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Vacancy: Head of Communications

Deadline for applications: 15 September 2019

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This is an exciting new role working within our dynamic core team and our network of over 35 partners. You will focus on developing communications strategies and plans to reach senior decision-makers to advance our aims of building the political commitment necessary to shift countries towards a more sustainable model of urban development. You will oversee the Coalition’s branding, marketing, editing, report messaging, online communications and traditional media and social media strategies, working hand in hand with a dynamic and growing team.

A significant part of this role will involve communicating a range of signature global and country reports spanning various topic areas and geographies, including in China, Ghana, Mexico, and Tanzania, as well as the Coalitions flagship Global Report, which will be launched just ahead of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit and will be communicated throughout 2019, 2020 and beyond.

Experience in converting evidence-based policy and research work into products which can be communicated effectively to national decision-makers and their senior civil servants would be an advantage.

Salary expectation: £49,138 to £61,423

Program Overview

The WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is seeking a full time Head of Communications for the Coalition for Urban Transitions,  a major global initiative of 35+ institutions supporting national governments to accelerate economic development and tackle climate change by transforming cities. It provides an independent, evidence-based approach for thinking about how to manage urban areas, and the accompanying process of economic, social, and environmental transformation, to maximize benefits for people and the planet. The Coalition is a special initiative of the New Climate Economy and is jointly hosted and managed by the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

The Coalition is currently developing a range of signature global and country reports spanning various topic areas and geographies, including in China, Ghana, Mexico, and Tanzania. It will also be launching a flagship Global Report in September, just ahead of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit co-produced with over 50 leading organizations and which will be communicated throughout 2019, 2020, and beyond.

In this role, you will join a world class team of urban, economic, social, and environmental experts. This team is drawn from, and supported by, a partnership of the world’s best thinkers, institutions, and senior public-private leaders to drive action globally and in key countries related to sustainable urban transitions.

Job Summary

In this role, you will be a senior member of the Coalition’s Core Team and serve as a member of the Coalition’s Senior Management Team. Reporting to the Head of Programme Delivery, you will have close interaction with the Programme Director. You will develop communications strategies and tactical plans to reach national leaders and decision makers to advance the Coalition’s aim of building the global  political commitment and the national policy changes necessary to shift rapidly urbanizing countries towards a more sustainable model of urban development. In this role, you will help converting evidence-based policy and research work into products which can be communicated effectively to decision-makers and their senior civil servants to help them make better informed decisions. As a member of the senior management team, you will help position the Coalition as a world-renowned resource on sustainable cities, including how to support and leverage the Coalition’s partners and network of senior leaders.

Additionally, you will oversee the Coalition’s branding, marketing, editing, report messaging, online communications, and traditional media and social media strategies, working hand in hand with a dynamic and growing team.

Job Responsibilities

  • Developing and implementing a high-impact communications strategy in support of the Coalition’s global strategy, across its country programme and global research workstream areas, in order to reach national decision-makers, increase the visibility of the Coalition, disseminate its main achievements to relevant international and local audiences, and strengthen the Coalition’s brand identity.
  • Overseeing the quality of the Coalition’s report production process (with a focus on developing key messages and outreach strategies through online or traditional media channels) and online presence (website, social media, etc). This will include flagship global reports targeted at senior decision-makers, working hand in hand with the team’s communications manager.
  • Guide the team’s communications manager to improve the Coalition’s communication processes to increase their efficiency including working with WRI Core Communications teams and external vendors.
  • Providing communications advice to the Head of Programme Delivery and the Programme Director.
  • Supporting the executive management team and strategic engagement team in providing the Coalition’s network of senior champions (including its Urban Leadership Council and Steering Group) with the evidence and information to effectively communicate the findings and messages of the Coalition’s work to Heads of State, Ministers, and CEOs. This will include overseeing and managing the development of high-end presentation packs, speeches, and talking points.
  • Developing key metrics and evaluating the impact of communication solutions and reorienting strategies.
  • Managing the Coalition’s communications budget in coordination with the Communications Manager and Operations & Grants Manager.
  • Identifying and executing on opportunities for collaboration with Coalition partners or other WRI programs with strong communications platforms.
  • Overseeing and leading on media-focused requests, including with senior leaders. Developing and maintaining good relationships with key journalists in global newspapers and broadcasting outlets and providing them with stories as appropriate during the project’s work.
  • Overseeing the creation and editing of public-facing content for the Coalition, including coordinating with Coalition champions to develop op-eds and messages.
  • Contributing to funding proposals and advising on funding strategy from a communications perspective, including drafting proposal sections, providing input on budget, and providing regular updates to funders on communications activities.
  • Providing training and capacity building for Coalition staff and champions on communications-relevant skills such as writing, presenting, media engagement and by encouraging team members to blog and use social media to make their voices heard throughout the field.
  • Liaising throughout the Coalition with the communications directors of all the research partners and other associated organisations (e.g. World Bank, IMF, etc.) and any associated communications capacity.
  • Managing communications staff, namely the Communications Manager, including looking for opportunities of professional development and to grow the team over time.
  • Hiring or contracting additional communications capacity as appropriate using WRI’s recruitment and procurement processes, working closely with the Communications Manager.
  • Any other communications related task as assigned by the Head of Programme Delivery.

Job Qualifications

  • Minimum of five years of experience in professional communications, marketing, public relations, and/or journalism with additional experience in a management or leadership role
  • Master’s degree required (or two additional years of work experience) in communications, journalism or a related field, with experience in urban issues, sustainable development, environment and/or international development
  • Media relations skills with reporters and an established network of media contacts
  • Experience working in global environmental governance, global politics or international relations desirable, including policy orientated think and do-tanks; 
  • Experience in communicating in a targeted way with decision-makers alongside an ability to write opinion pieces would be an advantage.
  • Articulate, versatile, highly-skilled writer with professional writing experience; strong oral communications skills required
  • Experience in creative application of social media channels (including Twitter, Facebook, blogs) to impact audiences
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fast-paced office environment, both independently and as part of a global team. Adaptable to rapidly changing priorities and able to manage multiple deadlines and deliver high quality work products
  • Excellent inter-personal communication skills, including the ability to encourage collaboration with other programs, international offices, and partners with competing priorities
  • Highly motivated, proactive work style and excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to think creatively and collaboratively about all elements of communications work
  • Proven ability to lead the planning, coordination, and execution of communications products, influence strategies, and audience targeting.
  • Excellent inter-personal communication skills, including the ability to encourage collaboration with other programs, international offices, and partners.
  • Experience in working for non-profit organizations desirable
  • Experience working with external contractors such as proofreaders, designers and video makers desirable
  • Visual skills, such as video editing, photography, graphic design, and experience using Adobe CC are desirable.
  • Written and spoken fluency in a second language such as Spanish or Chinese Mandarin desirable.
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness in completing assigned duties.
  • Willingness and ability to travel domestically and internationally when necessary.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume with your application. You must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. Please note that the deadline for applications is 15th September 2019.

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