Demos is pleased to invite nominations and applications for its newly created Chief of Communications position. With a visionary President, evolving leadership team, and high impact staff, Demos works at the intersection of democracy and racial and economic justice, to achieve transformative social change for Black and brown communities. Demos’ work recognizes the importance of power building in service of creating a society that is equitable and that works to ensure that Black and brown communities are fully thriving. In doing so, Demos helps create the conditions for all of us to thrive. Demos moves ideas powerful enough to improve the lives of everyday Americans through the full life cycle of change. Through championing over-the-horizon policy solutions and shifting the dominant narrative, Demos works to galvanize acceptance and support for radical change and commits to sustain advocacy until that change is implemented. Demos’ program model leverages litigation, policy research, strategic communications, and movement building to meet the ever complex and shifting demands of the moment. This interwoven approach to impact has translated into real victories, from landmark credit card reforms to over 3 million new voter registration applications from low-income citizens. Throughout all their work, Demos is advocating not just for people, but for the very idea of the people – of one nation, united by shared fate.
The Chief of Communications will be a visionary leader, who will play a pivotal role in shaping and driving Demos’ communications, marketing, and brand building strategy, that reflects the mission, vision of the organization, and tells the evolving story of Demos’ work and impact in the sector. A brilliant strategist, and result driven leader, the Chief of Communications will lead and work closely with a team of communications professionals with specialized expertise in strategic communications, digital/print media, graphic design, media relations, narrative construction, social media engagement, and more. In partnership with the President of Demos, and their senior leadership colleagues, the Chief of Communications will build on this organizational vision to design and implement a cohesive strategy for communications and marketing that will further enhance the integrated approach that has yielded the policy and systems change necessary for a more inclusive democracy and functional economy that centers equitable outcomes for Black and brown communities.
The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker, experienced in change management, having led teams or an organization to adopt new bodies of work or implement new strategies. The Chief of Communications should also understand the vision of the organization and proactively propose and develop communication and marketing strategies to leverage organizational strengths, spot gaps in the field that Demos is well positioned to fill, and bring new ideas to the organization. The Chief of Communications will lead a team that will provide the full range of communications and marketing function within the organization and will work in close partnership with programming staff. This role will report directly to Taifa Smith Butler, President of Demos.
Success in this role will require someone who is:
- A visionary strategic leader able to articulate and communicate a clear and compelling vision for the communications, organizational brand building, and marketing work of Demos that inspires, mobilizes, and galvanizes both the communications team and broader Demos organization;
- An exceptional relationship builder, increasing rapport, trust, and transparency across a diverse and growing community of robust, passionate, and talented stakeholders, including staff, external media organizations and partners, supporters, and movement partners; and
- A strong listener, public communicator, and storyteller who can articulate and amplify the values, lived experiences, and lessons that demonstrate the potential and impact of the work in meeting communities where they are.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS
The Chief of Communications will join an extraordinary team of individuals that include a dedicated group of staff and a thriving community of movement partners committed to securing and strengthening our democracy and drive racial justice and impact in our communities. The Chief of Communications will:
Co-Create a Strong Communications Strategy that Elevates Organizational Impact
The Chief of Communications will adeptly work across the organization to foster clarity and inspire confidence in the face of challenges. The Chief of Communications will deeply value the practice of asset-based and racially just leadership and organizational development as a central component of any strategy to increase the reach of Demos’ impact. They will develop robust, trustful relationships with both existing and new stakeholders and will leverage opportunities for staff, partners, supporters, and nonprofit leaders to engage with the Chief of Programs and their team to build together toward a new era of more equitable systemic change. The Chief of Communications will lead on executing the communications and marketing strategies that will elevate the dissemination of Demos’ impact, guiding the organization’s external positioning to fill gaps in the field, and ideate innovative solutions that effectively place Demos’ impact where affected communities can efficiently benefit from the organization’s work.
- Build on the long-term strategic vision of the organization; primary responsibility for designing and adjusting an organization’s communications and marketing strategy that integrates the organization’s program ideas, issues, and narratives into the public discourse and policy arenas to connect the work to strategies to build progressive governing power of Black and brown communities, adjusting strategy in response to changing events;
- Cultivate relationships with national and local media outlets and platforms (i.e., The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, tv networks, social media platforms, podcasts and others) that will bring visibility to Demos’ work and engage interested parties around Demos’ core issue areas;
- Work closely with the President, Chief of Programs, and programmatic senior leaders to design and execute the organization’s communications, brand build and marketing strategy; and
- Stay abreast of developments in relevant fields, including an ability to spot emerging gaps and opportunities to leverage programmatic impact in advancing bold new policies and ideas that shift power and promote structural reforms to building a racially just democracy and economy.
Strong People Leader Committed to Collaborative Leadership
The Chief of Communications will cultivate, assemble, and lead a high impact team of seasoned professionals. They will be responsible for articulating and driving a healthy, results oriented team culture across Demos’ communications and marketing work and instill a collaborative spirit that will become the hallmark of their work across the organization. The Chief of Communications will be focused on delivering results, reframing challenges as opportunities for team and organizational growth. They will model Demos’ values and will translate a compelling vision into action. They will support and build the leadership capacity of their direct reports and ensure that they have the tools they need to be successful. They will lead and support the communications and marketing staff and the broader Demos organization as outlined below and beyond.
- Ensure direct reports managing staff have the skills, tools, support, input, and feedback they need to effectively lead high performing, high impact teams;
- Ensure the availability, alignment, and good stewardship of Demos resources in the long and short-term, setting priorities and designing a communication and marketing strategy that optimizes the impact of organizational resources;
- In partnership with the President and Chief of Programs, regularly review the organization’s external positioning to assess, and when necessary address, Demos’ standing amongst its peers and the broader advocacy space;
- Recruit, hire, assess, supervise program leaders (Digital Engagement, Graphic Design, Media Strategy); and
- Supervise staff and lead teams during gaps in team leadership positions, as needed.
Build and Steward Demos’ Organizational Brand
The Chief of Communications must have a strong desire and interest to work and develop communication and marketing strategies that catalyzes the organization’s goal of building power for and with Black and brown communities. The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to racial equity within the organization and will work to maintain, build, and extend partnerships in the service of Demos’ work and its commitment to core issues of democracy and racial and economic justice. Additionally, the Chief of Communications will:
- Represent Demos at conferences, high-level strategy meetings, retreats, key national tables, philanthropic gatherings, etc.; and
- Identify, cultivate, and (when needed) repair, strategic relationships with external partners in public relations, the media, within the movement, political ecosystem, think tanks, funders, or other spheres to further position Demos as a leading resource for policy, narrative, and legal ideas that advance a multi-racial populist agenda.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The ideal candidate will be first and foremost committed to Demos’ mission and the visionary evolution of the organization. They will be eager to step in and help Demos leverage design thinking and collaborative organizational development to increase investment from staff and movement partners resulting in more sustainable impact. They will be distinguished as a leader in racial equity and organizational development, and as a successful people-developer grounded in an asset-based approach.
While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- A hands-on strategic leader who balances a sense of urgency with empathy and humility when building and maintaining relationships with new and existing funding partners and with leaders and power builders in the field;
- Lived experience that promotes knowledge of and sensitivity to the challenges vulnerable communities face including appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial, and ethnic realities;
- Highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and relational skills in ways that facilitate strong collaboration with both internal and external partners;
- Successful experience leading a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds; willingness to set aside a personal agenda in favor of organizational and/or community goals and objectives;
- Demonstrated success in the communications and/or marketing field, either at a think-tank, advocacy organization, or political campaign, with experience in rapid response – crisis communications management;
- Strong relationship building and communication skills with the ability to have authentic dialogue around sensitive issues including strategic priorities and ecosystem partner concerns;
- Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings tailored to myriad audiences;
- Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes as well as demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently, take initiative and contribute ideas for enhancing performance;
- Exemplary public communication skills and experience participating in national and regional convenings as a panelist or keynote speaker; and
- An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, kindness, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment.
The strongest candidates will also have some of the following skills and experience:
- Fundraising Experience. You have prior experience in a senior-level position with a proven track record of substantial and diverse fund development and experience with foundation and individual giving. Direct experience cultivating and asking for major gifts would be ideal.
Additionally, candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
COMPENSATION, BENEFITS, & WORK LOCATION
Work Location: Demos staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace attendance criteria is still being determined as public health conditions continue to evolve. This is a full-time position and will ideally be based in the New York City or Washington D.C. area. For the most highly qualified candidates, remote work locations with limited ability to travel will be considered.
Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position is $185,000 - $215,000 and is negotiable depending on experience. Demos has a generous benefits package which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 10 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, 12 sick days per year, paid time off Dec. 25- Jan. 1, and a voluntary 403b plan.
For more information about Demos, please visit: www.demos.org
This search is being led by Julian Jackson, Sarah Hecklau, and Robert Diggs of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.
Demos is an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.