Chief Communications Officer
Reporting to the CEO, the CCO will be an instrumental adviser to the CEO and a critical partner with leadership in advancing the association’s national and international outreach, strengthening member engagement and pride, inspiring students and families, and driving NACAC’s leadership role amid momentous change in higher education. As a key member of the leadership team, the CCO will oversee the association’s brand, communications and marketing strategies, internal and external communications, and digital and print portfolios as well as media relations and crisis communications. With vision, leadership, and creativity, the CCO will make the most of a growing team and use best-in- practice knowledge of educational outreach to elevate the association’s effectiveness as a communicator, service organization, and voice for positive change.
Advisor to the CEO
- Serve as senior support to the CEO and strategic member of the senior management team; raise critical issues with the CEO and advise in decision-making; and partner with the CEO and other leadership as needed to strategize and deliver effective crisis communications.
- On behalf of the CEO, lead and support the collaborative effort to build and advance a strong and compelling new NACAC brand and related communications, marketing, and public relations strategies and applications.
- Serve as the CEO’s senior-most communications executive, with responsibility for oversight and direction of those functions and staff.
- Work closely with the CEO on his extensive communications and public relations obligations to ensure they most effectively deliver value for NACAC and its membership.
- Serve as the CEO’s and association’s media spokesperson as needed with clarity and assurance.
- Work closely with the Chief Experience Officer and other leadership as appropriate to build and deploy communications and marketing of maximum value to members and NACAC’s standing with them.
- Work closely with the incoming Chief of Staff and other leadership as appropriate to ensure strong and consistent outward messaging from the CEO as well as internal communications that keep staff informed and engaged in association developments and plans.
- Work closely with the Chief Education and Policy Officer and other leadership as appropriate to advance awareness of NACAC’s research and policy work on behalf of the profession and related association priorities.
- In collaboration with senior leaders, draft and edit correspondence, speeches, proposals, reports, presentations, and other communications of organizational and strategic importance.
- Interact with all levels of leadership and administrative divisions to ensure organizational focus and alignment around the NACAC brand and related standards, priorities messages, and essential communication practices.
- Through appropriate research and collaboration with senior leaders as well as other association colleagues, assess critical communications needs and identify strong messages and comprehensive tactical plans, including for segmented outreach to key audiences.
- Drive and support outward-facing initiatives, including consulting with other leaders on public relations matters, member engagement, policy and research developments and opportunities, and more.
- Partner with the CEO and Chief Financial Officer to track and adapt investments in communications and marketing to ensure the efficient and effective deployment of related association resources.
Communications Leadership and Management
- Lead the team, and outside agencies and consultancies as needed, in researching, identifying, building support for, and implementing a compelling and authentic new NACAC brand, creating or revising association media as appropriate thereafter, and driving an enduring strategic and dynamic approach to messaging and outreach.
- Lead the communications team in expanding and strengthening strong, productive collaborations with colleagues, members, students, families, partners, and other stakeholders, including by setting an example of innovation, strategic-thinking, creativity, and partnership.
- Lead the team and outside consultancies as needed to develop and implement a comprehensive new website that advances NACAC’s mission, brand, and value to members and other audiences.
- Oversee and guide a proactive and strategic approach to the news media to secure regular coverage that advances the reputation, knowledge, understanding, and awareness of the association and its work.
- Provide the leadership, perspective, and coaching skills to recruit, retain, and continually boost the abilities and commitment of the communications staff at a time of change and growth to make the most of their potential to shape the standing and engagement goals of the This priority includes setting clear benchmarks for high performance, providing insight into best-in-practice work across the full set of media tools used today, and charting a path to comprehensive and potent digital outreach.
- Participate in key meetings with staff and/or external stakeholders to represent the mission, strategies, and plans of the Office of Communications.
- Manage the flow of communication f r o m the Office of Communications to ensure consistent and responsive message delivery to key stakeholders.
The ideal candidate will have a clear record of strategic impact and high-level skill as a leader, creative thinker, shrewd problem-solver, and executor of communications that produce significant results. Minimum requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree.
- Demonstrated success in the field of communications with at least 10 years of leadership experience and a career showing progressive responsibility. Experience in higher education or a nonprofit membership association preferred.
- Extensive leadership experience designing and executing creative, impactful strategic communications plans in an organization with varied priorities and a wide range of stakeholders.
- Deep understanding of digital and new-media communications and marketing strategies and extensive experience applying or leading their application successfully.
- Outstanding management and planning skills, including the ability to simultaneously handle the pressures of crises and the regular demands of intersecting projects with poise and good humor.
- Proven experience managing crisis communications with skill, speed, and poise for complex organizations.
- Highly developed interpersonal skills and social-emotional intelligence, including proven experience earning the trust and confidence of a diverse set of professional peers and leaders.
- A self-starter with a strategic mindset, bias toward creativity in action, high attention to detail and organization, and deep curiosity for new knowledge and skills that advance organizations.
- Proven abilities managing, motivating, and supporting staff of varied levels and talents and leading them toward increasingly stronger performance as a team with positivity and confidence.
- Exceptional skills in interpersonal and professional communications, including in writing and public speaking.
- Interest and experience in contributing to organizational effectiveness and cultural change.
- Flexibility to quickly shift and respond to new priorities.
- Commitment to supporting diverse populations through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
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