Having recently profiled 22 of the most promising and talented individuals aged 30 or under in the advertising industry, Campaign Middle East has now published its “Media Faces to Watch 2016” list, turning its gaze to the top young professionals working in the region’s media agencies.

Sandra Essa, digital planning manager at PHD UAE, tops the list.  You can read her profile below and the view the full list here.

Sandra Essa

Sandra Essa 28, Digital planning manager PHD

When PHD is Campaign’s media agency of the year, it’s hard to pick one star. Yet here she is. A manager in digital planning, Sandra took to marketing straight after graduating with a degree in advertising and PR from Stockholm University. Born and raised in Sweden to Syrian parents, she spent her entire childhood obsessed with all things audio-visual and – following a short stint in PR – moved to media and joined PHD in Dubai in 2013.

It didn’t take long for her to shine. The following year she was awarded the title of ‘PHDer of the Year’ and hasn’t looked back since. “Sandra continuously demonstrates a huge amount of passion and enthusiasm for both her role on her accounts and for the company as a whole,” says Elda Choucair, managing director of PHD UAE. “She always seeks new approaches to problems and challenges, and is relentless in her search for the best possible outcomes and results.”

The creativity she applies to her work has contributed to the team winning several awards at the Effies and Festival of Media MENA, including a gold for Unilever, while she has also been instrumental in delivering innovative, creative and technology-led campaigns that in many cases have re-calibrated planners’ expectations of what is possible in media.