WARC Prize for MENA Strategy – 2020 Judges
Chair of Judges
Tarek El Kady – Senior Marketing Director, McDonald's Middle East & Africa
With more than 20 years of experience across both brands and agencies, Tarek has developed his strength as a leader and his 10-year track record at McDonald’s shows a steady ascent within the organisation. In his current role as Head of Marketing for McDonald’s Middle East & Africa, he leads a cross-functional team that is responsible for brand and innovation initiatives, knowledge and insights and strategic marketing consultancy, providing guidance to 17 markets with more than 1,500 restaurants. Prior to McDonald’s, Tarek was at FP7 McCann Erickson and Lowe. His experience is well rooted in the region, with deep understanding of market dynamics across MEA countries and strong knowledge of consumer behaviours in one of the most culturally diversified regions in the world. Tarek was named Effies’ MENA Marketer of the Year in 2016.
Faysal Abdul Malak – General Manager, Wunderman Dubai
Faysal leads Wunderman Dubai and has been working with clients and partners across the region for more than 16 years. He has always been fascinated by the power of advertising and the process of coming up with creative solutions to business challenges. He is a strategic thinker and a 'doer' who enjoys being a true partner to his clients.
Bassam Ayass – General Manager, MarComms AMI Africa Middle-East India, Nissan
Bassam’s current role at Nissan was preceded by a four-year stint at Impact BBDO where he handled PepsiCo, following a year spent managing Coca-Cola at FP7. He worked at both TBWA\Egypt and TBWA\RAAD, handling Mars-owned brands Twix, Pedigree and Whiskas at the latter. Prior to that, he was at Publicis where he managed Burger King across the region. He started his career in advertising in Saudi Arabia with Impact BBDO, working on various accounts including MBC2, Samsonite and Lego.
Elias Bassil – Head of Strategy, MENA, Geometry
Elias is an LA-born, Beirut-raised conceptual strategist whose commitment towards work that addresses cultural tensions has reached regional and global appeal. His career spans global agencies in MENA, experiential shops in Europe, and working within omnichannel in Dubai with Geometry, where he spearheads the implementation of Living Commerce. By leading a multi-disciplinary team of strategic, insightful, and borderline awkward minds, Elias has managed to blend his ‘big idea’ thinking with experiential, brands and portfolio management, solving beautiful problems, and inspiring creative commerce.
Daniele Calderoni – Regional Brand, Media and Portfolio Acceleration Director, MENA, Mars
Daniele started his career at P&G in 2004 and held several brand management positions in Italy and at the company’s European headquarters in Switzerland. In 2013, he joined Mars in Dubai and became Brand Director for the Middle East. In 2018, he took over additional responsibilities as Regional Media Director and Portfolio Acceleration Director in the GCC Region. Daniele has attended executive programmes at the London School of Economics and Stanford University. He is a keynote speaker at several industry events, a Board Member of the Advertising Business Group (a non-profit organisation promoting responsible advertising) and a contributing writer to online magazine ‘The Brandberries’.
Mitin Chakraborty – Head of Marketing, Babyshop
A strong believer in insight-driven creative solutions, Mitin plays the integral role of balancing trade priorities and the brand’s ambitions. His role in transforming Babyshop into a purpose-led brand and his focus on creative efficacy through thought-provoking and distinctive ideas have been lauded globally, on multiple platforms – including Cannes Lions, Effies, WARC, LIA, One Show, CLIO, Adfest and D&AD. As a marketer, he is a go-getter and is highly respected by his partners for his zest and support towards ideas that make a positive difference.
Ali Cheikhali – Creative Strategy Lead, Google
Ali leads Google’s regional efforts to drive innovative work at the intersection of data, tech and creativity. In his role, he helps brands and agencies across MENA, Russia, Turkey, and South Africa navigate from problem to prototype using design thinking to multiply their creative impact. Before joining Google, Ali was one of the most awarded creative strategists in the region. He was named MENA Planner of the Year by the B&W Report in 2017 and ranked among the Top 20 Planners Worldwide by the Drum's Big Won Rankings in 2018.
Natalie Choufani – Market Intelligence Manager, MBC
Natalie started out in marketing for the hospitality sector before making the move to Omnicom’s Data and Analytics arm Annalect where she worked on providing analytical support to clients’ strategies. That led her to moving to another Omnicom agency, PHD, where she helped create the agency’s Data and Analytics unit with the aim of bridging the gap between media/marketing and business growth. Natalie is now the Market Intelligence Manager at MBC, where she leads insight generation for the entire group.
Maria Dodero – Regional Senior Brand Manager, Nestlé
Maria is an Argentinean engineer who graduated from Universidad Austral. She started her professional career with Procter & Gamble Argentina in 2008, taking on different brand management roles in the male grooming and fabric care categories. As part of her career development, she took the Carrefour Customer Team Marketing Manager role for Latin America, handling projects in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. In 2015, Maria moved to the UAE and joined Nestlé as Brand Manager for Nescafé and Coffee-Mate. In 2018, she was promoted and currently leads Nescafé’s Dolce Gusto product in the MENA region, for which she developed the award-winning Coffee Corner campaign in 2019.
Islam ElDessouky – Head of Integrated Marketing Communications & Content Marketing, Coca-Cola Middle East
Islam has been the driving force behind some of Coca-Cola's most successful and impactful campaigns ever produced in the region, including three of the four most viewed Coke films of all time, globally. His obsession with creating genuinely clutter-breaking work has seen him rise through the ranks at Coke, from Brand Manager on Sprite and Fanta to his current role as Integrated Marketing Communications Manager across The Coca-Cola Company's entire portfolio of brands. He is driven by ideas that achieve results, an approach that has seen his work awarded both creatively and strategically, in the region and across the world.
Dina El-Dessouky – Head of Strategy, FP7/McCann Cairo
Dina has more than 14 years of communication experience and a big passion for culture, people, behaviour and ideas that make an impact. She is a true believer in advertising that refuses to stop at ‘entertainment value’ and extends to adding a ‘meaningful value’ to businesses and to people’s lives.
Aakriti Goel – Strategic Planning Director, Cheil MEA
While her career started on the client side in Singapore, Aakriti discovered her love for advertising in Dubai. Her journey in the industry began with establishing digital capabilities and social strategies for renowned FMCG, finance, retail, automotive, beauty, and QSR clients. She then progressed to leading regional strategies for Nestlé, Unilever, Uber, Arla Foods, and Subway at FP7, contributing towards their global effectiveness accolades. Currently, she heads the strategy department at Cheil MEA, spearheading the strategy for the agency and its several exciting technology and digital brands.
Salma Hamouda – Executive Director, Wunderman Thompson Cairo
Salma has more than 14 years’ experience in marketing and advertising. She has worked on a diverse portfolio of accounts for local and multinational brands spanning a range of industries. Among these are Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Nokia, Nestlé, Shell, Heineken, Red Bull, DHL, Mondel?z and Careem. Salma holds an MA in Marketing Communications and has been a member of the Charted Institute of Marketing since 2010. She is goal-oriented and passionate about building brands.
Shagorika Heryani – Head of Strategy, Grey MENA
Shagorika is a brand strategist with rich experience across categories and consumers in multiple geographies. As Head of Strategy for Grey MENA, she leads Grey’s efforts to deliver strategies that are at the intersection of cultural trends, consumer motivation and technology. Previously, she has worked across marketing, agency and brand consulting roles globally. Shagorika has won awards at Effies, Dubai Lynx and Goafest, including ‘Most valuable brand ranking’ and ‘Best customer service on social media’. She was awarded ‘India’s most influential digital media professional’ and was among the ‘Top 50 most influential strategy leaders’. She’s also been a judge for Adfest, the MENA Effies and the Pakistan Effies.
Sunjay Malik – Associate Director, Strategy, PHD UAE
Sunjay has worked in the communications industry for a decade, across a range of industries. Starting his career in London as a buyer, Sunjay worked predominantly in offline but specialised in the merging of TV and VoD, where he worked closely with digital teams and vendors, including Sky, ITV and Channel 4, to develop ‘one-screen’ solutions for clients. Moving to Dubai in 2015, Sunjay joined Lightblue, prior to PHD. Sunjay’s creative and 'challenger' approach to client briefs has contributed to award-winning work. PHD UAE was named 2019 MENA Effie’s ‘Most Effective Media Agency of the Year’.
Maxime Menant – Director of Strategic Planning, TBWA\RAAD
Maxime, a French citizen, started his career in New York developing social media strategies for American Media Inc. He then crossed over into the agency world and has gained strategic planning experience across global agencies including DDB NY, Ogilvy & Mather New York, TBWA Paris, JWT Dubai and currently TBWA\RAAD Dubai. Maxime’s role has led him to develop communications and brand strategies for international brands including ExxonMobil, the US Open, Pfizer, Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb, INFINITI, McDonald's, Apple, Unilever, KFC, Ferrero and du telecom.
Avinash Pareek – Regional Head, Product, Growth & Marketing, Wavemaker MENA
Avinash is an integrated communication strategist with experience in marketing, communication planning and media strategy. Over the last 13 years, Avinash has worked in multiple markets including India, Singapore, Indonesia and Dubai. During this time, he has managed some of the world’s biggest and best-known brands, including his marketing tenure at McDonald’s. Today, Avinash heads regional growth and marketing for Wavemaker MENA based out of its Dubai office. He was nominated as SEA brand strategist of the year twice by Campaign Asia.
Omar Saheb – Regional Head of Marketing, MENA, Samsung
Omar recently joined Samsung as Head of Corporate Marketing for MENA in April 2019. Prior to Samsung, Omar worked at Kellogg Company MEA as Regional Marketing Director for the Snacks category, primarily overseeing the iconic Pringles marketing activations in the region. Before that, he spent 12 years at P&G working on numerous roles across sales and marketing, having achieved business growth on key brands such as Olay, Pantene, Braun and Gillette.
Ziad Skaff – Managing Director, Hall & Partners MENA
Ziad leads research and analytics specialists in advising clients on brand and marketing communications strategies and the development of ROI metrics. He started out as a Marketing Research Analyst at Ipsos Saudi Arabia before moving to the UAE as a Senior Research Analyst, then becoming Advertising Research Manager. Prior to joining the newly created Hall & Partners MENA, Ziad had a stint at Omnicom Media Group, first as Director of Research and Insights, then as Regional Executive Director for Research and Insights. He holds a master's degree in International Business and a Certificate in Leading for Results from INSEAD.