APG names first executive director

Why the planning organization has gone beyond volunteers to reach its goals.


The Account Planning Group of Canada, the non-profit industry organization supporting the development of the country’s planning discipline, has announced the latest additions to its board of directors and its first paid employee.

Kim Koster has been hired as executive director of APG, and will work with the organization’s board of directors to help prioritize and execute its goals and activities.

Mark Tomblin, chief strategy office at Juniper Park\TBWA and the APG chair, says bringing Koster on will help the organization achieve some of the goals it has set out for itself that are outside the capabilities of a volunteer board of directors.

“Everybody will have the best intentions, but between the demands of work and life, those intentions can disappear if you’re not careful,” he says. “It’s hard to be a player if you don’t have an executive director, and that’s the person that will hold our feet to the fire and get stuff done.”

Some of what the APG is considering getting done is expanding its training programs, speaking events and other professional development initiatives, as well as expanding its offering to have more of a presence in cities outside of Toronto.

“We knew it was going to take time to expand our offering in other cities,” Tomblin says. “But what the board felt at the end of last year was if we needed to step up our game. We want to be the base of planning in Canada. I do think planning is coming of age and there’s been a real move towards recognizing its importance from both agencies and clients. It needs to have a proper voice at the table, and if we’re going to get serious about being that voice, we need to do it now as things are picking up.”

Koster was a long-time employee of Leo Burnett, where she held a range of planning and account roles over 20 years with the agency, including leading its global P&G group and serving as managing partner in Toronto. Since leaving Leo, she has worked as an independent consultant and a senior brand strategist at Brand Matters. She is also currently the chair of the CMA’s Brand Strategy Council.

In addition to Koster’s hiring, the APG has also announced eight new board members that will be added to its board for 2017/2018:

Andrew Carty, co-founder/partner, strategy, Send & Receive
Andre Louis, head of strategy, The&Partnership
Ian Westworth, VP of planning & innovation, Grey
Jeff George, founder, The Courage Lab
Julien Coulter, VP and head of strategic planning and research, National PR
Matt Foulk, VP and group planning director, Leo Burnett
Nikita Dighe, engagement planner, Mediacom
Penny Norman, planning director, Pound & Grain