Diriyah Gate Development Authority appoints chief marketing, communications officer

Danielle Atkins will build and lead the marketing, communications and entertainment division of the DGDA. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 February 2020

Diriyah Gate Development Authority appoints chief marketing, communications officer

  • Danielle Atkins: Diriyah is the birthplace of the Kingdom and a symbol of the beauty, generosity and resilience of the Saudi nation and its people
  • Atkins: The vast scale of the DGDA project, and the potential to build and empower communities across the region, are hugely exciting for me

RIYADH: Danielle Atkins has been appointed chief marketing and communications officer of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA).

Now in the execution phase of its 7.1 million square meter masterplan, Diriyah Gate represents one of the most important Saudi giga-projects currently in development.

It is a key element in the Vision 2030 reform plan’s aim to modernize the Kingdom, engage Saudi citizens and welcome guests from all over the world.

Atkins will build and lead the marketing, communications and entertainment division of the DGDA, with a view to placing the Kingdom’s historic hub firmly on the map as a leading destination for culture and leisure both in Saudi Arabia and on the global stage.

Her team will be responsible for showcasing more than three centuries of Saudi Arabia’s rich history, and creating new narratives to illustrate the transformation across multiple disciplines spanning arts and culture, entertainment, tourism and hospitality.

“Diriyah is the birthplace of the Kingdom and a symbol of the beauty, generosity and resilience of the Saudi nation and its people. I’m hugely excited and honored to be part of a team at the forefront of realizing Vision 2030,” she said. 

“The vast scale of the DGDA project, and the potential to build and empower communities across the region, are hugely exciting for me. This is a dream role because it encapsulates my passion to inspire a new generation of women in leadership roles in Saudi Arabia, and to preserve and promote the amazing heritage and culture of Diriyah by showing it to the world.” 

Her appointment further reinforces the new wave of progressive female leadership in the Kingdom, in line with its rapid transformation and vision to equip women with vocational skills.

Key to the success of this ambition is to encourage the appointment of talented women into senior leadership roles, who can act as mentors and nurture female talent in in the workplace across the Kingdom. 

“I’m delighted to welcome yet another world-class female talent to the (DGDA) team. With the support of top-tier visionary team members who embody the mission of the organization, we can continue our success creating one of the world’s greatest tourism destinations, cultural icons and gathering places,” said CEO Jerry Inzerillo.

“Dany did a brilliant job at Kodak and Beats by Dre, and I look forward to her contribution to the DGDA family. Dany also is a shining role-model for women empowerment and mentorship, which is one of the cornerstones of Vision 2030.”

Previously, Atkins served as Kodak’s chief brand and marketing officer during the brand’s turnaround, spearheading global marketing initiatives, pivoting Kodak into new categories, and delivering increased revenue across the company’s commercial and consumer businesses.

Prior to Kodak, she played an integral role at Beats by Dre, where she was at the forefront of scaling the brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

She held senior marketing positions at Nokia, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Innovision, where she was responsible for dressing London for the 2012 Olympic Games, including the installation of the Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge. Atkins is from the UK and holds a BA from University College London.


Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

The growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, are some factors that help the authorities combat qat abuse. (SPA/Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

  • The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list

JAZAN: Efforts to draw the younger generation in the Kingdom’s Jazan region away from the harmful and addictive substance qat are succeeding, with even the crop being replaced by coffee trees to support the booming coffee business.
Qat, a plant that is native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is a stimulant that triggers excitement and alertness. But it can also cause anxiety, insomnia and aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions.
It grew in the Jazan region along with coffee trees. But the strength of the coffee industry, combined with an increased awareness about the harmful nature of qat, has led to its gradual disappearance.
The governor of Al-Dayer, Nayef bin Lebdah, said the people of Jazan were proud of the Khawlani coffee bean. He also said that coffee beans were much more economically beneficial than qat.
“All newly planted qat trees have been completely uprooted,” he told Arab News. “All the people have found that planting coffee beans is much more feasible and rewarding than qat. Attempts to smuggle qat have also dropped thanks to the security efforts along the border with Yemen. Add to that, young people themselves have concluded that their future will be in coffee beans.”
Teacher Yahiya Shareef Al-Maliki viewed qat as an “intruder’’ and said the coffee tree was the region’s indigenous product.
“In 1970, there were only four people who used to chew qat in the entire governorate,” he told Arab News. “It then started to become common among the people here in 1995 due to opening the borders that caused importing qat from abroad.”

FASTFACTS

• In 2014, people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate.

• Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.

• The governorate replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.

The increase in qat cultivation affected the planting of coffee beans, he added, but in 2014 people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate. “Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.”
People in Jazan used to waste their time and money on qat, he said. They would gather and chew qat for many hours, he added, hours that could have been spent working. But the growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, was a factor in combating qat abuse, as young people were able to access more opportunities and improve their prospects.
The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list.
“The preparation of the file related to the skills and knowledge pertaining to the cultivation of Khawlani coffee in the Jazan region has been completed before presenting it to UNESCO,” the Kingdom’s Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah said. If listed, he added, it would be the Kingdom’s fourth intangible cultural heritage and eighth among the total heritage items included in the UNESCO heritage list.
Saudi columnist Hamood Abu Talib said the Jazan region was the only place the beans were grown. “This festival (Coffee Beans Festival), which is being held in collaboration with the governorate (of Jazan), the farmers themselves and Aramco, is an important national economic investment,” he told Arab News.
“Many countries’ economies, such as Brazil and Ethiopia depend mainly on this product — coffee. It needs professional marketing through the media to attract visitors from inside and outside the Kingdom. This is an essential strategic transformation.
“We know that the Faifa Mountains Development and Reconstruction Authority’s strategic goal was to uproot the harmful trees of qat and replace them with profitable crops that are beneficial to the farmers as well as the whole region. These were also intruding, invasive trees. We replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.”