Communications Director

Communications Director


Location Flexible, USA   |   September 18, 2020

About AVAC

Founded in 1995, AVAC uses communication, education, policy analysis, advocacy and a network of global collaborations to accelerate the ethical development and global delivery of HIV prevention options as part of a comprehensive and integrated response to the epidemic. AVAC works across the “research-to-rollout” continuum in solidarity with individuals and groups most impacted by HIV.

AVAC advocates for HIV prevention to end AIDS. With partners worldwide, AVAC pushes for the funding, focus, implementation and research that’s needed to make it happen. We:

  • Accelerate Product Innovation & Availability: AVAC collaborates with partners who work across the HIV prevention spectrum, from research to rollout, to expand the portfolio of prevention options and ensure products are available, accessible and used by those who need them most.
  • Advocate for Access to High-Impact Prevention: AVAC is part of a robust civil society movement helping to shape a new era of global health spending and planning related to HIV prevention.
  • Improve Research Conduct: AVAC advocates for research that is grounded in well-informed, community centered perspectives. AVAC promotes the adoption of Good Participatory Practice (GPP) in research, convenes consultations and workshops, and produces publications, podcasts, webinars, and other research literacy materials. The involvement of key stakeholders throughout the research process is central to all this work.
  • Promote Effective HIV Prevention Policy: Ending the HIV epidemic depends on political will, committed resources and supportive policies at global and national levels. AVAC’s policy work, in partnership with a global network of civil society partners, focuses on the importance of funding and strategic planning for HIV prevention research and the imperative to bring long-term solutions to the people who need them.
  • Track and Translate the Field: Our communications and publications translate complex science into accessible resources. This work is at the core of our mission to advance prevention and end the epidemic. We focus on ensuring people with different kinds of expertise can better understand context, community perspectives, science and policy.
  • Strengthen Global Advocacy Networks: AVAC supports the development and sustainability of advocacy networks focused on accelerating HIV prevention from research to rollout. These networks, mostly centered in Africa, bring vigorous attention to science, policy, funding, community, communications, health services and the regulatory process, charting a path to end the HIV epidemic.

For more information on AVAC, please visit

The Opportunity

The Communications Director will lead AVAC’s efforts to communicate our mission, activities and priorities; inform global audiences about responses to the increasingly complex and diverse HIV epidemic; and inspire action. This newly created position sits on AVAC’s Senior Management Team (SMT) and serves as both head of the Communications team and an organizational spokesperson and leader.

The Communications Director plays a key role in ensuring the organization’s influence and impact are well understood and managing AVAC’s reputation as a leading global resource for information and perspective on strategies to reduce the global epidemic. The Communications Director oversees a team of communications professionals and reports to the COO.

The Communications Director identifies communications needs; designs, manages and improves communications structures and processes; establishes and implements the organization’s overall strategic communications plan; sets direction for and manages AVAC’s key communications products and channels; collaborates with staff to facilitate their expert input into communications materials; supports both staff and partners to engage in shared communications efforts and campaigns; and ensures that the organization effectively addresses the information needs of our global audiences, including advocates, researchers, funders, policy makers, product developers and the media.

Essential job functions:

  • Develop and oversee implementation of AVAC’s strategic communications plan.
  • Work closely with AVAC’s Executive Director and the SMT to amplify the impact of AVAC programs through communications.
  • Work closely with the Director of Strategy and Content to conceptualize and lead proactive and reactive advocacy communications campaigns.
  • Design and manage effective systems for development, approval, and distribution of the organization’s communication products and anticipate and respond to urgent and emerging issues.
  • Maintain a consistent focus on the organization’s voice, visibility and influence.
  • Ensure consistent messaging and quality across AVAC communications products and platforms and meet the needs of priority audiences.
  • Ensure AVAC’s website, social media platforms, design and data visualization techniques are dynamic, current and effective.
  • Oversee media cultivation and strengthen AVAC’s relationships with key global media outlets.
  • Work closely with the Director of Program Coordination to enhance the organization’s conference and presentation strategies.
  • Direct AVAC’s communications team and portfolio of consultants.
  • Partner closely with SMT colleagues to develop systems to support the smooth functioning of internal communications, the sharing of information and perspectives on developments in our programs and the field, and the creation of opportunities for staff to consult on organizational policies, positions and identity.
  • Manage and support initiatives to build staff communications skills including presentation training, science writing, social media and more.
  • Facilitate critical reflection on communications results and sharing of lessons learned with AVAC staff, partners and stakeholders.
Candidate Profile

While no one candidate will possess all the qualifications listed below, the ideal candidate will embody many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • 8-10 years of experience in communications, including in designing and implementing global communications campaigns on public health, scientific research, human rights or related issues; international communications experience and managerial experience.
  • A record of success building new or evolving communications teams and departments to meet the needs of a dynamic and growing organization.
  • Excellent writing, editing, content development and presentation skills.
  • Ability to translate complex scientific information into accessible, actionable messaging and materials for a variety of audiences.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to HIV/AIDS, international health and development issues and programming.
  • Demonstrated success navigating fast-paced, rapidly changing environments; experience creating strategies, processes, and infrastructure that can maintain consistency while being innovative and flexible. Able to thrive within a dynamic, fast-moving and highly interactive organization.
  • Experience with and enthusiasm for mentorship and staff development; ability to manage up, down and across, and ability to instill colleagues with a sense of shared commitment and purpose.
  • Demonstrated commitment to responsive, accountable leadership and the ability to model and encourage those values organization-wide.
  • Excellent multicultural and interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to facilitate relationships; interact effectively with others inside and outside the organization; and engage with staff, collaborators and partners from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.
  • Highly organized, responsible, self-starting, independent and able to take initiative.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally up to 20 percent of the time.
  • Advanced skills with PowerPoint and data analysis a plus.
  • Master’s degree related to communications, global health and/or advocacy a plus.
  • Authorization to work in the United States.
Compensation & Benefits

AVAC offers highly competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package that includes matching contributions to a retirement savings plan, employer-paid medical insurance and paid new parent leave.


Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link here or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

AVAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, military or veteran status and other such factors in accordance with US state and federal laws.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit