Name: Kaniz Abbas
From: London, UK
Current job title: Account Director, Edelman
When did you arrive in the UAE?
Not that long ago, I first arrived in the UAE on September 11, 2014, and prior to that I was living and working in London.
Where did you work prior?
Before joining Edelman, I was Account Director, managing the Unilever Haircare portfolio at Beauty Seen PR. Previous to that I was at MS&L working across Proctor & Gamble premium beauty brands.
What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
I was surprised by how diverse it was and the wide variety of specialist titles available. It’s also more fast-paced than I expected.
Have these impressions changed much?
As it’s only been a few months, there’s still much to learn. However, I do find that journalists here are very approachable and responsive which is great.
Tell us about your new role as Account Director…
As Account Director for the Consumer Division, I oversee our luxury, hospitality and FMCG accounts – this includes The Jumeirah Group, Waldorf Astoria, Al Manara International Jewellery and Ocean Spray. My main role is providing strategic direction, budgeting, team management and client servicing. I also work closely with the Consumer Associate Director on new business, seeking out new opportunities to further grow our department.
What challenges do you face?
As I’m new to the region, the biggest challenge is gaining an understanding of the Middle East media landscape – I’m learning something new every day.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Providing the direction and support my team needs to ensure they develop and deliver great results for our clients; I always aim to exceed expectations.
What’s the most exciting thing to happen so far?
The most exciting thing to happen so far was whilst working with SkyDive Dubai on a charity project; where I met a member of the Royal Family and watched them do their 1000th jump.
What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
There are some stunning luxury and lifestyle magazines for both men and woman in the region. It’s also great to see publishers recognising the great opportunity there is here and I was very excited by the launch of Stylist Arabia!
What sets you apart from other PR professionals?
I think it’s the genuine passion I have for my job. If you love what you do, you will always strive to deliver the best results.
Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
Mobile – I’m often away from my desk so clients, press and colleagues can always get hold of me that way.
What’s your most overused saying?
How can we leverage this…?
Five things you can’t live without?
My heels – which give me confidence in any outfit; my note pad – I’m a list fanatic; a skinny flat white coffee in the morning; a pair of headphones, because listening to music helps me concentrate and my laptop.
If you weren’t a PR, what would you be?
Most likely a TV news presenter.