• Transform magazine
  • September 29, 2020



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 2021, we will welcome the winning agencies of the 2020 '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 2021, please email Jessica Dunmall.


Below you can view our 2020 judging panel.

Erdem Aksakal
Marketing director
SAP - Middle East South

Erdem Aksakal is the Marketing Director for SAP Middle East South. After working in technology companies like Vestel and Ericsson, he joined SAP as the marketing director Turkey in 2010. Since 2017 he is a marketing director in Middle East.

In addition he has been writing on various magazines, books and academic publications.
His book about business life was published in Turkish in 2016 and reached to 8th edition. 

He has a BSc Degree in Electronics Engineering and an MBA degree. He has been studying as PhD student on digital marketing. He is a lecturer and keynote speaker.

Melissa Bayik
Head of brand

Melissa Bayik is Head of Brand at Arada, where she oversees all brands from both a design and strategic perspective. Her current responsibilities include helping Aljada, Sharjah’s new AED24 billion lifestyle destination, redefine what it means to be a mass premium experiential brand for everyone in the UAE and beyond.

Prior to working at Arada, Melissa worked with Meraas to develop the new corporate and destination brands of the holding group during its transformational brand change.

With over 14 years’ experience, Melissa has worked with leading international design consultancies, and also owned and led a small Dubai-based design practice. She has been involved with a range of regional branding projects across most sectors including financial services, energy, shipping, trading, hospitality, petrochemicals, destination and real estate, and has worked with brands as varied as Majid Al Futtaim, Fawaz Al Hokair, Al Hilal Bank, ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company) and more.

Melissa is passionate about design and education; and their power to transform things at a large scale. 

Rania Biltagi
Head of communications and partnerships
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra

Rania Biltagi is the Head of Communications and Partnerships at Ithra with over two decades of experience in marketing and communications. Over the span of Rania’s career with Saudi Aramco, she has held multiple positions from heading Corporate Brand Management and Advertising, to initiating and leading the development of Saudi Aramco’s corporate brand strategy and brand refresh that was launched in 2015. In her tenure at Ithra, Rania has overseen communications for several key initiatives such as: the 29th Arab League Summit, Tanween Creativity Season, the 5th Saudi Film Festival and the FIKR17 conference.

Emma Castell
Head of Middle East & Africa marketing
A.T. Kearney

Dr. Nadine Chahine
ArabicType Ltd.

Dr. Nadine Chahine is an award winning Lebanese type designer. She has an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading and a PhD from Leiden University. Her awards include two Awards for Excellence in Type Design from TDC. Her typefaces include the best-selling Frutiger Arabic, Neue Helvetica Arabic, Palatino Arabic, and Koufiya.

Nadine has been featured in Megg's History of Graphic Design and the 4th edition of First Choice highlighting the 250 top global designers. Nadine was selected by Fast Company for its 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2012 and by Creative Review to their Creative Leaders 50 in 2017.

Yashodeep Ghorpade
Marketing communications manager
SONY Middle East & 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.

Joumana Haddad
Lipton Tea brand manager - MENA

Joumana started her career in Dubai right after graduating from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. While working in advertising at a media company and interacting with marketers in FMCG companies; she developed her passion in marketing. That’s when Joumana went back to school to earn her degree in Masters of Strategic Marketing and joined Unilever upon graduating.

Joumana worked on multiple brands in Unilever handling different brands across the Beverages and Homecare portfolio such as Lipton and Jif. She has led product mixes, communication strategies, and award winning campaigns across the MENA region.

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.

Mais Kawar
Marketing manager
Dubai South (Dubai World Central)

Mais joined Dubai South (Dubai World Central) in March 2013 as its Marketing Manager. Kawar and her team are responsible for all corporate marketing and branding development and management, making sure that all relevant activities are aligned with the business goals and objectives set for Dubai South Free Zone and the Logistics District.

She has brought to the organization her vast experience of successfully delivering B2B marketing and communication strategies across multiple markets. Being a highly creative and enthusiastic professional, Kawar, who has passion for building fantastic brands, excels in executing marketing strategies that deliver exceptional results.

Prior to joining Dubai South (DWC), she was the Regional Marketing Specialist of Azadea General Investment Co. Ltd. – Dubai, UAE. She is also the former Senior Marketing Specialist of Azadea General Investment Co. Ltd. – Amman, Jordan. Additionally, Kawar held various positions in leading international hotels in Jordan, including Marriott Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, and Sheraton Hotel.

Kawar earned her M. Sc in Business Administration (MBA) - Focus on Marketing from New York Institute of Technology, Amman, Jordan, and her B.A. in Hotel and Tourism Management from Amman Ahlia University also in Jordan. She holds an International Baccalaureate Diploma as well given by Amman Baccalaureate School in Jordan.

Steve Keller
Sonic strategy director

Steve Keller is Sonic Strategy Director for Studio Resonate, Pandora’s audio-first creative consultancy. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in the field of audio branding, blending art and science into award winning audio strategies and creative content for a variety of global agencies and brands. With a degree in psychology and over 30 years of experiencing the music and advertising industries, Steve’s work explores the ways music and sound impact consumer perception and behavior. Recent experiments have examine the relationship between sound and taste, the existence of audio archetypes, and how bias impact the aesthetic judgements of advertising professionals. He is the recipient of the iHeartMedia Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation, and is currently completing an Executive MBA through the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, focused on how brands can more effectively measure and predict returns on audio investments. 

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, UFC Arabia App, 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 global luxury hospitality Group. In 2009 he transferred to Abu Dhabi, and TDIC, as Director of Special Projects and enjoyed a diverse portfolio of projects from hotels, museums, real estate, education and sport.

After six years as the managing Director of latitude Agency, Dubai, and a proud winner of the Transform “Best Regional Brand” category he returned to client side as the Executive Director of Marketing at Dubai Holding.

“This really is a job where I wake up every morning and feel inspired and driven to do something both challenging and surprising for both myself and Dubai.  My dream is to leave a true legacy for this wonderful city that I call my home, and in the words of our company slogan: For the Good of Tomorrow

Shaun Loftman
Executive creative director (CEEMEA)
Landor (last year's winner of the Transform Awards 'Best overall visual identity')

Shaun is an Executive Creative Director of Landor, and is overall responsible for Landor’s creative reputation and branding activities across Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Through working on a number of dynamic and high-profile projects, he has successfully led brand transformation programs for numerous public and private organisations. Shaun is active across a range of industry sectors; from airlines to automotive, destination to drinks, finance to food, leisure to luxury and real estate to retail. Shaun believes in the power of design to emotionally move people to help galvanise positive change, and regards the understanding of people culture as one of his greatest branding tools.

Yasmin Medhat
Senior marketing and communication manager
Johnson Controls

Yasmin is leading JCI brand presence, positioning and activations for HVAC division across all of Middle East, Africa and Pakistan

Prior to her current role, Yasmin oversaw all retail-marketing activities for Samsung across MENA region.

Started her career with Jotun Paints Middle East expanding their retail presence across Egypt.

Yasmin holds a bachelor ‘s degree in Architectural Engineering from Greenwich University

Saba Omaish
Head of marketing

A Marketing all-rounder and an accomplished media professional with 15 years of experience in developing Integrated Marketing strategies and award-winning campaigns. Having spent 7 years in various Marketing roles at MBC Group followed by a Head of Marketing role at OSN where she’s currently serving, Saba has a proven background in brand development, campaign lifecycle planning, creative guardianship and Digital advertising and media among others. Her strength naturally lies in exceeding aggressive performance targets in sales driven organizations and within a fast-changing media landscape.

Fahad Osman
Head of brand and digital marketing

Fahad, has completed the marketing triumvirate, having worked across the corporate marketing, agency and platform worlds. 

He started his career nearly 15 years ago at The Emirates Group, working his way up the marketing ranks at Dnata and Emirates Airline before being seconded to lead digital advertising at flydubai. From there he spent 6 years at BBDO and Ogilvy where he lead on the IBM account across MEA. 

Most recently, he lead the Regional Brand Strategy team at Twitter and was focused on delivering world class business solutions and innovations to some of the biggest brands in the world.

Today, he heads up IBM's Digital and Brand Marketing efforts across the Middle East and Africa.

Caroline Passey
Group marketing manager
Elecosoft plc

Caroline Passey is the Group Marketing and Communications Manager at Elecosoft plc and is a senior marketing professional with over two decades of experience in marketing, brand and corporate communications.

Over the span of Caroline’s career, she has held roles in the automotive, professional services, consulting and software sectors in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She has delivered several global rebranding projects, initiating and leading the development of GardaWorld’s corporate brand strategy and brand refresh. She has also delivered award winning corporate websites.

Caroline has a passion for Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, and helping companies demonstrate their corporate citizenship.

Sharif Raisi
Head of marketing and communications
Eltizam Asset Management Group

Sharif is the Head of Marketing and Communications at Eltizam Asset Management Group, joining the company in his current position in November 2019. Sharif has compiled a proven track record of success in his passionate 15-year career with B2B and B2C industries such as Asset Management, Property Management, Facilities Management, Banking and Finance, Sustainability and Innovation, Engineering, Construction, Real Estate, Fleet Management, and Investment.


Prior to beginning his professional career, Sharif graduated with an MBA from University of Atlanta, USA, and has also completed several other courses including both Leaders in Digital Age and Business Strategy and Financial Performance at INSEAD, Paris; Organizational Leadership at Heriot-Watt University, UK; and Omnichannel Digital Marketing at London Business School


A marketing, PR, branding, communications and e-commerce strategist focused on marketing digital transformation, CX, DXP, automation, CRM and MarTech, Sharif’s goal is to increase brand value through creating market awareness with effective brand positioning and devise communication and engagement strategies with all stakeholders to support business growth. His specialties also include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, digital transformation, lead generation, data analysis, and ROI.

Rawan Alabdul Razzaq
Deputy head of advertising and brand management
National Bank Kuwait

Rawan is the Deputy Head of Advertising and Brand management at NBK. Having been at the bank for more than 12 years she has been pivotal in transforming the teams. By harnessing the power of organization, she has driven the teams to deliver unprecedented outcomes.

Rawan has been instrumental in repositioning the bank through a holistic 3-year brand program to rejuvenate its image and reconnect with an ever-changing customer.

Rawan studied Mass Communication but enjoys being an entrepreneur. She co-founded the first etiquette school in Kuwait and runs a Chinese restaurant on the side.

Maria Salazar
Communications specialist

Maria has worked for over a decade in the fields of Marketing and Communications for diverse industries in the Middle East making part of a series of re-branding transformations and repositioning of companies in the market. Maria currently works as a Communications Specialist for ADNOC.  This is Maria's fifth time as a Middle East Transform Awards judge, an experience which she has found incredibly inspiring and insightful. 

George Schempers
Head of marketing

George has been in the region for 8 years, starting his career focussing primarily in digital performance and growth in the property e-commerce industry. He then went on to Deliveroo where he now leads the marketing function which covers both growth, and brand marketing. 

Henry Windridge
Head of brand - Middle East & Africa

The chance to run all things brand for the world’s biggest real-life entertainment company saw Henry move to Dubai in late 2017 to join Discovery’s Africa and Middle East team. Running ad sales, PR & marketing, digital and research for 15 channels, including Food Network, TLC, Discovery Channel, HGTV and Fatafeat (the Middle East’s biggest Arabic food channel), he’s become very familiar with the phrase Inshallah.

Before Discovery, he was London-based as Head of Marketing at Global, one of the UK’s largest media groups with over 24 million weekly listeners across its radio portfolio that includes Heart, Capital FM, LBC and Classic FM. Prior to that he was at Hearst magazines and ITV. It wasn't always thus — preceding his time in media, he completed a PhD in American foreign policy at UCL in London.

Thank you!

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 MEA please email athomas@transformmagazine.net or call +44 (0)20 3950 5356