With an emphasis on strong organizational experience and collaboration, the Executive Director of Executive Communications plays a vital role in creating and executing a ONE VCU integrated communications strategy focused on national prominence.
This position develops and leads a strategic communications plan for the President and leads a team that supports key executives with institutional brand-building opportunities that engages internal and external audiences by aligning communications and marketing strategies that 1) advance the President’s vision and priorities and 2) strengthen the institution’s brand.
The Executive Director will manage both short-term work and anticipate and address long-term strategic opportunities and issues in support of the President’s agenda.
The Executive Director of Executive Communications will:
Lead the strategic development of presidential messaging, as well as related C-suite content designed for both internal and external audiences, and high-level event planning for the President and institution.
Develop and oversee messaging and ensure the authenticity of the President’s voice and message across all communications platforms. This includes speeches, blog posts, talking points, op-eds, social media content, video scripts and more.
Conceive, direct and implement executive communication messages for other senior executives (when they have institutional brand-building opportunities) and supervise staff in support of this function.
Identify opportunities for the President and other key university executives, such as the Provost or VCU Health System CEO, to tell VCU’s story to a national audience and execute a thought leadership plan that promotes the President and select cabinet members as leaders in areas of strategic interest, leveraging their strengths and expertise with key stakeholders.
Monitor and maintain constant awareness of major issues that impact (or have the potential to impact) the university/President and provide crisis communications and issues management strategies and tactics to elevate the university/President’s position and interests in a way that assures a positive place in the public and political conversation.
Lead a team of communications professionals, including potential new positions, that support these goals.
Provide strategic leadership and guidance to the events team, which is led by the Director of Special Events, that is responsible for implementing presidential, university relations and key institutional events. Ensure the team works closely with University Marketing to develop event-related collateral.
Work in collaboration with the Director of Executive and Enterprise Communication at VCU Health and the Senior Advisor to the President in the Office of the President to align executive communication functions.
Collaborate with communications and marketing leads in University Relations and across campus to amplify the President’s messages, particularly among internal audiences, and identify meaningful engagement opportunities.
Partner with university leadership to develop proactive strategies, positions and messages on key policy issues and help communicate those messages to critical stakeholders.
Represent the University at internal and external events, meetings and other functions as needed. Some public speaking required. Serves on University committees and work groups.
Handle confidential information with high levels of discretion and good judgment.
Responsible for day-to-day operations of the Executive Communications office, including budget, data integrity, work flow and best practices in business processes.
Special projects as assigned.
Education: Master’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism or related field and/or other comparable training and work experience at a level that equates to an advanced degree.
Experience: Minimum seven years of experience writing and editing speeches, copy ads, reporting and/or event planning. Experience in higher education, including academic health sciences or government preferred.
Experience writing for and working with senior executive-level leaders.
Demonstrated record of expertise in executive communication strategy, tactics, and governance.
Knowledge of the academic environment; appreciation for the academy and its needs and messages.
Comfort in the C-suite, outstanding representative of the university and its senior leadership.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and ability to interact effectively across all levels of the organization.
Exceptional work ethic. Attention to detail. Self-starter and energetic; adept at working independently, as well as collaboratively. Consistently meets deadlines; demonstrates flexibility.
Ability to think strategically and develop executive communication plan that will help meet Presidential and University goals.
Demonstrated proficiency in targeted in-depth research for upcoming events, audiences and pertinent statistical data.
Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU.
Supervisory experience strongly preferred. Ability to supervise and lead team members with clearly focused vision, compassion, and decisiveness.
At VCU, we Make it Real through learning, research, creativity, service and discovery — the hallmarks of the VCU experience. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, VCU is a great place to work. It’s a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career can thrive. VCU offers employees a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay, and an opportunity to do mission-driven work.