In The Hot Seat

Anna Roberts, Founder and Managing Director of Nudge speaks about the many changes and improvements made in media in the UAE…

Name: Anna Roberts

Age: 28

From: New Zealand

Current job title: Founder and Managing Director, Nudge.

When did you arrive in the UAE? Originally, in 1994!

Where did you work prior? I was with the Arabian Radio Network for five years.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
I remember growing up and seeing Emirates Women and What’s On in Spinneys, there weren’t many other publications around in the 90s and buying international titles would cost a fortune! I made my first ever request on Dubai 92 when I was 14 (I still remember) and we only had Channel 33 as a local TV station, which played a lot of Bold and the Beautiful. The environment then was really trying to replicate what had done well overseas and cut and paste it here.

Have these impressions changed much?
Yes, aside from Dubai attracting more international talent it’s really trying to put its own stamp on how they do things. From OSN’s in studio coverage of the Rugby World Cup to intentional titles coming to the region, we’re now part of the creative melting pot instead of importing everything. You’ve got more competition continually setting the bar higher, and the market is maturing both from a client’s expectations as well as by what’s being delivered by outlets.

Tell us about Nudge…
Nudge was born out a passion to be able to provide everyone with the tools and confidence to address an audience. I’ve been in broadcasting for 10 years now and will continually be told, ‘I could never do what you do’ or ‘I could never get up on stage and speak like that’ and I wanted to give everyone the chance to be empowered to speak authentically by providing them with practical tools and strategies from my knowledge and experiences. I’ve worked one-on-one with clients to produce broadcasting content, working with entrepreneurs looking for better ways to communicate with their customers, and those who are seasoned speakers but want to take their skills to the next level.

What challenges do you face?
The fact that many people fear public speaking more than death! Broaching the subject with many makes them pale, let alone getting them to come along for a workshop! It’s great that having been shy growing up I can completely relate to their fears and show them useful techniques for public engagements.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing a client absolutely love being on stage and the feedback they get from the audience afterwards. When you’re able to be really clear about your call to action and realise that the focus should be on the audience it’s far easier to focus on being the messenger and not the message.

What’s the most exciting thing to happen so far?
Since launching Nudge I’ve had a burst in creativity and am in the process of releasing an E Book online at to help those that can’t attend a workshop have a resource to work from.

What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
Fantastic, I think we’ve got some great talent locally with Sail Publishing and the work that Motivate does, as well as the magazine titles that seem to be ever increasing on shelves. They are really able to capture some amazing pieces across genres from here in the region and feature some amazing stories.

What sets you apart from other media professionals?
My two decades of experience in the Middle East and my ever-increasing 10 years in International Broadcasting.

Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
Mobile – as Nudge is yet to move in office space I’m location independent.

What’s your most overused saying?
When you know better, you do better. Continual learning in life is key!

Five things you can’t live without?
My family, my mobile, a good breakfast, running and music!

If you weren’t with Nudge, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be continuing to work up the radio career ladder.