Director, Communications, Outreach & Engagement

Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois, United States, 60208
Oct 18, 2019
Metro Area
Full Time

Northwestern University Opportunity (Job ID 37314):
Northwestern University seeks to employ a varied and diverse range of dynamic people who understand the importance of our mission and vision. When you consider a career at Northwestern University, you know that you are joining an institution with a deep history of academic, professional and personal excellence.

Currently, we have a career opportunity as a Director, Communications, Outreach & Engagement (Evanston Campus).

Job Summary:
The Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University (Northwestern Buffett) advances the University's global education, research and engagement strategy and brings the brightest minds around the world together to solve critical global challenges that cannot be addressed from a singular disciplinary or geographical perspective alone. From its position within the Office of the Provost, Northwestern Buffett is the coordination point for university-level international programs and services. Its comprehensive scope allows Northwestern Buffett to foster integrated strategies in support of student and faculty mobility, collaborative and cross-disciplinary research, the internationalization of teaching and learning, and the management of risk for Northwestern's global travelers.

Northwestern Buffett is cultivating international partnerships with other global universities, amplifying Northwestern's access to global resources and expertise and building a global network of students, scholars, and practitioners across disciplines and industry sectors. We have an unprecedented opportunity to increase Northwestern's presence on the world stage with a mission focused on catalyzing the ideas that will define our time. Within this context, the Director of Communications, Outreach and Engagement plays a critical role in developing and implementing Northwestern Buffett's external relations strategy.

The Director will lead Northwestern Buffett's global communication, outreach, and engagement strategy, branding, marketing, social media and public relations work in coordination and consultation with the Office for Global Marketing and Communications (OGMC). Through the Director's immediate work team in Northwestern Buffett, the Director will also oversee coordination of Northwestern Buffett events and development activities.

The Director will plan, implement, and evaluate Northwestern Buffett's global communications and marketing efforts, with a strong understanding of public relations and marketing, international audiences and stakeholders, and global media outlets and organizations. They will help amplify the digital, print, and media voice of the Northwestern Buffett to international news and media organizations. They will develop and execute a public relations strategy that highlights and raises the international reputation of Northwestern Buffett and its initiatives. They will understand global audiences and how to reach them, and assist in writing on global topics for diverse audiences. In conjunction with their outreach and engagement role, they will provide oversight and direction to Northwestern Buffett staff responsible for events coordination and activities supporting donor relations.

The Director of Communications, Outreach and Engagement will report to the Associate Provost of Global Affairs and Executive Director, Northwestern Buffett, and hold a secondary reporting line to the Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications (OGMC). They will collaborate with OGMC marketing and media relations teams to ensure alignment between OGMC and Northwestern Buffett. They will supervise the Northwestern Buffett marketing and communications and events/development staff and collaborate with the Global Learning Office Marketing and Communications Manager.

Working Conditions: The Director may require some evening and weekend hours and work-related travel.

Specific Responsibilities:
Strategy and Operations

  • In partnership with OGMC, develop and implement multifaceted communications and public relations strategies to support the goals and mission of Northwestern Buffett and the University's global strategic direction.
  • In partnership with OGMC, define, elevate and communicate the global strategy of Northwestern University and Northwestern Buffett programming priorities to ensure they are understood, embraced and consistently presented in international and national publications and media outlets and across all Northwestern constituencies (faculty, staff, students, alumni).
  • Work with key partners across the University to elevate the University's global rankings.
  • In partnership with OGMC, create and implement a calendar of international and globally-oriented communications, including press releases, op-ed articles, announcements, conferences, presentations, et al.
  • Develop a Northwestern Buffett internal communications plan encompassing web, email, social media, print, and other methods that aligns with University needs and implement all phases of that strategy across international partners and stakeholder groups.
  • Measure communication, outreach and engagement impact, effectiveness and growth across all platforms and adjust as necessary to ensure desired results.

Earned Media and Public Relations

  • Collaborate with OGMC to develop and execute a public relations strategy that drives consistent messaging and raises Northwestern Buffett's and the University's global presence, initiatives and reputation across national and international media outlets.
  • Amplify the voice of Northwestern Buffett, by working with Media Relations in OGMC, for engagement with international communications and media, showcasing subject matter experts, writing stories, op-eds, and other articles for diverse global audiences.
  • Foster international thought leadership opportunities for Northwestern Buffett affiliated and other University faculty, securing high-profile speaking opportunities at prestigious conferences and industry events, collaborate with OGMC to garner earned media from these opportunities.

Digital and Social Media

  • Manage the creation of Northwestern Buffett content across all digital channels to ensure consistency of brand, timeliness and alignment.
  • Collaborate with OGMC to develop a strategic vision for global digital and social media efforts across the University.
  • Oversee Northwestern Buffett's online global presence and ensure alignment and consistent messaging that reflects Northwestern's role as a higher education thought leader.
  • Ensure internal websites provide global staff access to marketing tools and content.
  • Utilize emerging technologies and digital trends to evolve best practices.
  • Possess an understanding of analytical tools for social media tracking, websites and app statistics (e.g. Google analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.)

Outreach and Engagement

  • Coordinate development and implementation of community outreach and engagement strategies across a range of Northwestern Buffett activities, including teaching, research, and service.
  • Oversee events coordination and donor communications to ensure alignment with Northwestern Buffett priorities and messaging, and appropriate protocols pertaining to VIP participants.
  • In close collaboration with the Associate Provost for Global Affairs, identify opportunities and develop and implement strategies to engage community partners and other important stakeholders in Northwestern Buffett events and activities.


  • Collaborate with Northwestern Buffett Senior Leadership Team to plan and prioritize marketing and communications projects, and supervise Northwestern Buffett Communications staff in their delivery.
  • Prioritize and oversee completion of full range of marketing and communications projects while supervising Northwestern Buffett communications and marketing staff.
  • Provide guidance to and supervise Northwestern Buffett events and development staff.
  • Manage resources, review and track budget, and adhere to milestones, timelines and deadlines. Manage independent contractor relationships focused on highlighting the University in global markets.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • 10+ years of experience with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, Communications, Marketing/Public Relations or related field.
  • 10+ years of global marketing leadership focused on content and communications, preferably within an agency or PR setting, ideally with international clientele.
  • Experience building global launch plans, and global strategic messaging platforms.
  • Media relationships across higher education, business, marketing/advertising outlets with a focus on international outlets.
  • Proven success as a strong leader and manager of in-house and out-sourced teams.
  • Outstanding content strategy, strategic writing, and editing experience.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Ability to translate between domestic and international markets with appropriate tone and cultural nuance.
  • Exceptional English verbal and interpersonal communication skills with the ability to present to colleagues across the organization.
  • Proven ability to meet deadlines, manage multiple projects concurrently, and pay close attention to detail.
  • Ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to changing priorities, direction, and deadlines.
  • Ability to attract, develop and retain exceptional talent.
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively, solve problems, plan directions, overcome obstacles and successfully handle multiple assigned projects from concept through final delivery.
  • Demonstrated leadership competencies: vision, accountability for results, team leadership, developing others and cross-organization collaboration.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop best practices for content creation, distribution, maintenance, repurposing and implementation across all channels.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze financial accounts and develop, manage, and monitor budgets

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working in higher education and/or non-profit sectors.
  • Experience living, studying, or working abroad.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Skill and facility in language(s) other than English

Working at Northwestern University:
Beyond being a place to learn and grow professionally, Northwestern is an exciting and fulfilling place to work! Northwestern offers many benefit options to full and part-time employees including: competitive compensation; excellent retirement plans; comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage; dependent care match; vacation, sick and holiday pay; professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.

Northwestern greatly values work/life balance amongst its employees. Take advantage of recreational, cultural, and enrichment opportunities on campus. Employees also receive access to childcare solutions, retail discounts, and other work/life balance resources.

Northwestern University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly believes in creating an environment that welcomes students, faculty and staff of all races, nationalities and religions. In doing so, we offer our students the opportunity to learn and grow in diverse communities preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly global and diverse work force.

For consideration, please click on the link below. You will be directed to Northwestern University's electronic recruiting system, eRecruit, where you will apply for current openings. Once you apply, you will receive an email confirming submission of your resume. For all resumes received, if there is interest in your candidacy, the human resources recruiter or the department hiring manager will contact you. Job Opening ID number for this position is 37314.

If you are a current employee of our organization please use the following link instead:

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

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