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Who We Are

In 2005 two total strangers landed in London together to study Marketing Management (University of Surrey) and Human Computer Interaction (University College London). They met at Heathrow before they could even take their luggage from the belt. Now that we look back, that is when Awesome & Authentic was really born, in London, in 2005. Over the following year, our conversations around Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Marketing/Branding were interwoven, complex and thought-provoking. Little did we know that the roots of our experience design consultancy laid firm in those conversations.

We kickstarted our partnership as Obscure UX in 2007. The name ‘Obscure’ was inspired from the hidden details so often missed in the human experience and design. 2020 however has completely changed the world we all live in. We need to reemerge from the ashes (of sorts) and form a new reality, a new normal as some say, a new branding as was needed. Awesome & Authentic originated at this turning point for humans, business, and machines to embrace a new era of radical awethenticity as we rise, emerge and rebuild from the ashes, loss and collective grief in the wake of a global pandemic and climate change crisis.

Syma “Sam” Ahmed

2020 started with bushfires here in Australia and then the great accelerator (COVID-19) catapulted me into transforming my career to become the founder of Awesome & Authentic, gladly dropping out of the PhD (marketing) track that I was on. I am on a mission to make ‘awethenticity’ the new currency of the human experience. Come walk with me!

With a few publications under my belt, I have over a decade of experience in brand strategy and CX consulting, academia, market research and advertising. I’ve taught at World top 50 universities and spoken at various conferences (including TEDx, INSEAD Business Research Conference, World Competition Day and more). A passionate customer advocate, I galvanised relevant stakeholders to ensure that McDonald’s changes a misleading advertising campaign all across Pakistan. Previously, being a co-founder of a leading experience design consultancy, our client portfolio included Fortune 500 firms, bootstrapped and VC funded startups and a range of companies in the middle. The industries I have served include technology, engineering, healthcare, FMCGs, pharmaceuticals, higher education, oil and chemicals, paints and non-profit organisations.

I am a Certified Practising Marketer (CPM), a peak professional designation for marketing in Australia, and an Associate Member of the the Australian Marketing Institute. I hold an MSc in Marketing Management (University of Surrey, UK), Masters in Tourism, Hotel and Event Management (The University of Queensland, Australia), an MBA in Banking & Finance (Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan). Deeply passionate about mental health and design, I am certified in Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health (University of Sydney, Australia) and Design Thinking (IDEO).

After living in seven cities and three continents as local, I am currently based in Sydney, Australia. A consummate multitasker, I have mastered juggling my roles as an entrepreneur, a mum of two awesome humans and a cat, and a wife.

At Awesome & Authentic, we have a policy to use our time to “be the change we want to see in the world”. I volunteer and work with the communications team of a California based non-profit organisation committed to cultivating excellent mental health among academics worldwide. I am also working to advance the agenda of minority women in Australia to live to their potential in the corporate world and personal lives.

More about me at my personal website

I don’t tweet if I can help it @symaahmed

Instagram is a collection of small moments of my life @symaahmed

I avoid Facebook (and perhaps you should too!)

I am on LinkedIn (

I LOVE email so please contact me on

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