Director of Communications
Career Opportunity -- East Foundation is hiring! East Foundation’s first Director of Communications will provide leadership and build the capacity of teams supporting the Foundation’s communication, branding, and marketing efforts. The Director of Communications will be the Foundation’s first professional communications executive. In the organization’s first few years of operation, communications tasks have been shared across an enthusiastic and supportive staff. The new Director will have the entrepreneurial attitude and vision to design and launch East’s first organization-wide communications strategy, and its ability to tell the land stewardship story, both through traditional means and with a full appreciation for 21st century technology and its reach to current and future audiences.
POSITION DESCRIPTION AND IDEAL CANDIDATE SPECIFICATION
San Antonio, TX
Our mission is to promote the advancement of land stewardship through ranching, science, and education.
The East Foundation is a §501(c)(3) Agricultural Research Organization established in 2007. The Foundation owns and operates over 217,000 acres on six ranches in south Texas. The land is maintained in its historic role as a working cattle ranch and is highly valued for its unique wildlife habitats and extensive native rangelands. As is reflected in its mission, the East Foundation is committed to furthering the concept and practice of private land stewardship. With administrative offices in San Antonio and Hebbronville and a staff of 40+ in five locations across the region, the Foundation’s impact is amplified by onsite relationships with universities and other mission partners.
To fulfill its mission, the Foundation:
- Uses its land as a working laboratory where scientists and managers work together to address issues important to wildlife, rangeland management, and overall ranch productivity.
- Employs good land stewardship to ensure that ranching and wildlife management work together to conserve healthy rangelands.
- Participates in public policy development to keep land stewards’ interests and the benefits of their work in front of policymakers, educators and educational institutions, and the public.
- Builds future leaders through programs that introduce educators and students to the importance of private land stewardship.
- Invests in professional development for the next generation of land stewardship advocates through internships, graduate fellowships, and close engagements with university programs.
- Maintains its legacy by upholding the East family’s vision and values, established more than a century ago.
The challenge: The Director of Communications will be the Foundation’s first professional communications executive. In the organization’s first few years of operation, communications tasks have been shared across an enthusiastic and supportive staff. The new Director will have the entrepreneurial attitude and vision to design and launch East’s first organization-wide communications strategy, and its ability to tell the land stewardship story, both through traditional means and with a full appreciation for 21st century technology and its reach to current and future audiences.
The Director of Communications will provide leadership and build the capacity of team members supporting the Foundation’s communication, branding, and marketing efforts, including:
- Develop and implement communication strategies, working closely with staff and external partners to ensure message continuity and alignment with mission and brand.
- Develop resources to support external communication efforts of all Foundation staff to increase the effectiveness of outreach efforts.
- Strengthen efforts to leverage the Foundation’s resources to secure engagement opportunities and sponsorships with public, corporate, and private partners.
The Director reports to the Director of Operations Support, Todd Snelgrove, and will work closely with CEO Neal Wilkins, the leadership team, other staff, outside advisors, and partner organizations.
Staff members whose roles with the Foundation include communications responsibilities, and who will provide support for the Director, are:
- Allie Biedenharn (digital media, content management)
- Maria Hernandez (programs and events, outreach)
- Kristine Robb (newsletter, graphic design, website organization)
The Director also interacts with Foundation partners, members of the media, policymakers, and the public.
Position priorities (to be addressed during the first six months)
- Review existing communications activities, outlets, and materials; develop a comprehensive communications and marketing plan that focuses on both short- and long-term priorities and goals.
- Ensure that the necessary resources, including professional development opportunities for communications team members and other foundation staff, are in place for successful progress toward goals.
- Develop and articulate the communications strategy and implement its execution across every aspect of the Foundation’s operations.
- Lead efforts to enhance the Foundation’s brand position by messaging its mission and goals to targeted audiences.
- Cultivate and maintain effective working relationships with members of the media and with current and potential partners.
- Coordinate the Foundation’s presentation in all external communication and outreach efforts (including traditional media and print materials, digital/website/social media, speaking engagements, conference participations, policy collaborations, etc.) across all units of the Foundation to ensure a strategic and consistent promotion of the outward face of the brand.
- Ensure that every staff member is an effective ambassador for the brand; develop resources to support them in that effort, including communications training and marketing materials.
- Collaborate with all staff members to foster team-building and information-sharing; build their capacity to generate and deliver program-specific content to all of the Foundation’s constituencies, making sure that its science is effectively translated, where needed, for all audiences.
- Develop and manage budgets for communications and marketing projects and programs.
- Retain and manage external consultants as needed.
- Education: this job requires at least the organizational, analytical, and communications skills normally acquired through the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Studies in communications, marketing, or public affairs or related discipline are helpful, but work experience is more important.
- Work experience: at least 8 years in a comparable position, including proven ability to develop and manage a comprehensive strategic communications program to advance goals and objectives. Experience with a non-profit organization, particularly in conservation or a related field, would be a plus but is not required.
- Knowledge of Texas and its ranching heritage would be ideal; a strong appreciation for the culture and economics of ranching, wildlife management, hunting, and agriculture, with an understanding of the concerns of landowners and managers, is important for a fit with the East Foundation culture.
- Excellent communications skills -- verbal, written, and presentation -- are essential. Experience in dealing with communication of scientific information (translating science into a story) would be helpful.
- Demonstrated ability to successfully manage complex issues and fast-moving and unexpected communication challenges is important.
- Proven relationship/interpersonal skills, with the ability to develop meaningful working relationships across a range of audiences from Foundation staff and professional advisors to partners, landowners, sponsors, policymakers, members of the media, and the public.
Ideal personal profile
- A high-energy individual with a commitment to excellence and to fulfilling the Foundation’s mission.
- An organized and detail-oriented individual who plans strategically, consistently meets deadlines, and manages multiple concurrent projects, while willing to take on any necessary task to get the job done.
- An individual with a high tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to work with diverse viewpoints and thrive in an environment of growth and change.
- A leader who can build the communication capacity of team members and motivate them to reach their goals successfully.
- An individual who has excellent judgement and creative problem-solving skills, works effectively in a collaborative setting, and is a strategic thinker who can provide lasting solutions for complex communication issues.
- A creative thinker who understands the public benefits of private land stewardship and who is motivated by and can be passionate about the Foundation’s mission.
- A seasoned communications professional who can guide the Foundation to a new level in terms of recognition, respect, and partnership.
- An outstanding individual who has the character, integrity, experience, and judgement to represent the East Foundation across all of its partners and constituencies —landowners and managers, educational institutions, conservation organizations, policymakers, and the public.
For more information contact:
Dorothy Drummer & Associates
Executive Search Consulting
301 Congress Ave., Suite 2100
Austin, TX 78701