Vice President for Communications

Vice President for Communications

PolicyLink

Oakland, CA   |   May 11, 2020

About PolicyLink

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works. To advance equity, PolicyLink advocates for groundbreaking policy changes that ensure all people in America—particularly those who face the burdens of structural racism—participate in a just society, live in a healthy community of opportunity, and prosper in an equitable economy. Focused on advancing liberating policies for the 100 million people living in or near poverty, the majority of whom are people of color, PolicyLink is guided by the belief that the solutions to the nation’s challenges lie with those closest to these challenges. When the wisdom, voice, and experience of those traditionally excluded from policymaking drive the process, profound policy transformations emerge.

Backed by a network of thousands of individuals and organizations, PolicyLink maintains the race consciousness, staffing diversity, issue expertise, authentic connections to local leaders, and humility to help lead the equity movement and nation in its quest for inclusion, justice, and prosperity. PolicyLink has built a unique model to design and implement equity policies, weaving together four essential functions: policy advocacy to advance equity-focused policies at the local, state, and national level; communications to craft inspiring and compelling frames for advancing policies and building public will for policy change; constituency and network engagement to empower and inspire leaders to shape and advance policy; and implementation capacity to ensure equity goals are met, local innovations are connected to policy, and people and organizations have the tools they need to advance change. PolicyLink attempts to be highly strategic in its portfolio, selecting initiatives that are proactively driving the equity agenda forward, and at the same time is strategically opportunistic in taking advantage of distinctive opportunities that emerge, often suddenly.

As the United States population rapidly approaches the day when the majority will be people of color, equity points the way to a prosperous future and a healthy democracy. For all. As one of the principal architects of the current racial equity movement, racial equity guides every action taken by PolicyLink. Equity addresses race forthrightly and productively, but it is not about benefiting one group at the expense of another. When smart, sustainable strategies are tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable communities, opportunities and results improve for all.

The PolicyLink programmatic initiatives are organized within three interlocking, mutually reinforcing areas of work to advance racial and economic equity.

  1. Equitable Economy: Economic participation is essential to reversing inequality, improving mobility, and growing the middle class. PolicyLink Equitable Economy initiatives focus on creating good jobs, expanding entrepreneurship, and building human capabilities.
  2. Healthy Communities of Opportunity: To participate in economic life, people must live in healthy, safe, stable places connected to opportunity and resources.
  3. Just Society: Even as the equity movement succeeds in growing a more inclusive economy and building opportunity-rich communities, millions of people will remain shut out unless the nation eliminates entrenched racial and economic barriers to participation such as mass incarceration. PolicyLink Just Society initiatives advocate for reforms so systems and institutions operate free of racial bias.

The emergency triggered by COVID-19 lays bare the structural failures of a nation where the most vulnerable continue to be the worst hit. To realize the promise of equity, every policy and investment must provide significant, sustained support to the people hurting most; and serve as a bridge to creating an equitable economy, an inclusive and compassionate society, and a strong, accountable democracy.

People of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its economic fallout. PolicyLink is working to make sure that medical care, emergency relief, and longer-term recovery efforts target the people and places in greatest need by advancing an intersectional equity policy agenda for federal, state, and local leaders driven by Principles for a Common-Sense, Street- Smart Recovery, and bringing a sharp focus on the racial implications of the crises through a weekly commentary and media analysis project.

For more information on PolicyLink, please visit the website and follow PolicyLink on social platforms, #COVIDandRace.

The Opportunity

PolicyLink seeks a Vice President for Communications to provide strategic communications counsel at the highest levels of the organization and direct the work of the communications team. As a member of the PolicyLink executive team, the Vice President for Communications shares responsibility for decisions that have organization-wide impact and contributes to planning for the organization’s present and future.

Reporting to the CEO, the Vice President for Communications has ultimate responsibility for the development and implementation of communications strategies to drive interest and understanding of the PolicyLink core issues and interests, raise the image and identity of PolicyLink, and lift up the work of its partners. The Vice President will direct the work of approximately 7–10 staff as well as consultants and freelance writers, editors, online specialists, and designers to amplify issues of inequity and the solutions that support people of color and residents of low-income communities. PolicyLink communications strategies and tactics support the use of research and policy as a tool to advance economic and social equity.

The Vice President for Communications is responsible for guiding the creation of PolicyLink key messaging, identifying target audiences, and ensuring the integration of PolicyLink media relations, online strategies, publishing, special events, and organizational relationships in support of the organization’s goals.

Specifically, the Vice President for Communications:

  • Serves as a key member of the PolicyLink leadership team and works with senior staff to integrate communications into the overall organizational strategy;
  • Develops and implements a PolicyLink and movement communication’s strategy for the Winning on Equity framework. A framework that aims to redesign our democracy, economy, legal systems, narrative frames of public discussion, and governing systems in service of an equitable nation;
  • Sets and guides the overall PolicyLink communications strategy, narrative, and external positioning within the media;
  • Establishes an organizational vision for PolicyLink communications operations, designs, and implements a strategy for achieving it;
  • Directs and approves organizational messaging and provides staff training in the delivery of those messages;
  • Oversees a team providing strategic communications support to PolicyLink program teams and organizational partners. Creates communications policies and procedures for the organization and supports compliance;
  • Guides the editing and production of PolicyLink publications and ensures they reflect high editorial, design, and production standards;
  • Provides writing and editing support for reports, speeches, presentations, and other materials related to program and fund development;
  • Identifies and assesses communications opportunities and vehicles that could advance the objectives of PolicyLink and its partners, including thought leadership and knowledge dissemination;
  • Guides the strategic development and implementation of web-based content through the PolicyLink website;
  • Develops strategies that engage top-tier media, securing high-profile opportunities to reach intended audiences, and amplify the organization’s messages and objectives;
  • Directs plans for special events such as roundtables, convenings, and conferences; and
  • Partners with the Development team on fundraising events.
Candidate Profile

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

Thought Leadership and Elevating the PolicyLink Mission

The Vice President for Communications will serve as a thought partner, manager, and innovator at multiple levels within the organization. They will create and implement high-level strategy and lead a communication team to execute. They will have the capacity to thrive in a fast-paced environment and will have substantive knowledge in the PolicyLink areas of work. With an ability to identify the right message and delivery to cut through a crowded communications space, the Vice President for Communications will strategically position PolicyLink as a thought leader and change maker, crafting stories and narratives to share outward. They will carve out a voice in the media landscape to advance equity. The Vice President for Communications is a big picture thinker who can successfully lead implementation efforts as a hands-on leader.

Communication, Influence, and Expertise

The Vice President for Communications has an understanding of how to advance policy and social change by creating highly effective, integrated communication strategies. With a clear sense of ownership, accountability, and urgency, the Vice President for Communications has a strong sense for messaging, themes, and techniques that resonate with a wide range of individuals and organizations in the equity and justice space. They have demonstrated experience in setting and implementing innovative communications strategies in complex organizations and is capable of integrating disparate elements into a cohesive whole. They understand how to build formal and informal collaborations and how to collectively amplify perspectives in a world of fast-paced communications. They are analytical and data-driven, able to conceptualize and analyze both problems and solutions and identify key metrics that will help PolicyLink work towards its strategic objectives. They will leverage the collective results of efforts and support staff and partners by creating a communications function that leverages the power and talents of the organization as a whole.

Ambassador for PolicyLink

The Vice President for Communications will be comfortable serving as an “Ambassador” for PolicyLink. They will become fluent in sharing the mission and vision with the outside world and helping to expand the PolicyLink agenda in advancing equity. The Vice President for Communications will have excellent interpersonal relationship building abilities and inspire trust and confidence across a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders. The Vice President for Communications is flexible, energetic, curious, positive, creative, and accomplished at communicating and influencing both inside and outside the organization. They are a media savvy communicator who brings passion for the PolicyLink mission as a spokesperson and is able to represent PolicyLink in complex policy conversations. They are politically astute and attuned with a sophisticated personal presence. They have exceptional listening, written, and oral skills.

A Passion for the Mission

The Vice President for Communications has a demonstrated passion for the mission of PolicyLink. They will show a commitment to working for a legacy organization that is in its second start-up phase and will have the passion and stamina to rebuild the communications function. The Vice President will exhibit a wide-ranging curiosity and will be deeply committed to improving policy for an equitable economy and just society. They have sound, mature judgment, and take pride in succeeding at the highest levels. The Vice President for Communications must thrive in a collaborative culture, have a track record for identifying new communications tools and approaches, and be results-oriented. It is imperative that they treat others with respect and always stay true to the values of PolicyLink. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Contact

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Alexandra Corvin and Ally Johnson are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link here or email PolicyLink@koyapartners.com. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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PolicyLink is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.

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 www.koyapartners.com.