Five minute focus – Hopscotch

Team TMN chat with Helen McGuire, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Hopscotch – a new agency looking to change the game for professional women in the MENA region…

Tell us a bit about Hopscotch?
Hopscotch launched in April this year and at the time of launching, it was the first platform to enable and support professional women in finding flexible work to suit their situations.

Where did the concept for Hopscotch originate?
I took maternity leave with my first daughter in 2015 and realised how much talent was being wasted through a lack of opportunities for non-regular work hours. I also know from my own background just how great a need there is for flexible work within businesses. Hopscotch was founded as a way to create a unique solution to these two issues in the region.

What makes Hopscotch unique as a service?
We do not see ourselves as simply a ‘recruitment’ service. We also offer one-on-one coaching and skills workshops that help women re-enter the workforce if they’ve been away for a while.

What do you think makes a company such as Hopscotch particularly relevant to the MENA community?
This region is home to so many women who have either had to leave work due to the maternity laws here, or moved with their husband and perhaps left a successful career behind. We have tapped into that huge talent pool and made it accessible to businesses both large and small, as well as giving these women the opportunity to contribute to the household and kick start their careers again.

How have you marketed Hopscotch since its launch?
We have advertised on two fronts – both in trade/business print and also to our target market of women through magazines such as good. All of our PR and creative work is done in-house, lead by myself and I have experienced a huge interest in comment pieces, features and columns across trade, daily and monthly publications. In addition, we have a very strong social media presence with over 15,000 followers and a solid content strategy across those platforms.

Do you feel that social media has helped your company grow?
Absolutely – it’s essential to be front of mind for both women and business and we have a long-term social media strategy to help with that.

How important do you think it is to encourage working mums in the UAE?
Very! According to the World Bank, GDP would increase by five percent if women played a larger part in the economy here. We have one of the most educated female populations in the world, yet one of the lowest rates of female employment. Hopscotch is changing that.

Can you find candidates for roles within media companies specifically?
With 1000’s of women on our database, who possess a huge array of skills and talents, we don’t specifically provide jobs or candidates for one industry in particular. Having said that, we do cater to a higher percentage of media industry roles than any other, and work with a large number of women who are well suited to these positions.

How can businesses get involved with Hopscotch?
Simply head to to register, or email our new Business Director, Jeremy, directly at

Did you face any challenges in establishing the company in the UAE?
We are part of a parent company, MCG Group, which is one of the most successful recruitment companies in the Middle East. MCG Group already has an established reputation and clients in this region so, thankfully our set up journey wasn’t too turbulent.

What does the future hold for Hopscotch?
We have seen positive expansion in our first six months by employing an excellent team across both recruitment and new business, and on the training front with our skills workshops in collaboration with HSBC, so we aim to keep on that road to ensure that we can help and support both businesses and women to find the perfect employment solution. Our aim has always been to change the game for both parties in this region, so we have some exciting plans and partnerships on the cards to enable that over the next six months!

Insignia welcomes Lauren Suddaby

Lauren Suddaby has joined Insignia Worldwide as a PR and Brand Engagement Executive. With over seven years of experience in media in the UK as well as the UAE, Lauren has previously worked for companies including; Space NK, Novus Leisure and the Intercontinental Dubai Marina. In her new role, Lauren will work on providing Insignia clients with integrated communications and strategic storytelling in order to drive their brand relevance.

Stylist Arabia to go monthly

Stylist Arabia, part of APP Media Group, is set to become a monthly glossy title as of August 1, 2016. Previously a weekly publication, the magazine will continue to be aimed at a target audience of intelligent, sophisticated and style-conscious readers, by maintaining a focus on inspirational female figures, culture, careers, food and travel. Kerry McDermott will remain Editor and Stylist Arabia will be available, for free, at the beginning of every month from five star hotels, airline business class lounges, spas, salons and universities.

Anahata Dubai launches

Freelance Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist Anna Sadeghpour has launched new community service blog, Anahata Dubai. Previously based in Australia, Anna has been involved in a number of charities, projects and initiatives including; Amnesty International, the Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre and The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. Her blog will cover all things related to community service in the Dubai – from advice on doing good every day, to promoting social impact events and campaigns taking place in the emirate, to featuring local change makers. Anahata Dubai‘s main aim is to inspire individuals living in the emirate to give back to the community.
“I’m a believer that every act of good, small or big, adds up to incredible change,” says Anna. “Through Anahata Dubai, I want to appeal to the hearts and minds of people in Dubai and inspire them to get involved and make a positive impact on society.”

Verizon buys Yahoo’s search and advertising operations

US telecoms company, Verizon Communications has bought Yahoo’s search and advertising operations for a deal of around $4.8bn. The telecoms company will now own Yahoo’s core Internet businesses of over a billion active users a month, to become a global mobile media company.
“Verizon is progressing its transformation to become a cross-screen advertising and media group,” says Juan Jose Rio, Partner, Advisory and Investment group, Delta Partners. “Through Yahoo, Verizon is harnessing a significant number of assets, including new advertising capabilities, but most relevant is its fixed and mobile advertising properties in the search, communication and digital content space. Whilst it remains to be seen what exactly Verizon will do with this latest acquisition and all its underlying assets, including those beyond the US borders, this may lead to similar deals and acquisitions between telcos and digital companies. More deals of a similar nature may be forged in the future, with telcos looking increasingly to leverage their connectivity and data assets to become powerful digital companies.”

Submissions open for 2016 MEPRA Awards

Submissions are now open for the 2016 Middle East PR Association (MEPRA) Awards. Aimed at bringing together elite practitioners, household names and emerging forces in the Middle East PR industry, the awards hope to reward the agencies and individuals who set benchmarks for PR practices. Submissions are now open via the MEPRA website, with the deadline for entry being October 13, 2016 and winners will be announced during the 2016 MEPRA Awards Gala, which will take place on November 23, 2016 at the JW Marriot Marquis hotel in Dubai.

Voting for Condé Nast Traveller awards opens

Voting has opened for the annual Condé Nast Traveller Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards, hosted by Condé Nast Traveller Middle East, an Arab Publishing Partners (APP) publication. This year, the awards look to determine the future of luxury travel, with 20 categories including; Favourite Fashion-forward Destination, Favourite Secret Beach Destination and Favourite Tech-savvy Hotel. Readers of Condé Nast Traveller Middle East can vote for winners through the publication’s website,, and results will be announced during a red-carpet gala in November.