Communications Specialist, Breakthrough RESEARCH

Washington D.C.
Competitive annual salary + health, dental, vision, parental leave, and education benefits
Jul 18, 2019
Metro Area
Full Time

JOB TITLE: Communications Specialist, Breakthrough RESEARCH

REPORTING TO: Project Director, Breakthrough RESEARCH

LOCATION: Washington, DC



POSITION SUMMARY: Breakthrough-RESEARCH (B-R) is seeking an experienced communications professional to manage the production of print and digital knowledge products and implement its communications strategy to support the project’s mission and vision. Key responsibilities are managing communications and stakeholder engagement, developing content, and managing publications. The ideal candidate will have at least five years’ experience in journalism, scientific or academic publishing, corporate communications, or a related field, and can demonstrate proven success managing multiple concurrent projects and working in a team-based, deadline-driven environment. The Communications Specialist will be a critical member of the B-R team and will work closely with the senior management team (SMT), Senior SBC Team Lead, the Knowledge Management and Research Application Team Lead, project partners, USAID, and B-R Activity Leads.

Breakthrough RESEARCH is USAID’s flagship Social Behavior Change (SBC) research and evaluation project and a sister project to Breakthrough ACTION (B-A), which is led by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications Programs. Together, the projects provide global and country-level technical leadership in SBC advocacy, design, implementation, research, and evaluation.


Communications and Stakeholder Engagement

1. Implement and monitor B-R’s communications strategy, monitoring progress against targets, and review and coordinate revision on an annual basis.
2. Improve B-R’s visibility by writing and editing content for the website and promoting content through social media, blog posts, and other appropriate channels.
3. Support the planning, communication, promotion, and execution of internal and external B-R events such as conferences, webinars, workshops, meetings, and learning activities.
4. Work closely with the SMT and partners to identify thought leadership opportunities, including speaking engagements, conferences, and interviews.
5. Support the creation and maintenance of a B-R email contacts database for targeted distribution of B-R products, updates, and results.
6. Manage the annual process of updating the communications strategy in partnership with the SMT, partners, and other project leadership.
7. Serve as point of contact for the Office of Strategic Communications at Population Council Headquarters to share information on B-R and identify opportunities to collaborate and maximize B-R’s impact.

Content Development
1. Write, edit, and copy edit content for technical and non-technical audiences such as manuscripts, technical reports, briefs, tool kits, news releases, blogs, presentations, newsletters, talking points, web and social media content, as needed. Work with graphic designers to develop infographics and other visuals to use as standalone resources and/or in other products.
2. Participate in face-to-face meetings, conference calls, and other relationship management activities with project partners and stakeholders to facilitate communications, as needed.
3. Other duties, as assigned.

Publications Management
1. Manage and maintain an annual editorial calendar.
2. Implement and monitor B-R’s communications production process, tracking actions and deadlines to produce high-quality materials with maximum time- and cost-efficiencies, and provide updates on a routine basis to staff to help them plan their time.
3. Prepare, maintain, and socialize essential resources to support the production process, such as a style guide, glossary, author guidelines, editorial and design templates, and ensure that current and new staff know how to access and utilize these resources.
4. Coordinate and manage a bench of writers, editors, translators, copy editors and other technical specialists who can provide support on as-needed basis.
5. Manage and maintain an archive of visual assets such as photographs, video, icons, illustrations, and information graphics and ensure that current and new staff know how to access and utilize these resources.

1. BA degree in journalism, communications, or a related field, is required.
2. Minimum of 5 years of experience working as a writer, editor, reporter, producer, or communications specialist, experience working in global public health, and/or USAID-funded projects strongly preferred.
3. Experience producing technical and non-technical visual and verbal content for dissemination in multiple formats across different channels, including in-person and virtual presentations, print and digital media, web, and social media channels. Experience working in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or a similar graphic design program to develop or modify existing files a plus.
4. Excellent command of the English language (verbal and written) with the proven ability to communicate complex information for non-experts (writing samples will be requested).
5. Technical writing, substantive editing, and copy editing experience.
6. Excellent organizational and project management skills, with the ability to execute simultaneously on multiple projects with tight deadlines and prioritize the workload in a fast-paced environment.
7. Ability to work independently and in teams in a multi-cultural context.
8. Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain strong working relationships with all levels of staff, partners, and other stakeholders.
9. A versatile self-starter and creative thinker with the capability to see the big picture and also the details of a project.
10. Demonstrate good judgment, innovation, versatility, and integrity.
11. Excellent proficiency using Office, Smartsheet, Tableau (or other data visualization tools), Adobe Creative Cloud, Mailchimp, Adobe Connect, (or other virtual platforms).

HOW TO APPLY: Please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to with subject line "BR Communications Specialist" by 11:59PM on August 2, 2019.

The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental institution that seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources. The Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research and helps build research capacities in developing countries. Established in 1952, the Council is governed by an international board of trustees. Its New York headquarters supports a global network of country offices. We are seeking an individual to fill the position described. If you know of a qualified candidate or are interested in this position, please apply at:

The Population Council provides equal opportunity; it does not discriminate against any person with regard to age, color, creed, national origin, disability, political belief, veteran status, religion, marital status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Decisions on employment are based on an individual’s qualifications as related to the position for which s/he is being considered. The Council especially encourages applications from qualified women and members of minority groups. The Population Council is international in the composition of its board of trustees and its staff, as well as in the nature and deployment of its activities.

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