February 13 – 14,2019Dubai

The Most Experiential
Tech Festival in the Middle East

step digital

STEP Digital tackles the latest global trends in digital marketing, brands, advertising tech, and content. Brand Managers, CMOs, Influencers, and digital gurus take the stage, host workshops, and network to also meet startups in the digital media space.

What We Cover

Brands & advertising

Stories from brands on staying relevant in the digital age with insights on the evolution of consumer behavior, and the use datasets in digital platforms.

Publishers & Platforms

Publishers moving from print to digital. How is technology enhancing readers experiences through backend technologies like AI.

Programmatic Ads & Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence development in the programmatic advertising space, debating the survival of agencies and their advancement.

Influencers & Content

Influencers collaborating with brands, and content evolving in formats and contexts. Discussing the importance to publicly disclose relationships, and the involvement of regulatory bodies in the process.

 

STEP Digital Speakers

More Speakers Coming Soon

Jihad
Nehme

Beiersdorf

Jihad
Nehme

Beiersdorf

Jihad is leading the digital marketing and e-commerce unit at Beiersdorf Middle East with over 10 years of experience in digital communications.

Khalid
Khan

Astound Commerce

Khalid
Khan

Astound Commerce

Khalid has been working in the Middle Eastern tech space for 8 years. During the last 3 years he has lead Astound Commerce’s Middle Eastern business. In his role he works very closely with some of the best known brands in the region, such Al Futtaim, Dnata, themodist.com helping them to harness technology to build and grow their digital commerce businesses.

Yasmine
Hassan

Amazon

Yasmine
Hassan

Amazon

I am a certified life coach and NLP coach, I love to exercise and live and breath amazon leadership principles.

Nader
Bitar

MMP WORLD WIDE

Nader
Bitar

MMP WORLD WIDE

An expert negotiator turned programmatic superhero. With over ten years of advertising-focused experience and a passion for understanding the tech nuances of the industry, he has broken new ground in shaping the creative application of tech solutions. Having joined MMPWW in 2015 as a Sales and Account Manager, his natural ability to engage with clients and manage multiple portfolio functions at once was recognized with a promotion to Senior Director. In 2017, after just two years of successful leadership in the growth of the company and global expansion initiatives, Nader was appointed as MMPWW’s Deputy General Manager. His advocacy for publishers, agencies and brands to gain a stronger grasp on the ecosystems at play, and the tools available to ensure a more secure advertising space, is evident through his active thought leadership at events and in published articles. Today, he uses personal insights, fluency in data and enthusiasm to teach by helping partners in the media space navigate the complexities of programmatic.

Sudipt
Shah

Digital of Things

Sudipt
Shah

Digital of Things

Founder and CEO of Digital of Things, a specialist user experience (UX) consultancy with state of the art usability lab. He is originally from London, having spent most of his career in large companies from IBM, Bloomberg to Lloyds Banking Group. He is passionate about all things digital including launching new products and propositions, applying UX / UI principles, developing UX roadmaps and strategy, agile methodologies, digital transformation, eCommerce, analytics, digital marketing and social media. He moved to Dubai to work for Emirates airline, looking after UX in the main booking flow, and saw the need to improve UX across the region. Seeing this opportunity, he setup his own UX consultancy and usability lab to create beautiful experiences, by bringing the customers into the heart of everything.

Bassam
Rizk

OMD

Bassam
Rizk

OMD

Works at OMD Transact, OMD’s unit that focuses on Commerce and Omnichannel solutions. He has spent his entire career helping clients become more consumer centric by arming them with the best measurement frameworks and advanced analytics solutions. He also creates policies, strategies and structures that utilize emerging trends and technologies to develop valuable business tools.

Ben
Harburg

MSA Capital

Ben
Harburg

MSA Capital

The Managing Partner of MSA Capital, a venture firm based in Beijing that has invested over $1b over the last 4 years in many of China’s leading technology companies in the AI, consumer internet, and gene sequencing sectors (Didi, Mobike, Meituan, NIO, Beijing Genomic Institute, etc)

Mike
Fairburn

Sony Music Entertainment

Mike
Fairburn

Sony Music Entertainment

The General Manager of Sony Music Entertainment Middle East based in Dubai, where he leads the company in a dynamic, fast growing region that spans a vast market comprising Egypt, Lebanon, the Gulf countries and Pakistan amongst others. Under his leadership the company has signed and develop artist from Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE and more, whilst generating support initiatives for artists with major brands including J&J, Unilever, Pepsi and Jaguar LandRover. Prior to joining Sony Music, Mike was the CMO at the region’s biggest entertainment company – FLASH Entertainment – where he was responsible for the company’s marketing, communications and talent-led initiatives.

Casey
Fitzgerald

Lovin Dubai

Casey
Fitzgerald

Lovin Dubai

Casey is senior writer & host at Lovin Dubai; the social, local, mobile news channel. Part of the company since day one, a keen interest in media, story-telling, content creation, internet trends and a big love for the city means work doesn’t feel like work.

Terry
Mo

OMD

Terry
Mo

OMD

Terry launched his first search campaign in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since. Over the last 10 years he has worked across a range of clients, from small businesses to major multinationals and across verticals ranging from fashion to finance. He has spent the last five years of his career with OMD across Australia and the Middle East, where he has been recognised by ADMA, Google, Festival of Media and Effies for his data and technology-led approach to performance marketing.

Saleh
Ghazal

OMD

Saleh
Ghazal

OMD

Saleh’s career spans over 12 years at OMD, where he started as a junior digital executive back in 2007. Wanting to understand more about the business he decided to integrate with the offline planning team early on in 2010 and widen his knowledge base. His work has taken him across a range of clients like Al Rostamani, Hewlett Packard, Visa, Dubai Properties, Azadea Group Holding, Hasbro and Beiersdorf, where he has overseen the overall implementation of their offline and online media plans. His digital-first, business-oriented approach has created solid partnerships with his clients. He currently heads programmatic and performance over and above his existing client portfolio.

Waseem
Afzal

OMD

Waseem
Afzal

OMD

With over 13 years of digital & e-commerce marketing experience in the MENA region, Waseem is skilled at driving digital transformation. From marketing strategy to partnership development and digital operations, he has a proven success in motivating clients to invest in digital and technology. With roots in digital display marketing, Waseem also brings a broader understanding of social media, performance and content marketing to deliver truly integrated approaches.

Tarek
Amin

Adline Media Network

Tarek
Amin

Adline Media Network

CEO | Digital – Adline Media Network . Founder – Dubai Angel Investors Has founded/managed media, technology and investment companies exiting his first startup in early 2000. He is an active mentor, advisor & angel investor. Serving as a strategic advisor to founders, Tarek has successfully executed fundraising and M&As for some of the leading tech and media startups across the Arab world. Driven by his passion for entrepreneurship he founded Dubai Angel Investors (DAI), the member based angel network supporting the startup ecosystem in MENA, where he serves as a board members and permanent investment committee member. Tarek is currently CEO | Digital at Adline Media Network one of the biggest independent media-marketing networks with strong local operations in all major Arab markets, where he established the Digital business for the group.

Mustafa
Shamseldin

PepsiCo

Mustafa
Shamseldin

PepsiCo

Vice President – Snacks Category for Middle East & North Africa region at PepsiCo. He has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and general management experience in both small and multi-billion-dollar businesses covering more than 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey where he led some of the most valuable global brands and trademarks, launched numerous successful products and innovations, and built new brands from scratch. In his role as Vice President Snacks Category, Middle East & North Africa for PepsiCo, he leads the development of PepsiCo’s snacks portfolio including the largest food brands in the region such as Lays, Doritos, Cheetos and Sunbites. Mustafa has been with PepsiCo since 2008 when he started as the Marketing Director for Pepsi Cola Egypt, before moving to different roles across the region including GCC Marketing Director, General Manager Saudi & Yemen Beverages, and Vice President for Sales & New Business Development. Prior to PepsiCo, Mustafa worked across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region at different companies including Procter & Gamble, Henkel, and Americana Foods. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo and has attended several executive education and development programs including ‘Creating and Implementing Strategy for Competitive Advantage’ from the Wharton Business School, and ‘Basics in International Management’ from the Cranfield School of Management. His passions are social and economic development and the support for startups and small businesses, which he has fulfilled through mentorship, judging in major startup competitions, as well as contributing opinion articles to key publications. Mustafa is currently based in Dubai, UAE.

Yasmin
Alahmad

Boopin

Yasmin
Alahmad

Boopin

Coming originally from Syria, Yasmin holds more than 15 years of experience, 13 of them in GCC working with PepsiCo, The World Bank, World Gold Council, Impact BBDO & Samsung Group. Her passion for writing & creating content turned into a successful career in advertising, inspired by working in different industries, meeting new people & visiting new destinations while riding her motorbike.

Ali
Jaber

MBC

Ali
Jaber

MBC

Dean, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Communication at American University of Dubai (AUD) Group TV Director, Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, MBC. Ph.D. (in progress) Arab Satellite Television, King’s College, University of Cambridge, UK M.S. Communications, Syracuse University, USA B.B.A. Business Administration, American University in Beirut, Lebanon Born in Lebanon in 1961, Mr. Jaber completed his Bachelors in Business Administration at the American University of Beirut in 1984 before going on to earn his Master’s degree in Communications at Syracuse University in the US in 1986. Upon returning to Beirut, Ali joined the Fine Arts faculty of Beirut University College. There he helped set up their Broadcasting Department and for eight years taught a range of courses in television production. Concurrently, Ali worked as a Journalist covering the war in Lebanon and Iraq between the years 1987 to 1999, he was the correspondent of New York Times and The Times of London between 1989 and 1994, and Chief Correspondent for Lebanon and Syria for the German Press Agency (DPA) from 1987 to 1999. In 1992 he was approached by then Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and was asked to set up, from the ground up, a privately owned pan-Arab television station. Ali founded and managed what later became Future TV till 2003. While with Future, Ali oversaw the building of Future’s satellite broadcast and also started and managed a youth-oriented sister channel, Zen TV, which he ran for five years. In 2004, he was approached by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and brought in as a consultant to head Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), to revamp and re-launch its seven national and pan-Arab satellite channels. In 2006, after 2 years in which Ali successfully managed to restructure the channels’ on-air branding and their content as well as re-organize the company’s out of date management structure, Ali was appointed DMI’s managing Editor. Working closely with now UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DMI’s Board Members and the Chairman of Dubai’s governmental organizations, his responsibilities are wide-ranging and have grown to include the development of the media sector in the UAE. In 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum instructed Ali to set up a Communication School at the American University of Dubai. In July 2008 Ali was named Dean of Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Communication (MBRSC) and this year MBRSC graduates fifty students with degrees in Journalism and Digital Storytelling. One of the unique characteristics of the School is that it teaches all media writing courses in the Arabic language and its curricula focuses on Digital Media and Multi-platform Storytelling. In 2011 Ali was approached by Middle East media leader, MBC Group for a different type of challenge – this time in front of the camera, as a judge for the internationally mega-successful format, “Arabs Got Talent”. The show was a ratings hit, and raised the profile of MBC 4 to the #2 channel in the region. During that same year, and in parallel, Ali closed a deal with MBC to become Group TV Director of MBC’s 20 channels. In that capacity, and as of October 2011, Ali oversees content planning, acquisition, and programming for all the Group’s general entertainment and niche channels. Ali Jaber serves on the Dubai government Council for Design and Fashion, he also helped set up thenon-governmental organization: Young Arab Leaders (YAL) and was on the Advisory Board of American University of Beirut, School of Architecture and Design, in Beirut, Lebanon. Ali currently spearheads the Dubai government initiative the set up the Dubai School of Design in association with Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and the New York based Parsons school of design and Fashion. Ali is also the goodwill ambassador for Sanad, the home hospice organization in Lebanon which offers free physical, psychological and spiritual support for terminally ill patients.

Zeina
Soufan

Dubai Media Incorporated

Zeina
Soufan

Dubai Media Incorporated

Presents and produces “Money Map” weekly business show for Dubai Television. Between 2004 and summer of 2010, Ms. Soufan was an anchor/producer at Al-Arabiya TV channel. In addition to presenting the daily business news, she produced and presented several weekly business programs including “Portfolio” and “Oil and Gas”. Ms. Soufan started her career in 1993 as a general news reporter in Lebanese Future Television before moving to Reuters News Agency as a Beirut correspondent. At the international news agency, she received intensive training in financial reporting. In addition to her long experience in print and television journalism, Ms. Soufan taught several courses as a part-time instructor at the school of journalism at the American University of Dubai. Outside business and finance Ms. Soufan has a great passion for literature, youth and women empowerment issues.

Maha
Abouelenein

Organizational Consultants

Maha
Abouelenein

Organizational Consultants

One of the MENA region’s top communications executives. From working with tech giants like Google and Netflix, to homegrown regional brands like Careem and Orascom, Maha has built her career advising Fortune 500 companies, high growth tech startups, and top government bodies in the USA, UAE, and Egypt. She is the founder of Organizational Consultants, and Digital & Savvy and you can listen to her podcast Savvy Talk where ever you listen to podcasts. Raised and educated in the Minnesota (USA) to Egyptian parents, she is home in both West and Arab worlds. She thrives on storytelling, building scalable campaigns, and thought leadership. Maha is a Mentor in Residence for TechStars and works with start-ups across the region to learn how to maximize their reputation currency and communicate better.

Yara
Yehia

Tripdizer

Yara
Yehia

Tripdizer

Born and raised in Egypt, studied bio-technology and worked in the field for 4 years then decided to pursue travel full-time in early 2016. Started a travel blog which resonated with Egyptians and Arabs around the world since it was published in Arabic. The blog gathered travellers and explorers in one place and has become a travel community of 200K+ members . The community watched and followed our journeys around the world to get the best tips and tricks for their favourite cities butstill they needed more.I Co-Founded TRIPDIZER, a travel website tailoring packages for travellers around the world based on their interests, budget and purpose of travel.

Nada
Zagallai

Uber

Nada
Zagallai

Uber

Director of Marketing for the Middle East & Africa at Uber, working across markets to develop the company’s brand strategy and contributing to the continued growth of the business. Her work spans across research, acquisition and retention efforts, focusing on designing customer-centric campaigns and initiatives aimed at building a meaningful experience with the data-driven brand. Previously, she held the role of CEO at www.glambox.me, a subscription commerce startup venture that was awarded Forbes’ 25 “Most Promising UAE-Based Start-ups” twice during her tenure. With a Master’s degree in media management and a stint in luxury retail, Nada joined the tech/start-up space in 2009 and spent 7 years understanding the digital business landscape in the region. Her grassroots experience as an entrepreneur meant doing everything from packing and moving boxes to fundraising and building technical capabilities, a journey which she often describes as her “”real life MBA”” that shaped her success in the industry. Her vast experience has qualified her as an expert in strategic planning, investment & growth, digital marketing & business development across various verticals in the technology sector.

Mohamad
Fattal

Alfan

Mohamad
Fattal

Alfan

Founder & CEO at Alfan creating one of the leading digital media companies, better known as a Multi-Platform Network which generates a reach of over 1.2B Monthly views on YouTube across its Network of shows and influencers. Being part of the industry since 2013 Alfan was behind the success of many of the influencers and content creators in the MENA Industry.

Louise
Blake

Tajawal

Louise
Blake

Tajawal

Originally from London, based in Dubai – Louise has enjoyed a colourful career in data over the past 15 years, across government, agency, big corporates and start-ups – her mission has always been the same, the use of data to enlighten and enable.

Naji
Ghaziri

Nestlé Middle East

Naji
Ghaziri

Nestlé Middle East

A geek & nature lover at heart with a huge passion for communication and everything connected . I started my career at OMD before moving to Nestlé in 2013 as a Brand Manager and digital champion for MAGGI in the Middle East. During the first 4 years my focus was to help MAGGI set a it’s own unique digital footprint in the region driven by MAGGI DIARIES. In 2016, I joined the global digital acceleration team in Nestlé working with different markets and brands on their digital and e-business priorities before coming back to Dubai a year later as Digital marketing Manager. Today along with a passionate team we work to help Nestlé build brands powered by digital and create consumer journey’s online with our purpose and values at core.

Malik
Al
Shaykh

Journalist

Malik
Al
Shaykh

Journalist

UAE-based journalist/editor, an avid reader, and the proud owner of more than 700 books.

Antoine
Caironi

Twitter MENA

Antoine
Caironi

Twitter MENA

After 8 years at Google in Paris and Dubai, joined Twitter in 2015 to help build and scale operations in the Middle East. Since then, I have been leading the sales team, with a focus on building valuable partnership with key MENA advertisers.

Miriam
Abadi

British American Tobacco

Miriam
Abadi

British American Tobacco

Sharing a dual heritage of both German and Lebanese descent, Miriam is fluent in 4 languages. A loving and devoted wife and mother of two boys, she is the modern example of the working girl thriving in the workspace as a successful business woman. By creating the right balance between the different aspects of her life, Miriam has become the reference and social media personality for her style and up to date lifestyle content. She is the official ambassador for Franck Mueller watches amongst other brands she works with, however her proudest achievement has been working with SOS Children Villages to raise funds for underprivileged children in the Middle East.

Georgio
Copter

Bridge of Minds

Georgio
Copter

Bridge of Minds

Known worldwide for his art, Copter Monster characters and engaging storytelling. He got nominated for snapchatter of the year at the Shorty awards and he’s also an official lens creator at snap inc.

Ozge
Zoralioglu

Yum Restaurant International

Ozge
Zoralioglu

Yum Restaurant International

Has over 15 years of experience in leading professional services. For the last 4,5 years, has worked with Yum! Brands. Prior to joining Yum! Brands, Ozge worked at IKEA, Best Buy, and Dominos Pizza in Business Development, Growth Strategies, Consumer insights, Digital and Marketing & Sales roles and responsibilities. Ozge is graduated from Architecture in Istanbul Technical University and she has Architecture and Cinema master degree from Rice University, TX.

Kristian
Valdini

Omnicom Media Group

Kristian
Valdini

Omnicom Media Group

He is the Sneaker loving, Director of Content & Experiences at OMD. He has worked on the agency side in the Region for over 12 years, delivering Experiential Brand campaigns for clients such as PepsiCo, Google, Nissan and Jumeirah and is passionate about creating meaningful Brand Experiences that bring people and the brands they love closer together.

David
Ham

UBER

David
Ham

UBER

Head of Marketing for Uber in MENA. In his 3 and a half years at Uber, he played several roles including leading Strategy and Campaigns, Research, Insights and Brand Building. In his current role, David oversees the marketing function for the MENA region covering markets including Egypt, KSA, UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Lebanon. Prior to Uber, he worked in advertising with Leo Burnett in both Dubai and Korea. David spent his early childhood in Abu Dhabi but has since moved from country to country finally landing back in Dubai after 30 years abroad.

Sally
Makarem

DMS

Sally
Makarem

DMS

Having experienced the adoption of digital in the Region firsthand, Sally brings over 11 years of intensive digital marketing and sales experience to her Head of Sales role in Dubai, where she works across all industry sectors and verticals at DMS. Over the years, Sally has acquired the trust and confidence of brands by consulting on content, context, audiences and brand safety. As screens multiply and platforms evolve, her remit remains focused on creating holistic and inclusive brand experiences, which captivate people, rather than intrude on their digital lives, identifying trends and developing solutions which empower brands across different industries. Spearheading a team of over 20 talented sales professionals, Sally embodies the unique ability to instill excellence, while overcoming change, challenges and ambiguity. She looks upon innovation as a daily means to delivering commercial impact with purpose and telling brand stories which truly inspire.

Turi
Munthe

Northbase Media

Turi
Munthe

Northbase Media

Venture Partner at North Base Media, a media-focused VC that invests in the world’s growth markets, and is a proud investor in the Step Group. He is co-founder of Porto IO co-working, and founded Demotix (exit to Corbis Corporation) and the Beirut Review. He sits on the boards of Index on Censorship, OpenDemocracy, The Signals, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ovais
Ahmad

Boopin

Ovais
Ahmad

Boopin

Currently Head of Programmatic operations at Boopin. He oversees the programmatic, data integration solutions and services offered to Boopin clients. Before the current role in Dubai, he has worked with Google in India for some of the biggest publishers in North America region. He is passionate about training and has trained Google support teams all over the world. He started his career in digital operations with Hewlett-Packard and spent some time in a startup.

Reim
El-Houni

Ti22 Films FZ LLE

Reim
El-Houni

Ti22 Films FZ LLE

With experience, which includes training in TV stations such as the BBC and being an Executive Producer and Head of Events at Dubai One, Reim launched her own production company Ti22 Films in January 2011 servicing both corporates & broadcasters. Ti22 Films has won 11 New York Festival Awards & an additional 14 finalist awards and in 2014 was awarded its first Cannes Corporate Media and TV Award. Reim has served on the Jury of the New York Festival Television & Film Awards for 7 years and is regularly called to speak as a panelist at industry events. In 2014 Reim founded dubai ON demand, where the world of branded content and influencer marketing collide. She now also supports organisations as a media consultant, speaker and video strategist.

Malak
Jaafar

ICRC

Malak
Jaafar

ICRC

I’m a digital storyteller based in Beirut and currently working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Lebanon. I’m somewhere between the two worlds of communications and humanitarian work.

Nagham
Akileh

OMD

Nagham
Akileh

OMD

Has over 14 years of digital marketing experience across various disciplines and verticals, and is part of OMD Transact- the agency’s e-commerce unit. She is passionate about technology, analytics and creativity, often interweaving all three in her work, some of which has been awarded at industry festivals. When she’s not tweeting or instagramming her thoughts, you can find her following TV shows or expanding her shoe collection as part of her ongoing e-commerce research.

Youmna
Borghol

Choueiri Group

Youmna
Borghol

Choueiri Group

Passionate media, data, advertising, and technology executive with balance of strategic thinking and leadership and hands on operational experience across the advertising industry. Over 10 years of business experience with a solid background in data and marketing analytics and a PhD in social media analytics. Youmna started her career at National ICT Australia as a Data Scientist specializing in data, analytics and predictive models for social media. She then moved to Mediacom Australia as the Director of Business Science, focusing on data-driven marketing and communications strategies to solve real business objectives for advertisers. Today, she heads the Data department at Choueiri Group; where she oversees all aspects of the data team and data-related product solutions on both the buy and sell sides.

GMAN
RAGOTHAMAN

GROUPM

GMAN
RAGOTHAMAN

GROUPM

We don’t have our business, if we do not mind our client’s business. G’man has always put the clients at the center of all things, as without them we have no reason to exist in the first place. Passionate about preparing the business for the future in the ever-changing marketing ecosystem, firmly believes in driving accountability for marketing return on investment. He is currently leading the delivery of all Distributed Ledger Technology related services that are at the intersection of data, technology & content at GroupM. He is also the Global Client Lead for PepsiCo and Pizza Hut at WPP where he is helping his teams across the world in partnering their clients in the transformation across insights, technology and marketing. He has been in the media industry since 1990 in various capacities across strategy, operations, technology and business development at Mindshare, GroupM and WPP in India and Asia Pacific. Follow his tweets on Technology and Philosophy @GowthamanR

Pedro
Sellos

AUD

Pedro
Sellos

AUD

Joined AUD in Spring 2017 prior to which he worked for nine years in the Communications and Media Studies Department at ISE Business School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has directed several Master’s and Executive Programs in Media and Communications which focused on innovation, entrepreneurship and digital strategies for media companies, and has also taught a variety of courses related to social media, new business models for media firms and corporate communications. Given his diverse background in academia and media, Dr. Sellos has worked as a consultant for large media groups in Latin America. He has also been a visiting professor at IESE Business School in Spain and at the School of Communications and Arts at the University of Sao Paulo.

Abed
Agha

Vinelab

Abed
Agha

Vinelab

Has 20 years of multi-disciplinary experience in technology, media, and financial services in GCC, South-East Asia and the US. Abed founded of Vinelab, the leading influence marketing company that enables organisations to tap into the social side of social media by harnessing the power of people-centric narratives. By founding a tech-first institution, he has acquired exceptional understanding of the impact that social media has brought to shift the balance of power between the mass, corporations and cultural elite. Abed invested in multiple technology firms which enabled him to witness the digital economy’s earlier development, and currently advises a multitude of startups in the MENA region. Abed is a board advisor at the BAU’s school of Maths and Computer Science and holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from UC, Irvine.

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Director Media & Digital Transformation, Unilever MENA Asad manages Unilever’s media investments across the Middle East and North Africa region. He is also responsible for driving communication excellence and innovation as well as digital as a discipline across the region. Asad has been in this role since August 2013, prior to which he managed Global Media for Unilever’s Foods business based out of Unilever’s HQ in London. Prior to joining Unilever, Asad did various assignments for MindShare/Group M in various parts of the world. He managed local offices in Vietnam and Pakistan for them, did a global role in London, and managed regional projects in AsiaPac and LATAM. Asad is a technology enthusiast and an internationalist at heart, and considers himself fortunate to be working in the Middle East. Asad is a Board Member of The Marketing Society Middle East. Connect with Asad on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @asadchawla.

Maria
Gedeon

Majid Al Futtaim

Maria
Gedeon

Majid Al Futtaim

A destination marketing executive with over 15 years of experience across industries including events and publishing, Maria Gedeon is the Marketing Director of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas, the owner and operator of the MENA region’s most successful entertainment destinations. Appointed to her role within Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas in 2016, Maria is spearheading innovation and driving business expansion in both existing and new territories across the region. Maria oversees the management of the Marketing and communications functions for VOX Cinemas, Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, iFLY, Wahoo, Orbi and Little Explorers.

Michelle
Walsh

Majid Al Futtaim

Michelle
Walsh

Majid Al Futtaim

The Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas. A champion for innovation, she progressed from a Marketing Manager to become the top female executive in the company in eight short years. Michelle has been instrumental in growing VOX Cinemas from five complexes in one country to 355 screens in seven countries, making it the largest cinema operator in the region. Beyond the MENA region, Michelle has been a key driver of VOX Cinemas’ success on the global stage, culminating in the brand receiving the Global Achievement Award in Exhibition at the 2017 CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Haleh
Nia

Savoir Flair

Haleh
Nia

Savoir Flair

At age 24, when she launched SavoirFlair.com, Haleh Nia was the youngest publisher in the Middle East, as well as the pioneer of the digital revolution, having founded the region’s first online fashion magazine. Now the leading English-language website of its kind, Savoir Flair garners millions of hits per month, accomplished by the tireless work of its innovative founder and her multi-talented team. Most recently, she launched Halo Media, the umbrella group for Savoir Flair and its Arabic sister website, Savoir Flair Al Arabiya, as well as Halo Studio, the company’s independent creative agency. Among the group’s portfolio is also Goodness, a digital wellness publication and community. Haleh, originally from Iran, was born and raised in Dubai, which remains her home.

Khaled
Ismail

Tetra Pak

Khaled
Ismail

Tetra Pak

VP Communications – Europe, Central Asia, Middle East & Africa Region – Tetra Pak Khaled is the VP Communications for Europe, Central Asia, Middle East & Africa Region with over 16 years of service in Tetra Pak. He has more than 25 years’ experience, which started in advertising and then continued in international sales, marketing and branding in FMCG and Food Packaging Industries, including Tetra Pak and The Coca-Cola Company. Khaled has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University – Canada. He also completed several executive programmes in leadership and management at Ashridge – UK, IMD – Switzerland and Harvard Business School – USA. Khaled is also a serial investor in several start-ups, a US based Environmental Technology Company (Green Source Energy), a Lebanese Private Bank (Cedrus Bank), a Swedish Beverage Company (Caliente), a Dubai based Security and Business Continuity Consultancy (Tessera) and a Co-Founder of a Social Media App Company (1TAM). Khaled is Chairman and Board Member of the Marketing Society Middle East and a regular speaker at International events and conferences around the world. LinkedIn blogger @ #Thisiswhatticklesme

Sanaa
Bougazzoul

L’Oreal

Sanaa
Bougazzoul

L’Oreal

Has over 14 years of experience in the Middle East region under her belt, ranging from consumer centricity and insights to digital and marketing transformation of more than 20 brands. In her current role as the Chief Marketing Officer, her core focus is to drive the digital transformation of the entire L’Oréal Middle East business whilst building “love brands”, driving the media shift to digital/ROI measurement and leading the acceleration of e-commerce. Sanaa believes in the “Test and learn is the new perfection”” motto and is always in pursuit of reinforcing the collaboration spirit within her team and the digital community at large.

Vit
Kodousek

Square Motion

Vit
Kodousek

Square Motion

A producer and executive director of Square Motion – a Video Marketing Agency in Dubai. As a serial entrepreneur he has been working in the media for the last 20 years. He has been in front of and behind the camera for almost all his adult life. He has produced and created more than 1200 video projects. He is helping companies and businesses to grow their online visibility with engaging videos. He believes that video is the best sales and marketing tool – and passionately shares his belief with other business owners. Vit is keen speaker on topic of Video marketing. He is originally from Prague, Czech Republic, and for last 7 years, he calls Dubai his new home. Vit Kodousek is Dubai’s video marketing expert.

Mark
Melling

Verizon Media

Mark
Melling

Verizon Media

Leads the RYOT Studio EMEA team, a division of the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning RYOT business within Verizon Media. His team produces and distributes best-in-class branded content across the globe.

Richard
Fitzgerald

Augustus DMCC

Richard
Fitzgerald

Augustus DMCC

Managing Director and Found of Augustus, a ‘new media’ company, publishers of Lovin Dubai and Lovin Saudi. He has been working in the media advertising space for the past 12 years at agencies in Ireland, England and the UAE on clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, HSBC, Nissan, Nike. Fascinated about changing media consumption habits, and passionate about creating effective brand communications through native adverting, Richard aspires to making Augustus the ‘new media’ company of choice in the Middle East.

Zeynab
El-Helw

Fashion Pirate

Zeynab
El-Helw

Fashion Pirate

A well-known Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel influencer and Entrepreneur. She has graduated from Central Saint Martins University of the Arts, with an honors degree in Fashion, specializing in costume and theatre. She then earned a master’s degree in marketing and a second in international business management. For the past year, Zeynab has been an inspiration for young women. She married her best friend in a magical wedding in Barcelona, transitioned from a corporate job at a luxury fashion brand to become a successful full-time digital marketeer and social media personality.

Ramez
Youssef

Tayarah

Ramez
Youssef

Tayarah

His inspiring career was launched upon his graduation with high honors as an Architectural Engineer. After his experience with the military, he discovered his flair for standup comedy, only one of his many talents along with hosting events and creating digital content. It also sparked his passion for communication with his fans, which led him to the very beginning of Tayarah’s rapid growth, as the presenter of Disalata’s famous “Mish Impossible” YouTube-based show for three seasons. In parallel, Ramez was actively working on developing his career as a lighting designer in charge of the Middle East and Africa at Philips for seven years, surprisingly paving the way for his newfound talent. Co-founded by Ramez and his partner Mohamed El Bassiouni, the next phase of his career saw Disalata transform into Tayarah to become what it is today. Instantly, Tayarah started booming with accomplishments that reflected Ramez’ creativity. It was time for Ramez to solely dedicate his passion and talent to this field in his professional life. Today, Ramez’ responsibilities at Tayarah include heading the creative department, developing the business, and constantly motivating the team to look out for the next big thing.

Tala
Samman

MyFashionDiary

Tala
Samman

MyFashionDiary

Born in Chicago, originally Syrian and having grown up in Dubai, the London College of Fashion graduate in Fashion Media and Communications launched her style blog, myfashdiary.com in 2009

Anis
Zantout

FP7

Anis
Zantout

FP7

A well rounded and result focused digital veteran with over 14 years of experience enabling the areas of digital marketing and customer engagement effectively across award winning campaigns & technology agnostic platforms. Currently handling the regional responsibilities for digital and social strategy, digital engagement programs, and the HumanTech Lab13 offering at FP7 MENA. Anis orchestrated and integrated pure play communication programs for blue chip clients across MENA such as Nestle, Nakheel, Aldar, Etihad Airways, Coca Cola, Samsung MENA, Mobily, and Jawwy STC having worked with global media and advertising agencies.

Raj
Kotecha

Creative Content Agency

Raj
Kotecha

Creative Content Agency

Produces creative content, enabling best-in-class brands and entrepreneurs to influence decision-makers in their industry. Over two decades, Raj has built audiences, engagement and opportunities for both his clients as well as his own original ventures in media, business and entertainment. Raj is a former DJ and celebrity interviewer that took to YouTube early on to promote his music career. Quickly recognised by brands, he built out his agency in 2006 and expanded to Dubai in 2014. Since moving to the region, Raj has founded the fastest growing networking event in Dubai, My Friends Your Friends.

Tanaz
Dizadji

Insydo / Brand Ripplr

Tanaz
Dizadji

Insydo / Brand Ripplr

The Founder & CEO of insydo, a search-centric city guide, and Brand Ripplr, a micro-influencer marketplace for the Middle East. Graduating with a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick, Tanaz started her career as a chartered accountant in investment management at PwC in London. Before delving into the world of technology, Tanaz was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Omnicom Media Group and led philanthropic and artistic projects for the Elephant Parade and START. Recognitions • Awarded ‘Start Up of the Year’ by Arabian Business 2016 • Awarded ‘Startup Brand Penetration’ by Enterprise Agility Awards 2016 (Entrepreneur Middle East) • Awarded as one of the ‘Most Promising UAE Startups’ by Forbes Middle East 2016 • Recognised as one of the UAE’s 50 Most Influential Brits by Arabian Business in 2014 and 2015 • Shortlisted ‘The People’s Choice Award: Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Arabian Business 2016 • Shortlisted for the 2016 Integrated Award at Dubai Lynx • Shortlisted for Digital Leader of the Year at the 2018 Seamless Awards • Shortlisted for Business Leader of the Year at 2018 Gulf Capital SME Awards • Shortlisted for Digital Business of the Year at 2018 Gulf Capital SME Awards • Awarded ‘Business Leader of the Year’ at 2018 Gulf Capital SME Awards Conferences • Speaker at STEP Conference 2016, 2017, 2018 • Panel speaker at Gitex • Panel speaker at Global WIL Economic Forum • Host speaker at StartUp Grind Dubai • ITP LIVE: Influencer Marketing Summit • Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival

Xavier
Anglada

Accenture

Xavier
Anglada

Accenture

Managing Director, Digital Lead at Accenture MENA and Turkey with responsibility to drive the digital transformation agenda for Accenture’s public and private sector clients in the region. Prior to joining Accenture, and over his 23+ years of professional experience, Xavi was CEO – International in Cash Credit Group (a leading Fintech player), Partner and Group COO of Delta Partners Group, a combined Telecommunications, Media and Digital advisory and investments boutique with global presence and had leadership roles at Oliver Wyman, Ono and Hewlett-Packard. Xavi has lived in 4 continents and served clients in over 30 countries, MBA from ESADE Business School in Barcelona and MSc in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications Engineering, from La Salle Engineering in Barcelona.

Mamta
Varerkar

Yellow

Mamta
Varerkar

Yellow

A digital marketing consultant and expert with more than 13 years of experience. She has developed omni-channel, 360-degree marketing campaigns for various companies and sectors, ranging from automotive to telecommunications and from travel to commence. Mamta is a partner and Digital Director at Yellow – branding and digital consultancy based in Dubai, UAE and the CMO of Ejarcar, a startup which is UAE’s largest online car rental marketplace.Her primary area of expertise is defining digital and social media marketing strategies for SME’s and startups. Mamta is also very passionate about the startup ecosystem and co-hosts a podcast called: Startup Hustle Middle East, where she shares growth-hacking tips which are beneficial to entrepreneurs and interviews founders from the region.

TJ
Lightwala

Mindshare

TJ
Lightwala

Mindshare

Began her role at Mindshare MENA in 2013, and is responsible for leading the digital platforms, developing new and relevant product streams, planning and overseeing full end-to-end digital performance growth of clients and internal teams across the MENA region. In 2017, she was appointed as the Future Adaptive Specialist Team (FAST) lead for the region, to ensure a 360 approach to client outcomes by putting an integrated performance unit at the heart of the business. She brings in depth digital and product perspective, having worked in the US and the Middle East on both the agency and client sides across many industries. In previous role, she led digital business for Staples USA, Canada, and international businesses at Aegis Media in Boston. She holds her bachelors, from American University in Dubai and Masters in Science, from DePaul University, Chicago. She is on the global jury of I-Com Data & Creativity, jury at Effie’s Media Effectiveness platform 2017, an author on industry press in MENA, on digital transformation topics, including Artificial Intelligence. She’s featured in Star Parade in London’ MarComm online publication. Her recent speaking events include Step Conference, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA-MENA), Oracle’ DMP Marketing meet and Dubai Lynx (Mar-April 2018).

Hussam
Hammo

Tamatem Inc.

Hussam
Hammo

Tamatem Inc.

Founder & CEO of Tamatem Inc., the leading mobile games publisher in the Arabic speaking market. He is a serial-entrepreneur who founded Faye3.com, the first Arabic social network that was acquired by Maktoob.com which was later acquired by Yahoo. Hussam then co-founded Wizards Productions in 2009 a gaming studio and finally Tamatem, which currently has 30 employees in its HQ in Amman, Jordan where they have published 40 games with over 55M downloads.

Peter
DeBenedictis

Microsoft

Peter
DeBenedictis

Microsoft

Leads the marketing function for Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa region, a role he assumed in March 2017. His team takes an integrated marketing and communications approach, using digital marketing and traditional channels to both build the Microsoft brand and also engage customers and partners on their purchase journey. Peter’s has lived and worked in the Middle East region for over 30 years and has deep experience of growing business in diverse Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Microsoft, he has had a distinguished career leading the marketing function in several of the world’s leading brands, including General Electric, Philips, and FedEx, where he has led multiple growth and investment programs to drive top line growth. He has built multiple public private partnerships with large government organizations to drive regional technology development, local software and engineering skills , and entrepreneurship. Peter has been a regular speaker at Marketing conferences across the region and is a member of several industry organizations. He is a past President of the Alumni Association of Dubai College, one of the top non-profit British schools in the region, and is also a member of their Board of Governors. Peter is based in Dubai with his wife and two children aged 10 and 4.

Lukas
Krejca

ROI Hunter

Lukas
Krejca

ROI Hunter

Heads the MENA team of ROI Hunter and Business Factory and is responsible for company’s business in the region. Based out of Dubai, he has been associated with ROI Hunter – a Facebook Marketing Partner & Google Premium Partner – for the past 3 years. Beyond his role as he loves to share his knowledge and experience during various trainings and workshops, including University of Dubai and video tutorials under WeSpeakDigital channel.

Super Partners

Strategic Partner

Transportation Partner

STEP Digital Partners

STEP Digital Knowledge Partner

STEP Digital Exhibitors

STEP Digital Ecosystem Partners