Communications Specialist

20036, Washington D.C.
Jun 14, 2016
Metro Area
Full Time


Position Title:                   Communications Strategist
Program/Dept.:               National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development; Education and Society Program
Position Location:            Washington DC
FLSA Status:                   Full-Time, Exempt

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC.   Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.


The Aspen Education and Society Program (AEP) improves public education by inspiring, informing and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for traditionally under-served students. The Education Program pursues this work through several integrated strategies: professional learning networks, case studies and policy reports, and public convenings.


The soon-to-be launched National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development (National Commission) is a three year initiative of AEP that aims to bring together the kindred fields of social and emotional learning, whole-child education, character education, mindsets, grit, prosocial education, adversity science, mindfulness, positive youth development and others to advance the best in research and practice and make the social and emotional development of our nation’s children a national, state, and local priority and integral to teaching and learning in K-12 education.


Basic Function: 
The Education & Society Program’s National Commission has an immediate opening for a Communications Specialist. The ideal candidate brings proven experience executing effective communications strategies as well as designing and promoting social media campaigns to win over hearts and minds. The Communications Specialist plays a key role in supporting the National Commission through the creation of resources to be used in national media efforts; through the maintenance of an attractive and user friendly website that serves Commissioners and gives access to the public; and through the construction of digital content that allows for robust interaction with partner organizations.


The ideal candidate is a gifted communicator with an exceptional work ethic, sound judgment, and experience creating and implementing an effective integrated, digital first communications strategy in a fast-paced environment.  He/she will be highly motivated, creative, and passionate about the goal of improving public education. S/he will be comfortable partnering with other external communications advisors in a collaborative manner. Willingness and ability to undertake some travel with the Commission is necessary.


The Specialist will develop and execute a communications plan over three years that puts public education’s responsibility to the social and emotional development of our children squarely on the national agenda, shaping it into a “must have” in the minds of key education decision-makers including parents and teachers.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
The Communications Specialist works under the direction of the Executive Director to manage both internal and external communications for the National Commission.




  • Participate fully in the development of communications strategy, including proposing ideas and sharing examples of effective and innovative media campaigns from allied organizations.
  • Launch social media platforms for the Commission. Hone and execute social media strategies to increase relevant followers, likes, and engagement. Develop and curate digital content for the Commission website and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
  • Maintain detailed knowledge of Commission’s program work, communications and digital operations—actively participating in relevant meetings.
  • Use Commission’s platform to draft riveting copy that promotes the importance of the Commission’s work and generates demand for inclusion of social and emotional development in public education.
  • Develop and maintain ongoing internal communication to Commissioners (email blasts, progress reports) .
  • Oversee and coordinate the work of external communications consultants who will provide additional capacity as needed.
  • Pitch, research, and write content for all Commission communications, including features in the Aspen Idea magazine, regular posts about Commissioners and featured presenters on the Aspen Institute blog.
  • Serve as communications resource to Commission staff and individual Commissioners.
  • Manage project budgets and workflows for communications and social media vendors.
  • Work with Aspen web developers and other technical consultants to create tools to foster communications and networking priorities.
  • Develop social media strategy for Commission site visits and field hearings and oversee its execution.
  • Work with Aspen communications team to oversee public relations aspects of Commission events (press releases, promoting public events and live streams).




  • College degree and 5+ years integrated communications, digital marketing, and/or direct marketing experience required. Experience in the education arena preferred.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication, time management, and organization skills required
  • Excellent writing, editing skills and strong attention to detail required
  • Well-developed ability to tailor writing to different types of audiences and voices (emails, press releases, blogs, magazine features)
  • Experience creating and executing a digital first communications strategy; as well as ability to prioritize between communication channels. Understanding of engaging key influencers and creating targeted digital communications
  • Experience managing web/social media vendors and developers
  • Flexibility, nimbleness, and sense of humor
  • Collaborative style; enjoys working with a team
  • Versatility and eagerness to work on a range of tasks and roll up your sleeves
  • Ability and willingness to travel for Commission site visits and field hearings (2-3x/yr). 


Level of Authority:

  • Non-supervisory position
  • Helps oversee allocation of the National Commission’s communications budget


To Apply: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible on the Aspen Institute’s career page.  Please submit a cover letter that includes how you heard about this opening, any links to online communications you have produced as well as a current CV/resume through the Aspen Institute website,


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Aspen Institute offers a comprehensive benefits package.



The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.


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