Director of Media Relations
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA

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California Institute of Technology

Closing Date: Open Until Filled

Job Summary
The California Institute of Technology is one of the world's preeminent centers of instruction and research in engineering and science. It is a place where bold discoveries are possible and where visionary scholars have advanced the boundaries of knowledge for over 100 years.

Caltech scientists and engineers have been recognized with the highest honors in their fields, including 32 Nobel Prizes, seven Crafoord Prizes, 10 National Medals of Technology, and 56 National Medals of Science. The Institute's relatively small size and collegial environment makes interdisciplinary work the norm, and has enabled Caltech faculty to accelerate life-changing discoveries and transform the fields of energy, medicine, planetary science, geoscience, astrophysics, and more. Despite its relatively small size, Caltech manages large-scale facilities around the world, including several of the leading observatories as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which was founded by Caltech faculty and is now managed by Caltech for NASA.

Caltech's award-winning Marketing & Communications team is part of the department of Development and Institute Relations (DIR) whose overall goal is to garner support for the Institute. There are five teams within Marketing & Communications: News (Research news), Marketing, Digital Communications, Editorial, and Media Relations. While each has a specific area of focus, they coordinate closely to ensure that communication to Institute audiences (internal and external) is seamless, consistent, and on point. Two major initiatives for 2013-2014 are the "Strategic Identity Project" and the introduction of Caltech's ninth president, both of which will require the active participation and commitment of the Director of Media Relations and his/her team.

The Director of Media Relations is a senior-level executive responsible for creating and executing a global media relations program with the goal of promoting Caltech's impact and increasing its influence and appreciation among key audiences. He/she will help enhance the Institute's success by applying proactive and reactive communications strategy to media relations activities, including crisis communications. He/she will develop overall media relations plan for the Caltech Media Relations staff who execute press outreach, media events, media calls, crisis communications support and press material development. The Media Relations Director will create PR, publicity, and promotional programs that positively position Caltech and align closely with marketing campaigns, using communications tools and practices, to reinforce Caltech's core messages.

This is a highly visible position that represents the Institute to various audiences. This position is part of a highly collaborative Marketing & Communications leadership team.

Job Duties
  • Organize coverage of major announcements and research initiatives, respond to inquiries from the news media, and coordinate Caltech's response to breaking news, including earthquakes.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships throughout campus and at JPL. Understand and serve the values of our faculty, and develop effective partnership models in order to achieve communications goals.
  • Develop and maintain a working relationship with media representatives and actively engage and mobilize resources to promote the organization. Create public awareness of organizational accomplishments, new discoveries, and educational programs. Oversee ongoing media activities and report effectively on them.
  • Oversee crisis communications planning and execution. The Director will act as a spokesperson for the Institute when appropriate.
  • With the AVP for Marketing & Communications and Director of Marketing, provide communications counsel to senior management.
This position interacts with people throughout the Institute including the president, provost, division chairs, vice presidents and other members of the administration as well as student leaders, and the other directors in Marketing & Communications on a wide range of issues. It is essential that he/she understand the culture and protocols that are appropriate for building and sustaining strong and supportive relationships at all levels.

Basic Qualifications
  • Masters degree or equivalent
  • 10 years experience in a media or public relations management position
  • Experience and expertise in developing strategic marketing, public relations, and communications plans and programs for complex organizations
  • Accomplished leader in a multidisciplinary, high-volume environment, who has the ability to keep multiple projects moving forward simultaneously while anticipating future demands and opportunities
  • Strategic thinker who excels at coming up with original ideas that are appropriate for the scale, sensitivity, and resource availability in any given situation, and is able to execute
  • Proven track record of developing and leading a sophisticated media relations team committed to the advancement of a brand
  • Ability to proactively identify communications opportunities and develop supporting programs
  • Thoughtful approach to working with faculty, and the ability to develop trusting relationships with them
  • Effective communication skills verbally and in writing, both internally and externally
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines
  • Ability to integrate PR programs to support marketing goals and programs; able to perform within an integrated team environment
  • Proven experience excelling in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities and able to take a positive team approach to working with industry, community, and government partners
  • Demonstrated experience in building collaborative relationships in a complex, decentralized institution
  • Ability to influence and inspire colleagues across the organization, regardless of reporting relationship
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience in higher education or the area of public policy
  • Journalism experience at a newspaper or print magazine
  • A strong knowledge of issues related to science and technology
  • An understanding of the dynamics of a higher-education environment
To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:

Caltech is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply.

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