In The Hot Seat – Waseem Yakdi

Team TMN chat with Waseem Yakdi, CEO, Zia Creative Network, who talks about his current role and offers his thoughts on the PR industry in the Middle East.

Name: Waseem Yakdi

Age: 33

Nationality: Syrian

Current job title: CEO, Zia Creative Network

When did you first arrive in Dubai? 2006

Where did you work prior?

Multinational Advertising Agencies, Film production houses and event management companies all over the UAE.

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

Since UAE has always grabbed the world’s ATTENTION in the advertising sector, it becomes imperative for us to be updated with THE latest trends and technologies in order to catch up with the growing pace of the industry in the region. Therefore, my aim has always been to fetch creative brains and compliment them with high-end technology in order to create thought-provoking advertising campaigns.

Has your opinion changed much?

Definitely a lot ever since I started my own advertising agency.

Tell us about your current role & what challenges do you face?

I manage our business development, marketing department, creative studio, film director and supervise the advertising and film production work. My major challenge is to achieve the client’s expectations by thoroughly understanding the client’s objectives and transforming the idea into execution that deliverS tangible results. I am able to achieve this through my skillful team and by guiding them in the right direction.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s always been my achievements complimented with client’s satisfaction. These two things always keep me motivated and help me set the highest benchmarks in the field of advertising.

Is traditional media still relevant for effective branding in the region today?

Yes, of course. There is and will always be old school requirements and we still deliver that happily. I believe that Below The Line (BTL) advertising is never going to lose its charm because Old is Gold.

How do you keep up with the latest creative tools and technologies?

Being updated with the latest creative tools and technologies is something I cannot afford to miss, if I do, I will leave a chance for my competitors to take the lead and that is not in my dictionary.

Has cultural differences in the region created a limitation or an advantage to advertising campaigns?

Not at all, creativity has no limits and if you are good enough to spread the message effectively, you can spread it through a book that can be read by everyone irrespective of the cultural diversity.

Describe yourself in five words.

Hard worker, Optimistic, Charismatic, Creative and Ambitious

Who inspires you?


What’s your most overused saying?

Get the work done today, to get another one tomorrow

Five things you can’t live without?

Technology, my professional tools, my creative team, my sport activities and my suits 🙂

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

Working hard to achieve my current position and aiming to make it even better.

What’s your favourite form of media?

ATL and TVCs

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

Define your abilities and find your route, work hard and you will definitely achieve what you aim for, if you have the passion for it, you will do it well.