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Senior Communications Officer - Media and External Relations (Limited Term Engagement)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Marketing & Communications
Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. We believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve. We provide an exceptional benefits package to employees and their families which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with no premiums, generous paid time off, paid family leave, foundation-paid retirement contribution, regional holidays, and opportunities to engage in several employee communities. As a workplace, we’re committed to creating an environment for you to thrive both personally and professionally.

The Team

In June 2020, the foundation hired a Chief Communications Officer and established a new Communications Division to lead all aspects of the foundation’s global communications strategy. The division brings together internal and external communications to advance our mission of a more equitable world. The Global Communications team is responsible for crafting internal and external use of foundation voice to advance and protect the foundation’s reputation and advance its priority advocacy and program objectives and ensure that employees are meaningfully connected to the foundation’s mission and community. The team is responsible for comprehensive voice planning for foundation leadership and key spokespeople as well as driving engagement with earned media.

The Media and External Communications team works in close collaboration with cross-functional partners, as well as with the co-chair private offices to manage foundation reputation through proactive and reactive engagement with media, grantees, and foundation partners. We do this by securing on-message, positive earned media coverage of foundation issues and advocacy priorities. We also are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with and serving as a go-to-resource for U.S. and global journalists and media outlets that reach diverse key audiences. The team manages reputational risk in the media as well as the foundation’s responsiveness to all incoming inquiries from journalists, grantees, and the general public.

*This role is a limited-term position for 36 months. Relocation will be provided if needed.

Your Role

The Senior Communications Officer (SCO) will be a key member of the Media and External Relations team. The SCO will contribute to achieving the team’s earned media relations goals, domestically and globally. They will have a track record of effective engagement with journalists at top-tier media outlets. They will lead and implement strategic plans to secure on-message media coverage in targeted media outlets and respond to incoming media inquiries to advance advocacy goals related to the foundation’s Gender Equality (GE) work. The GE work includes family planning and maternal, newborn and child health, women’s leadership, with an additional focus on driving media attention to the need for policies and programs that will help women transform from simply participating in the economy to achieving their full economic power.

To do this, the SCO will partner with team members as well as colleagues in the communications division and across the foundation, sharing insights and expertise on media relations and leading and following through on outreach to media outlets, in coordination with the team. They also will be the point person for leading on preparing and staffing interviews with our experts and will serve as a member of cross-functional teams to develop and implement strategies and tactics, including around key events, breakthroughs and leadership engagements. This role reports directly to the deputy director of Media and External Relations!

What You’ll Do

  • Build and manage relationships with journalists and earned media outlets, in coordination with team members, with a particular focus on engaging U.S. and global top tier media covering global gender equality, maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), and women’s economic power.

  • Contribute to the team’s strategy, processes, and media outreach to increase visibility and transparency of the foundation’s work and impact in earned media coverage that reaches key audiences in the U.S. and globally. This includes using data-driven insights to achieve results.

  • Share insights and expertise on media and media contacts with communications colleagues.

  • Lead on preparing materials for journalists covering gender equality, MNCH and women’s economic power as well as spokespeople and staffing interviews with our experts, partners and/or leadership on those topics.

  • Build trusting and effective relationships with communications, policy and advocacy, and programmatic colleagues across the foundation.

  • Anticipate and prepare for risk and reputation management as it relates to the program strategies.

  • Be available to work off-hours, when needed, to prepare for and respond to crisis situations.

Your Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in addition to 7 years’ direct experience in media relations and crisis communications.

  • Holds relationships with journalists covering gender and/or global health and development issues.

  • Strong written and oral skills and an understanding of and analytical approach to media relations strategies and tactics.

  • Understands strategic audience segmentation, identifying and using channels and multi- earned media to reach diverse audiences with appropriate compelling messages.

  • Track record driving messages, narratives and elevating diverse voices through earned media. Able to recommend appropriate distribution channels that reach intended audiences.

  • Has strong awareness of communication industry trends, channels and tools. Demonstrates awareness of global differences when communicating with people in other countries.

  • Generates ideas that support audience and channel strategies.

  • Able to translate and guide spokespeople in communicating sophisticated ideas and information into simple messages aligned to targeted audiences.

  • Ability to build trusting and effective relationships with colleagues, leadership principals, and external partners.

  • Willingness to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines with attention to detail and strength in composing and delivering quality materials.

  • Sense of humor, positive, professional attitude, especially in stressful and time-sensitive situations.

  • Ability to achieve results in a dynamic, matrixed environment.

  • Ease working with different types of people and working styles and dedication to DEI and understanding of cultural empathy.

  • Demonstrated interest in continuous learning from colleagues and industry standard methodologies.

  • Dedication to a job well performed, being a great teammate and supporting your team’s success.

Other Attributes

  • Experience working on gender equality issues and/or global health and development or working with philanthropies.

  • Strong relationships with top-tier journalists and media outlets.

  • Willing to travel up to 20%.

  • Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

The typical salary range for this role is $144,200 to $X267,800 USD. The exact offer will be determined by a variety of factors such as the candidate’s individual skills, qualifications, and experience relative to the requirements of the role.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

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Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Candidate Accommodations

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request here.

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We strive for a global and cultural workplace that supports ever greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — and we support this diversity through all our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.