In Conversation with: Emeel Bishay, Practice Lead at FleishmanHillard
10th November 2016
Emeel is a seasoned communications professional with over 8 years’ experience in the regional public relations industry. He heads the healthcare practice at leading international PR agency FleishmanHillard providing senior client council and strategic insights to local and global brands, as well as playing a key role in mentoring junior members of staff. We caught up with Emeel to take a look into his career in the industry and what advice he can offer to those aspiring to build a career in communications.
What made you make the move into PR?
I’ve always had a keen interest in information sharing, understanding global media systems and trends that shape public opinion, and communications. This has prompted me to complete my degree in integrated marketing communications and business management only to begin my career in corporate communications. I began my career in Kuwait and worked across various capacities in agencies as well as in house teams, before moving to the UAE.
What attribute has made you succeed in business?
Working in the public relations industry, I think I’ve developed different attributes that helped me succeed throughout the past years. If I would summarize them, I would say that I’ve learned to always be ready, be a good writer, have an investigative and curious spirit, tell stories in different ways, be able to multitask, have an interest in current affairs, and more importantly, be flexible and patient.
How much has the industry changed since you started?
Technology has had a huge role in how the PR industry has evolved, but also changing consumer expectations and increased transparency. The PR industry was predominantly focused around media relations. Communications departments have evolved to adapt their roles throughout the era of social media and tech changes to remain in today’s connected world.
Data driven communications programs that combine both traditional and digital communications is at the core of the PR industry. Today, a short video or a picture tells a story on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well as promotes brand awareness.
I think the change is about true engagement, providing marketing as a service, not just about push. Today, PR campaigns need to be approached with an emphasis on the programs helping to meet key business objectives, whether it’s driving website traffic, increasing engagement with audiences segments, or even pushing leads into the sales funnel.
To me, every day is a proud day. The fact that I am able to help organizations navigate challenges, understand how different businesses operate and delivering strong results consistently, is something that I am always proud of. One of the proudest moments is when I see the people I have helped guide in their careers grow in the business and take the lead in their organizations.
Who has inspired you in the industry and why?
I have worked with some of the best international communications professionals in different capacities. I can safely say that all of them have inspired me in one way or the other, adding more perspective to my experience across various industry sectors.
What made you move to Dubai?
I have been working in Dubai for the past year and a half. Prior to that I was based in Kuwait, but worked across the region in markets that included Bahrain, Qatar, KSA and the UAE – so technically, Dubai, is not a new market to be working in.
Generally, I believe Dubai has established itself as an international communications destination, and working in this market has given me the opportunity to meet professionals from different cultures, all who have a passion to working in communications.
What career advice would you offer people looking to get into the industry?
The PR industry has evolved dramatically in the past few years. Professionals working in the field are always keeping up with the latest trends and best practices. My advice to people wanting to join the PR industry is to focus on driving creative ideas. This is a very creative industry, where original ideas and creative thinking are hugely valued.