Organization: YAI Network

Location: New York, NY

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About YAI Network:

Established in 1957, YAI is a network of eight agencies offering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a comprehensive range of services across the life span. YAI’s mission is to help others achieve the fullest life possible by creating new opportunities for living, loving, and working. The organization is a major provider of services and programs for people with disabilities and their families throughout the New York metropolitan area, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

YAI’s workforce of nearly 5,000 employees provides residential programs, educational programs, community and family support services, primary and specialty health care, mental health and rehabilitation services, and day and employment services. Through the creation of innovative programming, the YAI Network has helped lead a revolution – professionalizing the field, transforming the public’s perception, and promoting the acceptance of persons with disabilities.

For more information on the YAI Network, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Head of Communications and Public Affairs is YAI’s top marketing and communications leader and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This position creates YAI’s overall communications strategy and oversees its execution including messaging, branding, web content, public and media relations, social media, collateral, and support materials.

Today the agency is at the vanguard of an extraordinary new movement aimed at replacing outmoded ideas of dependence with visionary strategies designed to enable the community as a whole. The Head of Communications and Public Affairs will play a key role in communicating this message. Utilizing a multi-channel platform, s/he will be responsible for the direction and design of consistent and tactical messaging that will communicate YAI’s vision internally, amongst its member agencies, and externally to all current and potential stakeholders.

The Head of Communications and Public Affairs will also work closely with the Board of Directors, and work collaboratively with a cross-functional team of development and program professionals to provide business and marketing thought leadership in support of the organization’s goals.

More specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead and develop a talented team of integrated communications and staff. Create annual department management strategy for marketing, communications, public relations, and engagement activities with objectives, goals, strategies, tactics, measurements, and outcomes.
  • Direct and design powerful brand, messaging, and content creation for YAI that will resonate with internal and external stakeholders, member agencies, and current and potential donors. Once designed, manage graphic standards of collateral materials (e.g. newsletters, annual reports, pamphlets, training materials etc.) across all functions and network agencies.
  • Direct and lead updates to YAI’s digital communications strategy, including website redesign, web content, and managing internal and external social media presence, including Facebook and, Twitter, etc.
  • Oversee the development and execution of an extensive re-branding campaign and then maintain the integrity of the organization’s brand identity both internally and externally.
  • Identify and oversee the work of a variety of external vendors that may include agencies, direct mail firms, public relations firms, videographers, graphic artists, and digital media providers.
  • Advise senior leadership on issues key to the organization; work closely with CEO to manage important media-related and internal messaging issues.
  • Work with the leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them.
  • Manage content of regularly scheduled communications from the CEO including: newsletters, blogs, and social media updates.
  • Plan and direct influential annual events for the CEO, including YAI’s International Conference and Leadership Summit.
  • Serve as a key spokesperson and lead point person on media interactions that help promote and/or impact the organization and the cause; develop media opportunities for the organization to become a valued and respected voice on relevant topics.
  • Develop a strategic approach to advocacy to reach key audiences such as government, thought leaders, and think tanks. Liaise with lobbyists and lobbying firms in support of YAI.
  • Interface with the Board of Directors and other key external stakeholders as required.

Candidate Profile:

The Head of Communications and Public Affairs will be responsible for the development and implementation of a new and comprehensive, integrated marketing and communications strategy designed to advance the organization’s mission, enhance YAI’s brand identity, and achieve measurable results.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

  • A charismatic, experienced leader with a curious, strategic, and analytical mindset and a highly entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Extensive experience building and implementing successful marketing communications strategies encompassing a variety of tools, including production of hard copy publications; creation and implementation of digital and social media strategies; advertising; thought leadership; media relations; and internal communications.
  • A “roll up your sleeves” manager who has the ability to put in place processes appropriate for the organization.
  • A proven track record of serving as a catalyst and leader within organizations; this person knows how to gain buy-in and build a network of support. S/he is a skillful negotiator who wins concessions without damaging relationships.
  • Proven ability to translate business strategy into marketing opportunities in today’s changing landscape; anticipates opportunities, creates new marketing approaches, and measures results.
  • Possesses outstanding verbal and written communication skills and works well with people at all levels of the organization.
  • Has successful experience managing effective teams and has worked extensively with, and supervised, external vendors.
  • Strong, skilled planner who prioritizes tasks and communicates those priorities effectively to individuals inside and outside of his/her team.
  • Demonstrated ability to be analytical, data-driven; conceptualize and analyze problems and solutions and identify key metrics.
  • Proven ability to build and sustain excellent relationships at multiple levels internally and with varied external constituencies, including the Board of Trustees, partner organizations, and the media.
  • Strong problem solving experience and the proven ability to step into an unfamiliar situation and add immediate value.
  • A flexible, sensitive, and adaptable learner who is comfortable with ambiguity and has the ability to lead teams in a changing environment.
  • An individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation and treats others with respect.
  • Passion for the YAI mission.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.


YAI Network has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

YAI Network is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit