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Newsletter 09/2014

Face to Face with... | Penny Couchman


Please tell us a little about (your workplace/business)

da Vinci is a marketing consultancy who supports businesses develop and build their desired position in their market.This covers anything from brand strategy, new market entry, product development, customer experience to developing and implementing strategic marketing plans and delivering events.

Located in Dubai Media City over the past 8 years we have seen so much change in the business and physical environments. We use to be able to look at the window and check the traffic status on Sheikh Zayed Road, now our view is blocked by the Gloria Hotel, du HQ and Business Central Towers. We are getting to the stage of out growing our space and will be looking for somewhere larger soon with friendlier parking facilities for everyone.

What is your role at (your workplace/business)?

As Managing Director of da Vinci Marketing I have both an operational role of managing the business (finance, people, direction) as well as business development and delivering on our client projects. da Vinci is a small and flexible team so everyone is across the activities plus we have a number of key business relationships that support on both operational and client projects. Collaboration is an important component of how we work together.

How long have you been working in the role and where were you working previously?

da Vinci Marketing has been operating in Australia for 22 years and in UAE for 8 years. I have been a partner in the business for 14 years now. I feel like I have worked across most industries and have enjoyed projects across Asia Pacific and Middle East markets.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the best rewards is seeing a brand develop and grow in the market. The repositioning of a brand can sometimes take 3-5 years and is a constant process; however the fundamental internal and external positive change this creates is an awesome experience.

What is the most challenging and difficult aspect of your job?

I have to be able to let my ideas go … not always easy, however creating change means doing what ever it takes to deliver the end goal, no matter the actual path it takes to get there.

What does a typical day at work look like?

If I am knee deep in a brand strategy, my day is often facilitating planning workshops or conducting customer research to gain insights into their buying and decision making patterns through to making sure our cash flow is updated to manage the monthly business expenses. Oh, then there is the last minute meeting that will always pop up during the day. Nothing like staying flexible.

How do you like to spend your leisure time?

I love playing tennis and always make time to head off to the mountains for some nature – camping under the stars or walking through a wadi in Oman certainly helps me feel grounded in the fast pace environment of UAE.

Do you have any general comments to make about living in Dubai?

Relax and enjoy, don’t always make it about work, the friends I have made in Dubai will be contacts I have for life and are my family away from Oz. Oh yeah, make the effort to explore outside of Dubai.

What is the best piece of advice you could give new arrivals to the business world of Dubai?

Make the effort to get involved with the business community outside of your office – there are so many interesting people doing remarkable things and you can learn from their experience, more importantly they are happy to share if you make the effort.

Penny Couchman - Managing Director, da Vinci Marketing and member of the ABCD

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