Things were done a bit differently for this year's CommsMEA Awards.
Guests were glammed up. Congrats were given. Speeches conducted. Fancy food was consumed. Networking was done in spades. A good time was had by all.
Another year, another CommsMEA Awards has come and gone. The annual fete has been going on for a number of years now, and each year continues the tradition: that of honouring and celebrating the very best of the industry over the past year, while looking forward to the next.
While glitz, glam, fun, food (and not too shabby fashion) are requisites of the event, this year marked a bit of a change for the Awards. While the things that are being celebrated (and the aforementioned glamour) were still front and centre, the format for what was the 13th edition of the awards changed dramatically.
Instead of a dinner in a cavernous hotel or event centre, this year’s awards consisted of an intimate lunch at the swanky Rhodes W1 restaurant (the brainchild of none other than British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes) inside the Grosvenor House in Dubai.
Strictly invite-only, the new format created an “inner sanctum” of the brightest luminaries from the telco and tech industries from throughout the Middle East and Africa, including top executives, movers, shakers, longtime legends, rising stars, and more. The crowd of several dozen were treated to a multi-course menu emphasising fresh and local ingredients combined in creative ways – not to mention the aforementioned networking, celebrating their own and the achievements of their peers, and the chance to see and be seen.
Following some pre-event networking, winners took part in video interviews discussing their wins and what could come next for their businesses (check out those on commsmea.com and on YouTube). Following an introductory speech by ITP group sales manager Andrew Cover and platinum sponsor Huawei, lunch began and appetites were satiated with comestibles such as scallops and prawn with soft quail egg, pan roasted corn-fed chicken with courgettes and spring onion risotto in hazelnut pesto, and pineapple chiboust with blueberry poached pineapple and caramel syrup for dessert.
Oh, and in between it all, Zain Sudan CEO Elfatih Erwa received special recognition for his service to the telecommunications industry. During his speech, Erwa – who prior to joining Zain Sudan used to be Sudan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as State Minister of Defence among many other roles – spoke of the importance of empowerment, particularly women’s empowerment. To say the audience was enraptured would be an understatement.
While this was the first time hosting the CommsMEA Awards over lunch, the proof appears to be in the proverbial pudding: when guests finally began to trickle out, there wasn’t a frown to be seen.
Needless to say, expectations for next year are now somewhat high.
For all the CommsMEA Awards winners and highly commended finalists, check out our coverage on commsmea.com.