Director, Strategic Communications
Organization: Children Believe
Title: Director, Strategic Communications
Reports to: Chief Marketing and Development Officer
Team: Two: Communications Manager; Editorial Manager
Location: Remote, eventual return on a hybrid model (TBC) to 1200 Dennison Street, Markham ON
Is this you?
Are you passionate about helping young people deal with the challenges of growing up in today’s complex, ever-changing world?
Do you wake up in the morning thinking of ways to build your organization’s communications strategies to be among the best and most well respected in the country?
Are you a highly respected strategic communications professional with a successful track record in both traditional and digital media, preferably in English and French? Have you worked in a multi-stakeholder complex environment (ideally agency) where you’ve been a key member of the team?
Would you be excited by a role where you’d be asked to ‘think and do’? Do you enjoy working collaboratively with your manager, peers, team members and key stakeholders and firmly believe that multiple points of view ultimately create better outcomes? Have you led and grown teams, and would your team members say you are a motivating, inspiring and effective manager?
If so, please read on.
Children Believe is an international development organization which helps communities be safer and healthier places for children to grow and develop. Children Believe is going through an exciting time in their sixty-year history. In June 2020 a new Chief Executive Officer was appointed by the Board with a strong mandate to implement the strategic plan and lead the organization toward a growth trajectory.
Children Believe has shifted to a ‘results-based management’ model that has guided the establishment of key performance indicators; identified new revenue streams; introduced a higher performing culture through performance management and development initiatives; increased the bench strength in Country Offices (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay); and built a culture of exemplary program delivery that demonstrates ‘social impact’.
In addition, Children Believe continues to explore opportunities to expand geographical and program footprint, particularly as they build on operational relationships within the ChildFund Alliance, Canadian INGO networks, and new international networks as their reputation continues to grow.
Children Believe works directly with their local partners (and where appropriate directly implement programs) to empower and enable communities to improve access to primary healthcare, nutritious food and clean water; eliminate barriers to education; create new sources of income; and empower local community groups to lead their own positive change. Positive change for children is very important, and they follow a life-stage approach for program delivery. They also engage in disaster preparedness and community resilience.
“We dream of a world where every child has a voice and the ability to achieve their full potential.”
Reporting directly to the Chief Marketing and Development Officer, the Director, Strategic Communications manages and provides strategic direction to the organization’s work in communications, supporting branding, fund-raising, donor engagement, programs, and policy. As a member of the FD&C Senior Leadership Team, the Director collaborates in the overall management of the organization, supporting a full range of institutional activity.
This role is responsible for the development and execution of effective communications plans in alignment with the organization’s values and goals, and its growth trajectory as outlined in the refreshed five-year strategic plan. A visionary storyteller with a passion for Children Believe’s mission, the Director, Strategic Communications leads the Communications staff team, as well as the organization’s public relations agency, vendors, and partners to help ensure Children Believe’s successful growth.
Working cross-functionally across the organization, the Director helps ensure the consistent delivery of the brand promise to build trust and awareness among current and potential donors (child sponsors, major donors, government funders, corporate supporters, and international agencies) so that Children Believe becomes and remains their child-focused development agency of choice.
- Serve as a member of the Senior Management Team to provide leadership and support in all areas related to communications to the organization, the Chief Marketing and Development Officer and other Executive Team Members, including the CEO
- Lead the Communications team, including recruitment and selection, training, performance management, coaching and mentoring
- Direct the development of a detailed annual Communications strategy and plan in collaboration with FD&C colleagues that effectively promotes the organization and its brand; ensure that the Communications department meets set objectives according to plan
- Facilitate orientation and training for staff and, as necessary, partners, on communications, storytelling, messaging, and media guidelines
- Provide oversight of communications aspect of major partner relationships (e.g., GAC, Lego, TBI, etc.)
- Lead corporate crisis communications in conjunction with the ELT; develop and maintain a corporate crisis response plan and organize all-staff training/orientation
- Develop and manage the relationship with external agencies to create and execute strategic plans and activities that advance awareness and engagement of donors and supporters
- Provide the team with expert guidance and support to develop news hooks and messaging, evaluate opportunities and reputational risks, etc.
- Approve all final PR and media materials
- In consultation with CB leadership, develop and execute a communications plan, including an annual content and events calendar, consistent creation of quality content, designed to strengthen the organization’s voice and to elevate its visibility and the impact of program success
- Take responsibility for the delivery of core organizational publications and information resources geared for key external audiences that focus on the “What? How? Where? of programs and their impact and effectiveness, including but not limited to the biannual ChildVoice magazine, corporate annual report, priority external program reports; fact sheets, report summaries, country overviews, one-pagers on programs and specific issues, videos, media kits, etc.
Support for Office of the CEO
- Act as a communications advisor, providing feedback and guidance to the CEO while identifying and leveraging opportunities to build the CEO’s profile and thought leadership, and advance the organization’s brand niche among targeted audiences
- Maintain oversight of the CEO’s public profile and content calendar, managing how his profile is used by all departments and Country Offices
- Oversee production of major communications materials for the CEO (op-eds, blogs, speeches, media quotes, statements, key messages for interviews/government meetings, etc.)
The Ideal Candidate
The Director, Strategic Communications will possess excellent communication skills. They will have held agency relationships/external vendor relationships in their past roles and will have managed the associated budgets/financials. They will be a multichannel communications expert, having written and created content for websites, social media, and traditional communications channels such as press releases and speaking notes for senior stakeholders. They will be an excellent media relations professional ideally bringing with them a deep network. They will be passionate about helping Canada’s youth and will be a strong people leader, known for their ability to motivate, inspire and hire ‘A’ players.
Specific Attributes Traits and Behaviours:
- Accountable for results
- Self-starter; tenacious in meeting targets and deadlines
- Demonstrated flexibility to multi-task in an environment with changing demands and multiple priorities
- Exhibits a high level of maturity and aptitude for working in a fast-paced environment
- Creativity and innovation to identify and develop new opportunities
- A proven team player with outstanding inter-personal communication skills (verbal and written); able to collaborate and engage internal/external stakeholders
- Self-motivated, results-oriented, creative and flexible
- Willingness to travel when needed
- Flexible to work in both remote and in-office working environments
Our candidate will possess:
- A Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, International Development or related
- Minimum eight years of relevant and progressively more responsible experience in international communications in a leadership role, preferably in the international development or charitable sector
- Demonstrated experience in driving strategic programs that deliver measurable results, working cross-functionally in-house and with an external public relations agency
- Commitment to high-impact organizational integration with the ability to identify, advance and champion cross-functional strategic communications priorities
- Experience in change management and/or stewarding and retaining a team through transition/growth periods
- Demonstrated record of successfully stewarding an international brand and strategizing for effective, impactful communications/messaging
- Superior written, verbal and presentation skills, as well as publication planning, editing and production experience
- Good knowledge and hands-on experience with media relations in Canada, especially relating to the international development/charitable sector
- Ability to successfully manage all aspects of a national public relations campaign to raise awareness and support among Canadians
- Proven exceptional leadership skills and experience to mentor team members towards professional growth and empower them to take proactive ownership of their portfolios and succeed in their roles
- Strong analytical skills, decision-making abilities and creative problem-solving approaches
- Exceptional interpersonal skills and diplomacy; can effectively manage up to executive roles and high-profile external partnerships while interacting knowledgeably, comfortably, positively and respectfully with diverse individuals
- Demonstrated ability to think strategically and develop clearly written plans and objectives that achieve annual targets
- Ability to multitask, work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment, handling frequent changes in the course of action
- Project management experience, including planning, budgeting, monitoring and analysis.
- Attention to detail while understanding the larger context
- Experience in acting as a communications advisor to the CEO or senior executives, identifying and developing positioning opportunities
- Cross cultural sensitivity and ability to work in a multi-faith environment
- Satisfactory current Canadian criminal record check required for successful candidates
- A demonstrated commitment to Children Believe’s Vision, Mission and Values
$110,000 — $130,000
Children Believe hires based on merit and is strongly committed to equality and diversity within its community and to providing a welcoming and inclusive workplace. Children Believe especially welcomes applications from Indigenous persons, visible minority group members, women, persons with disabilities, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities.
If you are looking for an outstanding challenge, then we are interested in hearing from you. Apply now by emailing your cover letter and CV to Robin Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that only qualified candidates will be contacted.