives of people everywhere. 

As the market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps organizations of all sizes and industries combat the damaging effects of complexity, generate new opportunities for innovation and growth, and stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 282,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.

Revenue: Over $5 bil. 

Employees: Over 10,000

Mr. Asif Iqbal Memon

Senior Marketing Manager - GCC at Unilever

I’m British-Pakistani based in Dubai with my wife and daughter. I’ve been working in various EU and Asian markets for Standard Chartered Bank, Dell Inc, L’Oreal, and Procter & Gamble.  Since 2009, I have been working with Unilever in the UK and moved to Dubai in 2012. Since then, I have been working as a Senior Marketing Manager for Home Care looking after brands like Omo detergents, Comfort Fabric Conditioners and Jif Cleaners across the Gulf markets. You can look me up on various social media channels @asiffmemon

Ms. Liz Beneski

Director of Marketing at Rotana Beach Hotel

Lisbeth (“Liz”) is currently the Director of Marketing & Communications for Rotana Hotels’ flagship location, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. Her 30+ year hotel career started as a dishwasher, and she has held almost every position since across a myriad of international hotel companies, culminating in hotel ownership in 2009. She never forgot the lessons from working from the bottom to the top, honing the service acumen necessary,no matter what the future brings. After developing, owning, and operating various franchise hotel properties in the southern US, she turned her sights to the UAE, where she found the young, diverse and technologically advanced work force a prime opportunity. Since her arrival in 2013, she has strived to develop talent within her  marketing & communications roles to use “old school” fundamentals with the new technologies to deliver bespoke, strategic, and memorable guest experiences. Harnessing technology to strategically communicate and create with guests, she is leading a team of young hoteliers towards ever-evolving ways to deliver service, but in a 21st century fashion. “Guest service will never go out of style, but how we deliver it will change. Best to be able to deliver it across all platforms, online & offline- consistently, memorably, and personally.” – Liz Beneski

Mr. Wael Raafat

Regional Manager Customer Insights & Forecasting | NEMEA at

Wael possess the experience of 19 years in healthcare industry, across different functions and with respect to wide geographical coverage across the Middle East. At pharmaceutical companies side, he enjoyed the experience of the trusted consultant who talks the same language of different stakeholders, which enabled him to spot areas of potential business development and hence positively impacted the business of his clients.

Throughout his marketing intelligence career he has been deeply involved in advising & consulting top pharmaceutical companies and currently holding the regional responsibility of managing customers’ insights and forecasting for Boehringer Ingelheim NEMEA.

Dr. Kumar Prasoon

Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Century Malls - Safeer Group

As a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Century Malls - Safeer Group majority role is to provide vision and leadership for developing and implementing information technology initiatives and to direct the planning and implementation of enterprise IT systems in support of company operations in order to improve cost effectiveness, service quality, and business development ; and being responsible for all aspects of the organization’s information technology and systems.

Mr. Basel Radwan

Technical Manager of Customer Engagement at Associated Press

Team-oriented Broadcast systems Engineer with project management experience and an MBA degree specialized in project management. He has over 8 years experience designing, installing, testing, integrating broadcast systems. Moreover, he has practiced professional in broadcast project management with efficient technical support operations, especially after enrolling in the MBA program in project management. Furthermore, He have managerial excellence and abilities to monitor smooth qualit operations with project management assistance. Therefore, He has good strategic handling of project management services with optimum utilization of resources.

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Customer Engagement Technology - Middle East will highlight the advantages and benefits of incorporating various customer engaging technologies. The event has a business to business model relevant to all major business industries and also Government Sectors.

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