Executive Speechwriter
SEIU (Service Employees International Union)

Job Link:

SEIU (Service Employees International Union)
Job Title: Executive Speechwriter Grade: E
Location: Washington, D.C.
The Executive Speechwriter serves as a member of the SEIU communications team and is primarily responsible for writing major addresses, brief remarks, and talking points for the International President and International Secretary-Treasurer. They will also be asked to write for other executive officers and International union leaders when necessary.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: (Any one position may not include all of the specific duties and responsibilities listed. Examples provide a general summary of the work required and should not be treated as a total and complete list of expected duties to be performed by employees in the classification.)

  • Primary writer of speeches, remarks, talking points, articles, opinion editorials, blog entries, and other public or internal comments by the International President and International Secretary-Treasurer, and other SEIU officers as needed.
  • Ensures that the relevant strategy, message development, branding, and other core goals are accomplished in each piece.
  • Working with the schedulers, the communications team, and other senior staff, maintains awareness of the International President’s and International Secretary-Treasurer’s schedules and the expected length and topics for upcoming speaking engagements.
  • Under the supervision of the communications director, works with the communications team, senior staff, and others to keep abreast of SEIU’s positions on key events, issues and policy, and develop messaging and text that fulfills the relevant strategy. 
  • Works with the International President and International Secretary-Treasurer and other executive officers to develop an understanding of their style and preferences for speeches. 
  • Under the supervision of the communications director, works with the media staff, or other senior staff during the review, editing and approval process to produce a high quality final product. 
  • Collaborates with design, video, other creative staff and/or consultants to ensure that powerpoints, flash movies, photos, video or other collateral elements that accompany the speech are prepared and help execute the strategy for the presentation.
  • Works with local leaders or others at sponsoring organizations to ensure all information is gathered so each speech meets expectations for the presentation.
  • Prepares and provides final, correctly formatted text for officers’ use, for posting online, and for other purposes as needed.
  • Meets all deadlines to allow for review and advance delivery to officers. 
  • Does independent research to support and strengthen presentations and articles. Maintains records of research and back-up materials that verify statements.
  • Works with the communications director and the media team to coordinate the public remarks with information made available to the media. 
  • Available to respond quickly and productively to last minute requests. 
  • Participates in spokesperson training and speech delivery preparation for International officers.
  • Maintains a comprehensive electronic archive of speeches, remarks, and presentations, both as prepared and as delivered. 
  • Does other writing as needed by the communications department.
  • Performs other duties as assigned in support of the work of the department.

Must be able to represent the International Union with local leaders, members, staff, and outside organizations utilizing independent judgment and a high level of professionalism.
Interfaces with high level organizational and external contacts, including: 

  • SEIU officers, division leadership, International senior staff, project and program managers, field, political, and organizing directors, local union officers and staff.
  • External: news media, politicians, government officials, corporate counterparts, partners and allies.
  • Vendors: design and production companies, consultants, pollsters, freelancers, video and multi-media producers, advertising agencies.

Ensures that sophisticated choices are made about appropriate vendors and support services.

Direction and Decision Making:
Reports to the Director of Communications and works with extreme independence.

  • Must have demonstrated ability to manage own work and work of others without supervision. 
  • Requires a high level of judgment and ability to take initiative and work independently. 
  • Must use a high level of judgment and discretion in resolving problems within the Communications Department and throughout SEIU.
  • Must maintain a high level of confidentiality in handling SEIU affairs.
  • Must be able to work with International and local union elected leaders and senior staff in complex and sometimes politically sensitive situations. 
  • Must be able to act and organize time with extreme independence. 
  • Must be able to handle multiple “priority” projects simultaneously and set and meet deadlines, and ensure that staff team does the same. 

Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or related field, and five to eight years of related work experience and three to five years of executive speechwriting experience for a principal with public profile required. Or a combination of education and experience that would provide for the following knowledge, skills and abilities: 

  • Outstanding writing skills. Excellent verbal and analytical skills.
  • Through knowledge of correct use of grammar, construction and spelling. 
  • Excellent proofreading skills. 
  • Proven ability to write for diverse audiences and translate complex policy initiatives into speeches that effectively communicate SEIU’s core values and goals. 
  • Experience developing and implementing strategy on campaigns, such as political, legislative, organizing, and contract, as well as experience working with community allies, desired.
  • Thorough knowledge of media relations strategies.
  • Thorough knowledge of electronic and print media systems. Knowledge of advertising techniques and familiarity with all aspects of literature, audio-visual, and online production process. Demonstrated capacity to continuously develop knowledge and skills related to use of rapidly changing technology.
  • Demonstrated ability to work closely with principal officers of non-profit organizations, elected officials, or other principal officers, with proven trustworthiness for handling sensitive and confidential information. Ability to meet high standards for accuracy, quality, responsiveness, integrity and discretion. 
  • Good interpersonal communications and teamwork skills. 
  • Demonstrated ability to quickly produce high-quality work under tight deadlines. 
  • Detail-oriented with strong project and time management skills, including ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously. 
  • Ability to take direction and editing from others. 
  • Motivated self-starter with a positive attitude. 
  • Experience working in a dynamic work environment essential. 
  • Internet-savvy with solid technology experience, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and related programs. 

Physical Requirements:
Work is generally performed in an office setting, but may be required to work in other settings conducive to performing the tasks required to complete assignments. Travel and long and extended hours required.

Application Requirements:
A cover letter is required for all applications. Your cover letter should explain your reason for wanting to work for SEIU, an example of how you demonstrated success in a similar position and a description of how this position fits into your long-term career plan.

SEIU staff enjoy top notch benefits including comprehensive health benefits, major medical, dental and vision for employee and eligible dependents, domestic partner benefits, competitive salaries, generous holiday and vacation policies, and both a pension plan and a 401(K) Plan.
SEIU is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Apply Here:

Job Seekers: Help EWA by mentioning that you found this career opportunity on EWA’s website.

Employers: Looking to find the best talent in education reporting and communications? Post your employment opportunities with EWA.