Planning (Account) Director

Last updated: January 2023

The Role:

Shape History is looking for candidates who have at least 7 years of account management experience, some of which has been at an agency, to be our new Planning/Account Director. 

Are you looking for a new challenge that gives you the chance to get creative and use your expertise to evolve a team who are passionate about social impact causes? Are you a natural leader who loves working with people to nurture their personal evolution?  Are you proactive, love problem solving and are incredibly organised? If so, this full-time London based role will be perfect for you. 

We’re Shape History, the social impact communications agency. We work with our partners –  charities, businesses, UN bodies, academic institutions, philanthropic organisations –  on some of the biggest issues facing humanity today, from Climate Change to Gender Equality, Digital Health, to Human Rights. We harness the power of communication to inspire inventive thinking and propel social impact leaders and changemakers to create a fairer world faster.  

We’re a full service agency, doing everything from running social media campaigns, placing stories in the news, creating beautiful, emotive content, and developing large scale strategies for how organisations can talk to and influence their target audiences. An understanding of our services as an agency, how to work collaboratively, identify issues and implement new processes are all part of this role. The successful candidate will be a team leader for our Planning team.

How you’ll be shaping history everyday…

  • Team leader: Lead the Planning Team (5) to elevate their ambitions and delivery of excellent account and project management. You will oversee delivery of all projects from an account management perspective, with the support of the Ops Lead.  You will motivate and mentor team members to hit goals and provide concrete feedback and positive reinforcement. You will also take a lead on weekly planning meetings, as well as working with other Directors to map out how the planning team can evolve.
  • Account direction: Lead 1-2 major partnerships (50% of week), ensuring the timely and successful delivery of high quality outcomes. This will involve building, maintaining and evolving effective communications, efficient timelines, and where necessary, facilitate consultation workshops. 
  • Partnership cultivation & stewardship: Work closely with our co-MD to develop a deep knowledge of our longer term partnerships and issue areas, building strong relationships with key partners, and leading on all new and extended project commercials across all partnerships.  
  • Managing budget conversations: Responsible for submitting all bills relating to your projects using our financial software platform Xero –  on occasion, required to signing off expenses entered by the Planning team. When budgets require negotiations with contractors or partners, it will be your responsibility to either guide the Planning team to take these conversations on, or you will lead them yourselves.
  • Conflict resolution: Key person to step onto partnerships to provide a calm, stabilising presence, fostering a solutions-first approach. If there is an internal conflict, you’re the person to neutralise situations, as well as answering any project-related questions that the team might have. 
  • Project overview: As our Planning Director, although you may not know the full nuances of each project, you will have a good understanding of what stages each project is in, and sometimes ask the difficult questions as to why deadlines have been missed or why projects have been delayed. This means you will likely join kick off meetings to gain a sense of who the partner we’re working with is, understanding their wants and needs of each project. 
  • Processes: Working closely with our Ops Lead to identify core processes and systems that need to be changed or evolved. It will be your responsibility to roll these out to the full Shape History team. In doing so, you will form a good relationship with the Strategy and Creative teams to understand their internal department processes. Attention to detail is key here and overseeing contracts and email correspondence on behalf of all planners will be important. 
  • Looking ahead: You will think ahead on all projects that you’re overseeing, ensuring that the full Planning team is doing the same and pre-empt anything that may not go according to plan, proactively coming up with solutions.

You’re good at…

  • Agency experience: You have at least 7+ years of account management experience,  ideally having worked at an agency and can manage working on multiple projects at once.
  • Reactive and proactive mindset: Experience in the agility and shifting requirements of working on multiple projects.
  • Team leader: You have mentored and managed a team before. You are a firm set of hands and have the ability to dive into difficult situations to present and present solutions that work for the Shape History team and our partners. 
  • Collaboration: Working collaboratively in a team, as well as independently, and willing to roll up your sleeves during short intensive sprints. 
  • Open-minded: Willing to step outside your comfort zone, and work on a variety of new and different outputs to evolve your skill sets. Thinking outside of the box is one of our values and pushing internal team members beyond their comfort zones is important. 
  • Confidence: This is key to step into potentially uncomfortable situations, take a lead on calls with perhaps limited prior knowledge and put the team and our partners at ease. 
  • Commercial mindset: You have worked in the sector and you are interested in how businesses operate, therefore recognise the importance of certain processes that need to be put in place and also need to evolve over time. You feel comfortable talking through proposals and budget negotiations.
  • Stress Management and Adaptability: You feel comfortable adapting your planned course of action when unexpected issues arise, and are able to effectively manage and surpass stressful situations. This involves managing a complex and reactive workload. 
  • Clarity and simplification: You present and organise information in a clear, engaging way that resonates and  creates clarity and alignment. 
  • Enthusiasm for project management: You bring a certain level of enthusiasm to the team, building morale and acting as a team leader when needed.
  • Proactivity: Taking ownership and autonomy over your work, solving problems that others may not have noticed, and going out of your way to continue learning and growing.
  • Time management: Effectively planning and organising how to divide your time between specific projects and activities, balancing the art of flexibility with realism.
  • Organisation: You know how to handle budgets and timelines and are more than familiar with organising both projects and people.

Extra bit of awesome: 

  • Knowledge and background in the social impact/charity/political sector, whether that be volunteering or working with charities, campaigns, NGOs, funders, or institutions.

Race Equity:

Diversifying leadership, both within our agency and our sector is a strategic priority in the coming years, at every level of Shape History. We are committed to having an inclusive culture in which everyone feels safe and supported to achieve their potential. There is a long way to go in implementing race equity in the sector and we have a robust strategy in place for delivering this at Shape History. 

As such, we actively encourage applications from underrepresented and minority groups, including those with lived experience of social issues we are working to address. 


Base salary of 45,000-55,000 + personal/company bonus (est. 5%-8% of your base salary)

Recruitment process:

As part of our process, we use blind recruitment in our first round of applications. This is part of a wider race equity strategy at Shape History. When applying for this role, you will be taken to a Typeform link where you’ll be asked a series of questions. 

Applications will close on Monday 13th February, 2023 at 6pm GMT. Following this the recruitment panel will create a long list of candidates, providing them with a short task to complete. Candidates will then be shortlisted for an interview.  We are looking to fill this role as soon as possible.