Chief Communications Officer
National College Advising Corps - Chapel Hill, NC

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The National College Advising Corps ("Advising Corps") is an independent, non-profit organization that works to increase the rates of college enrollment and completion among low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented high school students. To do this, the Advising Corps places well-trained, recent college graduates from our 18 partner institutions of higher education as full-time advisers in the nation's persistently lowest-performing schools. The Advising Corps provides the support that high-need students require to navigate the complex processes of college admissions and matriculation and securing financial aid. Advisers also work to foster a college-going culture within the schools they serve, which is one of the best predictors of whether students will pursue higher education at all.

Position Overview

The Chief Communications Officer will develop and coordinate the Advising Corps' communications strategy for key constituencies externally (e.g., the media, the philanthropic community, higher education institutions) and internally (e.g., our advisers, program directors and Board of Directors). The Chief Communications Officer will develop anew a world-class communications plan for the Advising Corps, directly managing communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the organization's brand reputation. Central to the communications strategy will be the right balance of impact data and story-telling.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Communications Officer will work collaboratively with senior leadership to develop and implement communication strategies. This Chief Operating Officer will be an ambassador for the organization and will need to build relationships with the media. The goal is to advance the Advising Corps' position with relevant constituents, as well as to drive broader awareness and donor support for the organization. The Chief Communications Officer will be responsible for the Advising Corps' varied and integrated communications products and services including: newsletters and other print publications; Web, E-news, social media and other online communications; media and public relations; and marketing.

Job Responsibilities
  • Identify challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization. Collaborate with the COO and other senior leadership and staff to recognize internal and external communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them
  • Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance the Advising Corps' brand identity; broaden awareness of its programs and priorities; and increase the visibility of its programs across key stakeholder audiences
  • Design and implement a strategy and framework for communication with (a) media; (b) existing funders; (c) potential funders; (d) partner institutions of higher education; (e) the higher education community broadly; (f) Advising Corps' advisers and program directors; (g) the Advising Corps' Board of Directors and (g) others.
  • Create a marketing/public relations strategy that will allow the Advising Corps' leadership to cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level external audiences, including the media and key influencers
  • Refine the Advising Corps' "core" messages to ensure organizational consistency
  • Identify significant media and public policy issues that can be leveraged to support the Advising Corps' work, and create and implement plans to exploit them
  • Locate and pursue opportunities for the Advising Corps and its CEO to exhibit thought-leadership
  • Oversee organizational response to inquiries about the Advising Corps
  • Serve as executive editor for the organization's website
  • Develop and execute a social/new media strategy
  • Develop and maintain a "story bank" of Advising Corps' success stories
  • Work with the COO and CEO to define the best impact measurements of the Advising Corps' work for external communications
  • Oversee development of all Advising Corps print communications including an annual report, marketing collateral materials and electronic communications including the Advising Corps' website and new media; manage relationships with associated vendors
  • Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations and other supporting material as needed
  • Actively engage, cultivate and manage press relationships to ensure coverage surrounding Advising Corps' programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communications function including budgeting, planning and staff development
Candidate Competencies

The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following competencies:
  • Passion for the Advising Corps' mission
  • Ability to create powerful, salient stories that resonate with our diverse constituencies
  • Holds high standard for graphic and media communication
  • Bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, or related field is preferred;
  • Advanced degree is preferred
  • Minimum 10 years experience in a senior management role either in-house or with a public relations or marketing agency
  • Comfort working with a small or no other communications staff, other than interns
  • Demonstrated skill and comfort in proactively building relationships with top tier reporters and editors, and in successfully positioning subject matter with the media to achieve high-impact placements
  • Extensive successful writing and editing experience (externally focused) with a variety of print and online communications media
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing a comprehensive strategic communications, media relations, and marketing program to advance an organization's mission and goals
  • Creative and thoughtful on how new media technologies can be utilized
  • Extensive experience in planning, writing, editing, and production of newsletters, press releases, annual reports, marketing literature, and other print publications and directories
  • Innovative thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action plans and output
  • Unwavering attention to detail
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem solving skills
  • Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers
  • Stature, gravitas, and confidence to gain the credibility and respect of high-performing Board of Directors
  • Self reliant, good problem solver, results oriented
  • Ability to anticipate future needs
  • Excellent and persuasive communicator
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interface with senior management, Board of Directors and staff
  • Ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as strategic thinker
  • Values storytelling as part of communications strategy

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About this company
The National College Advising Corps is a two-year program that places recent college graduates in low-income high schools and community...