Meet the ISOC team

ISOC trainers and coaches are all director-level communication experts with at least 15 years’ experience in their field and are members of the the ISOC Accredited Trainer Programme. This ensures that every trainer is an inspiring course leader as well as a proven subject expert.

Will Hardie

Will is a communication strategist, advisor and coach with more than 20 years’ experience working in more than 50 countries. He studied Experimental Psychology for a Master’s at Oxford and later journalism and politics in the U.S. Will joined Reuters news agency as a graduate trainee reporter and took a series of postings in Brussels, Stockholm and Belgrade. As a foreign correspondent he specialised in financial and economic news and reported on a wide range of high-profile breaking news stories. He covered major international summits, interviewed ministers, heads of state, CEOs and other senior executives, and managed regional teams of journalists. Back in London Will co-founded Pinnacle PR, a global communications consultancy, and the International School of Communication, a specialist professional training company. Will is one of the world’s leading communications advisors. He has executed large projects to create communication strategies and systems for national governments and major corporations. For six years, he was the chief advisor to the head of communications in the office of a well-known Prime Minister. He has counselled hundreds of cabinet ministers, senior politicians, CEOs and other senior executives across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He specialises in executive coaching, media training, crisis communication, strategic messaging and communication strategy development. He has led long-term projects to develop top-level communication strategies for Federal and National governments and written crisis plans and positioning for global top-500 companies. Will is currently based in Dubai where he divides his time between managing ISOC and delivering consulting and training projects worldwide.

Anne Bleeker

Anne is a corporate communications professional with 20 years of international experience in multiple industries and highly multicultural environments. Coming from an in-house environment, Anne has been involved in the development, planning and management of communication strategies, internal and external communications campaigns, crisis communications and stakeholder engagement programmes  for major organisations including the Jumeirah Group, Future Pipe Industries and the Rezidor Hotel Group. Anne holds a Bachelor degree in Hotel Administration from the Hotel School The Hague and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the USA. She is a former board member of the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), a member of PRCA MENA and a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Anne is Managing Partner of In2 Consulting, a boutique strategic communications agency based in Dubai, which she co-founded with her business partner in 2010.

Anouska Leibovici

Anouska is a senior corporate trainer with over 20 years’ experience in hospitality, sales, marketing and events. She coaches, mentors and motivates individuals to achieve their potential in a range of disciplines including interpersonal communication, management and leadership skills. Anouska also works with companies as a business consultant as an advisor on strategy, operational KPIs, process improvement, employee engagement and HR issues such as skills, performance and training.
Anouska began her career managing sales, marketing and customer relations teams for loyalty programmes at leading hotels in the UK, China and Malaysia. Aas Director of Operations for Hotel Dynamics Middle East she was responsible for 16 programmes and 400 employees. She has also served as Assistant Vice President for a real estate company and as Director of Sales, Marketing and Events for an events company, responsible for planning, budgeting, branding, client management and delivery.

Corrina Cross

Corrina is an international trainer, coach and facilitator specialising in improving communication, motivation and productivity in the workplace. She uses her knowledge, skills, experience and personality to inspire personal development and motivate teamwork. Corrina is a certified NLP Master Practitioner – a skill-set she uses to help clients define goals and eliminate beliefs that are holding them back. She is also a Facilitator of Inter-Cultural Awareness and a Behavioural Style Consultant, using DiSC profiling tools to identify people’s dominant tendencies and help them understand their own behavioural style and that of others. Corrina qualified with the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing and lived and worked in Australia, Egypt and Bahrain before settling in Dubai, where she managed a marketing agency for 15 years before moving into learning and development in 2011.

Elena Yakunina

Elena is a successful communications and public relations professional with over 15 years’ experience. She led the communication functions at Ehrmann AG, Nestlé and GlaxoSmithKline in Russia and Eurasia. She is an expert in strategic communications, reputation management, media relations, social media engagement, personal and brand/product PR, crisis, change and transformation, CSR/sustainability and sponsorship programs. She has extensive experience in managing stakeholder relations and generating public support. She advises a number of organisations in the Middle East and Asia on strategic communications. Elena holds two master’s degrees in Economics and Management, and in Journalism. She studied leadership at the London Business School. Elena is a member of World Communication Forum Association (Davos, Switzerland). She speaks English and Russian.

Felice Hawley

Felice is a versatile editor, writer and broadcaster with in-depth experience of economic and business news. During a 16-year career at CNN, she helped create and then produce the award-winning live business programme “World Business Today”. Moving to text, Felice became Managing Editor of Hoover’s Online Europe, responsible for a team of journalists. She later went on to launch several websites, intranets, extranets and microsites. She writes, edits and manages content for organisations including Transport for London and the NHS. Felice consulted on web and print materials ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

Hisham Al Ayass

Hisham is a veteran broadcast journalist, recognised across the Middle East as one of the most respected news anchors in Arabic business television. He is currently Head of Business News at Qatar TV, charged with establishing a new business news division where he will lead a team of reporters and producers covering all major business news in the region. Previously, he worked as a senior financial analyst and presenter at CNBC Arabia where he was involved with live coverage of all major regional and international financial markets, detailed analysis of stock markets, currencies, oil, corporate and earnings news. Hisham also regularly moderates forums and panel sessions across the Middle East. Before joining CNBC, Hisham was the head of international brokerage at Shuaa Capital, a leading regional investment bank based in Dubai, an associate director at Barclays private banking, and an investment manager at Citibank. Hisham holds a BA and MBA in banking and finance and a second postgraduate degree in international business.

Israa Shaheen

Israa is a Certified Business Etiquette & International Protocol Consultant. Born and raised in the UAE, Israa has obtained her MBA degree in Leadership & HRM from University of Dubai. Prior to entering the Etiquette & Protocol field, she worked in both Public & Private sectors in the UAE, through which she gained an ideal mixed experience. Israa’s passion lies in empowering people to become more confident, courteous and professional in business and social situations, through equipping them with the essential etiquette and protocol knowledge for them to succeed personally and professionally.

Izabela Hamilton

Izabela is a communications specialist and certified executive coach with more than 15 years' international experience in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. She managed the communications functions for prominent international brands including Jumeirah Group's flagship Burj Al Arab hotel, market intelligence group Euromonitor International, Incisive Media and Business Monitor International. Izabela's responsibilities and expertise include internal and external communication, crisis, events, media relations and coaching for public speaking. She delivers career and communication coaching for individuals and organisations of all sizes. She trains on many topics including soft skills, executive presence, communication strategy and reputation management.

Jason Wakeford

Jason has worked in communications for 18 years, beginning his career at consumer PR agencies working with travel clients including Emirates and KLM. He then moved in-house to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, where he worked as a senior press officer. Jason then led the eight-strong communications team at the Environment Agency – the world's second largest environmental protection organisation, before running media relations, policy and public affairs at energy price comparison site uSwitch. He set up as a freelance consultant in 2017 and became interim director of campaigns, media and public affairs for Brake, the road safety charity. In 2019, Jason was interim head of internal communications for the Data Communications Company, the organisation running the UK's energy smart meter network, before moving to eBay UK as interim head of corporate communications.

Jenni Perry

Jenni is a senior communications professional, PR consultant and strategist. She has extensive experience within the UK Government Communications Network, working closely with Ministers and senior policy officials across various departments including Trade and Industry, and for prominent Royalty.  In the corporate world, Jenni was UK head of public relations for global pharmaceutical group Pfizer, where as a member of the European communications team she was responsible for PR and media training across the organisation. Her experience includes strategic public relations, corporate communications, press office development, media relations, public affairs, sponsorship management, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility and writing.

Louise Watson

Louise is an integrated communication specialists with 25 years experience leading global corpsumer business, across FMCG, retail, health, technology and travel. A creative strategist at heart, Louise specialises in content and channel planning across owned and earned, reputation protection and integrated content distribution. She has led global teams at some of the world’s leading agencies including Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy, H+K and MSL. Her client experience includes P&G, Unilever, Kellogg, British Airways, Bayer, Aldi and Ocado.

Mariam Saliba

Mariam Saliba is a journalist and communication coach with more than 18 years' experience in presenting, writing, reporting and producing news and business stories. She currently works as a producer for Abu Dhabi TV. Previously she worked for Al-Arabiya News Channel in Dubai, Skynews Arabia in Abu Dhabi, Alhurra TV in Washington DC, and LBCI in Lebanon. During her career she has covered major regional and international events such as the IMF and the World Bank meetings, World Economic Forum in Davos, G20, Opec meetings, Expo Milano, Expo Kazakhstan, Hannover Messe Industrial fair, and Brexit in London. She has interviewed ministers, CEOs and executives all over the world. Mariam has been media training and coaching executives for more than seven years, in Arabic and English. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Sciences from the Lebanese University and a Masters Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Notre Dame University. Mariam Arabic, English and French.

Nick Walshe

Nick is a senior media consultant with more than 30 years’ experience as an international broadcast journalist. He was trained by the BBC and worked with ITV and ITN in the UK as a reporter, presenter, producer and assignments editor before taking charge of global newsgathering for the successful launch of Al Jazeera English in 2006. Since moving to Dubai in 2010, he has specialised in training senior executives and corporate spokespeople in media skills and crisis communications. His clients have included IKEA, Huawei, Qatar Airways, Cigna, American Express, the UAE Central Bank, JP Morgan and many others. He also works in corporate video production, filming with international organisations such as Mars, Merck and the British Council. Nick has maintained his involvement in TV news as a project manager, consultant and trainer in TV channels across the region, including projects in India, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Sarah Cocker

Sarah is a dynamic communicator with over 20 years’ experience in media, finance and business. Her international experience in banking, and as one of CNBC’s key anchors, makes her at ease dealing with leaders and experts from industry, government and academia. A skilled listener and coach, Sarah enjoys working with clients to help them define and achieve their objectives. Her coaching experience includes training blue-chip executives in public speaking and techniques for challenging television interviews. Her international career has given her an understanding of the cultural and working practices in the Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North and South America.

Tim Harrison

Tim is a strategic communications consultant with more than 20 years’ experience, helping organisations to deliver their messages effectively to multiple stakeholders, including media, investors, regulators and policymakers, as well as employees.
Operating at the most senior levels to devise and execute strategic communications plans including media relations, crisis and issues management, reputation management, investor relations and internal communications, he is also a highly experienced and effective coach and trainer, helping senior executives to gain maximum impact from media interviews, presentations, public speaking, and investor engagements across a range of industries and geographies.
Tim has spent his entire career in corporate communications, both as a consultant and in-house. From 2006-16 he worked for HSBC, first as Regional Head of Communications in the Middle East and North Africa, then in global communications roles, before leaving the bank in 2016 to pursue a consultancy career. Prior to HSBC, he worked across a range of sectors, both as a consultant and in-house practitioner, consistently delivering business benefits from communications strategies. His experience includes spells with Abbey National/Santander, BNY Mellon Edelman, Asda’a PR and Charles Barker. A graduate of Oxford University, Tim is married with two children and lives in London.

Ruth McKee AlGhamdi

Ruth is an international journalist, executive coach and media communications specialist with more than 16 years’ experience. As a financial reporter and MENA bureau chief for Mergermarket she developed extensive experience interviewing senior executives and shareholders across all industries and sectors. Ruth is an expert media trainer and executive coach who also specialises in written communication such as annual reports. She frequently appears in media such as CNBC to discuss M&A and investment trends, and regularly moderates business conferences and events. Ruth holds a BA (Hons) in Media Performance from the University of Bedfordshire and is a qualified journalist from the Belfast Metropolitan College. She has an ICM Diploma in Public Relations (Distinction) from the Fitzwilliam Institute, Dublin.

Ahmad Al-Assad

Ahmad is a specialist management and communication skills coach with a passion for helping people discover their talents and build their lives around them. He is an ILM-certified trainer with a BA in Marketing, a Master's degree in Creativity and Giftedness, and a post-graduate diploma in innovation and design thinking. Ahmad develops and delivers workshops on leadership, motivation, personality types, presentation and public speaking, communication skills, emotional intelligence and related topics. Besides corporate training, he is also an accomplished presenter and public speaker.