At the heart of every media planning team is a hard-working director. Media planning directors sit above the media planning team, pulling the strings to ensure that advertising campaigns have maximum impact.

These highly talented individuals work tirelessly and too often sit behind closed doors, not receiving the recognition and accolades they so rightly deserve.

At B&T, we want to shout out to the Media Planning Directors who too often go unnoticed. So, without further ado, here are B&T’s top 10 Media Planning Directors!

Like Best of the Best? Check out the best of Consumer PRs here.

10. Ashleigh Carter, head of client service and planning – Atomic 212
Carter started in the industry in 2011 when she started working as a media planner and buyer at Cut Above Media.

After a stint at MediaCom Australia, Carter began working at Atomic 212 in 2014 and is now their head of client service and planning.

She has over 12 years of experience as a group account director and media planner working across the FMCG, travel, health and wellness, and financial sectors within the AU and NZ markets.

Carter’s career spans both brand & acquisition campaigns, along with experience managing both internal & external stakeholder relationships.

Carter previously spoke with B&T about her passion for Gender equality and supporting small disrupter businesses that are doing good for the environment.

9. Laura Fell, head of connections planning – Mindshare
Fell is the head of connections planning at Mindshare.

Her career spans over ten years, having worked in the media and communications planning space, specialising in campaign strategy, brand storytelling and stakeholder relations.

Throughout her career, Fell has worked across Sky in the UK, Ansible Australia and UM Australia, among others.

Mindshare recently won a pitch for the Unilever account effective January 2024 and valued at $40 million dollar.

8. Michelle Tempest, group business director – Half Dome
Tempest kickstarted her career in 2012, shortly after graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Communications in Journalism and Public Relations.

Since then, she has worked in several marketing and media management roles across Starcom, Gatecrasher Advertising and Skydive Australia. Tempest is currently the group business director at Half Dome.

In 2022, only a few months after stepping into her current role, Tempest led her team to win the Retail Team of the Year for Asia Pacific in the Microsoft Advertising Partner Awards. She was also shortlisted for the B&T Women In Media Awards 2021.

7. Christopher Carey, group planning director – Carat
Carey started his career in a graduate position, learning media planning and buying skills across television, print, radio, out-of-home and cinema.

He worked his way up in the industry across several agencies and is now the group planning director at Carat Australia.

Some of Carey’s more notable clients throughout his career include Holden, Sportsbet, Network Ten, REA, IGA Metcash, AV Jennings, General Motors Holden, Schweppes, Energy Australia, Australian Super, Nintendo and Beacon Lighting.

6. Alex Williams, head of planning and effectiveness – PHD
Williams has worked at PHD since 2019, initially as a planning director before moving up the rankings into the head of planning and effectiveness role.

He started his career as one of the first UK media apprentices in 2011 in partnership with UK-based creative training specialists, The Creative Alliance & Modus.

Williams’ career spans over 11 years, having led the planning for clients such as Google, Samsung, PepsiCo and the National Health Service.

5. Nell Corbett, group business director – Havas Media Group
Corbett has just stepped into the role of group business director at the Havas Media Group, but she first started with the company in 2020 as a business director.

Before this, Corbett was in several media directing roles across Spark Foundry, the7stars and Carat UK.

In her current role, Corbett leads the day-to-day account management across various clients, including COTY Luxury and Consumer divisions, JDE and Red Bull.

4. Jack Graham, national head of planning – Essence Mediacom

Graham may have only started in his current role in February this year, but he is no stranger to the media planning world, having worked in the industry since 2012.

Graham started as a media planner at the Manning Entertainment Centre before moving into other planning roles at Authentic Entertainment Australia and UM Worldwide.

As the national head of planning at Essence Mediacom, he heads up a team of 15 planners across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Graham possesses a broad knowledge of marketing science, business strategy, and digital technology and can clearly see communications trends and solutions.

3. Kate Smither, owner – The Tall Planner
Smither has over 20 years of experience working in the industry, starting as a communications director in 2003.

Smither founded The Tall Planner in 2019 to bring straightforward strategy to clients, operating under the belief that simple strategy should be helpful and accessible to clients of all shapes and sizes.

The Tall Planner has tackled problems from positioning to pitching, training to thought leadership with innovation and research projects along the way.

While working as a global planning director at Ogilvy in London, her strategic leadership on the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign led to the campaign winning over 40 awards, including the Cannes Titanium Grand Prix and Cannes Effectiveness Lions.

2. Sophie Langton, head of planning and connections – Spark Foundry
Langton began her career in the media space back in 2009, working as a research assistant intern at Southern Cross Austereo.

From here, she moved through various media and planning roles across Match Media, Blue 449 and Leo Burnett.

She is currently the head of planning and connections at Spark Foundry. In this role, she leads the agency planning products and related learning and development programs.

Langton has a passion for connecting the seemingly unconnectable dots of the industry with a particular interest in bringing together media, creativity and measurement.

1. Ryan Haeusler, head of communication design – Initiative
It was in a lecture on Consumer Psychology that Ryan Haeusler discovered his love for advertising.

He has been working in the advertising industry for over 11 years, starting as an account director at OMD before moving to Initiative in 2015.

Haeusler has worked his way up the food chain at Initiative, starting as a client manager and moving through roles to his current position as the head of communication design.

Over the years, Haeusler’s clients have come from diverse industries, including financial services, entertainment, retail, pharmaceutical, automotive, FMCG and Toys.

Article originally published on B&T