General information

Agency: Initiative

Function: Strategy

Location: Sydney, Australia

Job Ref#: 12994

Description & Requirements

Position Summary

The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Initiative APAC is a member of the senior leadership team, who is responsible for partnering the regional President with creating, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives within the agency.  

You are the champion of the agency’s positioning and a beacon for thought leadership, creativity and innovation. 

Unlike other agencies where strategy is siloed or reduced to a few ‘sell in slides’, at Initiative the CSO role is akin to a ‘ECD’ in a creative agency. The CSO has the ultimate responsibility for the end-to-end quality of pitches and presentations we make to clients.  This means they’re not only accountable for the strategy, but the entire integrated product, integrating and storytelling across data, analytics, strategy, ideas and implementation that is grounded in a growth outcome for clients. 


You have a passion for people, brands, growth and ideas and an innate, almost insatiable curiosity for culture in every sense. You believe that brands are driven by the desire to understand the changing world and people’s subsequent shifting motivations and behaviors. 


The absolute focus for this role is the quality and creativity of the work. This requires the ability to identify, embrace and sell new thinkingExcellent presentation skills and leadership behaviors are essential to the job.  


While the CSO is not directly accountable for driving revenue, they are experts at understanding our entire product. able to spot and sell in opportunities that benefit the client and help drive incremental revenue for Initiative and Mediabrands 


This role will also be directly accountable for providing Strategic thought leadership to the agency. The Strategy Teams’ work is rooted in genuine insight and business understanding, providing on the ground training where necessary and helping manage them to develop new strategic approaches and frameworks in collaboration with the Analytics, Communications Design, Partnerships and Client teams.  


The APAC CSO reports into the Initiative APAC President, with a dotted line into the Global CSO.  

Key Responsibilities

Product, Client and New Business  

  • Lead the end-to-end product on new business pitches across all Initiative offices 
  • Influence the global product based on understanding of APAC needs  
  • Champion the development of new product suite, driving consultancy offerings across APAC    
  • Be the standard bearer for the Initiative positioning ‘Cultural Velocity’ across all strategic work across the clients within the agency
  • Motivate the team to produce innovative, culturally relevant, and best-in-class connections planning
  • Evolving client deliverables to facilitate better work 
  • Identify provocative thought leadership opportunities that solve client business problem and reinforcing Initiative’s positioning
  • Work alongside the APAC President to develop Initiative IQ, the consulting business of the agency.


  • Lead and guide local market CSOs to adapt the global product to fit local market needs   
  • Oversee the strategic output and time allocation of the Strategy team. 
  • Identify and facilitate the training needs of the Strategy team. 
  • Attract, develop and retain the best strategic talent to ensure Initiative’s market leading position. 
  • Provide and/or guide strategic best practices, internally and externally 
  • Bring fresh thinking, creativity and inspiration into the Strategic Process
  • Work with the Strategy leads to deliver executable, relevant, ideas with the potential for fame/award entry
  • Train, guide and assist the Strategy and Client teams in development and packaging of ideas
  • Lead ideation team sessions in conjunction with the Communications Design team and relevant SBUs to generate creative and compelling communications ideas.
  • Positively collaborate with SBU and independent creative partners, contributing to the client work
  • Partner with Analytics team to develop POVs on research, understanding and measurement solutions, inputting into the development of cutting-edge proprietary planning, research and reporting models required to compete and dominate in the marketplace
  • Work with the Regional and Global CSO to develop new products, tools and ways of working to improve the product 


  • Drive the development and usage of the Cultural Analytical Process/Tools to help teams find new insights that unlock growth 
  • Understand Mediabrands and Initiative’s complete tool set and spot opportunities to drive OOS revenue together with client leadership 
  • Be a spokesperson for the agency and promote its visibility and credentials to clients, journalists and the industry in general 
  • Participate in the development of relevant tools and models, which can be replicated across the Initiative network 
  • Leverage client challenges and organisational capabilities to change the way that Initiative does business, elevating the stature of media, providing tangible demonstrations of our ability to add real incremental value to our clients’ businesses 


  • 60% Product, Client and New Business
  • 20% Internal
  • 20% Commercial 


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):  


Client and New business 

  • New business conversion and growth  
  • Client satisfaction and feedback  
  • Case studies and external awards  



  • Team churn and happiness scores  
  • Usage of key planning tools  


  • Commercial 

  • Diversified revenue growth, particularly through Initiative IQ 

  • Brand reputation  

  • PR / trade coverage 

Desired Skills & Experience

  1. Must Have Experience… 

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field or equivalent work experience 
  • 15+ years in integrated planning role in media, creative, innovation or communications discipline (analytics, digital, content, invention, social, activation)
  • Native in spoken and written English  


  1. Must Demonstrate Track Record… 

  • A passion and history in delivering actionable audience and culturally oriented insights. 
  • Able to articulate unique and inspiring connections strategy with single-minded clarity.
  • A driver of change and innovation; demonstrated ability to think ahead and culturally relevant, digitally savvy; evidence of having made an impact on clients’ business by selling in and activating innovative approaches and strategies; fearless in breaking new ground and resolving challenges.
  • An advocate for data inspired planning, has a track record of partnering to drive the application of analytics for clients.
  • Understands technology and digital opportunities, has helped clients create digitally centric work and transform their marketing practices over time. 
  • An energetic leader with the natural ability to motivate and get the best out of others with a history of building and motivating strong, successful teams.  


  1. Also Important to Have 

  • An entrepreneurial mindset, balanced with outstanding leadership skills. 
  • A visionary and trusted client partner who focused on adding business value for clients, balancing the needs of local clients with the interests of critical regional and global relationships. 
  • A proven collaborator within a network, who is able to navigate and influence across complex matrix managed teams and group structures.

About Us

Initiative is different to other media agencies.
We are not trapped by a legacy structure primarily centered on paid advertising. Instead, we are liberated by a new world structure designed to deliver highly differentiated and highly effective communications strategies for our clients.
We are the world’s fastest growing media agency built upon the strongest strategic capability of any agency in the market. Core to this strategic proposition is the belief that the faster a brand can move through culture the more relevant it can become.
We call this Cultural Velocity ™.
Our process is designed to create ideas that move through culture through unique insight, market leading analytics and strategic media brilliance.
Our new world model is comprised of “craft centers” – Client Advice and Management, Strategy, Communications Design, Partnership and Culture, Insights & Analytics.