Vice President of Communications and External Relations

Vice President of Communications and External Relations

Catholic Extension

Chicago, IL   |   June 30, 2021

Catholic Extension works in solidarity with people in America’s poorest regions to build up vibrant and transformative Catholic faith communities. With the generosity of individual donors and local and national foundations, Catholic Extension raises funds to help these poor, forgotten, and often isolated communities to flourish.

  • Catholic Extension invests in buildings by supporting the construction and renovation of churches and church facilities.
  • Catholic Extension invests in leaders for the Church by providing education, training and support to seminarians, priests, sisters, deacons, and lay leaders.
  • Catholic Extension invests in ministries by supporting pastoral, youth, young adult, campus and outreach ministries, Catholic schools, and religious education.

Established in 1905, Catholic Extension is a papal society that is answering Pope Francis’ call to go out to America’s “peripheries.” Since its founding, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $1.3 billion in today’s dollars to dioceses that cannot support themselves.

Catholic Extension has a full-time staff of 50 employees based at its headquarters in Chicago or in one of its regional offices in the following locations: Boston, Dallas, Monterey, Naples, Nashville, New York City, San Jose, St. Louis, and Richmond, Virginia. Its staff comprises talented and experienced professionals working in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment and team-focused culture.

Catholic Extension seeks candidates for the role of Vice President of Communications and External Relations (Vice President). Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Vice President is an integral member of the senior management team and is responsible for the strategic planning and daily implementation of brand management, public relations, advertising, and marketing efforts (to include broadcast development and distribution). This role consults departments on miscellaneous marketing pieces and develops marketing collateral as needed. The Vice President will conceive and implement innovative communications and marketing strategies across all media platforms to continue elevating Catholic Extension’s brand awareness nationally. The Vice President will articulate a clear vision for how to communicate the essence of Catholic Extension’s mission and brand by guiding the creation of compelling stories about the work the organization performs. This vision will convey the passion and unique niche of the organization and deliver a cohesive sense of the organization’s identity to both external and internal constituents. The Mission and Development teams will be the primary internal clients of Communications and External Relations support, both strategically and tactically. The Vice President will serve as a strategic partner in executing the community relations so central to the organization’s mission work and in advancing integrated fundraising efforts.

The Vice President will work closely with the Chief Operating Officer to create integrated, strategic plans and corresponding goals for Communications and External Relations reflecting the larger strategic goals of the organization. The Vice President must be a solutions-based leader who champions strategic, data-informed decision making, industry best practices, and an ethos of continuous improvement and transparency. The Vice President will supervise a staff of five, as well as external, strategic consultants for broadcasts and public relations. The Vice President will be empowered to optimize the organizational design/functional alignment of the team in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional skills, qualities, and competencies:

  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Catholic Extension; ability to communicate and generate excitement about mission, history, vision, programs, and fundamental strengths. A commitment to and understanding of the mission and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, journalism, or a related field is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible leadership positions in communications and marketing, preferably within a faith-based, nonprofit organization(s) related to social outreach, organizational capacity building, or human services on a regional, national, or international scale. Other relevant backgrounds will be considered.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget. A strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success. Ability to effectively manage contractors and vendors.
  • Must be steeped in modern communications and marketing best practices and able to effectively integrate related functions. Must have the breadth of skills required to devise communications and external relations strategies, inclusive of organizational branding, communications, and marketing, as well as support for fundraising.
  • An innovative thinker with a track record of translating strategic thinking into successfully executed, integrated action plans for strategic communications, media relations, and marketing in support of mission and programmatic, fundraising, event, and institution-wide goals. Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople. A nuanced, sophisticated understanding of how to strategically leverage various communication mediums and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact. Deep experience in leveraging emerging trends and technology, crafting effective digital strategies, and architecting an engaging user experience online and within social media platforms.
  • Extensive, successful writing experience with a variety of externally focused print and online communications media.
  • Demonstrated business acumen, including the ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about strategy and process.

Catholic Extension recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability status, age, socioeconomic status, and all the other facets of our humanity. Catholic Extension is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants may request any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary to participate in the application process.

Catholic Extension has retained the Diversified Search Group for this engagement. Managing Director Gerard F. Cattie, Jr. is leading the search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to [email protected]