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Zeina El Kaissi

Zeina El Kaissi

Chief Digital Director, Smart Dubai Office

Former Industry/Office: Public Sector, Beirut
Alumnus since 2009

2020

Within a week of graduating from the American University of Beirut’s School of Business in 2007, Zeina El Kaissi was in the Abu Dhabi offices of Strategy&, assigned to a project in the government transportation sector. Zeina had arrived in Abu Dhabi in the midst of major government reform, and for the next two and a half years she worked on transformation projects in several public-sector industries. Her work spanned diverse fields such as education reform, transportation planning and implementation, business policy advocacy, and private-sector and SME growth and innovation policy and planning.

In 2009, Zeina joined the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) as project manager. With her rich consulting experience, she led projects that included developing the five-year innovation plan for Abu Dhabi and designing an innovation promotion agency. She managed the development of several economic policies in partnership with universities such as INSEAD and Oxford University. She also found time in her days to complete a demanding MBA, earning her degree from London Business School in 2011.

Zeina moved on to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council in 2011, the emirate’s highest central authority. There she led the government-wide strategic planning and performance management of over 50 public-sector agencies.

In 2014, Zeina moved to Dubai to become a senior consultant at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, where she led city-wide projects aimed at increasing the quality of life of Dubai residents and the economic competitiveness of the city regionally and globally. There, she also led the development of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy launched by the Prime Minister in 2015.

In 2016, Zeina joined the Smart Dubai Office where she assumes today the position of chief digital director spearheading Dubai-wide strategies and implementations of disruptive technologies and the positioning of Dubai as a global and industry leader in the smart city field.

In particular, she is currently leading the implementation of the globally recognized Dubai Paperless Strategy, which aims to digitize all city services, saving residents time and money spent on paper and visits to government centers. Another initiative she helped launch in 2017 was the Dubai Blockchain Strategy; she has been leading its implementation since then.

Zeina is a technology entrepreneur in the field of city experiences. She has published studies and perspectives on a wide range of topics including technology, public sector governance, and innovation.

In her personal life, Zeina loves spending time with her husband and Strategy& alum Michel Khoury, and their two sons Danny and Roy. Her downtime favorites include reading psychology, debating the role of Government, and watching sci-fi movies.

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