Heba Abdalla joins Motivate Publishing

Motivate Publishing has appointed Heba Abdalla to the role of Senior Digital Editor. With over 12 years of digital media experience in the region, Heba most recently worked with Savior Flair Arabic as Managing Editor, where she headed the magazine’s Arabic website, Styly.com. In her new role, she will be managing a number of Arabic digital launches for Motivate’s lifestyle and business division including the upcoming launch of Emirates Woman Arabiya.

“We have very exciting plans in place, with a spate of new Arabic launches coming up, opening up our titles to a much wider audience,” says Heba. “Soon, extensive premium Arabic content will be just a click away. Our next launch will be Emirates Woman in Arabic, which will provide engaging luxury, lifestyle and fashion content for the smart, savvy female Arab reader.”

In The Hot Seat – Rima Ali

Instinctif Partners’s Senior Consultant, Rima Ali tells TMN about her current role and what she thinks about the PR industry in the Middle East…

Name: Rima Ali

Nationality: Palestinian

Age: 35

Current job title: Senior Consultant

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

December 2006

Where did you work prior?

I began my career in Dubai at Paris Gallery and in 2012, I joined Hanover Middle East where I took my first steps in the PR world.

What were your first impressions of the PR industry in the Middle East?

It was a mixed feeling. I was impressed at how traditional media relations dominated clients’ requirements. PR is a powerful and tough job that can be fulfilling and disappointing. There was a huge misunderstanding by people outside the industry as the lines between PR, marketing and advertising are blurred. In general, it is an interesting industry where someone like me who started out fresh could learn a lot.

Has your opinion changed much?

Having been in the industry for more than ten years now, it is interesting to see the arrival of many highly skilled Arab PR consultants contributing to the professionalism and cultural diversity in many top agencies. Local insights, strong language skills and the ability to build firm relationships are all invaluable.

Tell us about your current role…

I am proud to say that I am happy working with Instinctif. It is a lovely place to work, the culture is great, the people are lovely and our ambitions are one. As a senior PR consultant, I support the day-to-day management of a portfolio of clients in the region, provide strategic advice, generate content in Arabic and maintain the relationship with the Arabic media.

What challenges do you face?

Like any profession, there are both negative and positive aspects of being a PR consultant. PR is not a magic stick and results can’t be seen rapidly. Clients are cautious about their spending and are becoming very demanding, but there are situations where we all need to be is patient before the positive results come our way.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I live for the moments when my instincts are proven right. Getting introduced to new people and having the chance to learn new things on a daily bases is another rewarding part of my job.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Phone calls. When a problem arises or when you need to understand your client’s point of view, having a conversation over the phone is ideal as things tend to be lost over emails.

How has digital media changed your role?

The rise of digital media has ramifications for every job and this requires all of us to be equipped with new skills to be up to speed with the changing career needs.

How has consumer behaviour in today’s digital community influenced PR?

Nowadays, consumers have the privilege to communicate directly and react instantly. PR professionals must be ready to react quickly as social media is now becoming an essential part of any communications campaign. 

What do you think of PR ethics in the industry today?

We work in a highly competitive environment and preserving PR ethics is important. Public relations is mainly about influencing people’s lives and protecting companies’ reputations and it is always beneficial to adhere to a single set of strong standards. We are lucky to be working in a very ethical PR industry in Dubai that encourages transparency, integrity and fair competition.

How would you describe yourself at work?

Mature, committed, accountable, sociable and honest.

Who inspires you?

The secret behind the far steps that I took and the triumphs I achieved is the marvelous man I call ‘dad’.

What’s your most overused saying?

‘Everything will be ok’. It is always essential to take things easy and think calmly as I do believe that there is a solution to every problem and nothing will last forever.

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

Having the pleasure of working with such talented people who believed in me and gave me the space to prove myself and be the person whom I am today.

Five things you can’t live without?

Family, true friends, my phone, my favorite books and of course my cat.

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?


If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Something that involves communicating with people. I always wanted to be a social activist. I love engaging with people and listening to their pain, I have a flair for making them smile and have hope in their lives again.

What’s your favorite form of media?

From a professional perspective, TV is still playing a significant role in this part of the world. From a personal perspective, Facebook and Instagram.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in PR in the UAE?

In order to shine in the PR industry, you must trust your capabilities first and always be ready to face a whole set of new challenges every day. Also, it is very critical to understand the cultural sensitivities of the country you are working in.


New appointments at IHC

Integrated communications agency, IHC has promoted Alexandra Williams to the role of Managing Director of its Dubai office. Having joined IHC in 2016, Alexandra most recently held the role of Associate Director, where she was a part of the growth period of IHC particularly within the construction, engineering and technical sectors. In her new role, she will focus on growing the business, agency operations and overall client delivery.

The new appointment will also see the promotion of Ian Hainey, most recently Managing Director to take on the role of CEO. In his new role, he will remain strategically engaged with IHC Dubai, while focusing on continued global expansion, after client wins in the UAE and Brazil.

“I’m proud to take on this role, which I see as the very beginning of where we are taking this agency,” says Alexandra. “Having been at IHC for a relatively short period of time, the synergy was instant from joining and we have moved forward at an incredible rate. I’m under no illusions as to the importance this office will play over coming years, as the Dubai team should remain the creative engine behind our ambitious global expansion plans.”

Hainey, adds ”Word of our services has spread quickly between business decision makers, because we deliver hard-PR for clients targeting specific industries, supported by quality social media, digital advertising and powerful content. This has put IHC in an exciting position, where we are winning top clients across other geographic areas, with recent client wins in the UK and now Brazil, where we are launching our services in May 2018.”

MENA Digital Awards 2018 dates announced

The fifth edition of the MENA Digital Awards (MDA) is set to take place on May 9, 2018 at the Westin Mina Seyahi. The event aims to honour and celebrate people as well as brands that are shaping the future of the communications industry through digital innovation and media from across the MENA region. The MDA has also opened entries for submission with the deadline on March 4, 2018 to be judged by a jury of digital experts from across the world.

“Year on year, the MDA sets a gold standard for digital and media excellence in the MENA region, acting as a catalyst for innovation, creativity and transformation in one of the world’s fastest-growing and changing industries,” says Najla Semaan Mazboudi, Founder, MDA and CEO, SpotOn Media Services and Events. “The MDA was launched to recognise and celebrate those responsible for creating digital marketing campaigns that have a real impact and drive our sector onto new heights, proactively endorsing digital as a worthy marketing channel.”