#MakingTime: A Day in the Life of a United Arab Emirates-Based Top Marketing Exec

Louise Roberts

Photo courtesy of Louise Roberts


Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize when everything feels important on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.


Who: Louise Roberts  
What: Managing Director of MullenLowe Open UAE, and Director of SheSays Abu Dhabi 
Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE
7:00 a.m. 
The default "radar" alarm goes off on my iPhone. As I hit snooze, I lay there thinking I really must update it to something inspirational like "walking on sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves. I dose off just in time for my alarm to remind me I’m running late.
7:45 a.m. 
I am showered, dressed, music is on and I am busy preparing food for my rescue cat, Blue. I make myself a blueberry smoothie whilst responding to emails on my phone. I put my laptop in my bag and look out to the Arabian Gulf as I enjoy the remaining drops of my smoothie.  
8:15 a.m. 
I leave my flat, and get the lift down from the 29th floor. I check the mirrors in the escalator to make sure I haven’t tucked my skirt into my knickers or such like, and type my destination into Google Maps on my phone. I jump in the car waiting outside knowing full well both my driver and I will have no idea how to get there without directions. We then make our way to one of the hidden gems of Abu Dhabi – The Arthouse Café.
8:45 a.m. 
I arrive and make my way through the vivacious interior to their veranda at the back. I find a seat. Order a skinny latte. Switch on my laptop and start to answer a few emails. Just as I take the first sip of coffee, I receive a call from a photographer and brief her on some ideas for an agency photoshoot. My management team shortly arrive and join me for a coffee, and a chat about the client presentation later today. 
10:30 a.m. 
The editor of Arabian Marketer joins us for a coffee, and we discuss our new pitch win – the rebrand of the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. We talk about the launch of SheSays Abu Dhabi – a global organisation to support the advancement of women in creative industries, that I have started in Abu Dhabi. As well and some feature articles on our agency and team the Arabian Marketer are keen to produce.  
11:15 a.m. 
We arrive back in the office, and I am reminded by London I need to submit my financial forecast for the rest for the year – which I do, quickly. 
12:00 p.m. 
I have a final review of our submission for the MENA Effie awards – an effectiveness awards for the MENA region, which we are entering our Etihad Guest 2017 Ramadan campaign into. 
12:50 p.m. 
I make some final tweaks for an article I am writing for Campaign Middle East, on why I am launching SheSays Abu Dhabi, and the issues I have experienced being a women in a leadership role in the middle east. 
2:20 p.m. 
I have a discussion with my Executive Creative Director about an inititive we are working on to support mental health in the region, as it is a widely unsupported issue in the UAE, and unfortuantley a common issues in our industry. 
3:00 p.m. 
Just as my lunch arrives, I am reminded we have a creative "work in progress" (WIP) meeting, to review the work we are sharing with the client team later on, on a top secret launch... the work looked great. Phew. 
6:00 p.m. 
I Submit the SheSays article and a headshot to the editor of Campaign, and I am reminded of why we need to quickly do the agency photoshoot, as I am in desperate need of new headshots.    
6:15 p.m. 
I answer a few emails. Take a call from my boss the Global CEO of MullenLowe Open, to finalise a few details on a pitch we are due to have early next week, which he and a few other members of the global team will be flying over for. 
I speak to my PA about the team flying over and double check the time of the pitch run through meeting – yes, Louise, 7 a.m. in the morning of the 2nd October is correct. Ouch. I respond to a few more emails.
7:00 p.m. 
It is my turn to present some amazing work from our industry at 0pen@5 (an all-agency meeting we have at the end of every week). I share thread.com as an example of using data to build a personal connection with customers. Powered by an algorithum and just eight stylists, Thread connects to their audience, providing a curation of fashion advice and recommendations based on their unique style and preferences. I then hand the baton over to another member of the team, who will share some work next week. I provide the agency team with some agency and business updates, and then we end promptly as clients are due in the office shortly for a WIP meeting.  
7:30 p.m. 
Clients start to arrive, and we order starbucks quickly, as last thing on a Thursday before the weekend requires caffeine to keep the energy levels high. After a brief reminder we are here to review initial thoughts, and make sure we are in the right direction. The creative team start to take the room through the work. Our copywriter encourages our lead client to participate in role play when reading out the radio scripts – which created some giggles and clapping in the room. The meeting was a success – perfect way to end a week. 
9:00 p.m. 
A few members of the team, decided to go for a drink in one of our favorite bars to listen to some live music. After a couple Espresso Martini’s we join in singing and dancing around the piano…. hello, weekend!
Interested in contributing to Fairygodboss' #MakingTime series? Email [email protected] with "#MakingTime" in the subject line.

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