Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach
Peter DeBenedictis leads the marketing function for Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa region, a role he assumed in March 2017. His team takes an integrated marketing and communications approach, using digital marketing and traditional channels to both build the Microsoft brand and also engage customers and partners on their purchase journey.
Peter’s has lived and worked in the Middle East region for over 30 years and has deep experience of growing business in diverse Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Microsoft, he has had a distinguished career leading the marketing function in several of the world’s leading brands, including General Electric, Philips, and FedEx, where he has led multiple growth and investment programs to drive top line growth. He has built multiple public private partnerships with large government organizations to drive regional technology development, local software and engineering skills , and entrepreneurship.
Peter has been a regular speaker at Marketing conferences across the region and is a member of several industry organizations. He is a past President of the Alumni Association of Dubai College, one of the top non-profit British schools in the region, and is also a member of their Board of Governors. Peter is based in Dubai with his wife and two children aged 10 and 4.
Mahmoud El Khoja is the Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Marketing and Digital Transformation. In this role, he leads the Marketing and Digital Customer Experience at Schneider Electric Middle East & Africa, based out of Dubai. He heads a multi-cultural team of seasoned marketers and digitization leaders across the region, focused on thought leadership, brand engagement and the digital customer journey.
Working in technology without being an engineer, Mahmoud is on a mission to demystify complex concepts such as IoT, Smart Cities, and Energy Efficiency to a larger audience, as well as harnessing the power of digital in a Business-to-Business environment. He is a strong advocate of how user-friendliness can simplify the customer journey and impact on brand experience.
Mahmoud’s diverse 15 years career encompasses Strategy as well as Marketing both in the Business-to-Customer and Business-to-Business domains. He joined Schneider Electric in 2013, where he held several global Strategy and Business Development positions in Paris and Istanbul. Earlier in his career, he practiced Strategy Consulting at Bain & Company, and worked within the Consumer Goods industry in both country and product marketing roles at L’Oréal and KDD.
Mahmoud holds an MBA from INSEAD, and a B.A. in Economics from the American University of Beirut. He is widely travelled and has lived in eight countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He is fluent in French, Arabic, and English.
Erdem Aksakal, born 1980, got an Electronics and Telecommunications Degree from ITU and an MBA degree from Bogazici University. After working in many technology companies like Vestel and Ericsson, he has been worked as marketing director in SAP Turkey and now is the marketing director in SAP MENA.
In addition to his business career; he has been writing as a columnist on various magazines on technology and urban life. His book about white collar workers and business life was published in 2016 and reached to 8th edition.
He has been studying as PhD student in Istanbul Bilgi University on marketing. He is giving lectures on digital marketing and is a keynote speaker.
Victor Knaap is the Main Monk of MediaMonks. After sailing around the world for a living, Victor became a foundational member of MediaMonks in 2003, turning a basement boutique into a global business. Under his direction, MediaMonks mushroomed to become one of the most successful creative production companies worldwide. His business acumen makes Victor an opinion leader for the digital industry at large.
MediaMonks currently employs 800 Monks spread across 11 international offices. Their work for agencies, brands and tech companies has been recognised by advertising and craft awards around the world, winning over 200 FWAs and 128 Cannes Lions to date. In addition to MediaMonks, Victor sits on the board of S4 Capital, Dutch charity GET IT DONE as well as the advisory board of IAB NL.
A seasoned brand and marketing executive with proven regional industry leadership credentials, Christian Eid is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at OSN, the region’s leading entertainment network.
A specialist across sales, marketing and brand communication, Christian has successfully devised winning strategies to help build and grow both homegrown and international brands.
Prior to joining OSN, Chris was Vice President of Brand and Marketing at Careem, overseeing the development and growth of the startup to one of the region’s most successful and leading brands.
An entrepreneur at heart and bringing deep industry expertise from a range of sectors, he draws from previous roles at pioneering company’s including Smartbox where he headed Marketing and Sales; Sell2Give for which he was the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer and his own successful start-up venture, Maji Water – Canada’s first and only social bottled water.
Hussein has over 18 years of solid Marketing Communication experience in the space leading and building integrated marketing practices and customer experience within multinational agencies (JWT, Leo Burnett, and TBWA\), clients (Saudi Telecom Co., Vodafone, Nokia, Visa, and HSBC) and companies (Fortune 500 –Virgin Mobile, Red Bull, Nissan Motor Co.), across the Middle East and Africa region.
Hussein was among the first batch of WPP MENA employees to receive the renowned WPP Young High Potential Leaders award from Sir Martin Sorrell (ex Chairman and Worldwide President of WPP) and Bob Jeffrey (ex Chairman and Worldwide President of JWT).
In 2017, by nomination from the Global Chairman and Patron of the World Marketing Congress, Hussein has been featured in the 50 most influential digital marketing leaders listing.
Furthermore, Hussein has been voted by the Huffington Post as among the 10 people changing the marcomm landscape in the MENA region, and in Gulf Marketing Review’s GMR’s list of 40 of the brightest marketing professionals under the age of 40 in the Middle East.
After a 2 years stint with hug digital, as its Chief Operating Officer, which he grew exponentially till he lead to its sale to WPP, Hussein joins Nissan Motor Co. as General Manager Digital and Customer Experience for Africa, Middle East, India, and Turkey, for Nissan and Datsun brands, to be responsible for its Digital Transformation and Acceleration. Furthermore, Hussein plays an active role in the advisory council of the World Marketing Congress.
Hussein is also a speaker at various conferences throughout the EMEA region, a weekly guest speaker on numerous TV and Radio stations, and a jury member in renowned global festivals.
In this amusingly cluttered industry, Rteil is referred to as a wildling ad woman-one of the youngest and most versatile go getters in this space. “Rteil is a true child of the digital age. Her passion for all things tech and innovation related is evident in her talks, work and writing. She’s also a Webby honoree and her conviction is reflected in the statement, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” When named 2016’s ‘Women to Watch in the GCC’.
Today, as Head of Product at UM, Rteil sets the tone of ‘innovation’, spurring enthusiasm, and challenging the current ‘status quo’- a never-ending tenacity to make the agency and people fitter to lead the industry changes.
At the age of 29 she gave birth to UM Labs in 2015, the first tech-innovation product within a media agency in the MENA, crafting avant-garde tech innovations and strategies, awarding whopping brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, L’Oreal, and Johnson & Johnson with media firsts.
At young age of 19, she began her journey in advertising at the age of 19 at BBDO, flourished at Young &Rubican and at 25 settled with Mindshare MENA for 4 years as Innovation & digital lead. The past 3.5 years, Rteilnests at UM MENA, a place where she explores corporate entrepreneurship as Head of Product.
When not on stage, Rteil is committed to contributing with bold inarguable articles and technologyleadershipreports
A digital marketing pioneer, Akanksha Goel is the founder of Socialize; Middle East’s first dedicated social media agency. Today with an award-winning team of over 50 people, from 19 countries, Socialize has grown to become one of region’s largest independent agencies and is ranked amongst Dubai’s top 100 SMEs.
Akanksha started her career at the age of 20, as the youngest ever Editor-in-chief for STUFF Magazine. She gained experience working across India & Singapore, where she was at the forefront of the Web 2.0 revolution and helped organize Asia’s first-ever pod-camp. She then moved to Dubaiamidst the region’s economic crisis and in 2010 created Socialize to harness the untapped business potential of then-emerging social networks.
In her current role as Managing Director, she is actively involved in driving business growth, leading team development and overseeing the strategic mandate across a coveted client roster that includes blue-chip brands like Sony, General Mills, GEMS Education and Clorox.
An executive graduate from Harvard Business School; she holds a business degree in Marketing Communications from Singapore Management University. Previously nominated as Emirates Woman of the Year, Akanksha is widely recognized as a business influencer, speaker, and a reference for social media in the Middle East.
Ravi Raman is the Associate Publisher of Vogue Arabia, the 22nd edition of the iconic fashion magazine published out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A media industry professional, with over two decades of content strategy, revenue generation, brand marketing and team leadership experience. Prior to joining Vogue Arabia, he has been associated with some of the iconic media brands like Khaleej Times, Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Microsoft Network, India Today and The Telegraph.
Ravi Raman was the Senior Vice President ofKhaleej Times, UAE’s oldest English newspaper. Where he successfully augmented the group’s portfolio with digital assets, native content solutions, events and conferences.
Prior to joining Khaleej Times, he was Vice President and Associate Publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East published out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Successfully setting up the operations for the launch of the print and digital assets. Responsible for complete business planning, recruitment of talent, training and execution of the business plan, he grew the operations across GCC.
He has been part of several industry forums, marketing seminars as speaker, panel member and presenter. And is a TEDx speaker.
Joy Ajlouny is an e-commerce industry professional whose influence in business and entrepreneurship has spanned the globe.
Joy is the co-founder of Fetchr, a Silicon-Valley backed Technology Company based in Dubai aimed at solving the “no-address” problem hindering growth in emerging markets. Fetchr uses patented technology allowing people to use their mobile phone’s GPS location as their address. Fetchr is the first start-up in the Middle East to be funded by a top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Joy, on behalf of Fetchr, was on the cover of Forbes Magazine in the Middle East, which named Fetchr #1 startup in the region. The company has raised $52 million in investment, including a $41 million series B round in May 2017.Prior to Fetchr, Joy founded Bonfaire, an e-commerce discovery platform for luxury footwear and accessories. Bonfaire was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce giant Moda Operandi, owned by LVMH and Condé Nast.
While only 2.7% of venture capital funding has been raised by women, Joy has successfully raised funds for two startups from the most prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firms. This puts her in the top 1% of female entrepreneurs. Joy is passionate about using technology to solve persistent issues in emerging markets, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs to break out of traditional roles, especially in the Middle East.
Matt Horobin is a digital brand engagement specialist working with Dubai Airports, the airport management company behind the world’s largest international airport, DXB. Matt is originally from a creative consultancy background and has worked with many of the globe’s leading brands across Europe, Asia and Middle East. Today, Matt is responsible for Dubai Airports’ brand and digital strategy and ecosystem, tasked with building positive customer experiences and valuable commercial relationships.
Joachim has close to 20 years of international experience in the telecommunication industry, covering management, business and technical aspects in communication networks.
He joined Nokia in Finland in 2000 as a Customer Trainer for Messaging Platforms and has then held several sales and marketing management position spanning Europe, Asia, Middle-East and Africa.
Over the course of his career, Joachim has been a privileged witness of the explosion of text messaging, the unwavering rise of the mobile internet, and is now truly excited about creating a world where everybody and everything will be connected.
He is currently based in Dubai, UAE and his mandate is to drive all of the company marketing and communication activities in the Middle-East and Africa region.
Joachim holds a Master of Science in Management from Reims Management School (NEOMA) in France and an MBA from London Business School.
Sunny Landeros is the Global Brand and Communications Director for Jetex, managing the marketing strategy for the growing company’s 56 locations and 5 divisions worldwide.
Sunny has always believed that passion iswhatprovides people with the drive to inspire, innovate, and create and loves to sharetheir stories.
She began her marketing career with a real estate and has since worked in a variety of industries including beauty, hospitality, and events, finding the balance between luxury and aviation especially appealing.
Sunny is a member of the Forbes Communication Council and volunteers extra time to students and start-up companies needing marketing support.
A wise person once said…”Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
Beatrice Cornacchia is Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communication for the Middle East and Africa and the creative force leading the company’s brand strategy across the region’s 69 markets.
A Priceless Journey
As a Mastercard veteran of more than 27 years, Cornacchia has closely witnessed the evolution of the Mastercard brand over the last three decades. After starting her journey with the company in 1991, Cornacchia went on to head strategic sales functions and numerous marketing teams in a succession of key roles including Head of Consumer Marketing, Europe; Head of Issuer and Merchant Marketing, Europe; and Head of Marketing, Italy and Greece.
Empowering Content Enablers
Cornacchia’s strategy for brand engagement in the Middle East and Africa hinges on her ability to provide local context and significance to Mastercard’s twodecade-old marketing campaign, Priceless. Her knowledge of Mastercard’s brand architecture, combined with her fresh perspective on local market dynamics, creates a winning combination that differentiates the company’s marketing performance in the region.
Having closely witnessed the progression of Priceless from storytelling to storymaking and now story-inspiring, Cornacchia believes that the age of impact has shaped the changing needs of consumers who now see themselves as content enablers eager to create their own stories.
In keeping with the evolution of Mastercard’s global approach to marketing and communications, Cornacchia has her eyes set on leveraging the underlying concept of Priceless – the deep emotional connection that fills people’s life with meaning and purpose – to empower Mastercard’s consumers in the region with priceless possibilities in their world.
Secret to Marketing Success
Cornacchia’s secret sauce for marketing combines great content with the science of data analytics, precision targeting and an innate understanding of human emotions.
Banali Malhotra is responsible to grow RAKBANK’s brand dominance in the Banking and Finance segment in the UAE. A consummate marketing professional with over 20 years of experience across regions, she has successfully launched several campaigns and products that have earned many international accolades like Summit International Creative Awards in USA and Advertising Campaign of the Year award by the Asian Banker in Singapore. Her interview is featured in Oxford University’s Marketing textbook showcasing RAKBANK’s success story in Relationship Management. Her career and personal experiences have been showcased in the success stories of the world’s most inspirational women in the international bestseller book “Break the ceiling, touch the sky” by author Anthony A. Rose. She was felicitated as an Unstoppable Women Achiever by Femina Middle East in 2015. She was also conferred the title of “Asia’s Most Influential CMOs” (GCC Edition) in 2015 by Asian Leadership Awards and “GCC’s Best Marketer” in 2016 by the Middle East Leadership Awards. She has been part of the jury for prestigious Marketing award platforms like Effies and FOMA. Banali has in her previous role as Head Strategic Alliances, American Express won the prestigious Chairman’s award amongst other accolades.
Zaira Lakhpatwala is an advertising and communications professional with nearly 10 years of experience in advertising, media and publishing. She is currently the Managing Editor of Communicate, a Dubai-based print and online magazine covering the advertising and marketing industry in the Middle East. Communicate was established in 2005 in association with US-based Ad Age and is owned by Mediaquest, which was founded in 1987.
A digital native and media junkie, she has worked in advertising agencies in India and the UAE prior to joining Communicate.
A global marketing leader with over 15 years of experience in entertainment and hospitality marketing across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, Andy Levey is Head of Marketing for La Perle By Dragone.
La Perle is Dubai’s first Las Vegas style, live entertainment resident show. Andy and his team are responsible for guiding the brand, PR, content strategy, social media, and media plans.
Previously, Andy worked at Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and Montreal in various roles overseeing brand marketing, content marketing and social media strategies for shows and projects globally.
Fernando is a global marketer with a passion for growing brands and businesses. With more than 100 Lions in Cannes (5 GPs), 12 D&AD Yellow Pencils, 1 Grandy (McWhopper), and 2 Grand Effies in North America, Fernando is known for pushing the creative boundaries to drive business growth.
Currently as Global CMO at Burger King, Fernando’s focus is infusing the brand with purpose, modernizing the design, and inspiring the organization around brand development. Under his leadership, BK became Client of the Year at the D&AD in 2016, Creative Marketer of the Year in Cannes 2017, and Client of the Year at the One Show 2018. Fernando led campaigns such as “Proud Whopper”, “McWhopper”, “Google Home of the Whopper”, “Burning Stores”, “Bullying Jr” and “Whopper Neutrality”.
Prior to BK, Fernando worked for 18 years at Unilever. Starting as an intern, he moved up the ranks working different brands, including Dove where he led the groundbreaking “Beauty Sketches” (Titanium GP in 2013).
Fernando was recognized by Adweek as Grand Brand Genius (2013), by the AD Club of NY as Marketer of the Year (2017), by Business Insider as top 5 most innovative CMOs (2017) and by AdAge as top 50 most creative people in the business (2017).
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