2018 Judges

The judges for the MENA Search Awards 2018 were as follows:

Dominik Johnson

Yandex |

Ali Al Khalil

CMO, Hunger Station |

Ali Al Khalil is one of the most reputable Digital Marketing Professionals in Saudi Arabia, he is now the CMO of Hunger Station, a big player in the business of online food ordering in the region. He used to be the CMO for Mobily Telecom which is the 2nd largest Telecom Operator in Saudi Arabia. He has over 18 years of experience in Digital Media in the Middle East. 

Brendan Almack

Director Wolfgang Digital |

In a previous life, Brendan worked as a Geotechnical Engineer analysing data and trying to use the data to solve problems. Now he works in digital marketing… and does pretty much the same thing.

Brendan is particularly interested in performance digital marketing and is passionate about integrating marketing activities across multiple channels. Like all Wolfgangers, he’s obsessed with defining and accurately measuring campaign KPI’s. Brendan’s work has won multiple Irish & International awards including “Best Integrated Strategy” at the Drum Awards. Brendan is a regular speaker on the international circuit having spoken at Hero Conf, SMX, SES, Friends of Search and The Marketing Festival.


Fahad Almaghrabi

Director of Marketing and Communications, SAGIA |

Jim Banks

Jim is the CEO of paid search and paid social agency Spades Media.
A much-travelled and sought after Keynote Speaker, Jim specialises in anything involving paid media.
Jim sits on a number of advisory boards for industry events and is a frequent judge at Don't Panic search and marketing related awards, including UK Search Awards, US Search Awards, European Search Awards, UK Biddable Media Awards.
A judge with a keen eye for outstanding work and never one to be shy in voicing an opinion and championing creative entries that hit the mark.

Dan Barker

Ecommerce, Digital Marketing, Analytics Consultant |

Dan Barker works across digital marketing, ecommerce, fintech, and data. Across the years he's worked for over 100 brands - both on a freelance basis, and in-house. He's worked up to CMO & board level, including direct responsibility for the management & marketing of 4x large Ecommerce sites (2x £20-25m turnover, 2x £50-60m turnover).

Laura Crimmons

Founder, Silverthorn |

Laura is the Founder of Silverthorn, a PR, social media & content marketing agency. Laura is a regular trainer and speaker at industry events such as INBOUND2017, Learn Inbound, UnGagged Vegas, Yoastcon, SMX München and BrightonSEO, where she has delivered the link building/Digital PR training since 2013.

She won PR Moment’s Young Professional of the Year 2017, was named in The Drum’s 2017 50 Women in Digital Under 30 and was nominated for the CIPR’s Outstanding Young Communicator 2017.

Leanne Foy

General Manager, PRCA MENA |

Over the past 2 years, Leanne has launched and worked to grow and develop PRCA MENA with the company’s main aim to increase industry standards.

Leanne is the General Manager for the Public Relations Communications Association where she oversees innovation, membership opportunities, awards and training for the PR and communications industry.

Yousef Ibrahim Ghazawi

Digital Acquisition Manager, Jawwy |

Over 10 years of pure Digital marketing experience, strategy planning, execution and Managing projects for a wide range of industries including but not limited to Telecom, Retail, FMCG, Automotive, Finance and eCommerce.

Excessive experience in Digital Performance Marketing with focus on Search Engine marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media, and display advertising, expert in Google Analytics, Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization via all performance marketing channels.

Kevin Gibbons

Managing Director, BlueGlass UK |

Kevin Gibbons is Managing Director of Re:signal, a digital marketing agency specialising in SEO and content marketing. 

With offices in London, Zurich and Tallinn, Re:signal helps clients such as Expedia, Totaljobs and the Financial Times by acting as an extension to their teams.  Kevin has been involved in digital marketing since 2003 often speaking at industry leading conferences and writing for high profile marketing and digital publishers.

Matt Holmes

Head of Search & Performance Media, Distrelec |

Matt is Head of Search & Performance Media at Distrelec – a European distributor of electronic components for engineers in the world of robotics, electronics design and automation. He also acts as Executive Editor of Current, Distrelec’s online magazine which shines a light on the technology transforming our world and the people making it happen.  Formerly Head of Paid Search at Emirates, he specialises in guiding international, multi-lingual brands through times of digital transformation. Matt is passionate about pushing what’s possible in digital marketing through making the best use of tech, people, and processes.

Chris Hurst

Digital Marketing Manager, Thomson Reuters MENA |

Chris's career started with Latitude back in the UK in 2012. Having worked across a number of accounts from SME’s to multi-national corporations Chris always had the passion for search marketing and for bringing together other channels to ensure that companies take a ‘holistic approach’ to their digital marketing. Moving to the MENA region in 2014, he moved with Latitude to help expand the business over here and to help stimulate a market that was both maturing and developing at a fantastic speed. 

Current role at Thomson Reuters makes Chris responsible for their ‘go-to-market’ strategy across 14 countries across 4 business units each holding many different solutions and products. Chris's role is to ensure that Thomson Reuters bring all digital channels together and continue to increase their web presence in the region.

Mohammad Itani

Managing Director, Platform5 |

Mohammad is one of the very first Digital Marketers in the Region and now heads Platform 5 which is the central agency that runs all biddable media for IPG group in the MENA region managing massive digital budgets for over 100 clients. he has over 13 years of Digital media experience in the Middle East.

Stephen Kenwright

Strategy Director, Branded3 |

Stephen is strategy director at St. Ives Group-owned performance marketing agency Branded3 – the best large SEO agency in the UK according to judges at the UK Search Awards – and works with brands including Confused.com, Travelex and Vue Cinemas. He organises SearchLeeds – the largest digital conference in the north of England – and is a mentor at Sheffield Hallam University, where he graduated with an MA in Renaissance Literature.

Judith Lewis


Judith Lewis is the founder of the deCabbit Consultancy specialising in integrated digital marketing consultancy and execution. She is a specialist integrated online marketer with skills in SEO, PPC, and Social Media Marketing as well as other digital marketing techniques. She has been doing SEO since before it had a name and has worked both in-house and agency-side. 

She has judged both US & EU Search Awards, is a founding everywoman Modern Muse and is the coordinator for London Girl Geek Dinners.  Having both an in-house and agency background, her clients have included Google, Virgin, NSPCC, Zopa, Slendertone, the Guggenheim, SAP, Amadeus, Blue Cross, & ShareThis. She works from planning through to execution, integrating her digital expertise through research & analysis, design & build through to deployment.

Judith writes for the SEO Chicks and Mostly About Chocolate as well as the Huffington Post.  She speaks at various conferences around the world and is passionate about teaching and helping businesses large and small (as well as chocolate).


Jason Meininger

SEO Product Manager, StepStone UK |

Working online since the original internet boom, Jason now has over a decade of hands-on experience with on-and off-site SEO programmes at StepStoneUK, the UK’s leading family of online recruitment classified sites.

With a background in web design, development, marketing, and project management, his primary focus is scalable, platform-led technical optimisation tactics, improving reach and efficiency to drive organic traffic and maximise engagement across a portfolio of large-scale generalist and smaller specialist recruitment domains including Totaljobs.com and Jobsite.co.uk.

Jason also judged the 2017 MENA Search Awards, and maintains a parallel career in London as a theatrical producer and lighting designer.


Jubran Moe

Head of Digital Marketing, Gulf Related |

Jubran is Head of Digital Marketing at Gulf Related which owns and runs different malls and hotels in Abu Dhabi, he has over 12 years of digital experience between Australia and UAE and one of the first Search marketing people in the UAE.

Abdelaziz Mohammed

Head of Marketing eCommerce, Alshaya |

Abdelaziz has been into the digital space for 14 years now. He was working at Amazon as regional head of digital Marketing. Before Amazon he was heading central performance marketing team at Souq (acquired by Amazon). He was responsible for planning and budgeting marketing spend for all 3 regions Souq is operating in. 


Abdelaziz has worked in eCommerce space for the last 7 years to lead the marketing function in different multinational companies like OLX and Majid Al Futtaim.


Now Abdelaziz is leading the marketing function in Alshaya eCommerce division to help the group transforming to Omnichannel. 

Paul Morris


Having worked in Digital for 18 years, Paul now leads global digital: strategy, consumer experience, technology/advertising adoption, ecommerce, digital transformation and digital capability development. This ensures that Digital supports brand objectives, integrates across the marketing mix and engages throughout the customer lifecycle by working in partnership with each of the PZ Cussons Brand teams.

Before the Co-op (from Food > Funeralcare), Paul had experience of working both client and agency side with brands including Wickes, Laterooms, Silverstone, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Cash Generator and Park Resorts.


Founder – Ascending Media |

Jon is an experienced leader within the Digital Marketplace with over 19 years’ experience and has demonstrated dedication to the industry over his career which has been recognised when he was awarded Search Personality of the Year 2017 at the UK Search Awards and also voted into Europe’s Top50 Performance Markets 2017. He has worked in senior roles for large agencies, publisher-side with Yahoo, and more recently the Ad Technology space as VP and MD EMEA of Marin Software before joining DeepCrawl.and then setting up his own company Ascending Media.

He has experience in Paid Search since its inception, and has also worked heavily in SEO, Display and Paid Social over the years. This broad range has given Jon a strong understanding of all sides of the market, a sharp business knowledge and skill set, and many connections across EMEA and the US who recognise him for his experience and thought leadership within the online advertising industry.

Jon is extremely active in the Search community, and is most likely to be found moderating, speaking and sharing his knowledge at conferences, webinars and events across the world. He also frequently acts as a judge for awards in the industry, including the UK Search Awards, European Search Awards, US Search Awards and Performance Marketing Awards to name a few.





Luis Navarrete-Gomez is the Global Head of Search Marketing for The LEGO Group. Based in London he is responsible for all SEO and Paid Search activity for LEGO.

Luis has over 15 years’ Digital Marketing experience in helping corporations use the web to drive online visibility and generate leads that have resulted in new business online.

Gerasimos Nikolopoulos

CEO, adaplo |

Gerasimos Nikolopoulos is the founder and CEO of adaplo, a Google Shopping management software for fast-growing retailers. 

He started his career from Coca Cola and Google and then founded Growth, a digital analytics agency for the enterprise market. He is a Google Partner Academy speaker and speaks about PPC and Anaytics at events such as Google Partners, Superweek and Meet Magento across Europe.

Zbigniew Nowicki

Managing Director, Bluerank |

Zbigniew has been working in digital industry for more than 20 years, advising to market leaders and innovators. Co-owner of Bluerank, awarded “Best Large Integrated Search Agency” in 2017 European Search Awards. Founder of BlueAlliance and DALL Int. - international business partnerships of independent agencies from Europe. A pioneer in the research of customer experience and user satisfaction, co-founder of opiniac.com platform. Speaker at digital conferences in Poland and abroad. Privately – double happy dad, ultramarathon runner, a fan of hard rock and Labrador Retriever dogs.


Tarek Reda

Head of Digital, bfound.io |

When he's not rocking out on his guitar, Tarek is a well-versed digital marketer currently heading the digital team at bfound - a local digital marketing solutions company. His career started over 8 years ago back in Cairo before he acquired his masters degree in Digital Marketing from London. Tarek has always had a passion for Search Marketing. Having ran paid search campaigns for companies across MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, UK and USA with monthly budgets ranging from $50 to $500,000, Tarek has a proven track record of implementing performance marketing campaigns. Tarek also lectures on digital marketing topics including Paid Search, Paid Social, and more. 

Manny Rivas

CMO, Aimclear |

Manny Rivas is a marketer, entrepreneur, speaker & seasoned pit-master. He came to Aimclear® as employee No. 3 and now serves as Chief Marketing Officer. In his nine years with the company, Manny has helped establish Aimclear as an internationally regarded marketing company. Aimclear notched three 2016 US Search Awards, including Best Large Integrated Agency, while Manny was VP of Client Services. He was twice honored as a "Top 25 Most Influential PPC Expert." 

Credits include Uber, eBay, Airbnb, Dell, LinkedIn, Eurail, Firestone, Amazon, Quest, 3M, InfusionSoft, Siemens, The Washington Post and numerous others. A respected clinician on the international marketing conference speaking circuit, For years Manny has schooled dozens of international search & social marketing conference audiences, from Sydney to Berlin, San Francisco to London. 

Manny’s foundational work deconstructing YouTube (for thought leadership & profit) impacted marketing tactics globally. He has nearly a decade of search, display and social marketing experience, handling media spend investments from massive to brilliantly frugal. Manny is the guy smart companies trust with their media spend. As an entrepreneurial ambassador for Aimclear, he drives a substantial percentage of Aimclear’s retention & new business revenue. 

Manny loves cooking, world travel and fishing Minnesota’s pristine waters.



Ant is the founder of digital growth agency Pure Optimisation and the former Head of Search and Social at FTSE 250 listed AutoTrader UK. As a previous UK Search Awards winner Ant has extensive technical and hands on expertise delivering integrated campaigns across SEO, Social Media, PPC & Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Ant is a keen advocate of data lead decision making and the integration of the silos that often exist between the primary digital channels.



Lukasz Zelezny is the head of organic acquisition at Uswitch.com, a UK based price comparison website with offices in London. Leading his team, he is responsible for the uSwitch.com brand’s organic visibility, conversion rate, traffic and engagement. Lukasz is a hands-on person; he spends lots of his time keeping up to date with the changes in the technology of online marketing.

Lukasz started his career in 2005 and has since been responsible for the organic performance of a number of companies including HomeAway, Thomson Reuters, The Digital Property Group and Fleetway Travel.

 He is a graduate from the Silesian University of Technology with a BA in Marketing.

In 2015 he traveled 75,000 km speaking at many SEO and social media conferences including ClickZ Shanghai China, ClickZ Jakarta Indonesia, SiMGA Malta, SES London in United Kingdom as well as conferences held in Europe; Marketing Festival in Brno, Brighton SEO in Brighton, UnGagged in London. Every year he is actively participating in 10 to 20 events as a SEO/Social Media keynote speaker. Additionally, he organizes workshops where he is sharing tips around SEO, Social Media and Analytics.