• Transform magazine
  • December 08, 2019



The judges

The panel and the judging process.

The judging panel for the Transform Awards MEA 2020 is composed of branding and communication experts from the Middle East and Africa region. We purposely look for a panel that has experience and knowledge of branding, marketing, corporate communications and advertising from various industries in order to provide a wider perspective.

The scoring is done on a points system and the judges score anonymously. The judging system we operate is one which is fair, if a judge has entered into a specific category, they will be exempt from reviewing that area in which they are competing to avoid bias. We also provide detailed feedback on submitted work which often proves highly useful.

Winners are determined by the scores they receive and only entries that score high enough marks will be shortlisted and awarded with trophies.

In 2020, we are delighted to welcome the winning agencies of the 2019 'Best overall visual identity' and 'Grand Prix' accolade to judge the awards.


If you are an in-house professional, are interested and believe you have the necessary background to be a judge for the Transform Awards MEA 2020, please email Jessica Dunmall.


Below you can view our 2019 judging panel.

Mahdi Al Husseini
Head of marketing
Mayar Foods

Mahdi is currently the Head of Marketing & Sales at Mayar Foods, where he joined them as the Head of Marketing in March 2017. In his passionate +15 years of experience on +20 FMCG categories, he covered 80% of the global population. During his career, he worked with offline media, saw the development of the online ones, & lead his team through marketing restructuring, company transformation, & award-winning creatives. Mahdi has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from KFUPM which with & his experience, he built on brands like LIPTON, NIDO, RABEA, OREO, & ALWALIMAH in Saudi Arabia, Asia, Africa, & Eastern Europe

Melissa Bayik
Head of brand
KBW Investments / Arada

Through KBW Investments, Melissa heads the brands at Arada, from both a design and strategic perspective. She is currently helping Aljada, Sharjah’s 24 Billion AED mixed-use development, redefine what it means to be a mass premium experiential brand for the people of UAE in 2019.

Prior to Arada, Melissa worked with Meraas to develop the new corporate and destination brands of the holding group during its transformational brand change. Over the past 13 years, she worked in the creative teams with global brand consultancies like Wolff Olins and Brand Union, delivering some of the largest regional brands.

Melissa is passionate about design and education; and their power to transform things at a large scale. She is involved in a few education initiatives across the UAE, and is an active member of the design community.

Rania Biltagi
Head of branding, marketing & PR
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra

Rania Biltagi is a marketing communications professional with two decades of experience at Saudi Aramco delivering business results through effective corporate communications. Over the span of Rania’s career with Saudi Aramco, she has held multiple positions from heading Advertising & Corporate Identity and Graphic Design in Corporate Brand Management, to strategic communications leading organizational communication plans, to initiating and leading the development of Saudi Aramco’s new corporate brand strategy and brand refresh, which was revealed in 2015.

Rania joined the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture—Ithra—in 2016 to lead the development of the Center’s brand strategy and activate the brand. Since then, she has headed Ithra’s Branding, Marketing and PR functions. Rania holds a MA in Marketing Communications from the University of Westminster in London and a BA in Communications Studies & Political Science from the University of St. Edward’s in Texas.

Leanne Foy
Group Marketing Manager

Leanne is the Group Marketing Manager for markettiers4dc, providing strategy and implementation across the group of companies, including the specialist broadcast consultancy markettiers.

Leanne is extremely passionate about the PR and communications industry, and is on the board of Global Women in PR in the Middle East, and an active member of PRCA and the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) championing the industry.

Yashodeep Ghorpade
marketing communications manager
SONY Middle East 7 Africa

Yashodeep is currently marketing and communications manager at SONY Middle East & Africa. He's a dynamic, high caliber professional with experience in marketing communications, digital marketing, event management, advertising and promotions, branding, corporate communication, budget and cost management with reputable organizations. Proven track record of managing multinational professional teams, collaborating with stakeholders, anchoring creative and management functions and delivering consistent results aligned to company goals and objectives.

Russell James
Strategy / Creation
James Brand Strategy & Design Consultancy

*Winner of the Best Overall Visual Identity Award 2018 at the Transform Awards MENA*

Russell is the founder of James, the renowned independent international brand consultancy, with studios located in Dubai & London. A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, with a three decade brand identity and strategy career, a reputation for creating distinctive, engaging, effective brand programmes across Europe, Middle East and USA. He is one of the regions most respected creative directors.

With a wealth of experience he has specialised in the development of exceptional identity and communication programmes. Crossing all business areas such as airline, aerospace, luxury retail, financial services, heavy industries and healthcare. For clients such as Telefonica, Aston Martin, British Airways, Bank of Scotland, Emirates Airline, Mubadala, Amber, ADSB, Fifty One East, Warner Bros.

Away from the studio, his interests are Leica photography, abstract art, and an obsessiveness of Les Paul guitars.

James was the Transform Awards Winner of 2018 ‘Best Overall Visual Identity’.

Aleksandr Karapetyan
Brand and operations manager

A senior retail executive with over 13 years’ experience in management, operations & branding. Author and creator of some business innovation projects.

Steve Keller
CEO / strategist
iV audio branding


Steve Keller is CEO of iV, an audio consultancy dedicated to exploring the power of sound to shape consumer perceptions and influence behaviour. He blends art and science into award-winning audio branding strategies and content for a long list of global agencies and brands. Recognized as a leader in the field of sonic branding, Steve shares his insights and research at international conferences, professional organizations, and universities around the world. In addition to his degree in psychology, Steve has over 25 years of experience in the music and advertising industries. Forever the student, he is the 2017 recipient of the iHeartMedia Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation, and is currently completing an Executive MBA through the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

Walid Kotaich
Head of Section - Marketing
Abu Dhabi Media

A strategic, meticulous and innovative marketing/communications and digital media/PR specialist, with over 15 years of experience in the media, entertainment and telecom industry. My forte at Abu Dhabi Media besides marketing strategy, has been orchestrating the launch and re-branding of multiple brands, TV Stations, nationwide government initiatives such as the “UAE National Sports Day”, and the Global “Sports Media Pearl Awards”. I also possess an in-depth understanding of current digital and social media trends, and a wealth of experience of how B2B and B2C organizations can leverage digital platforms and outlets to meet their business objectives.

Antony Lawrence
Executive director - marketing
Dubai Holding

Antony has had a career spanning three decades of branding from both the service and client side. After graduating from St Martins School of Art in London, he worked for a number of advertising and Design agencies before establishing his own boutique branding consultancy that specialized in Luxury, Lifestyle, Travel and Hospitality.

He arrived on the scene in Dubai in 2005 as the Group Director of Marketing with Jumeirah and was formative in the re-brand of the hospitality Group. In 2009 he transferred to Abu Dhabi, and TDIC, helping establish Saadiyat as the culturally connected Island of Happiness with its iconic Louvre Museum and Live, Work and Play population.

After a six year stint at the helm of a Transform “Best Brand” winner three years ago, Latitude Agency, he has now landed back on the Client side, and returned to where it all started with Dubai Holding, as they embark on an exciting new chapter of their 15 year legacy.

Syed Mansoor Hussain
Marketing Manager
Nestle - Middle East

A marketer at heart but exposed into almost all the key leadership roles within demand generating commercial functions with top-notch FMCG and healthcare companies like Nestle, Pfizer, Mead Johnson and Sanofi-Aventis.  20 years into various marketing leadership roles in the Middle East, Africa, Levant, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Hold a master’s degree in business.

Have been involved in multiple brand turnarounds, new product launches, expansion of geographical footprints. Multifunction and cross cultural exposure and hands on experience of working with key stakeholders i.e. consumers, healthcare professionals, media agencies, governments authorities, distribution and retail channels.

Stephen McGilvray
Creative director
Wolff Olins

*Winner of the Grand Prix 2018 at the Transform Awards MENA*

As Creative Director, Stephen challenges and inspires creative teams to think about all dimensions of a brand, in order for it to truly connect with customers. Since joining Wolff Olins in 2010, he has worked with Qatar Museums in defining the cultural vision for a whole country and region, and led the team that created Genesis Beijing – a brand and experience for every mood. Closer to home, he set the National Lottery on the way to changing another generation of lives and brought new life into a British icon with Triumph Motorcycles.


Helen Mellor-Mitchell
VP Brand engagement & communications
Dubai Airports

Helen is an award-winning marketing leader with over 16 years’ experience in global organizations. She has been based in Dubai for three years, working as VP Brand Engagement & Communications for the World’s #1 airport. Prior to that, she spent 13 years in the entertainment industry in London, working for Hollywood studios such as Paramount, Sony, Universal and Lionsgate.

Helen has acted as a catalyst for change throughout her career –  from redefining marketing strategy through challenging times in home entertainment with the speed of the industry’s digital transition, to transforming the brand story at Dubai Airports by positioning DXB as a provider of engaging consumer experiences, a destination in its own right. This strategy was exemplified by a global media first with the launch of Time Out DXB - the first ever for an airport and the largest monthly in the World.

Helen is one of the founding members of The Marketing Society Middle East and was on the British Association Screen Entertainment Marketing Committee. She graduated from Bournemouth University with a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Business Studies with Languages.

Ian Pate
Head of global brand

Ian is currently based in Dubai where he serves as Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Careem. Previously Ian spent nearly a decade in multiple marketing roles at PepsiCo working across a wide variety of brands including Lay’s, Doritos, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Naked Juice, Pepsi and Mountain Dew at a sector & local level – primarily based in London & Johannesburg.   He has deep experience working across all elements of the marketing mix, with a core focus on brand equity & communications strategy.

Ian holds an MBA in Marketing Management from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in Chicago, and has an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Cape Town.  Significant prior experience includes roles at Booz & Company as a Management Consultant, Deutsche Bank in Credit Derivatives and Procter & Gamble in Customer Business Development.

Maria Salazar
Marketing and communications manager

Maria is starting a new role in Marketing and Communications for the Oilfield Services Company, TGT. Maria first joined the judges panel of the MENA Awards four years ago when working as a Brand and Communications Advisor for Shell. This is an experience she has thoroughly enjoy and finds very enriching for her career.

She has also worked in brand and marketing for the Regency Group Holding in Qatar, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Dreamscreative.

Henry Windridge
Head of brand
Discovery Communications

The chance to run all things brand for the world’s biggest real-life entertainment company saw Henry move to Dubai in 2017 to join Discovery’s Middle East and Africa team.

He now manages marketing, ad sales, digital, PR and research for Discovery’s 64 markets and 30+ channels in the region, including Discovery Channel, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet and Fatafeat — so he’s become very familiar with the phrase Inshallah.

Before that, he was London-based as Head of Marketing at Global, one of the UK’s largest media and entertainment groups with over 24 million weekly listeners across its radio portfolio including Heart, Capital FM, LBC and Classic FM. Before marketing was a twinkle in his eye, he completed a PhD in American foreign policy at UCL in London.

Alexander Wodrich
Managing Director and Founder
why do birds

Alexander Wodrich founded the audio branding agency why do birds in 2010. Located in Berlin they employ 15 people working in music-production, brand consulting, graphic and motion-design. Their clients include such brands as Siemens, Hyundai, German Rail or GORE-TEX. The agency is considered to be the most creative and awarded sound studio in Germany. Alexander has a degree in business and has also been a successful musician for the most part of his life. Before founding why do birds, he was a member of the MetaDesign Berlin management board, responsible for the audio branding and motion graphics departments.


Align your brand with this global celebration, honouring brand development and rebranding. We have a number of sponsorship options available to you. Call us to find out more. 

Andrew Thomas, Publisher of Transform magazine and Founder of the Transform Awards

email: athomas@transformmagazine.net

call: +44 (0)20 3950 5356

Supporting Partners

If you are interested in being a supporting partner for the Transform Awards MENA please email lditcher@transformmagazine.net or call +44 (0)20 3950 5356