This article was originally published by Campaign Middle East.

AFAF ZAHER, 29, SENIOR EXECUTIVE, OMD UAE

Nominated by Terry Mo, director of performance, OMD
“Over her past few years with Omnicom, Afaf has become one of our key e-commerce specialists. She managed
some of the first advertisers in the region to use Google Shopping and keyword-level data-driven attribution, both initiatives that generated clear incremental revenue for her clients. Afaf’s audience- and data-driven approach to performance, married to her passion for luxury retail, has generated around 40 per cent to 60 per cent growth in performance billings for her key clients. In 2018 she was awarded OMD’s Extra Mile award for her outstanding and tireless contributions to her team and client. She is definitely one to watch.”

Career path
“I started my career in the performance team in July 2015, working on FMCG, automotive and finance. Based on my performance, I was assigned to LVMH to assist with e-commerce launches. I have continued to learn and challenge existing paradigms, driving early adoption of betas and tests that help maximise revenue across channels. I was promoted to senior executive in December 2017 and am now mentoring fresh recruits, among other responsibilities. In 2017, I was awarded OMD’s quarterly employee achievement award twice, and in 2018 I was awarded the annual Extra Mile award for my contributions.”

Guiding principles
I believe that making mistakes is the best way to learn. So one thing that I would pass on to someone
new to the industry is the importance of having a good mentor who lets you make these mistakes and
learn from them. Another thing that has helped me is prioritisation of work-flow and learning to focus
efforts on what’s truly important. It’s essential to look at the larger picture while working on the
granular detail of performance accounts, in order to not lose sight of the overall vision for the client.

 

NOUR MONTASSER, 24, BIDDABLE MEDIA EXECUTIVE, HEARTS & SCIENCE

Nominated by Stacy Fisher, head of digital transformation, Hearts & Science
“Nour has transformed in her year here at Hearts & Science by consistently demonstrating her knowledge internally in meetings with the client teams and externally both with our clients and in media partner sessions. I am very impressed with her even-keeled approach and her positive attitude towards ensuring we reach our client goals.”

Career path
Upon completing her undergraduate studies in Toronto, Nour launched her career in biddable media in Dubai with Wavemaker. Her first client was a global FMCG, which exposed her to the full scope of the social media advertising realm. She is currently a part of the biddable media team at Hearts & Science, focused on delivering data-driven campaigns across social media, display and video platforms.

Guiding principles
At the end of the day, if I walk away confidently knowing I did my absolute best, then my job is done. This is the fire that fuels my work.

 

SONIA JOHN, 29, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL, HEARTS & SCIENCE

Nominated by Nadim Karam, senior director, Hearts & Science
“Very few people in this industry are as pleasant to work with as Sonia. She’s a great asset to any team, as she will always elevate the conversation and get great work done.”

Career path
Sonia started her career at PHD India on the Unilever account as a digital planner. She then moved to Dubai and joined a boutique agency as a digital specialist, where she led on planning and operations, learning the tricks of the trade. She then moved to Hearts & Science where she works on KFC, keeping data at the core of the operation. This year she was nominated by management and won a global Hearts award for her work in facilitating the digital transformation of KFC.

Guiding principles
“Rest in reason, move in passion” is a quote by Khalil Gibran that I have followed all through my career and I would pass on to someone joining this industry. It is extremely important to be passionate about your work, but reasoning will always keep you grounded. In the ever-changing and growing field of digital transformation, everything that you mastered a week ago no more holds true. So always keep yourself up to date.

 

ACHRAFE MAMI, 30, MANAGER, BIDDABLE MEDIA, HEARTS & SCIENCE

Nominated by Fadi Maktabi, general manager, Hearts & Science
“Achrafe has done an excellent job the past year, since moving to the region, at leading programmatic planning within our agency. She is always ready to push boundaries to get things done better, and to top it off she always has an infectious positive outlook on everything.”

Career path
Achrafe started her digital journey at PHD Canada as an analyst, where she quickly rose through the ranks, making manager in less than a year due to her firm handle of programmatic. Over the course of her career, Achrafe has worked across automotive, finance, travel, telecommunications and F&B clients. She moved to Dubai in 2018, to Hearts & Science to lead the biddable media team, covering programmatic and paid social for all the agency’s accounts. This year she was awarded by management for embracing and championing data-driven marketing across all of Hearts & Science’s clients.

Guiding principles
If it scares you, go for it. This is the rule that allows me to grow and learn every day. If it gets too comfortable then it’s time to move to a new challenge. Take ownership. This is something that my first media manager taught me. I would complain about a difficult client or a challenging campaign, and her answer would be that I have to take ownership of this issue and work on fixing it. Anything can be improved if we make the effort to look at things with different perspectives and an open mind.

 

RANA SAWMA, 30, SENIOR DATA ANALYST, ANNALECT

Nominated by Raouf Ketani, head of Annalect
“Rana has exceptional data science skills in finding solutions to our clients’ marketing challenges through the use of data and analytics. Within her first two years at Annalect alone, Rana has successfully developed and deployed everything from multi-touch attribution models to highly accurate predictive customer lifetime value models and countless insightful data explorations of MENA consumer habits. A problem-solver and always ready for a challenge, Rana has also mentored young data scientists within the group, helpingthem better understand the work we do.”

Career path
Rana started her career as a web developer in media company Zawya in Lebanon, before moving to the healthcare industry as an analyst. This experience piqued her interest in big data and analytics, leading her to get a Master’s in business analytics and big data. In 2017, she joined Annalect, the data and analytics arm of Omnicom Media Group in Dubai. She is currently on a committee to judge an inter-university data competition that has been organised by Omnicom Media Group MENA.

Guiding principles
I live by three main rules:
1. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
2. Share your knowledge. It’s the best way to grow.
3. Try to learn something new every day.

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