The Chief Communications Officer develops and implements the strategies, programs, and campaigns to connect, communicate and engage most effectively with a variety of constituents, including the public, board members, customers, federal and government officials, community organizations, interested individuals and Sound Transit staff, using a broad range of media. This position reports to the CEO and serves as a member of the Executive Leadership team.
This position plans, directs, manages, and provides strategic direction to the following divisions: Media Relations & Public Information, Marketing, Customer and Community Engagement, and Employee Communications. The role translates communications vision into strategy and leads teams to collaboratively find practical solutions while ensuring agency communications to Board members, elected officials, stakeholders, community and employees are aligned to agency values. This position manages, directs, and provides leadership of the programmatic functions above and integrates their work with other agency departments; coordinates assigned activities with other departments and outside agencies; may represent the CEO and/or DCEOs internally or externally to ensure efficient delivery of our capital program, operations of our system, and passenger experience.
The following duties are a representative summary of the primary duties and responsibilities. Incumbent(s) may not be required to perform all duties listed and may be required to perform additional, position-specific duties.
• A strong partner to the CEO, especially in navigating a highly political environment where exceptional media/public affairs are necessary to develop deep relationships and engagement with our local, state and federal stakeholders, riders and served communities to achieve our mission; is well versed in working with political audiences and understanding the political landscape.
• Participates as an active member of the agency’s Executive Councils and assists the CEO/DCEOs and the executive team in identifying key challenges and opportunities and in developing and implementing effective responses the changing landscape of passenger operations, service delivery and project implementation, working to position Sound Transit for ongoing success. Provides strategic advice to the CEO, DCEOs and other organization leaders.
• Provides visionary creative communications, leadership that fosters innovation, builds bridges internally and externally to create opportunities for advancement of agency’s strategic communications.
• Drives performance through influence, relationship building, and rational thinking; by creating an agency-wide culture of excellence that maximizes efficient deliverables; sets clear and challenging goals and ensures the Communicates department collaborates and creates efficient cross-functional processes to work effectively while addressing the agency’s mission; seen as a valued and collaborative partner across agency departments; guides and mobilizes teams to implement ideas and recommendations.
• Champions a publicly accountable and transparent organization, interacting and collaborating effectively with employees across the agency to continuously bring forward and integrate insights and perception of value.
• Engages key target audiences to generate widespread understanding of and support for Sound Transit’s mission and goals through a variety of creative methods, including social media, direct marketing, advertising, digital, and news media; uses enhanced testing and measurement to continuously assess effectiveness of each method; makes it easy for employees and members of the public to connect with the agency.
• In collaboration with Operations and Passenger Experience, develops communications to support our riders in navigating the system, timely alerts of service disruptions and collaborates to support opening of new revenue service.
• In collaboration with the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, contributes to the development of objectives and tasks related to advancing equity through communications both internally and externally with a specific focus on racial justice strategies that support the mission of the organization.
• In collaboration with the Government and Community Relations Officer, partners on the development of communication materials and messages focused on federal, Tribal, state, and local government audiences that grow awareness of the agency’s progress in implementing the region’s high capacity transit system.
• Ensures the successful development and implementation of effective and equitable public involvement and engagement strategies, goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for communities and customers served by the agency.
• Drives performance by creating an agency-wide culture of excellence that maximizes internal and external customer focus; sets clear and challenging goals for departments ensuring these functions collaborate and create efficient cross-functional processes and teams to work effectively while addressing the agency’s mission.
• Drives performance by actively leading and managing the culture change necessary for creating and operating a best-in-class transit system and acting as a change agent by communicating the need for change while modeling and enforcing new behaviors and norms for the department and creating and promoting an inclusive and positive work environment.
• Participates in organizational design, staffing, recruitment, and succession planning efforts, as needed and as the operating system expands. Coaches, trains, and motivates staff; facilitates staff training; manages employee relations staff performance and takes appropriate corrective action when necessary; and provides advice and counsel to staff and guidance to agency leaders on establishing professional growth and development plans for staff.
• Assumes management responsibility over Media Relations/Public Affairs, Marketing and Engagement divisions and the Employee Communications program; develops strategies with other members of senior executive leadership for the continued progress of the agency’s short and long range goals; manages and directs the strategic planning with department managers to develop departmental goals, objectives and budgets.
• Translates broad organizational goals and strategies into operational objectives and practical action plans for the department; provides high level direction in terms of department goals and provide effective strategic management and direction that supports those goals and objectives; provides strategic level advice and counsel to the CEO as well as executive management team regarding major policy and problem solving issues; prepares and presents staff reports and other necessary correspondence; negotiates solutions to major conceptual issues involving policy and direction change.
• Directs, plans, and oversees, through subordinate managers of assigned divisions the development of work plans, projects and programs in areas of responsibility consistent with established objectives; reviews and evaluates work methods and procedures; meets with key management and staff to identify and resolve problems; manages the development and implementation of goals, objectives, and priorities for each assigned service area; recommends and administers policies and procedures; ensures assigned program area compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and ensures consistent and implementation of policies, procedures, and practices throughout the agency.
• Develops, administers, maintains, and oversees the annual budgets of department; in conjunction with divisional managers, makes recommendations and forecasts for future funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials, and supplies; reviews and approves department expenditures and implements adjustments.
• Provides support to the CEO and DCEOs on matters as directed; represents and provides liaison for Sound Transit CEO as needed; serves as staff on a variety of boards, commissions, and committees; attends and participates in professional group meetings; maintains awareness of new trends and developments in the fields related to area of assignment; incorporates new developments as appropriate; ensures processes, policies and practices are interpreted and applied consistently and effectively; ensures accountability and compliance with all current and applicable state and federal laws, agency policies and procedures, rules and regulations.
• Demonstrates Sound Transit’s Values in every interaction.
• It is the responsibility of all employees to follow the agency safety rules, regulations, and procedures pertaining to their assigned duties and responsibilities, which could include systems, operations, and/or other employees.
• It is the responsibility of all employees to integrate sustainability into everyday business practices.
• Other duties as assigned.
Education and Experience:
Bachelors Degree in journalism, advertising, marketing, communications, or closely related field and ten to fifteen years of experience in a highly strategic communications role which includes ten years of staff supervisory, budgetary, and management responsibility; OR an equivalent combination of education and experience. Strong experience is media relations and press secretarial management.
Required Licenses or Certifications:
Required Knowledge of:
• Principles and best practices in media relations, strategic communications planning, brand stewardship and reputation management, and outreach to communities, including diverse and hard to reach communities.
• Principles and methods for analyzing research data to develop and implement effective communication strategies.
• Operations, services, and activities of a comprehensive Communications Department including integrated marketing, customer relations, creative services, internal communications and media relations services, programs, and functional areas.
• Pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations.
• Principles and practices related to program areas of assignment including public engagement, public processes, and public policy.
• Integrated marketing and other communication resources and trends including traditional and new media.
• Basic principles and practices of budget preparation and administration.
• Principles of leadership, training, and performance evaluation.
• Principles of public accountability organizations.
Required Skill in:
• Media relations and press secretarial management
• Executing a successful and strategic integrated marketing campaign with proven results.
• Demonstrated ability to lead, improve, integrate, and strategically-transform business processes; driving organizational and culture change.
• Superior communication and relationship building skills.
• Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with other senior agency leaders, department staff, management, vendors, outside agencies, community groups, and the general public.
• Leading, engaging and motivating a highly skilled professional and creative team.
• Public speaking and in developing and delivering presentations and presenting ideas and complex, at times, politically charged, concepts orally and in writing.
• Lead large, complex projects and making decisions in fast-paced, difficult environments.
• Maintaining confidentiality and communicating with tact and diplomacy.
• Researching, analyzing, and evaluating new product delivery methods and techniques.
• Applying project management techniques and principles.
• Leading strategic initiatives and implementing continuous improvement processes and programs.
• Working effectively under pressure to meet deadlines and adjust to changing priorities.
• Preparing, developing, and analyzing complex data, comprehensive reports, presentations, and public speaking skills.
• Leading and motivating staff. Fostering a positive and progressive attitude in a diverse technical and operational environment with competing priorities. Developing, managing, and directing assigned divisions, complex programs, and functional areas.
• Ability to think broadly about a topic and gain the viewpoints of others to ensure that a situation, task or goal and its potential impact is fully understood by all stakeholders.
• Strong active and equitable listening, problem solving and conflict resolution skills, proficiency in using self-assessment and self-management skills to participate effectively and constructively as a team member to ensure group success over individual goals.
• Capability to use critical thinking and rational processes to analyze and synthesize information in a concise manner, make recommendations on strategies to resolve issues and build complex cross-group/department plans to drive, track, and report execution progress.
• Developing and monitoring departmental and program/project operating budgets, costs, and schedules.
• Utilizing personal computer software programs affecting assigned work and in compiling and preparing spreadsheets and reports.
Physical Demands / Work Environment:
• Work is performed in a standard office environment.
• Subject to standing, walking, bending, reaching, stooping, and lifting of objects up to 25 pounds.
• The Agency promotes a safe and healthy work environment and provides appropriate safety and equipment training for all personnel as required.
Sound Transit is an equal employment opportunity employer. No person is unlawfully excluded from employment action based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status or other protected class.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)