Director of Communications
The Children's Institute

Job classification: Full-time, exempt

Reports to: President/CEO

Location: Portland, OR

Closing: Applications should be received by Oct. 27; position to be filled in January 2015.

Email résumé, cover letter that addresses your qualifications for this position, and samples of your communications work to: – Subject line: “Communications Director”


Position Description

The Director of Communications is a visionary leader, architect, and implementer of the organization’s communications strategy and operations. S/he will serve as a member of the Children’s Institute (CI) senior management team, and will oversee CI’s communications. The successful candidate will help CI catalyze statewide efforts in building a birth-through-third-grade, early learning practice-to-policy continuum focused on kindergarten readiness and third-grade success.


This position will develop a world-class communications plan for CI, directly managing communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s goals and reputation in a policy/research/political environment. The DOC is responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range of communications activities relative to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its leadership.

The DOC works with senior management to advance the organization’s position with relevant constituents, as well as to drive broader awareness and support for the organization. The DOC is responsible for CI’s varied and integrated communications outputs including: in-depth reports, blogs, e-newsletters, documentation materials, website, media and public relations, marketing materials; social media, partner support, policy advocacy.

Communications Strategy, Vision and Leadership

• Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan that will advance CI’s identity and mission; broaden awareness of its programs and priorities such as Early Works and Ready for School; increase the visibility of its programs across key audiences, and move the dial on CI’s mission and goals

• Create communications strategy that will allow CI leadership to cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level external audiences.

• Ability to work very closely with president to translate strategic goals and aspirations into communication products while providing clarity and standards.

• Identify challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization. Work with leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them.

• Serve as communications counselor to CI leadership.

Communications Operations

• Within a framework of the highest editorial and ethical standards, oversee development and help produce all communications including but not limited to project reports, documentation materials, blogs, policy advocacy collateral, marketing collateral materials and electronic communications including videos, website and social media; manage relationships with associated vendors, freelancers, contractors.

• Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communications team including budgeting, planning and staff development

• Develop, implement, and evaluate the annual communications plan

• Lead the generation of content that engages audience segments and leads to measurable action. Decide who, where, and when to disseminate

• Put communications vehicles in place to create momentum and awareness of CI goals

• Coordinate website content and upkeep; ensure that new and consistent information (article links, stories, and events) is posted regularly

• Help keep CI and its board current on relevant news and research in the field

• Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality

• Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis

• Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals

• Serve as lead point person on media interactions that help promote and/or impact the organization; ensure coverage surrounding CI programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects; manage all media contacts.

• Prepare talking points, speeches, presentations and other supporting material as needed


• Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or related field is required

• Minimum 10 years of experience in a senior management role

• Minimum 10 years of experience in planning, writing, editing, and production of a variety of exceptional communications outputs, including in-depth reports, newsletters, blogs, marketing materials

• Extensive successful writing and editing experience (internally and externally focused) with a variety of print and online communications media deployed at the highest level

• Ability to manage and elevate high-level in-depth research-driven projects and to manage and elevate the writing/research work of communications team, including long-form writing and reporting.

• Demonstrated ability to effectively move a message with targeted audiences, especially moving elected officials to support policy and advocacy goals

• Exceptional oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively work with senior management, CI’s Board of Directors and staff.

• Creative and thoughtful on how new media technologies can be used to advance CI’s goals

• Innovative and entrepreneurial thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action

• Experience in building, mentoring and coaching a team of communications specialists

• Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers

• Stature and confidence to gain the credibility and respect of high-performing Board of Directors

• Self-reliant, good problem solver, results oriented, proactive, flexible, energetic

• Ability to work quickly and accurately under deadline with small staff and willingness to work as a team on projects big and small and to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs

• A passion for CI’s mission

• Mastery of AP or New York Times styles; basic knowledge of website technology; Word programs; pre-print production

• Demonstrated skill with media in successfully positioning CI’s goals and advocacy

For more information about the Children’s Institute, please visit

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