Chaloner has partnered with the Hewlett Foundation on their search for a Communications Officer.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation – a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world – is seeking a Communications Officer to join its Communications Department. The Communications Officer works collaboratively with the Communications team, internal partners and clients, and external partners, including grantees and consultants, to contribute to the development and achievement of the foundation’s communications objectives. This Communications Officer will serve as the primary communications partner for Hewlett’s program focusing on inclusive development, international institutions and women’s health and well-being, which represents some of the foundation’s longest-standing philanthropic commitments, and will take on other internal clients or cross-foundation communications projects, as needed, in order to achieve the foundation’s communications objectives. They will contribute to and, in some cases, manage cross-foundation institutional projects and activities, such as communications trainings, email newsletters, digital content, and events. As in-house communications adviser to one of the foundation’s permanent programs, the Communications Officer will develop and execute strategic communications plans, helping amplify the voices of our staff and grantees, advising on media relations, coaching on social media, and managing external contractors. They will also participate in program strategy conversations relevant to communications and provide advisory counsel on communications-oriented grantmaking, as needed, building relationships with program officers and internal and external partners to advance the foundation’s work. The ideal candidate is a skilled, mission-driven problem-solver with comfortable developing strategy and rolling up their sleeves to execute tactics; with a strong client orientation and ability to manage projects and external partners; knowledge of issues, voices and narratives in international development and aid, and U.S. and international reproductive health arenas; and a deep belief in in the power of communication to do good in the world. This position reports to the Director of Communications.
About the Foundation
For more than 50 years, the Hewlett Foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, and make the philanthropy sector more effective. In addition, we also make grants for special projects and to address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. In 2020 the foundation established an ongoing program focused on U.S. democracy and announced a new grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice.
The foundation is one of the largest philanthropic institutions in the United States, awarding roughly $400 million in grants in 2019 to organizations across the globe to help people build better lives. Established through the personal generosity of the Hewlett family, the foundation is wholly independent of the Hewlett Packard Company and the Hewlett Packard Company Foundation.
The foundation has approximately 120 employees, in programmatic, operational, and investment roles, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The foundation’s eight-person communications team ensures that we and our grantees use effective communications strategies to advance the fields in which we work and realize the foundation’s charitable goals. Effective communication is an essential tool for powering the ideas and institutions that are the foundation’s primary vehicles for creating positive change in the world. Among the team’s operating values are openness, authenticity, and empathy, as hallmarks of trustworthy communication; partnership and collaboration, critical for working with our peer funders, nonprofit grantee partners and internal colleagues; a culture of learning, including building and sharing our knowledge; and a commitment to including and amplifying diverse perspectives, both in our team and in our external communications.
Across the organization, our employees are challenged with meaningful work, have the resources for ongoing professional development and learning, and contribute to a collegial and engaging environment where they can thrive. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion as part of our core values and encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. The foundation offers excellent benefits and competitive salaries. Note: In response to COVID-19, foundation employees are working remotely; this position will begin remotely and be located in the Bay Area when the foundation returns to the office.
The Communications Officer helps manage and execute key institutional communications efforts, working cross-functionally and in collaboration with fellow members of the Communications team to build, manage and protect the foundation’s reputation, share its knowledge and learning, and amplify the voices of its staff and grantees in order to achieve the foundation’s charitable goals.
- Develop and implement a strategic communications plan for the foundation’s program focused on inclusive development and reproductive health, and other internal clients or communications initiatives, as needed, based on a thorough understanding of grantmaking objectives, the foundation’s unique voice and values, and the diverse brands, stakeholders, and audiences relevant to a given issue as well as the philanthropy and social sector.
- Cultivate and maintain media relationships related to programmatic work, and stay up to date on mainstream and social media narratives about international aid, citizen participation, inclusive development, reproductive health and women’s economic empowerment among U.S. and international audiences, including in West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Develop messaging, talking points, press releases and other materials, as needed.
- Make recommendations and provide tactical assistance to build and leverage the voice of program staff to help achieve programmatic goals through a range of online and offline channels, including coaching on social media, recommending speaking engagements, and placing articles and essays to inform, engage and mobilize target audiences. Retain and manage freelancers and external consultants, when relevant, in support of these efforts.
- Collaborate with communications colleagues and other internal partners to develop and disseminate consistent, clear, and effective messaging about foundation-wide initiatives. Work, as needed, to align internal and external communication on institutional initiatives.
- In partnership the Digital Communications Officer and Digital Communications Associate, ensure the foundation’s digital properties offer timely, relevant and engaging content; amplify the voices of grantees, partners and staff; and convey with openness and transparency our strategies, evaluations, and knowledge products.
- Anticipate, inoculate against and respond to criticism or in crisis context, partnering with program, legal and other communications staff, as needed.
- Develop events or convenings when appropriate.
- Advise programs on “broadcast” grantee communications, such as grantee webinars, town halls and email newsletters.
- Manage and contribute to institutional communications projects, as needed, such as communications guidance and policy updates, development of tools and resources, and trainings.
- Contribute to the ongoing learning and development of the communications team, and the wider foundation, about best practices in the field of strategic communications.
Program Advisory Counsel
The Communications Officer serves as a strategic communications adviser to programs, which develop and execute the foundation’s grantmaking strategies, helping to identify, implement and measure communications efforts to advance program goals.
- Participate in strategy development and assessment processes, including helping to: identify key target audiences within strategies and sub-strategies; assess communications challenges and mitigation tactics; identify specific communications objectives implicit in relevant logic models and theories of change; and recommend communications-related metrics that can serve as indicators of progress.
- Support program staff in understanding, and addressing when needed, communications-related capacity constraints and needs within fields of focus, or specific grantees and potential grantee organizations. Advise program officers on communications-related grant proposals, leveraging field knowledge and communications expertise.
- Assist in identifying and managing external communications support for grantee cohorts (e.g, for media relations support or training) or field-supporting opportunities (e.g., narrative research, media partnerships, or visual storytelling tools), including developing RFPs, coordinating with partners at grantee organizations, and managing vendors.
Knowledge & Requirements
The ideal candidate will have:
- A degree in communications, journalism or similar field.
- 7-10 years of relevant experience, including proven track record of managing strategic communications and handling client relationships. Experience cultivating strong relationships with media, coalition partners, and stakeholders in the global development and U.S. and international reproductive health arenas required; Washington, D.C., and/or agency experience is a plus.
- Experience managing external consultants, such as p.r. agencies and freelance writers.
- Intellectual curiosity and strong appetite for news and information.
- Superb written and oral communications skills. Knowledge of AP Style strongly preferred. Knowledge of Microsoft Office products required.
- Thorough understanding of changing communications landscape, including strong facility and proven knowledge of media research tools and digital platforms for publishing, listening, engaging and analyzing (e.g, social media platforms and tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TweetDeck, SproutSocial; email platforms; CRMs such as Salesforce; CMS such as WordPress; media databases and monitoring tools such as Cision and Meltwater).
- Diplomacy, tact, and the ability to work across diverse internal and external constituents, building credibility and constructive professional relationships. Demonstrated facility in cultivating relationships and operating through influence rather than authority.
- Demonstrated ability to manage projects and competing priorities, react nimbly when required, and set priorities without direct supervision. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Proven ability to think creatively and constructively to solve problems.
- Strong judgment and ability to deal with sensitive issues, escalating to Director of Communications, when appropriate and timely.