Description:

The Executive Director, Strategic Communications is responsible for leading the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategic communications plan for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation. The Executive Director, Strategic Communications leads a team of communications professionals who are responsible for messaging, website management, social media, publications, campaign communications, media relations, executive communications, crisis communications, event collateral, marketing materials, external coordination and relationship building, and other communications initiatives. The position serves as a key leader in enterprise-wide collaboration, bringing peers together and unifying their responses to the needs of the Enterprise.


The Executive Director, Strategic Communications is an exempt position and reports to the Vice President, Engagement and Communications.


The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to advancing higher education, supporting U.S. Naval Academy alumni and furthering the mission and vision of the United States Naval Academy. We support United States Naval Academy Strategic Plan and United States Naval Academy Mission as the Alumni Association and Foundation. The Executive Director, Strategic Communications will lead efforts to elevate the Alumni Association and Foundation’s profile and steward its reputation with news media, alumni and Naval Academy Yard personnel. The Executive Director will coordinate and manage external communication and develop and implement strategies that enhance the Alumni Association and Foundation’s visibility, promote and protect its brand and reputation among external and internal constituents and ensure strategic alignment among all external and internal communications across multiple channels and platforms. 


Strategic Communications

  • Develop and oversee the implementation of the organization’s comprehensive communications plan designed to advance the mission and strategic goals of the Enterprise.
  • Partner with staff and Yard personnel to identify opportunities and build member and donor relationships that will increase awareness and exposure for both the Enterprise and the Academy. 
  • Ensure alignment and coordination with broader Naval Academy messaging and other communications/media activities. 
  • Lead, develop, motivate, manage and work with a high performing team, including contractors, to meet strategic goals and business objectives while staying within budget.  Oversee multiple communications budget lines and ensure responsible stewardship of enterprise resources.
  • Support marketing material development, communications and branding efforts across the enterprise in a multi-channel approach to diverse constituents (internal staff, leadership, members, donors and friends).
  • Responsible for supporting a consistent internal and external brand messaging strategy that is reflected across all programs and service areas as well as select internal marketing programs.
  • Serves as chief media strategist; responsible for identifying and building relationships with new and existing freelance writers, bloggers and tech analysts to improve enterprise goals and objectives awareness.
  • Supports Donor Relations programs, providing direction on messaging for ongoing Foundation operations.
  • Monitor industry issues and competitive landscape to adjust positioning and messaging as required.
  • Provide strategic direction to Shipmate magazine, the enterprise’s flagship publication.
  • Work with key Alumni Association and Foundation staff to develop and support communications efforts of enterprise initiatives and goals including, but not limited to, outreach, membership, fundraising, electronic communications, publications.
  • Supports the marketing and communications efforts of the Events and Marketing department as requested.
  • Develop and organize consistent messaging for enterprise leadership (SLT and volunteer).
  • Craft compelling content for all communications channels in support of the enterprise mission.
  • In support of the Alumni Association and Foundation communication effort, develop and execute strategies for Communications to be inclusive of all alumni demographics in a communication’s annual editorial strategy plan and execution plan.  


Media Relations

  • Serve as a knowledgeable and accessible resource for journalists and as the primary spokesperson for the enterprise. 
  • Collaborate with the Naval Academy Public Affairs Office and the Athletic Association’s Sports Information Director on media inquiries and pitching story ideas. 


Staff Development and Supervision

  • Leads and directs the communications department as an in-house agency responsible for providing writing/editing, media relations, internal and external publications, web communications as well as strategic communications guidance for the enterprise.
  • Hire, manage and lead a professional and committed communications team, manage vendors in a fiscally responsible manner, develop the enterprise communication budgets.
  • Develop and lead the staff in a manner that is consistent with alumni demographics.
  • Foster an efficient and effective working environment by coordinating the work of staff, developing processes and procedures, communicating decisions and changes, and providing consistent and measured performance feedback, mentorship and leadership.
  • Represent the Vice President, Engagement and Communications in his absence and act on his behalf.


Other duties

  • Assist and perform engagement Outreach efforts as required to visit Alumni volunteer groups as needed throughout the country in support of Enterprise objectives.
  • Contribute to the development of long-range operational and strategic planning as a member of the Senior Leadership Plus Team.
  • Contribute to the Alumni Association Board of Trustees as a staff representative to the various Board subcommittees.
  • Guide and participate in the strategic planning and fiscal execution for the enterprise.
  • Perform any additional duties and responsibilities as further assigned by the Vice President, Engagement and Communications.


Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Master’s degree in communications, public relations, public policy or similar preferred.
  • At least 10 years of experience working in communications, public relations or external affairs roles including promotion of membership and fundraising initiatives for higher education, nonprofit institutions or membership organizations. 
  • Ability to articulate commitment to and passion for the mission of the Alumni Association, Foundation and the Naval Academy.
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication and writing skills.
  • Strong, collaborative leadership and management experience that can be applied effectively in a mature, but growing organization.
  • Strong budget development and management skills and experience.
  • Some travel required in support of Engagement Outreach activity.


Consistent with the United States Naval Academy's commitment to careers of naval service and the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government, the Alumni Association and Foundation encourage applications from US Naval Academy Graduates and other veterans meeting qualifications for the position, especially those with a record of consistent volunteer engagement with USNA Alumni Association or Foundation or in support of USNA.  





About U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association:

The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and the United States Naval Academy Foundation are two independent, not-for-profit corporations sharing a single president and CEO and operating as a fully integrated organization in support of the Naval Academy and its mission. The organization’s focus and core competencies are engagement and philanthropy in pursuit of complementary and closely aligned missions. The course set by Alumni Association founders in 1886 rings true today as the Alumni Association serves and supports the United States, the Naval Service, the Naval Academy and its alumni: › by furthering the highest standards at the Naval Academy; › by seeking out, informing, encouraging and assisting outstanding, qualified young men and women to pursue careers as officers through the Naval Academy; › by initiating and sponsoring activities which perpetuate the history, traditions, memories and growth of the Naval Academy and bind alumni together in support of the highest ideals of command, citizenship and government. With a primary focus on engagement, the Alumni Association promotes informed advocacy for today’s Naval Academy and Brigade of Midshipmen among its many constituents—alumni, parents and friends.

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Executive Director, Strategic Communications

Annapolis, MD
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