Director of Internal Communications

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Maryland, United States
Competitive Salary
Oct 05, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time


HHMI is seeking an experienced Director of Internal Communications to lead a lean function (currently three additional employees) that’s in high demand. We are seeking a proven and inclusive internal communications leader who can connect with and balance stakeholders, set priorities, and effective execution in a frequently changing and highly matrixed nonprofit environment.  


The Director is responsible for: setting strategy based on organizational priorities and employee needs; managing information flow to/from employees and helping to shape the organizational conversation; overseeing Internal Communications team members and their work output; and personally serving as an internal consultant to leaders and teams at varying levels within the organization. This role reports to the Chief of Communications.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Set Strategy. Serve as a connector across HHMI - be curious and learn about the entire organization, including programs and operations. Continuously scan our internal and external environments to anticipate what employees need to know and how to best inform and engage them. Set and communicate priorities. Be flexible and adaptable, while focusing limited staff capacity on high-value activity.

  • Organize and Plan Work. Develop an internal communications framework that establishes well-designed structures and processes to deliver different types of information (strategic priorites, change initiatives, employee engagement, etc) across dedicated channels. Proactively collaborate with colleagues in other departments to increase the organizational conversation. Work to understand how communications are landing with employees and what they need.

  • Direct and Manage the Internal Communications Team. Delegate effectively, listen and learn, and ensure diverse team members have an equal opportunity to thrive by playing to their strengths, receiving actionable feedback, and growing in ways that advance their own goals, as well as HHMI’s.

  • Act as an Internal Consultant. Build productive relationships across the organization, establishing yourself as a trusted and approachable resource. Work to inform, support, and enable frequent communicators at different levels, from the President’s Office to frontline managers. Stay abreast of internal communications practices and extend that knowledge to others, enabling leaders to learn what’s necessary to communicate effectively. Diplomatically guide partners to the “just right” level of communication.

  • Practice Effective Communication. Be a hands-on communicator – outlining, writing, reviewing, publicly speaking, and performing other technical tasks as needed.  Have an eye for tone, voice, and detail. Regularly “zoom out” to big picture needs and strategy and also “zoom in” to tactical levels of detail necessary for execution.



  • Manages teams, including external consultants.  

  • Manages the Internal Communications budget. 





  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism, or other related fields 



  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism, or other related fields

  • 10+ years of communications experience preferably focused within internal or employee communications, and including organizational communication planning, execution, and evaluation.

  • Demonstrated experience building and leading internal communications and working collaboratively with a broad range of internal partners in an organization.


Skills and Abilities 

  • Proven ability to take ownership of work - figuring out what needs to happen to make work successful, proposing steps, spotting potential problems, proposing solutions, and being accountable for execution.

  • The technical leadership, systems thinking, and consultative skill to work “wide” across the Institute, building and overseeing enterprise communications strategy, including the development of methods, tools, and capability to elevate the organization’s approach to communicating.

  • Strong interpersonal and coordination skills to manage in a highly matrixed environment (e.g., listening, negotiating, facilitating, managing conflict, flexibility).

  • The skill to plan, align, and direct a variety of communications work simultaneously, with clear strategic intent, process, and feedback designed to continuously assess outcomes and develop talent on the Communications team.

  • The leadership presence, maturity, and credibility to counsel leaders at all levels, meaningfully engage with peers, and lead through indirect influence.

  • Highly energized, motivated, problem-solving, and committed to doing excellent work.

  • Ability to work both carefully and quickly, with precision and attention to detail.