Director of Communications Cornell University United States

Director, Communications

Ithaca (Tompkins County)

The Director of Communications reports to the Executive Director of Communications and Donor Engagement, a program within the Division of Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD) comprised of Brand & Communications, Donor Relations, and Events Management. The Director leads the Brand and Communications team responsible for the comprehensive communications program for the division. Leveraging both print-based and digital media, the director will spearhead the development and implementation of creative and innovative communications strategies with the overarching goal of expanding Cornell's community of alumni, family, and friends, and increasing levels of engagement and participation in key university events, volunteer service opportunities, and philanthropic support of Cornell’s priorities.

The director will be a member of AAD’s program director team, providing communications expertise and insight that will inform and guide top-level decision-making. The director will also collaborate with communications leaders across Cornell's colleges, units, and campuses, as well within central University Communications. Building strong working relationships, the director will help ensure effectiveness, consistency, and visibility of messaging and branding for AAD and for the university in general.

Specific responsibilities include:

To provide leadership, vision, and oversight of the Brand and Communications team in creating and implementing strategic communications plans, branding initiatives, and message frameworks aimed at promoting AAD's engagement and fundraising programs to an external audience of Cornell alumni, families, and friends, as well as to an internal audience of AAD and university members.

To serve as the managing editor for all AAD Brand & Communications generated content.

To collaborate closely with the AAD Digital team on the development and execution of exciting content and effective marketing strategies for the division's broad-based engagement and fundraising efforts, including through on the AAD giving and alumni web properties.

To facilitate strong partnerships between Brand and Communications team and other AAD and communications professionals at both central and regional offices and across Cornell's colleges, units, and campuses, in order to foster the consistency, effectiveness, and wide reach ofAAD's branding and messaging initiatives.

To direct the Brand and Communications team in delivering executive-level communications support for the division, including remarks, letters, and other public relations materials for the Vice President and other senior members of AAD's leadership team.

To serve as the resident communications expert and advisor for the AAD community, providing guidance on a wide range of topics, issues, and channels.

To collaborate with central University Communications and its communications-related departments, helping to direct and coordinate joint projects that advance the goals of AAD and the university in general.

To lead the division in discovering and adapting communications innovations in academia and industry.

To manage, guide, and further develop the Brand and Communications team and their work in support of AAD priorities, while helping to strengthen AAD's network of expert vendors and consultants.   
Required Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, journalism, or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience, with a minimum of 7 years of progressive experience in directing communications, public relations, brand development, marketing operations and/or market research strategies and methodologies, including digital media, for an organization.
  • Experience with creative conceptualization of communications strategies, as well as hands-on experience in the production of different media for marketing and publicity, from print-based to digital.
  • Technological savvy, with a solid understanding of all kinds of digital media, including the Web, online marketing, direct marketing, and social media.
  • Proficiency with marketing tools for tracking and analysis.
  • Superior communication skills, in speech and in writing.
  • Sound judgement and demonstrated ability to think strategically, critically, and creatively.
  • Expertise with strategic planning and budget creation and oversight.
  • Outstanding leadership and team spirit in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.
  • Political savvy and the ability to develop strong working relationships with diverse internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong attention to detail and exceptional organizational and project management skills, even when dealing with a heavy workload.
  • Positive executive image and demeanor, calm under pressure, "take charge: attitude, and the ability to achieve goals through collaboration, consensus, and transparency.
  • Availability to travel to work outside of standard office hours when necessary.
 Preferred Qualifications
  • Advanced degree and work experience in both higher education and in public relations, communications, journalism, public affairs, or other related fields strongly preferred.

Working Environment

-typically lifts 10 to 20 lbs

-Close concentration

-Limited exposure to hazards


University Job Title: Communication Mgr II

Level: H


Pay Rate Type: Salary


Company: Endowed


Contact Name: Cutter Cramton


Number of Openings: 1


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