Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer

Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer

Feeding America

Chicago, Illinois or Washington, D.C.   |   May 10, 2022

About Feeding America

As the nation’s 2nd largest nonprofit and largest domestic hunger-relief organization, Feeding America is at the forefront of the fight to end hunger. With an annual revenue of $4.3 billion (2021), which includes 4.7 billion pounds of donated food, Feeding America fights hunger through innovative initiatives to feed, nourish, empower, unite and connect with communities in need. Through it all, Feeding America keeps the people it serves at the center of its vision of hunger -free America. Feeding America engages our country and communities in the fight to end hunger on an unprecedented scale. It serves as a catalyst at both the national and local levels, reaching every county in the United States. It moves nourishing food – from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. At the same time, Feeding America helps the people it serves build a path to a brighter, food-secure future.

In 2020, the COVID crisis hit the country and surged. It devastated individuals and families as food insecurity grew. The average increase in the number of clients reported by food banks grew by an astounding 60%. Feeding America and its partners were able to move quickly and decisively to implement multi prong strategies that included new systems, distribution and supply chain, leveraging and expanding partnerships, and tapping into new sources such as cafeterias and restaurants. The result was that Feeding America’s partners provided one billion more meals in 2020 versus 2019.

Inspired by this success, Feeding America continues firmly on the march to solve hunger. The organization is a nationwide network of 200 food banks, which distribute food through 60,000 partner food pantries and meals programs. Together, the Feeding America network provides more than 4 billion meals to more than 40 million people across the United States and supports programs that improve food security for the families they serve. Feeding America reached this milestone by investing in creative food sourcing strategies and expanding partnerships.

Feeding America is deeply committed to meeting the unique nutritional and health needs of individuals and their communities by leveraging an approach that is people-centered, responsive and adaptive. The work is not just about providing meals. On the journey to achieving its mission, Feeding America addresses barriers so everyone can thrive. In a country that wastes billions of pounds of food each year, it is shocking that almost anyone in America goes hungry. Yet, there are 40 million people who don’t have enough to eat. That is 40 million too many. Each year, more than 12 million children and 5 million seniors struggle with hunger.

Hunger is not a partisan issue. To reduce our nation’s meal gap, Feeding America partners with lawmakers from all parties to educate Congress and the Administration about policies that will reduce hunger. By 2025, Feeding America will meet ambitious goals tied to capturing more nutritious food to feed more families and helping to save the planet along the way; improving equitable access to nutritious food for individuals and families, particularly people from vulnerable communities and populations; and most importantly, building greater public will and action to end hunger by driving innovation and expanding access.

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America will continue to broaden its impact in the pursuit of ending hunger in America. As it enters this next chapter, Feeding America will continue to serve as a thought leader and pioneer, filling the gap left by federal nutrition programs unable to meet the needs of people facing hunger each day.

For more information, please visit Feeding America’s website.

The Opportunity

At this critical moment in its history, Feeding America is seeking an aspirational, empathetic and mission-driven leader to serve as the Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer.

The Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer is responsible for leading Feeding America’s effort to catalyze a movement to end hunger in America, positioning Feeding America and the neighbors they serve as thought leaders on issues related to hunger, promoting community engagement in the fight to end hunger, and mobilizing coalitions to take action on hunger. They are also responsible for strategic communications (internal, external and to Feeding America’s network of food banks), public relations, media relations and celebrity and donor engagement.

The Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer collaborates with the marketing and government relations teams to ensure Feeding America’s message is distributed across channels and to targeted audiences in order to meet awareness, engagement and fundraising objectives.  They provide public relations counsel to the CEO and serve as a member of the organization’s Executive Team.

The role reports directly to the CEO and leads a Communications team of 17 professionals. This leader will also build out and lead the Community Engagement function, projected to be a team of ~10.

Key responsibilities of the Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer include:

  • Direct the development and execution of a strategy to catalyze a movement to end hunger that is anchored in community engagement and driven by the voices of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
  • Work closely with the marketing and government relations teams to direct the development and execution of priorities, initiatives and supporting communications strategies to end hunger through the expansion of federal nutrition programs and charitable food banking while seeking opportunities to address the root causes of hunger including racism and other systemic inequities that drive food insecurity.
  • Direct the development and execution of best-in-class, fully integrated, communications strategy, structure and processes that support all aspects of Feeding America’s mission and effectively implement the brand strategy in a rapidly evolving, multi-channel world. This includes ensuring effective communications partnership and support for key internal functions at Feeding America.
  • Oversee the development and execution of strategies to proactively and creatively drive visibility for the Feeding America brand, it’s key spokespeople (e.g., the CEO) and key messages.
  • Guide the development of advocacy strategies focused on lifting the voices of communities and neighbors in the fight to end hunger.
  • Direct the development and execution of initiatives and plans for advancing Feeding America’s external thought leadership as aligned with its strategic priorities. Position Feeding America, and the voices of our neighbors, as a leader in the effort to re-frame the policy and public debate about SNAP and other federal benefits and nutrition programs.
  • Develop, coach and motivate a best-in-class team capable of delivering across a broad range of strategies and operating goals. Create a results-focused environment that includes clear goals, regular feedback and transparent accountability. Invest in talent development and succession-planning at the functional and enterprise level.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of a robust council strategy focused on fully leveraging existing councils (the Executive Advisory Council and the Entertainment/Influencer Council) and on convening additional councils to support the achievement of Feeding America’s strategy.
  • Serve as a compelling and inspiring spokesperson for Feeding America in front of the media and other key audiences as needed.
  • Build strong and collaborative working relationships with Feeding America network members at the CEO as well as the functional leadership levels to collaboratively create and implement communications and community engagement strategies and initiatives.
  • Liaise with members, as well as various teams from across the organization to effectively lead crisis management from a communications standpoint. Ensure that processes and training are in place to maintain robust enterprise risk management capability at Feeding America and throughout the network.
Foundational Principles

Candidates must meet the following foundational requirements:

A passion for the mission

The Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer will:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to Feeding America’s mission through word and action.
  • Have a deep commitment to keeping people facing hunger at the center of their work and strive to translate this commitment into action on a daily basis.
  • Be willing to advocate for people facing hunger and serve as an ambassador for Feeding America inside and outside of work.
  • Be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion

This executive will:

  • Demonstrate a personal commitment to valuing different backgrounds and life experiences through word and action.
  • Take personal actions to build an inclusive culture that ensures everyone can fully contribute based on their unique talents, skills and perspectives and feels welcomed and valued.
  • Commit to driving equitable solutions to address root cause issues by incorporating an equity framework in their daily work.
  • Be committed to continuous personal EDI development.
Candidate Profile

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

An authentic relationship builder & collaborator

This leader will:

  • Have a natural ability to serve as a ‘bridge,’ instinctively drawing people in to advance the mission.
  • Serve as a natural galvanizer, able to thoughtfully engage diverse groups – both internally and externally – to create shared strategies.
  • Be an exceptional relationship builder and persuasive communicator and listener, with the ability to foster an atmosphere of collaboration, partnership and trust.
  • Be confident and comfortable presenting and interacting in a variety of settings, from large public audiences, to boardrooms, to community listening sessions.

An inspiring & transformational leader

This executive will:

  • Be an inspiring, empathetic, approachable, and inclusive leader with an infectious optimism and adept ability to lead through periods of change.
  • Have the ability to attract, cultivate and retain diverse teams with a broad set of ideas and skills and achieve organizational impact by recognizing and leveraging individual strengths, expertise and teamwork.
  • Be able to develop a powerful sense of shared purpose and engagement in the future of Feeding America’s work and the possibilities ahead.
  • Have the ability to work at the national and local level, with an understanding and deep respect for the nuances of the individual communities and people Feeding America and its network of food banks serve.

A humble innovator & pragmatic visionary

This leader will:

  • Have a low-ego and deep belief in engaging others and co-creating solutions, rather than ‘going at it alone’.
  • Be energized by ambiguity, and ‘thinking big and outside the box’ to develop effective strategies for tackling complex issues.
  • Be a creative thinker, effectively and constructively leading Feeding America to consider new and innovative approaches to targeting and engaging new constituents and partners.
  • Have the ability to put big ideas into action, while defining and implementing measurable goals and execution plans.

A leader in communications & movement building

The Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer will:

  • Be energized by thinking creatively about how to engage and lift up different voices to build a cohesive movement to fight food insecurity.
  • Have a track record of success in overseeing the development and implementation of complex community engagement, communications, and constituent management strategies.
  • Understand the importance and power of internal/external communications and media relations as well as grass roots engagement and advocacy.
  • Be skilled in the development and execution of an effective, comprehensive, and innovative communications strategy, structure and process including demonstrated success in creating and launching effective media partnerships, communications platforms and cause marketing partnerships. 
Additional Information

The successful candidate will be willing and able to do a significant amount of domestic travel.

Feeding America embraces a philosophy that recognizes and values diversity. Its goal is to
attract, develop, retain and promote a talented diverse workforce in a culture where all
employees will contribute to their fullest potential.

Compensation & Benefits

The annual base salary for this role will be based on a range, starting at $230,000 and commensurate with the successful candidate’s skills and experience.

This is a permanent, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for Feeding America’s comprehensive benefit package.

Contact

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Cheryl Stevens, Michele Ybarra, and Rebeca Hernandez are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express interest in this role please email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing an accessible search process for all, including individuals living with disabilities. If you need assistance expressing interest online or any aspect of the recruitment process, please email [email protected].

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About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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 Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.