Communications Associate

New York City, New York (US)
based upon experience
Apr 11, 2019
Metro Area
New York
Full Time

About Us:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus — thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $800 million in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families. We believe that raising the Foundation’s profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today — we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 145 full-time employees who are based in New York City.

Position Description:

The Communications team is seeking a Communications Officer for a challenging and versatile role within the corporate communications group to support MJFF media relations, storytelling, internal communications and brand management. On a day-to-day basis, this role will be exposed to and support all facets of the Foundation’s Communications team (including internal comms and the Research/Medical, Development, Policy and Creative groups), requiring cross collaboration, excellent attention to detail and demonstrated success in juggling multiple priorities and deadlines.

The successful candidate will be a self-starter with 2-4 years relevant writing, communications and media experience, preferably in a health care or scientific research setting. A proven ability to write and develop language and content serving multiple audiences is required as well as sharp judgement in evaluating press, personal appearance and brand requests for the Foundation. This role is appropriate for a nimble and unflappable professional who works well in a fast-paced, high-volume environment.

Responsibilities include:

Corporate Communications/PR

  • Support media relations efforts, including assisting in the writing and editing of pitches, press releases, contributing to the management of a PR agency team and other media outreach materials.
  • Coordinate earned media opportunities through the development of strategic messaging and prompt scheduling to support internal spokespeople.
  • Collaborate with the Marketing team to share secured media stories, including writing and editing promotional content (blog posts, social media postings and others as needed).
  • Work with stakeholders across MJFF to maintain the corporate communications calendar of priority events, upcoming programs and milestones.
  • Contribute to internal communications needs, including the drafting of memos, internal newsletters, intranet posts and other materials as needed.
  • Evaluate and respond to media, brand and personal appearance requests in a timely manner.
  • Track and maintain all secured media stories and media lists, and compile a monthly and quarterly summary of clips.
  • Maintain and organize photo and video archives and compile appropriate assets for secured media requests.
  • Contribute to the preparation and on-the-ground support of Foundation events where corporate communications and media is required.

Communications Operations

  • Support daily operations for the entire Communications team through meeting management and administrative tasks including processing of invoices and expense reports, managing vendor relationships and contracts, and others as needed.
  • Maintain and organize content, assets and archives on shared drives.
  • Contribute to general communications writing and proofreading of content, as needed, across all Communications groups.

Qualification and experience needed:

  • Excellent written, verbal communications and editing skills
  • Fastidious attention to detail
  • Excellent judgment to self-sufficiently triage a high volume of inquiries for Foundation resources, personal appearances, and other requests
  • Can-do and collaborative, team-oriented attitude
  • Ability to quickly produce high-quality work under pressure
  • Comfort in initiating and managing relationships with internal and external stakeholders at all levels; diplomatic personality
  • Sense of humor and ability to remain calm and professional under pressure

Additionally, those who thrive at MJFF tend to possess the following personal attributes:

  • Well-developed analytical skills and business acumen
  • High emotional intelligence; savvy for negotiating multiple feedback inputs and gaining buy-in while balancing the opinions of various stakeholders
  • Innate ability to think creatively and channel innovative concepts into action plans and output
  • High productivity
  • Entrepreneurialism and problem-solving orientation
  • Commitment to excellence; willingness to go above and beyond
  • Positive outlook and high energy with a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-it-done attitude
  • Adaptability and comfort in a rapid-growth and change-oriented setting
  • Intellectual curiosity and a broad range of interests

Finalist candidates will be asked to complete an editorial test.

Every member of the Communications team at MJFF must demonstrate a track record of hard work, impeccable attention to detail, excellent project management and the ability to meet competing deadlines and manage multiple projects at once.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is known for its optimistic, problem-solving approach to Parkinson’s drug development, and has an established organizational voice — a tone of excellence (high-quality journalistic inquiry that is authoritative but never arrogant), simplicity (while avoiding oversimplification of technical material), directness (speaking plainly and never sugar-coating) and authenticity (never overpromising, never biased). The Communications Officer will be expected to work to absorb this voice and quickly incorporate it in their writing.

How to Apply


Interested candidates should submit a resume, up to two relevant writing samples, and a thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please click on the link provided to apply. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

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