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Policy Communications Director

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CSPI seeks a Policy Communications Director to help build and manage a communications team working on a multiyear campaign to build synergy and national momentum for food and nutrition policies, especially in historically disenfranchised communities that experience health disparities and are disproportionately targeted by unhealthy beverage and food marketing. The ideal candidate is an experienced communications professional with seasoned media relations, exceptional writing ability, superior organizational and management skills, and desire to work in a collaborative, creative, outcome-driven team.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) works to improve the food environment for all Americans. CSPI led efforts to win passage of many state and local policies to improve school food, remove sugary drinks from children’s menus, and require calorie labeling on chain restaurant menus and national policies such as the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (to improve school food), Food Safety Modernization Act, and Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act.

Unhealthy food and beverages are the leading contributors to death in the United States, contributing to over 600,000 premature deaths each year, primarily through heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.  The typical American diet is low in fruit, vegetables and whole grains and too high in sugar-sweetened beverages, red and processed meat, full-fat dairy, refined grains, sodium, and saturated fat.  The ubiquity, amounts, and aggressive promotion of sugary drinks and unhealthy food in the food supply are hazardous to the public’s health.

CSPI seeks a Policy Communications Director to help build and manage a communications team working on a multiyear campaign to build synergy and national momentum for food and nutrition policies, especially in historically disenfranchised communities that experience health disparities and are disproportionately targeted by unhealthy beverage and food marketing.  The ideal candidate is an experienced communications professional with seasoned media relations, exceptional writing ability, superior organizational and management skills, and desire to work in a collaborative, creative, outcome-driven team.

This position is part of the policy department senior leadership team, reports to the Vice President for Nutrition, and is located in CSPI’s Washington, DC office.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute an integrated, comprehensive communications strategy, in collaboration with the senior policy leadership team and CSPI’s Director of Communications, to advance policy campaign goals.
  • Manage and direct day-to-day activities of a cross-functional policy communications team. Provide direction and mentoring to team members and support their professional and technical development.
  • Create, implement, and evaluate communications initiatives that support specific legislative, regulatory, and other advocacy initiatives.
  • Develop effective messaging for policy campaigns, working with communications firms on polling, focus groups, and other message development approaches.
  • Generate high impact earned media coverage.  Cultivate and maintain relationships with press in traditional, digital, and community-based media.
  • Develop persuasive and compelling communications tools, including press releases, social media content, commentaries, letters to the editor, and op-eds.  Work with communications team and consultants to create compelling visual and video content that supports policy successes and strengthens brand identity. 
  • Develop, monitor and manage policy communications work plans and operating budgets, in collaboration with the senior policy leadership team, to ensure the team stays on budget.  Responsible for timely and accurate reporting of grant-related activities in collaboration with the development and finance departments.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in journalism, communications, public relations, or related field.  At least 7 years of demonstrated success in developing and implementing communications strategies on public policy campaigns.
  • Exceptional speaking, listening, writing, and editing skills that include experience writing press releases, op-eds, articles, and online content.
  • Experience developing strategic communications plans that target multiple stakeholder audiences and leverage traditional and digital media platforms.
  • Staff management experience including ability to supervise, motivate, and evaluate staff, and a strong commitment to fostering a positive, collaborative, and strategic organizational culture.
  • Ability to work as part of a cross-disciplinary team in a collegial manner.
  • Commitment and track record of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of public health and social justice and ability to promote it throughout the work and in the workplace.
  • Ability to distill science, health information, and policy initiatives into understandable and compelling content for media, community organizations, policymakers, and the public.
  • Proven track record of building strong and collaborative relationships with partner organizations, reporters, and other stakeholders.
  • Excellent judgment and consistent professionalism, with the ability to take responsibility for multiple projects and deadlines.
  • Budget management and grant-reporting experience.
  • Proficiency with MSOffice applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Familiarity with social media and other web-based advocacy tools.
  • Ability to work additional hours as needed.

To Apply

Please email your application materials, which should include a cover letter indicating relevant experience and interest, résumé, and writing samples to hr@cspinet.org.  Include “PolComDir-Web” in the subject line.

CSPI offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package along with a healthy working environment.  CSPI is an equal opportunity employer.  Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.