The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation (USNAAAF or 'Enterprise'), like the U.S. Naval Academy it supports, aims to be the best in the nation at its stated purpose: the binding of alumni together in support of the mission of the U.S. Naval Academy.
In close partnership with the Naval Academy, USNAAAF delivers the services, support, programs, and experiences that on the whole bring the alumni community together in common cause to help set the conditions in which the Naval Academy performs on par with the very best institutions of higher learning in the nation academically and athletically, and as a crucible experience to graduate leaders prepared to lead Sailors and Marines, imbued with the highest ideals of command, citizenship, and government.
As united as we are as an alumni community in our dedication to our alma mater and its Mission, we are also richly diverse in how we prefer to connect and commune with each other. Our most seasoned members were born in the 1920s - in 2022 we welcome our first members born in the 21st century. We are digital luddites, digital immigrants, and digital natives. When "two or three shall meet, and old tales by retold," those tales are printed, posted, texted, tweeted, and streamed. We expect our connection to fit in the rhythm of our lives, when and how we want it. Our binding together as a community occurs in the 58,000 personal decisions by every alumnus and alumnae to connect, commune, and engage. Our communications team owns the responsibility to reach each of our alumni so that their decisions to bind together are informed and earnest.
To that end, our next Director of Communications will demonstrate mastery of the storytelling roadmap - idea or event to storyboard to product - in the rich diversity of mediums preferred by our community, and in the rhythm of their lives. The next Director of Communications will drive the creation of content, spaces and channels that keep the community informed, engaged, committed, and supportive of the Naval Academy and each other.
Specifically, The Director of Communications Will:
In close partnership with the Executive Director, Strategic Communications:
- Develop an adaptive and dynamic baseline of our alumni community - our alumni, their families, and our friends, fans, and partners - in terms of their needs, desires, identities, and preferred communications style, tone, rhythm, and channels.
- With this baseline as a guide, review, revise, and adapt our existing communications and engagement strategy to grow and bind together our alumni community and shape the public profile of the Enterprise in service to that community.
- Lead and develop a team of 11 communications professionals dedicated to accomplishing the work described here.
- Develop concrete goals for our external communications strategy and establish clear metrics for evaluating progress.
- Design new ways to make the Enterprise's work understandable and relevant to key audiences internally and externally, including generating core messages and language, developing timely content and analysis, and creating opportunities for engagement with key external audiences.
- Build and maintain networks and relationships with partners and stakeholders in military, government, nonprofit, business, private philanthropy, and peer universities to inform our communications and outreach strategies and create opportunities for them to benefit from, use, and share the Enterprise's ideas and insights.
- Build and lead an integrated communications program, combining online engagement, media relations, events, and outreach with military, government, nonprofit, business, and private philanthropy to maximize the influence and impact of the Enterprise's work.
- Provide coaching and training on writing, media engagement, public speaking and presentations to staff and teams to increase communications capacity and impact.
- Implement strategic direction to Shipmate magazine, the Enterprise's flagship publication.
- Develop remarks and presentations for Enterprise leadership (SLT and volunteer).
- Develop content style guidelines for the Enterprise's communications activities.
The Director of Communications will work under general supervision of the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and must possess and demonstrate a positive outlook on continuous process improvement efforts while maintaining a team-based and customer-focused mindset. It is critical that this position exhibit the abilities to practice sound judgment and decision-making, effective written and oral communication, strong attention to detail and effective relationship management with all levels of the Enterprise and with every external constituent.
This position must also exhibit a strong desire to continuously learn new and evolving communications technologies and channels as they relate to strategic communications. The ability to apply new technologies and find new applications for existing technologies to drive measurable progress in our operational and strategic goals will be critical. Research shows that many applicants who would be successful in a position are reluctant to apply unless they meet every listed requirement. We therefore encourage applications from candidates who do not meet all the listed requirements, but who believe they have the moxie to grow and thrive as the Director of Communications at USNAAAF. We are particularly interested in candidates whose energy and courage in pushing the boundaries of what's possible as a communications professional is evident in their experience and their demeanor.
In This Role, You Will:
- Provide public relations support for audiences that are both internal and external to the Enterprise on a national scale.
- Develop, execute, edit, and oversee written communications of complex nature, including key content messages for speeches, presentations, magazine columns, correspondence, social media posts, and opinion pieces.
- Develop strategies for brand management, reputation management and issues management of moderate complexity.
- Design and implement effective media relations programs with routine outreach to local and national news organizations.
- Design and implement effective constituent communications programs.
- Design and implement social media strategies.
- Liaise with staff responsible for alumni engagement and fundraising activities.
- Leverage relationships with USNA Public Affairs, Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA) Sports Information Department, key reporters and editors, local and national media, community and/or government leaders.
- Establish relationships with key reporters and editors at top-tier and influential media outlets.
- Participate in strategic planning, financial and business planning, special projects, and other assignments pertaining to the mission of communications and PR functions.
- Develop strategic comprehensive communication plans to meet the needs of key audiences.
- Supervise and develop the Enterprise's communications team.
To Be Successful In This Role, You Will Bring:
- Bachelor's degree and seven years of relevant experience. Eight years of experience preferred, or combination of education and relevant experience.
- Demonstrated fluency across all channels and tools of digital-age communication and media, including and particularly social media tools, to tell a story in the language and rhythm preferred by the audience.
- Demonstrated fluency in driving the roadmap from idea or event to storyboard to product in the digital age that unites target audiences around shared meaning and purpose.
- Excellent written communication skills, outstanding research and analytical skills, and skills in conceptual editing, copy editing, and proof reading.
- Ability to work collaboratively with internal groups across the Enterprise.
- As comfortable, personable, and relatable interpersonally with alumni in their 70s and 80s as with alumni in their 20s and 30s.
- Mastery of skills in digital journalism and public relations in the digital age.
- Demonstrated comfort and fluency in public speaking roles.
In Addition, Preferred Qualifications Include:
- You are excited to turn the accomplishments of our Naval Academy and alumni community into compelling content that binds together our alumni community in common cause. You have demonstrated experience creating, leading, and overseeing inspiring communications content and external engagement to bring communications content to life. You have experience working with development teams managing communications teams as well as external vendors for website development, publications, events, fundraising, and marketing campaigns.
- You are a skilled and professional communicator with 8+ years of experience and a track record of engaging a range of audiences. You have assumed leadership roles, demonstrated skills for external correspondence with partners, funders, and broader audiences and have experience building and maintaining relationships with senior staff at relevant media outlets.
- You have demonstrated expertise writing about complex issues for non-academic audiences.
- You are a flexible, resourceful, and well-organized project manager. You have a proven track record of coordinating multi-faceted and complex projects designed to change policies or behaviors among key audiences and networks, including the ability to anticipate issues, develop proactive solutions, and engage the right stakeholders to support and champion success.
- You are a thoughtful relationship builder, engaging communicator, and people connector. You have a demonstrated ability to bring, build, and maintain networks and working relationships with partners and key stakeholders from one or more of the following audiences: military, nonprofit and community-based organizations, private philanthropy, government, business, and higher education institutions.
- You are a team leader, invested in team members' and other stakeholders' growth and development. You have the ability to provide just-in-time training, coaching, and mentoring for staff and partners for events, media engagement, and other public engagement opportunities. You have management experience with direct reports and are eager to grow our communications team in service to an ambitious agenda for the future of the organization.
- You have a demonstrated track record of working effectively across affinity groups and categories of difference. You are committed to centering equity and inclusion in programs and practices.
- You thrive in a dynamic, open, and collaborative work environment. You are at home in a lean start-up environment with the ability to stay focused and nimble in the face of rapid change. You believe in collaboration and including a diversity of views, experiences, and perspectives.
USNAAAF is for You IF Our Culture And Unique Mission Inspires You: We support the U.S. Naval Academy, one of the nation's most revered institutions in building leaders who serve the nation as Navy and Marine Corps officers. Our mission is intrinsically meaningful and also the source of great esprit de corps among staff. On our team you will enjoy:
- A learning culture. In today's digital, omni-channel communications environment, we embrace and nurture a mindset of discovery and curiosity about how we can get better as a communications team - you will be central to that effort.
- A caring culture. We provide superb benefits and generous time-off and treat you as the professional you are.
- Pageantry, history, and tradition. The U.S. Naval Academy (The 'Yard') is a national historic landmark for a reason. You have access to its history and traditions dating to 1845. Saturday home football games and the march-on of the entire student body, and especially the annual Army-Navy game, are spectacles that have long symbolized the enduring spirit of American pride and competition. You will become part of that tradition.
- A highly engaged alumni base from every state and territory in the union. We are among the nation's leaders in membership rates with over 98% membership among graduates. Our alumni - young and old - care deeply about their alma mater and want its story told by the very best in the business. Are you that person?
Other duties may also be assigned, not all unique aspects of this job are covered by this job posting. A full job description will be shared during the interview process.
Consistent with its obligations under the law, USNAAAF will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job. USNAAAF is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.