Job Title: Associate Director, Strategic Communications
Reports To: AVP, Strategic Communications and External Affairs
FLSA Status: Full-time/Exempt
The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) is a national nonprofit with offices in Oakland, California and Washington, D.C. We are a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and racial equity in higher education. Our staff combines expertise in research and data, laws and regulations, change management, and the policymaking process. For more information, please visit the website: www.ticas.org
The Associate Director, Strategic Communications supports and administers a comprehensive array of internal and external communications efforts. This position also develops marketing, education, and outreach materials that enhance awareness of TICAS’ research, programs and services while advancing TICAS’s brand across key audiences. The position includes media relations, managing internal publication deadlines, and supporting the creation of digital content.
Position reports to the AVP, Strategic Communications and External Affairs.
Essential Job Functions
Media Relations and Communications
- Manage national- and state-level media relations activities, including press calls and pitches, preparing staff for interviews, press relationships, and analyzing relevant news coverage.
- Develop and execute distribution plans for TICAS-branded projects and publications.
- Identify press opportunities that strategically place TICAS as a thought-leader in the higher education space, including (but not limited to) op-eds, letters to the editor, exclusive stories, byline articles, podcast appearances, and blog posts.
- Draft and edit press materials, action alerts, fact sheets, and online content in a way that clearly conveys TICAS’ policy priorities and complex research findings.
- Edit and proofread reports and policy documents and oversee their formatting and production.
- Represent TICAS publicly at selected meetings and public events.
- Serve as a spokesperson for general press inquiries and requests.
- Work cross-functionally with programmatic leads to develop and execute TICAS-hosted events (in-person, hybrid, and virtual).
- Provide media training and support (including drafting talking points and social media strategy) for TICAS’ programmatic leads to help TICAS’s public presence and position them as leading experts in the field.
- Manage all distribution activities of TICAS external-facing projects, including research briefs, papers, blogs, factsheets, one-pagers, and other external documents.
- Develop, design, and execute A – Z project planning for each publication release, including compiling documents, establishing timelines, tracking milestones, and analyzing metrics.
- Responsible for updating deliverables and timelines within TICAS’ project management platforms.
- Assign tasks to communication and programmatic teams to effectively meet project deadlines and milestones.
- Liaise with program leads to plan distribution process and identifies communications tactics that best suit the overall impact of publication.
- Manage overall publication calendar and adjust timelines as needed to ensure quality and timely release schedules.
Digital Content Design Support and Development
- Assist web design and development projects and ensure TICAS-owned websites are up to date.
- Collaborate with TICAS program leads and management teams to provide regular updates to respective webpages.
- Serve as co-administrator for TICAS-owned social media accounts, approve written and graphic content, collaborate with Communications Associate on content schedule, and facilitate posts for special events or initiatives.
Vendor and Contract Management
- Manage vendor relationships and contract processes with internal staff and key outsourced vendors, including (but not limited to) media relations, web sites, graphic design, printing and database software.
- Serve as main point of contact for vendors to communicate project parameters, deadlines, changes and updates, and other pertinent details needed for successful delivery of products.
- Ensure all external contracts adhere to TICAS policies and procedures.
Staff Management and Development
- In conjunction with the AVP, Strategic Communications, provide supervision, coaching, and delegation of tasks to the Communications Associate, including delegation of work responsibilities, training in those responsibilities, and monitoring the Associate’s successful completion of their responsibilities.
- Communicate job expectations, including planning, monitoring, and reviewing results and performance aligned with project-related goals and expectations.
- Participate with the AVP, Strategic Communications, in the coaching/feedback of the Associate and contribute to their annual performance evaluations, including identifying training and development opportunities and assisting in the setting of the incumbent’s monthly and annual goals and objectives.
- Provide feedback to the AVP, Strategic Communications regularly on Associate’s performance and contribute feedback to the annual salary/merit discussions.
- Foster an inclusive organizational culture that respects colleagues’ diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise.
- Engage in training and professional development to improve management practices.
Education and Qualifications Required
- Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience/education, in journalism, communications, public relations, or other relevant field, plus at least 5 years of progressively more responsible and complex communications experience, preferably in policy and/or advocacy environment.
- Minimum of 2 years of project management experience.
- Intermediate/expert proficiency in MS Word and Excel.
- Demonstrated commitment to and focus on inclusion and equity, with ability to build and nurture relationships with diverse colleagues and stakeholders, in a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all.
- Foundational knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, and HTML.
- Proficient in social media, online advocacy tools, and contact management databases.
- Excellent writing and editing skills, with proven ability to describe complex policy issues clearly and accurately for different audiences.
- Understanding of public policy and legislative processes at the federal and state level
- Established relationships with reporters and editors at national, state, regional, and trade media outlets
- Effective delegation skills to empower and motivate direct reports to take over tasks and responsibilities to accomplish results for which the manager maintains ultimate accountability.
- Ability to direct, motivate, and supervise direct reports to achieve performance and activity expectations through effective and ongoing performance management.
- Vendor and contract management skills.
- Organizational and time management skills to independently establish priorities and coordinate and complete competing assignments within established timeframes.
- Ability to ensure compliance to applicable laws, guidelines, policies, procedures and practices.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
TICAS is committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. TICAS fosters a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, culture, and experience.
TICAS strongly encourages applicants from diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Compensation: Salary range is $90,000 - $100,000 per year
Candidates should submit a brief cover letter and resume. Incomplete applications without a cover letter will not be considered. In your cover letter, please include:
- Why you are passionate about TICAS’ mission
- How you believe you are the right fit for this position
Applications will be accepted through September 5, 2023. (Priority Deadline)
- Comprehensive health plan, plus dental and vision coverage (100% paid for employee coverage, plus an additional 50-75% TICAS contribution for all other dependents depending on plan)
- Remote and hybrid work flexibility
- 44-50 days of annual paid time off based on tenure, including holidays, vacation, and sick leave
- 40 days of paid parental leave for new parents
- Retirement plans with generous employer contributions
- Professional Development opportunities, including memberships
- Summer Fridays
- Employee assistance plan
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement
TICAS provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.