Twister Communications Middle East. History of an Italian boutique in Dubai.

23 November 2021

With great pleasure today ProPosition meets Elena Gramatica, formerly CEO of Twister Communication Middle East, next CEO of the Dubai office “SEC Newgate ME”, after the acquisition by the multinational SEC Newgate of the boutique she opened 9 years ago in Dubai.

How has Twister Communications Middle East begun its adventure?

“I studied Oriental languages at Ca’ Foscari and graduated in Arabic, so I like to think about all this as a path back to origins). As a matter of fact, my husband and I decided to move to Dubai in 2010 for a professional opportunity, thinking of staying for a few years. After a first experience in an important multinational communication company, with some Italian partners I decided to open the Middle Eastern branch of the Italian agency Twister Communications in Dubai. The bet was challenging: the communication market with which we had to compete was mature and dominated by all the major international communications agencies, for a long time. The context was and still is characterized by strong competition and cultural complexity. We have worked to create our space, to distinguish ourselves in a saturated market, thanks to our commitment, our experience and professionalism, together with our study and preparation”.

In such a complex context, what was your strategy?

“Working in communication, knowing how to manage news at best, working with governments and the press first means study and preparation to build a strong knowledge on political topics, economics and current news. Today we are the press office of the Italian and British Government in Saudi Arabia. We are aware of the resulting responsibilities and therefore the commitment to inform ourselves, have a deep knowledge and study to be able to communicate at best is always at the highest level. Over the years we have been lucky to build and maintain strong partnerships with interesting clients and institutions whose values we share.”

The recent news concerning the acquisition of 70% Twister Communications Middle East by the Sec Newgate Interational Group, one of the 30 most important groups worldwide, is the recognition of the hard work of these years. What benefits can you offer your customers with this important partnership? 

“This partnership will enable us to continue to offer a flexible and individual approach to our customers, but with the added benefit of a consolidated network of offices in the region and internationally. Through our joint network, we will be able to offer companies that want to invest and grow in the region a consolidated team with decades of local experience.”

The theme of diversity in the Middle East. What does it mean for a professional like you to work in Dubai?

“We are a team of 8 senior women, who have been able to affirm ourselves and see our professionalism recognized, even in predominantly male contexts. This is the best demonstration that today in Saudi Arabia there is a context of openness and great respect for diversity.

I have never been in a critical or discriminatory situation, on the contrary I have always seen great respect and appreciation for our work.

In all these years I have seen here a continuous commitment to ensure a better and modern world, where we can live together according to values of tolerance, peace and security in a multicultural context. Let’s think that in the United Arab Emirates there is the “Ministry of Tolerance” to guarantee respect and peaceful coexistence”.

More than 80% of the population living in Dubai is expat. What is the value of living in a reality characterized by a melting pot of so many different ethnic groups and cultural contexts?

“I believe that one of the most important values is that I have been able to grow my children in such a multi-ethnic and multicultural context, that has naturally become part of their way of thinking and interfacing. It is very difficult to find a reality like this, where all nationalities find a way of living together with mutual enrichment. In particular, we Italian people are very appreciated, thanks to our reputation linked to the values of hospitality, acceptance, empathy. We are also professionally recognized with great credibility, competence and preparation”.

How is the working week in Dubai?

“Even if we have been talking about moving the weekend to adapt to the international economy for a while, working week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday, to respect Islamic holy Friday, like most United Saudi Arabia countries. This means that often, especially in the pick seasons that most interact with Western customers, we also work on Fridays, and we do not have a non-working day, ending up working continuously.”

Dubai and Expo 2020

“Expo was finally inaugurated in early October, for the first time in a Middle Eastern country. It is an event for which Dubai has worked hard to do things at best and have global visibility. Last year Dubai was penalized because of the pandemic and unfortunately had to postpone the event. I must admit that the Covid situation has been managed at best, approached with great attention and responsiveness. We have all felt safe and, once again, it confirmed to be a country that cares about its citizens and the safety of those who live and work there.”