Did you make it onto the 40-under-40 list?

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Scroll down to see who made this year’s list and get to know the first set of 10 individuals, though not in hierarchy, who are pat of 40-under-40 list

MUST READ: How we did it

CLICK HERE: to see 11 to 20 of the 40-under-40 marketers 2017


Zeina Kawas, Head of Corporate & Institutional, Commercial & Private Banking Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank, 34

Zeina has over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry and has worked with the major institutions in the region from American Express to Emirates NBD. She’s currently at Standard Chartered Bank. Zeina is a commercially minded enthusiast that works closely with the business segments to deliver on objectives.

Major achievements so far One of the latest achievements was building a unique campaign that merged Africa and the Middle East into a campaign highlighting the vast network the bank operates in and the award-winning capabilities.

Key highlights of the campaign: In total the campaign reached over 52 million unique users and garnered more than 108 million impressions. Awareness was up, on average, by 5 per cent in the key markets: UAE, Pakistan, Nigeria and Kenya.

The key marketing mantra she believes in ”Always deliver more than expected” Larry page.

Years in career so far 11.

Largest team size handled 2.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be?

I would not change a thing; I believe the mistakes and flaws are what create a better understanding of where you are going with your messaging and will help you to get it right the next time, as it allows you to understand your clients more.


Aditi Vyas Kumar, Head of Marketing UAE, Babyshop, 33

Aditi Vyas Kumar is a computer engineer by degree and a marketer by passion. The marketing bug bit her when she chose marketing as an elective in her final trimester at BITS Pilani, while pursuing her computer engineering degree. She went on to formalize her passion with an MBA in marketing at S P Jain and was on the Dean’s List. As a firm believer in ‘Always on, Always learning’, she is currently pursuing her CIM from the UK and is an associate chartered marketer.

During her 12 years in marketing, she has worked across verticals from real estate to optics. However, her forte is FMCG and retail, which has contributed to almost half of her career duration so far. Over the past five years she has been leading the marketing team at Babyshop for the UAE. She was at the helm of revving up the digital and e-commerce landscape of Babyshop, which has grown into a mainstream advertising channel for the brand in the past five years.

Major achievements so far The personal shopper assist as a program increased our ATV (Average Transaction Value) almost five times that of a regular shopper. The other big highlights could be the events and partnership successes with brands such as Disney, Mattel and Sanrio.

The key marketing mantra she believes in Always be relevant – to the consumer/customer, to the technology trends, to the business.

Years in career so far 12.

Largest team size handled 11.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? Invest in customer insight. It is simply irreplaceable to the business and function. I would invest on a yearly customer insight to better understand brand positioning in a customers’ mind, so we can serve them better.

Aamir Aijaz, Associate Vice President, Business Marketing, Emirates NBD, 35

Aamir joined Emirates Bank in 2006 as a marketing officer and climbed his way to his current position. He is currently responsible for developing and managing marketing strategies to drive business growth of all retail banking products with the personal banking segment which constitutes approximately 90 per cent of the bank’s retail customer base. He started his career in marketing at the Nikai Group of companies. He holds an MBA in marketing from the European University College Brussels and has a bachelor’s degree from the National American University.

Major achievements so far Some of Aamir’s efforts have contributed in helping Emirates NBD become one of the top 100 financial brands in the world with a brand value of $3.14 billion.

Several campaigns developed by Aamir have gone on to win big at various awards programmes, including the Mena Effie Awards, Dubai Lynx and Midas Awards.

The key marketing mantra he believes in Marketing should always be relevant and measurable. Every piece of communication can always be perfected, but one must be wary of the lost opportunity and time in doing so. Aamir firmly believes that time should never be wasted on procrastination and if there is a great idea then it should be done. Now.

Years in career so far 13.

Largest team size handled 8.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? I enjoy what I do at Emirates NBD immensely; the only regret is not doing it earlier enough.



CLICK HERE: to see the 21 to 30 of the 40-under-40 marketers 2017



Mazen Sous, Director of Marketing and Communications, McDonald’s MEA, 39

Mazen started his career in 2001 in Bahrain as a reporter and editor for Bahrain English TV channel 55. He moved in 2002 to Jeddah to work with ad agency FP7 as an account manager. In 2005 he moved to Dubai with the same agency to take on a regional assignment as regional account director. In 2010 he moved to Weber Shandwick as regional business director. In 2012 he moved to McDonald’s UAE as head of marketing until his move in 2014 to McDonald’s MEA. Since then he has been director of marketing and communications.

The key marketing mantra he believes in Think like a customer.

Years in career so far 16.

Largest team size handled 25.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? Mistakes are crucial for a career in marketing, but the opportunity always to challenge status quo.

Inaayah Abdul Aziz, Media and Marketing Manager UAE & India, Tablez Food Company, 33

Inaayah Abdul Aziz is a passionate millennial who began her career in her early 20s, immediately after graduating from Vellore Institute of Technology & Science in Tamil Nadu, India, with a major in marketing and finance. Her energetic and ambitious attitude drove her to join Tablez Food Company in 2010. While she started as an executive, she climbed up the ladder rapidly and within a year she was the mastermind behind the marketing-related plans under guidance from the marketing head.

Major achievements so far Inaayah is single handedly responsible for developing and implementing marketing for all seven brands (food concepts) at Table with equal importance. She is responsible for the success of all 38 stores currently in the UAE, as well as India. Being with the company since its inception, she is a core member.

Key marketing mantra she believes in If you have more money than brains then focus on outbound marketing and If you have more brains than money then focus on inbound marketing – GUY KAWASAKI

Years in career so far 7.

Largest team size handled 15.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? Mistakes are meant for learning and not repenting. I strongly believe that every mistake you make is progress and you don’t learn anything by doing everything right.


Rupal Panjani, Senior Marketing Manager Centrepoint, 36

A marketer by passion, Rupal’s journey that led her to choose this calling was an adventure in many ways. While on the outside it may seem like the ‘run-of-the-mill’ story of serendipity and happenstance, over the years she has explored and learnt a lot. She began her career as a hotel operations trainee with the Marriott Renaissance & Convention Center, Mumbai, in 2003. “The role sharpened my instincts and taught me the importance of grueling planning and careful execution to the success of every endeavor,” she says. In 2012 she joined Centrepoint as an assistant marketing manager – GCC and has gradually grown over an exciting five years to assume the role of senior marketing manager.

Major achievements so far ”Achievements can be small and big in nature,” she continues. To name a few:

– She was an integral member of an award-winning team that has stacked up over 35 trophies in under five years, becoming one of the most celebrated retailers in the fast fashion category. The awards especially recognizing the brand’s marketing achievements include recognition by Dubai Lynx, ICSC, Retail ME, MENA Digital, MENA Cristal and MEPRA.

– She was part of the Centrepoint strategy team responsible for launching the new face of the brand in 2014 through a region-wide campaign and continuing the perception ‘til date.

– She was as iIntegral part of the launch of the biggest Canadian coffee brand in the region “Tim Hortons” and growing the network to 19 stores across the UAE.

The key marketing mantra she believes in Make it simple but significant.

Years in career so far 14 years overall and 11 years focused on marketing, starting in 2006 with Shoppers Stop.

Largest team size handled She currently manages a team of four people in her current role in Centrepoint. In addition to this, she handles the media and creative agencies.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? The only one I remember is in my early career years, wherein I missed getting into the finer details in a campaign catalogue. That resulted in wrong communication being printed. This experience was really embarrassing because, as a person, I always put myself as a perfectionist at whatever jobs I take up. Very confidently I stand for perfection now.

Nadim Ghrayeb, Regional Marketing Manager, Cadillac Middle East, 37

Nadim is responsible for driving all strategies relating to marketing operations across the region and the communication of the brand, including the implementation of the brand’s renewed global vision here in the Middle East. His previous position as the regional brand manager for Cadillac Middle East saw him focusing exclusively on achieving long-term marketing objectives and delivering sustainable brand growth solutions. Ghrayeb holds a Bachelor of Science from Beirut’s Lebanese American University.

Major achievements so far Launch of the Cadillac ATS: “Researching our target audience of 35 year olds and younger, we created a unique experience that allowed us to interact with and communicate with them in the platforms they use. From these key insights we created the ‘crossing horizons’ activation, with two ATS vehicles traveling from Germany to Abu Dhabi (12 countries, 11,000Kms in a 26-day period),” he says.

GMC Yukon led by example: “Utilizing our GMC Yukon ‘Lead by Example’ TVC we gave people the opportunity to ‘take control’ of the journey by navigating through these sections.. Yukon YouTube TVC “Lead by Example” achieved 1,403,223 views in English and 1,841,118 in Arabic,” he adds.

The key marketing mantra he believes in Data is king in the information age we live in.

Years in career so far 14.

Largest team size handled 6.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? When you are in marketing, listening to your instincts and taking risks are paramount if you want to deliver successful and creative campaigns. When I started my career, I didn’t take as many risks in trusting my instinct as I wish I did now, but as with everything, it is a life lesson that I have grown from and my career tells that story.

Alex Schaeffer, Director Lincoln Middle East, 34

Alex Schaeffer is the director of Lincoln Middle East, a position he has held since his 2015 return to the region, after 18 months as Lincoln Black Label Brand Manager in Dearborn, Michigan. Portland Oregon native Schaeffer holds two degrees – a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and a Bachelor of Science in Japanese linguistics, both from the University of Washington – and lives in Dubai with his wife Sandra and their two young children, Valentina and Stephan.

Alex is currently a Director of Lincoln Middle East, a position he has held since 2015, 18 months as Lincoln Black Label Brand Manager in Dearborn, Michigan. He is responsible for following and executing brand and marketing strategies to deliver brand promise to the discerning luxury clientele of the Middle East.

Major achievements so far

– Drove all-time high brand favorable opinion in top two markets for Lincoln (UAE and Saudi Arabia)

– Orchestrated the successful launch of the Lincoln Black Label in the US – delivered a halo product to drive new demographics for the Lincoln Owner Base

– As a zone manager in Saudi Arabia, doubled company sales volumes by over 35,000 units, and more importantly tripled company’s revenue in 2013.

The key marketing mantra he believes in “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford.

Years in career so far 12.

Largest team size handled 6.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? Don’t try to be above average to everyone, strive to be best in class to the target audience.

Pui-Chi Li, Head of Marketing, Xerox Middle East and Africa, 37

Chi entered marketing as a product executive for NRG Group, a part of the Ricoh Family Group, responsible for managing a small segment of products for the EMEA market, before moving to Xerox, Chi was promoted to full product manager with an extended range of products, mentoring new members of the marketing department.

Major achievements so far One of her earliest achievements was being tasked with growing the Single Function Printer Category for NRG Group in the EMEA market. Through successful implementation of targeted programmes, customer engagements and communications strategy, the annual installs for this category doubled within two years, she says. During her tenure in MEA as business manager, she worked closely with local partners to sustainably grow the business to achieve targeted market share levels to 10 per cent.

Key marketing mantra she believes in Achieving a balanced approach in marketing is more crucial than ever, using the latest technology to compliment what we are saying to our audience.

Years in career so far 13.

Largest team size handled 13.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? Not reviewing the campaigns and programmes I have been involved with over the years; one of the major lessons learnt is the importance of engagement of the right people. A brilliant campaign is only half effective if it does not have the right people supporting it to fruition. Now, I always include a mandatory step to engage key stakeholders as part of any program roll out to ensure maximum impact.

Anshu Paras Bhagchandani, Head of Marketing MENA & Brand Management, Allianz International Holdings Ltd & Darlie Global FZC, 27

Anshu’s professional career started off when she interned as graphic designer at the age of 16. She has been working ever since, rising from intern to marketing head of an international company in the MENA region. In total, she has 11 years of professional work experience.

Major achievements so far

Oversaw the marketing activities of Allianz International Holdings of over 128 countries.

– Successfully organized launch party for the brands – Dr. Neem and Mr. Darlie.

– Won the 2015 award for Best Young Marketing Leader from MEA.

– As a former brand marketing manager of JP² Events and Marketing, Anshu achieved best practices for managing brand and activation for over 50 retail clients.

– Achieved the best sales track record for being a brand representative for Lenovo.

The key marketing mantra she believes in

– Understand your customer well, especially their preferences.

– Match products to customers’ needs.

– Depending on target audience, generate brand awareness digitally or via word-of-mouth.

– Ensure constant product visibility to retain customers’ loyalty and trust

Years in career so far 11.

Largest team size handled 42.

If you were to change one marketing mistake you might have made in your career so far, what would that be? The world of marketing and sales are irrevocably entwined and circumstances can be unpredictable at best. I had lost a significant sales target during a major seasonal event in which an unforeseen event took place to delay my sales production by several days. I have since learnt to always have a backup plan for every activity that I undertake, in preparation for whatever obstacles that may come.


CLICK HERE: to see the 31 to 40 of the 40-under-40 marketers 2017