Middle East Career Development Conference 2019

Connecting career counselling professionals, employers and thought leaders

“Finding Your Passion: Leading Young People To Meaningful Careers” will be the theme for the 5th edition of MECDC, curated by The Talent Enterprise and hosted by New York University Abu Dhabi. The conference will bring together stakeholders from across the region, educators, career guidance professionals, employers, policy-makers and youth themselves to discuss how we can help young people find their passion as well as meaning and ‘meaningfulness’ in the work they do. At a pragmatic level, a core focus of the conference would be to provide pragmatic tools, workshops and case studies to career guidance counselors on how they can further support and lead young people towards their passion in their transition to a rapidly changing, new world of work.  

Join us at the first and only conference in the region exclusively focused on career development, bringing together career counselors from K-12 and higher education, with other key stakeholders on a unified, regional platform.

A line-up of regional experts

You will get the opportunity to hear from a great variety of speakers and panelists, from enlightening youths to leading employers and experts in the regional career guidance space. They include:

  • Wissam Hachem, Vice President Learning and Development, Etihad Airways 
  • Craig Austin, Head of Talent & Learning at RAK Bank
  • Mohammed Madawala, Director of Partnership, Higher Colleges of Technology
  • Jean-Michel Gauthier, CEO and Founder of Oliv
  • Samia Hasan, Founder, Direction Dose and Unwind the Grind
  • Maha Al Mansoori, Director, People & Performance Directorate, Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Joe Bruce, Founder, PathBoss
  • Radhika Punshi, Co-Founder and Managing Director at The Talent Enterprise
  • David Jones, Founder and CEO at The Talent Enterprise

A 2-day agenda

The last edition of MECDC had so much success we decided to span it across 2 days this year. Day 1 will include talks and panels with a group of insightful speakers and on Day 2, you will get access to workshops designed for professionals in career guidance.


08:00 – 09:00
Registration & Coffee

09:00 – 09:30
Welcome & Opening Remarks:  Finding Your Passion: Leading Young People To Meaningful Careers: David Jones and Radhika Punshi, The Talent Enterprise

09:30– 10:00
Keynote Address: From Education to Employment: The Employer Perspective: Wissam Hachem, Etihad Airways (TBC)

10:00 -10:45
Employer-Educator Panel Discussion: Let’s Get Real: The Practicalities of Finding Jobs with Passion and Purpose


  • Craig Austin, FCIPD, FCMI, Group Head of Talent Management and Learning & Development, RAK Bank
  • Mohammed Madawala, Director – Partnership, Higher Colleges of Technology
  • Maha Al Mansoori, Director, People & Performance Directorate, Department of Culture and Tourism
  • Brigitte Sitzberger, Masdar (TBC)
  • Noora Mohamed Al Reyasi, Head of Learning, Talent Mgmt, OD, Internal Comms & Emiratisation at First Abu Dhabi Bank (TBC)

10:45 – 11:15
Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:00 
Youth Panel Discussion: From Striving to Thriving: What Youth Need, What Works

Moderated By Jola Vorfi: The Talent Enterprise

12:00 – 13:15
Lunch Break and Speed Networking: An opportunity to connect with other educators, employers, career counsellors and like-minded professionals

13:15 –  13:45
Keynote Address: From Internships to Jobs: The Power of Technology and Innovation, Jean-Michel Gauthier, CEO, Oliv 

13:45 – 14:30
Career Development Panel Discussion: Think Different

  • Kathryn Taylor: Heriott Watt
  • Emma Blakemore: Higher Colleges of Technology
  • Jane Tatterton: Zayed University
  • Hazel Raja: NYU
  • Salha Alkas: Dubai Airports 


08:00 – 09:00
Registration & Coffee

09:00 – 09:45
Keynote Address (TBC)

09:45 – 10:45
Special Interest Group Discussions (5 tracks)

10:45 – 11:00
Coffee Break

11:00 – 14:30

8 45-minute Workshops led by regional experts in career guidance, including:

  • Samia Hasan, CEO and Founder, Unwind the Grind
    How to carve a career path in line with who you are
  • Joe Bruce, Founder, PathBoss

Masterclass: Career Thriving Index Accreditation Certification Program 
For career guidance professionals on the world’s only strengths-based career assessment

Interested in speaking?

We still have a few spots left in the agenda, if you are interested in using a workshop slot to present your experiences, programs, learnings or observations, we encourage you to submit a proposal here. Submissions must be made by November 29th 2018.

January 9 – 10th 2019

Location: NYU Abu Dhabi
Fee: AED 100 

The Talent Enterprise

Office S03 Second Floor Knowledge Village, Dubai, United Arab Emirates