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Pioneering Event Management: Insights from MANGUSTEEN’s Founder and CEO

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Pioneering Event Management: Insights from MANGUSTEEN’s Founder and CEO

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Malik Shishtawi
CEO & Founder – MANGUSTEEN
Malik brings 20 years of unparalleled experience in the realms of Events, Marketing, and Business Management. Throughout his illustrious career, Malik has worked with leading international groups including WPP and Omnicom, showcasing his capability to navigate and lead within the global business landscape. Currently, he stands at the helm of MANGUSTEEN, a pioneering events firm he founded, which now operates across Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Under his leadership, MANGUSTEEN has become synonymous with innovation and excellence in the industry.

Malik’s entrepreneurial spirit is further evidenced by his role in founding several landmark events in the Middle East, including: The Arab Social Media Forum,The Arab Fintech Forum and The Arab SportsTech Forum. His visionary approach and contributions to the industry have not gone unnoticed. Malik has been adorned with numerous prestigious international awards, with the most recent accolade being recognized by the Eventex Global Awards as one of the TOP50 Virtual Meetings and Events Innovators. He is also an active member in top 3 global event associations: ICCA, UFI & IAEE.
 

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You’ve had an extensive career spanning over 20 years in the events and marketing industry. Can you share some of the most pivotal moments that have defined your journey?

Malik Shishtawi: Over the past 20 years, my journey in the events and marketing industry has been marked by several pivotal moments. One of the most defining was founding MANGUSTEEN, which provided a platform to blend innovative event concepts with creative experiences. Another significant milestone was the successful execution of the Arab Fintech Forum, showcasing the region’s growing influence in the fintech sector. Collaborating closely with my managing partner, Aziz Louksah, to secure high-profile partnerships and deliver outstanding event experiences has been instrumental in our growth and success. Finally, being recognized by the Eventex Global Awards as one of the TOP50 Virtual Meetings and Events Innovators was a milestone that reinforced my commitment to excellence and innovation during the pandemic period.

As the Founder and CEO of MANGUSTEEN, what is the core vision and mission of the company, and how do you ensure that your team aligns with these values?

Malik Shishtawi: At MANGUSTEEN, our core vision is to be the leading provider of innovative and impactful events that drive business growth and foster community engagement. Our mission is to deliver high-quality, memorable experiences that exceed client expectations and build lasting relationships. To align with these values, we prioritize clear communication, continuous professional development, and a collaborative work environment. Regular team meetings, workshops, and feedback sessions keep everyone focused on our shared goals. My partner Aziz plays a crucial role by spearheading our training programs and ensuring our team stays aligned with our mission. Meanwhile, I ensure that the team remains motivated and committed to our vision.

 In a competitive industry, what do you believe sets MANGUSTEEN apart from other event management companies, and how do you continue to maintain that edge?

Malik Shishtawi: MANGUSTEEN stands out due to our holistic approach to event management, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology, creative design, and strategic marketing. Our competitive edge lies in our ability to customize solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs, coupled with our extensive network in the GCC region. We maintain this edge by staying ahead of industry trends, investing in the latest technologies, and fostering strong relationships with key stakeholders. Our expertise in strategic partnerships and our ability to identify emerging trends have been crucial in sustaining our competitive advantage.

The Arab Social Media Forum, Arab Fintech Forum, and Arab SportsTech Forum are significant events you’ve founded. What inspired you to create these events, and how do you see their impact on the respective industries?

Malik Shishtawi: The inspiration behind creating these forums was to establish platforms for knowledge exchange, networking, and collaboration among industry leaders and innovators. Each event addresses the unique challenges and opportunities within its respective sector, fostering a community of forward-thinking professionals. The impact of these events has been substantial, driving industry conversations, facilitating partnerships, and promoting growth and development in the social media, fintech, and sports tech sectors throughout the MENA region.

Building and maintaining strong client relationships is crucial in the events industry. What strategies do you employ at MANGUSTEEN to ensure high client satisfaction and long-term partnerships?

Malik Shishtawi: At MANGUSTEEN, we prioritize understanding our clients’ needs and delivering tailored solutions that exceed their expectations. Our approach hinges on regular communication, transparency, and reliability. We also emphasize post-event follow-ups and feedback to continually enhance our services. Building trust through consistent, high-quality service and demonstrating a genuine commitment to our clients’ success has been central to maintaining long-term partnerships. Our focus on client relations and proactive approach to addressing client needs have been instrumental in fostering these strong, enduring partnerships.

Being recognized by Eventex Global Awards Multiple Times -including 2020, 2023 and 2024 editions- is a significant achievement. How do you feel about this recognition, and what does it mean for your career?

Malik Shishtawi: Being recognized multiple times by the Eventex Global Awards is a tremendous honor and a testament to the hard work and creativity of the MANGUSTEEN team. This recognition validates our innovative approach to event management and our ability to adapt to the industry’s evolving needs. It reinforces our commitment to excellence and motivates us to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in event experiences.

With the increasing importance of technology in the events industry, how does MANGUSTEEN leverage digital tools and platforms to enhance event experiences and operations?

Malik Shishtawi: MANGUSTEEN leverages a variety of digital tools and platforms to streamline event planning and execution, enhance attendee engagement, and gather valuable data insights. We utilize advanced event management software, along with VR, AR, XR, pixel mapping, projection mapping, and live streaming technologies to create immersive and interactive experiences. By integrating these tools into our workflow, we deliver seamless and engaging events that meet the high expectations of our clients and attendees.

MANGUSTEEN operates across Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. What are some of the key factors you consider when expanding into new markets, and how do you tailor your approach to each region?

Malik Shishtawi: When expanding into new markets, we consider factors such as cultural nuances, market demand, and the regulatory environment. We conduct thorough market research to understand local preferences and build relationships with key stakeholders. Our approach is tailored to each region, customizing our services to align with local customs and expectations while maintaining the high standards of quality and innovation that MANGUSTEEN is known for. We are also exploring expansion opportunities in new destinations, including Bahrain, Malaysia, and Rwanda.

The events industry is constantly evolving. What are some of the latest trends in the industry that you are excited about, and how do you plan to incorporate them into your future projects?

Malik Shishtawi: Some of the latest trends in the events industry that excite me include the use of artificial intelligence for personalized attendee experiences and the growing importance of sustainability. At MANGUSTEEN, we plan to embrace these trends by utilizing AI-driven tools to enhance engagement and implementing sustainable practices in our event planning and execution. These trends align with our commitment to innovation and our vision for the future of event management. With the collaborative efforts of MANGUSTEAM and our strategic partners worldwide, we are well-positioned to lead the way in adopting these industry trends.

MANGUSTEEN is a member of top event industry associations including IAEE, ICCA, and UFI. Can you explain what role your membership plays in MANGUSTEEN’s positioning as a key player in the industry and what value these associations add to MANGUSTEEN?

Malik Shishtawi: Being a member of leading event industry associations significantly enhances MANGUSTEEN’s positioning as a key player in the industry. These memberships grant us access to a global network of professionals, industry insights, and best practices essential for staying ahead in a competitive landscape.

The value these associations bring to MANGUSTEEN is multifaceted. They offer professional development opportunities through educational programs, workshops, and conferences, ensuring our team remains at the forefront of industry trends and innovations. Additionally, being part of these prestigious organizations bolsters our credibility and reliability in the eyes of clients and partners.

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