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.


Instinctif Partners Middle East makes new appointments

International business communications consultancy, Instinctif Partners Middle East has made new appointments following its expansion. Rima Ali will take on the role of Senior Consultant having most recently worked with Hanover Middle East across clients such as Du, S&P Global and Dar Properties. In her new role, she will deliver strategic advice, manage content generation and provide media training for Instinctif Partners’ client network across the Middle East.

Also joining the team are Aashti Bawa and Rami Fahmi as Consultants. Aashti most recently worked with FTI Consulting, where she worked across a multifaceted communications offering for clients such as Bloomberg and Takaful Emarat. Rami, also worked with FTI Consulting, where he supported clients such as Manazel Real Estate and CFA Institute with corporate and financial services. In their new roles, they will work across Instinctif Partners’ portfolio of clients and manage the content as well as the media relations for the regional and international press.

“We’re proud of our achievements in 2017, having built a first-class client portfolio, for which we delivered exceptional results,” says Samantha Bartel, Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners Middle East. “We’re looking ahead to 2018 with a strong new business pipeline and a number of important and exciting projects planned for our existing clients. This is the perfect moment to grow and diversify our team, so we’re very pleased to welcome Rima, Aashti and Rami on board.”

Bell Pottinger makes structural changes

Full-service and international communications company, Bell Pottinger has made several appointments and promotions within its Dubai office. Tim Falconer, previously Deputy Bureau Chief at The Wall Street Journal in the Middle East has been appointed to the role of Managing Director. With experience in financial and corporate practices as well as equity and oil markets, Tim will now oversee the strategic direction of the agency and help drive new business across the region and beyond.

Jennifer Kedissa, previously Group Account Director at APCO Worldwide, joins Bell Pottinger as Associate Partner and brings with her experience in strategic communications across Europe and the Middle East. In her new role, she will oversee a number of key clients in the corporate and financial space across the region.

Omar Nasro has been appointed to the role of Consultant. He brings both government and corporate communications experience across a range of industries. In his new role, he will support the Arabic speaking team across a wide portfolio of clients in the region.

Bell Pottinger will also see internal promotions of some its senior consultants as a part of the agency’s structural development. Amy Piek has been promoted to the role of Associate Partner in the Financial Practice, Rose Yousef to Associate Partner in the Corporate Practice and Rima Ali to Head of Arabic Content.

“I am delighted to announce Tim Falconer’s appointment as Managing Director, Dubai and to also welcome both Jennifer and Omar to the team,” says David Beck, International Managing Partner, Bell Pottinger. “Their respective experiences strengthens an already thriving team and will help us cater to a growing number of clients.”