Director , Media Relations and Tech

Senior-level Opportunities Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, the Middle East and Africa region has a pivotal role to play in driving global conversations – from environmental policies to religion and pop culture. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are clear leaders in this equation, although the wave of innovation continues to transcend borders.

APCO launched its regional operations in 2006 in Dubai. Growing from a team of less than 30 consultants, APCO today has over 200 people from 32 countries working in teams across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Manama and Kuwait. Our projects also take us to Cairo, Amman, Muscat, Beirut and other markets in the Levant.

With a portfolio of over 100 clients, APCO’s MEA offices deliver public relations and digital communication support across health, food, consumer & retail, finance, technology, real estate & hospitality, non-profit and public affairs practices. The region also offers specialized services, created for the Middle East, such as our Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model and our Compass and License to Operate offerings.

In addition, APCO’s global AI Comms Lab, a first-of-its-kind innovation center which utilizes artificial intelligence to build and protect the reputations of major global brands, governments and organizations is driven from the Dubai office.

From helping governments connect with the private sector and civil society, to supporting the Pope’s historic visit to the region and launching iconic brands and destinations, we understand the nuances of the Middle East and pride ourselves on making an impact

The Account Director is primarily responsible for managing client relationship(s), client projects by supervising project teams and delegate projects and tasks effectively.  The Associate Director is responsible for identifying the strategy which supports the client’s objectives, develops communication plans, properly scoping and pricing of work, as well as managing work activities and resources within agreed upon budgets. The Associate Director should identify and pursue opportunities for new business , show demonstrated strategic abilities, and have strong written and verbal communication skills.  

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR DUTIES:

  • Manages independently Client relationships to build confidence in APCO as a trusted business partner, while preserving APCO’s interest in the business relationship
  • Organizes teams around business development opportunities and manage proposal process ensuring quality of thinking, APCO’s work standards, and accurate scoping of work
  • Develops positive reputation and has visibility in within the APCO network and be viewed as a thought leader in the market
  • Establishes strong network across APCO and engages in productive exchanges with colleagues to promote knowledge sharing and business opportunities
  • Leads confidently internal and external client meetings, offering knowledgeable observations and suggestions; establishing credibility by insights shared; encouraging and motivating others to communicate ideas
  • Serves as principal client contact; knows when to leverage senior level relationships within APCO to further build the relationship within the client organization
  • Networks actively to identify new business prospects as routine activity
  • Demonstrates consistently APCO’s values in all interactions with colleagues, vendors and clients
  • Proactively identifies external meetings and trainings to attend to enhance sector knowledge and contacts
  • Demonstrates an understanding of effective project management, can effectively address issues, and understands how managing account engagements tie to APCO’s business success and makes changes as necessary to improve account performance
  • Participates in annual business planning, forecasting opportunity with clients managed
  • Takes ownership and actively engages in team member development; demonstrating thoughtful planning to increase individual skill sets by setting smart objectives
  • Meets or exceeds assigned utilization/AIP targets
  • Demonstrates performance in growing clients organically and actively pursues new opportunities with prospect
  • Shares opportunities across the network looking for the best resources to service the account (s)

CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

  • Develops relationship of trust with clients
  • Provides constructive advice and counsel about client issues and, when appropriate, to clients
  • Ensures agreement with client at the outset of what can be expected and within agreed timescales
  • Seeks client input to better understand needs and develops ideas for how to meet those needs
  • Communicates with clients on priorities and deliverables, and ensures team is up to date and has the information required to meet client needs
  • Adjusts to changes in scope initiated by client and communicates effectively to project team
  • Cautions clients about possible risks or downsides to certain courses of action
  • Addresses dissatisfied client or issues by remaining calm and professional
  • Anticipates clients’ needs and makes recommendations/proposals that reflect understanding of client issues
  • Strives to meet and exceed client expectations and instills the same across the team
  • Adjusts to changes in scope initiated by client and communicates effectively to project team 

TEAMWORK

  • Creates environment making all team members feel they are important contributors
  • Leads by example and demonstrates respect for all colleagues ensuring team members also understand need for culture of respect
  • Conducts inclusive team meetings and fosters an environment where participating is encouraged/expected.
  • Communicates and shares individual and team goals
  • Sets expectations for team achievements
  • Demonstrates appreciation of diversity on teams, and sees this as a strength to the team

ACCOUNT & PROJECT MANAGEMENT

  • Manages self and team to ensure that projects are progressing on schedule as expected
  • Ensures teams have skills and knowledge to deliver to clients expectations
  • Identifies resource needs for projects
  • Recognizes in good time when a task will not be completed within an agreed and expected timeframe and makes necessary changes to ensure client deliverables are not compromised
  • Effectively manages workload for self and team; helps more junior colleagues prioritize work if necessary.
  • Reports budget variances in timely manner
  • Completes pre-bill and client billing review responsibilities in time frames as determined by finance
  • Manages client expectations for deliverables
  • Effectively delegates tasks to team members in order to meet project objectives/milestones and deliverables
  • Assigns realistic workloads

 

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

 

  • Analyzes client requirements to scope opportunity and budget projects effectively and profitably
  • Uses tools to review project and account performance, making adjustments as necessary to achieve account performance expectations
  • Demonstrates understanding of office/practice business strategies and imparts to team members and more junior colleagues.
  • Sets self and team priorities on work that accurately reflect needs of business and clients
  • Ensures projects are billed accurately, and communicates to team members as need to ensure they have accurate budget and deadline information for their tasks
  • Considers, and where appropriate, notifies management of potential opportunities, risks or challenges that could impact the business.

 

LEADERSHIP

  • Provides effective and timely feedback regarding team member’s performance
  • Encourages innovation and new ideas
  • Allows individuals the autonomy to perform their jobs
  • Shares knowledge, experience and expertise to assist project members
  • Adopts an appropriate and tailored coaching style when managing staff
  • Provides positive and constructive feedback to their team members
  • Demonstrates behaviors in line with APCO’s values in their interactions with colleagues, vendors and clients.
  • Openly values diverse views and opinions
  • Respects and responds to diverse views, opinions and ideas
  • Supports company initiatives and communicates value to team members
  • Identifies talent within their team and recognizes their contributions

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

  • Actively participates in pitches and demonstrates knowledge of issues by contributing ideas and strategy to proposals and drafting RFPs
  • Actively participates in professional organization/networks by attending events/volunteering as appropriate
  • Develops network of professional contacts
  • Demonstrates knowledge of APCO's service offering by providing innovative ideas for growing existing business into other practice areas or finding new business.  Actively seeks knowledge about other service offerings
  • Contributes to proposals by committing to specific time and deliverables and balancing those against existing obligations
  • Demonstrates understanding of new business goals and objectives for the of department/practice areas/office
  • Encourages team members to work with colleagues and readily share contacts/opportunities as appropriate across the business

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Demonstrates commitment to the importance of professional growth for themselves and their team members
  • Participates in professional organizations (industry, sector, function) to maintain awareness of important issues and to build professional network
  • Coaches and develops team members and shares knowledge and feedback with others
  • Has active personal development plan for self and team members; sets smart objectives.
  • Seeks feedback from others for own self development plans
  • Actively participates in opportunities available to increase team knowledge and skills
  • Allows team members time to attend internal and external training
  • Attends external events and networks

AD-Hocks Assignment/reports:

  • As per the Direct Manager’s requests

Competencies

  • Client relationship skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Analytical skills 

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s  or Master’s Degree
  • 8 - 10 years relevant experience in a consulting firm, corporation, diplomatic post or media role  
  • Media Relations and Tech experience
  • Fluent in both English and Arabic
  • Ability to understand deep tech e.g. quantum; cybersecurity; directed energy; advanced materials; AI and/or UAE knowledge/innovation economy
  • Experience in account team management from personnel, operational and financial perspectives
  • Competence in integration of communications and marketing  activities into coherent programmes and projects, orchestrating content and influencer management
  • Planning and presentation writing skills
  • Track record in building and creating compelling content and stories relevant to UAE stakeholders that will resonate with audiences – not just announcement-driven
  • Capability to advise on communications tactics to maximise participation, engagement and  coverage across multiple channels and platforms
  • Proven track record in creating media partnerships and relationships to enable sell-in of soft as well as hard stories
  • Ability to leverage media relationships to suppress or reframe stories
  • Proven capacity to work in Arabic and English

Work Conditions

The physical abilities needed to perform the duties of this position, in addition to the office climate:

  • Office environment is general office setting
  • Some travel may be required
  • Must reside in Abu Dhabi or be willing to relocate
  • Willing to work additional or irregular hours as needed and allowed by local regulations