Umami Communications appoints new PR Account Manager

Dubai-based PR and communications agency, Umami Communications has appointed Christina Mandody to the role of PR Account Manager. Christina previously worked with Wallis PR and most recently The Qode, and in her new role she will work with the company’s key clients and support the team within the region.

“I’m so excited to be working with the diverse team at Umami Communications and look forward to being part of the fast growth of the boutique agency,” says Christina. “The fresh and zesty approach that Umami uses towards the industry, coupled with an innovative and fun outlook on marketing and PR promises to be a truly dynamic and memorable experience for the incredible brands we represent.”

New promotion at The Qode

The Qode has promoted Moushmi Bhatia to the role of Communications Manager. With a Masters degree in Fashion Communications and PR, Moushmi joined The Qode in 2016 and most recently held the role of Senior Communications Executive. In her new role, she will continue to manage The Qode’s portfolio of luxury fashion and beauty brands, including Philipp Plein, Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prismologie. She will also continue to pitch for new business opportunities, develop PR strategies and strengthen her relationship with existing clients and the media.

“Excelling at The Qode has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I’m thrilled to take on this new role,” says Moushmi. “The past year has been very fulfilling, working alongside international brands and so I look forward to more exciting challenges ahead!”

Five Minute Focus – PR Pressure

Team TMN sits down with Sarah Mohamed, Founder and Director at Secret PR to find out more about the second edition of PR Pressure…

 Tell us a bit about PR Pressure and when it will be held.

Launched in May 2016, PR Pressure is a series of conferences that address the challenges faced in the industry. Topics for the conference are chosen by the target audience to ensure that they’re relevant and up to date. Our aim is to bring media and communications professionals together to share their experiences and help the industry come up with pragmatic solutions for the region. The second edition of PR Pressure will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at the Metropolitan Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road.

What is the concept behind the conference?

PR Pressure is a place where everyone’s voice is heard. There are many existing conferences around the region that discuss similar topics and issues, however, speakers are usually redundant and many times, the smaller agencies are under-represented. We cannot grow without acknowledging different professional levels and this serves as a platform for students, freelancers, juniors and seniors to voice themselves.

Did you face any challenges when you launched the event last year?

I think our biggest challenge last year was setting the foundations for PR Pressure. Standing out from other similar platforms and creating a solid brand for PR Pressure was a priority. The team and I had to work on organising the event while also managing our existing clients, it was quite tough to manage our time internally while still maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Why do you think the Middle East PR industry needs a platform like PR Pressure?

PR Pressure is not just for the suits and ties, it is a casual open discussion where one can ask a question and not feel like they’re the only one who’s not in the know. I feel that the industry needed a platform like this, with a unique environment unlike other such events.

How will 2017’s PR Pressure be different from the first one that was held last year?

Aside from the different topics, we’ve decided to include more people on each panel to better capture the various sectors of our industry. Last year’s attendees requested for more in-house and media insight and that’s something we’ve worked to achieve for this year. Unlike last year’s conference, the sessions in March will also have live English and Arabic interpretation to allow more people to get involved despite our language barriers.

 What will be the topics of discussion at the second edition of the conference?

The topics for the conference are selected keeping in mind the common challenges faced and suggestions from our PR and media circles. There exists a level of uncertainty about the legal aspects of our industry and so this year, one of the sessions, ‘Maintaining proper form’ will feature lawyers who will shed light on the same. The conference will also address other topics such as complexities of the Arabic language and challenges it presents for copywriters as well as the future of PR in the ever-growing digital realm.

Tell us about your target audience.

Our target audience includes media, marketing and communications professionals as well as students who are looking to specialise in these fields. We have partnered with MEPRA and the PRCA this year to try and get more in-house representatives involved. In the future we would like to welcome more attendees from the client side as well – although I’d have to make sure our primary target is open to that first!

What is the reaction you expect following the event?

I am confident that our attendees will love PR Pressure but the real reaction I hope to achieve is proactive change. I want people to take what they learned at PR Pressure and implement it − that is when we will know that PR Pressure was a true success.

Tell us about the key speakers participating at PR Pressure.

We try our best to ensure that we accurately represent the industry in the region and give the audience a greater variety when it comes to speakers. This year we are lucky to have panellists from local, regional and international companies as well as freelancers, journalists, lawyers, consultants and government agencies. The speakers include industry professionals from companies such as Tactics, The Qode, IHC, Al Roeya Newspaper, Digital Ink, Cicero & Bernay, Procter & Gamble, Cedar White Bradley Group, MCG Associates and the Dubai Sports Council.

How does one register to attend the event?

People can register by filling out a form on our website and for group registrations, you can send through delegate and company names to

 What does the future hold for PR Pressure?

Most of the audience and participants of last year’s event said that they wanted more PR Pressures, so we are looking at either increasing the frequency of our conferences or creating other smaller get-togethers through the year. While we haven’t yet thought about expanding into more countries within the region, it is something that we could consider in the future. For now, I would like to focus more on the UAE as there is still so much to be done.

New promotions at The Qode

Dubai-based luxury PR agency, The Qode has announced three promotions within its communications team. Previously Senior Communications Executive, Gopika Madan will now take on the role of Associate Communications Manager. In her new role, Gopika will be responsible for the execution of strategic PR campaigns and maintaining relationships with existing clients as well as pursuing new business opportunities for the agency. Lyaila Mufti and Alessandra Battalia have been promoted from Communications Executives to the role of Senior Communications Executives. Lyaila and Alessandra will continue to contribute to the development of their existing accounts as well as contribute to research and proposals for new business opportunities.