Virtual Summit Speakers
This multicultural, multilingual experience in the creative industry has helped develop a deeper understanding of visual culture on a global level. This understanding — combined with a try-it-out attitude to find the familiar in the unfamiliar — results in work that is effective and relevant, and contextually coherent.
A Canadian, resident in the UAE for seventeen years. David has held senior executive roles in the region with the major shopping centre development companies including Emaar and AFGRE. Heading up the advisory firm JLL Retail Division before taking over as CEO of the MECSC in 2013. Now with 845 shopping centres regionally, 1,100 retailers and over 1,000 members, our network is one of the strongest in the MENA region. We reach our markets through the Retail People Magazine, The Directory, What’s Up Retail monthly newsletter, Voice on Demand – Retail Podcast, Webinar with our database of over 10,000. Connection to our members on social media is key to our success.
Appearing on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, Dubai One, Dubai City 7 TV, Selfie TV and Dubai Zee television as a retail expert in the MENA region. In radio, on Dubai Eye 103.8, David is regularly on air as the retail industry expert & property market commentator.
He made his way to work for RMJM one of the largest architecture & design networks in the world ( UAE - Dubai ). He held the position of Senior Interior Designer, this allowed him work with multinational workplace and gave him an opportunity to attend international exhibitions and seminars around the world. All of that had helped him develop a good taste for luxury design. The Journey continued for another professional endeavor. An Area Manager for Bahrain & Saudi Arabia (Eastern Province ). High-End and luxury Furniture Mono-Brand showrooms in both countries. This exposure in the design and luxury brands world, has led him to get to know and meet many professionals in the same industry and it helped him establish a strong network of friends and colleagues around the world. The succeeding journey never stopped and landed him an opportunity to be part of Almana Group to manage the group’s subsidiary “ Almana Maples “ company, a name that is linked to luxury and profound service.
He brings eighteen years of experience at prominent companies including Technip in Paris and Qatar Petroleum. Ali is further charged with a wide purview, namely directing the development and overseeing the implementation of policies, systems, procedures and controls to meet the objectivity, efficiency and effectiveness of operations. He further manages the Lead Design and Delivery directorate.
Ali holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami and an Executive MBA from HEC Paris in Qatar.
Graduating with a BFA in Fashion Design from VCUarts Qatar and an MA in Material Futures from Central Saint Martins, Al Thani’s graduate project Seam Unseam, A reversible seam assembly using biotechnology won The Mills Fabrica Sustainability Prize, and The Special Sustainability prize at the Techstyle for Social Good International Competition. She has also won The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Fibres Initiative in 2018.
Her work has been exhibited in Qatar, Eindhoven, Copenhagen, Milan, London, and Hong Kong. Al Thani is an Artist in Resident at Doha Fire Station (AIR5) and is a Fashion and Sustainability instructor at VCUarts Qatar.
Born in Wales, Simon studied Interior Design at Birmingham University where he gained both his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees. He joined David Collins Studio in 1997 and was appointed Creative Director in 2007, overseeing the creative output of The Studio. Mindful of the importance of nurturing new talent, he now devotes considerable energy to mentoring and teaching.
As Finance Director of Almana Group, overseeing & directing financial planning & strategy and analyzing financial performance of the group businesses and developing the business to new sectors and joint ventures.
Having proficiency in system designing, he is an avid lover of architectural and interior design wherein he transformed this into a business entity and developing interior design concept which he is now an expert and adept on interior design industry where he continues to intensify design awareness to the new millennia.
Whitney Robinson is a design entrepreneur, real estate investor, editor, style consultant, television personality and authority in the worlds of luxury, interiors and fashion. As CEO of DW Northstar, Robinson creates visionary design driven real estate and hospitality developments with global thought leaders. He is the former editor-in-chief of ELLE DÉCOR, the world’s leading design brand, which he ran from 2017-2020. Prior to ED, Robinson spent a decade at Hearst Magazines traveling the world producing style and interiors stories on celebrities and luminaries including Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani for Town & Country, House Beautiful, and Metropolitan Home. He resides in New York City.