It was twenty years ago that I moved from the States to Egypt with my family. It was 1997 and I was working for General Mills and had one of the coolest jobs in Sports Marketing working in the Promotions Department where I got to work on Nascar, the NBA, and the Olympics. It was a dream job and I had a manager who taught me so much that has carried with me till today.

Fast forward to today, where I have been living in the Middle East region as a Communications executive and it’s a humbling milestone. My past twenty years here is where I can truly say I have built my career. This region is where I have found my voice and where I have found my calling in Communications. I have also failed a lot and learned so much from it and am grateful for what it has taught me. I have witnessed and have been a part of some of the biggest stories to take place in this region – on the sidelines and directly on the front line. I have been part of history here and the history of the region has been a part of me — its has shaped me profoundly.

As a PR professional and communications executive, I work behind the scenes to help my clients or employers stay on message, build sound strategies and tell their stories. Well today I am launching something I have been wanting to do for years, and that is tell my story and share my journey in PR, digital marketing, social media and even sports marketing!

Welcome to Digital and Savvy a blog about communications in the Middle East. Digital and Savvy was created as a platform to share my experience in the region and showcase the incredible value being created here in MENA. I am proud to have some amazing contributors who are part of this blog as well. Because this blog is not about me – I am just one of the storytellers. The blog is about how we all live in digital world and how we all can get a little bit more Savvy about it. It will be a hub for information, insight, learning and lots of free advice and tips. I am opening my entire playbook – all the things that will help you be a smart PR and digital communications Ninja. I will also share some personal thoughts and tough lessons because I feel others can benefit from them.

The best part is it’s all MENA-centric. Its from the region – about the region and for the region! I am passionate about two things – communications and the Middle East. This blog is the fusion of the two!

Digital and Savvy will give you a window into the principles of working with startups, the region’s most incredible entrepreneurs, powerhouse CEOs you all know and are curious about and even artists. I say artists because much of the work I have done in entertainment, sports and music has taught me so much!

I want Digital and Savvy to help you. I am all about value creation and my aim is to add value and share insights that will help you no matter what you do – because communications is part of everything we do – with work, with family and in our personal relationships.

I have learned one thing in my twenty years here and that collaboration is the key to thriving. So this blog is a collaboration – of my voice and some of the best voices from a diversity of industries. Every week will feature more outstanding collaborators – I can’t wait for you to see who is joining us! I also brought together the industry gurus to bring advanced training classes you can sign up for. My aim is to bring you the best of the best from the region – one that I am so proud to be a part of and so passionate about. I am proud to be in MENA and I am proud to be Made in MENA. From a small town in Minnesota, to the hustle of Cairo and the glimmer of Dubai, I am excited to kick start Digital and Savvy. I hope you enjoy the read.

Maha Abouelenein