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Director of Communications
First Place for Youth
Job Location: Oakland, CA

Position Summary

The Director of Communications will build reach and recognition for First Place for Youth to be viewed as the pre-eminent national extended foster care provider and thought partner in the field. This strategic role is responsible for managing the First Place brand voice and strategic communication of key messages to key targets and audiences to build and cultivate relationships among key constituencies, including funders, policy makers, potential partners, media and internal stakeholders. Working closely with the leadership team, the director will partner on a variety of initiatives aimed at building capacity for extended foster care among providers, policy makers and other thought leaders. Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Communications will set and guide the a coherent brand strategy, with digital and printed materials, events and public relations that consistently articulate First Place for Youth's mission, programs, services and activities.

Essential Duties and RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

  • Develop, implement, and evaluate an annual communications plan in collaboration with the First Place for Youth Leadership team, partners and other stakeholders. Initiate and execute strategies to create and test momentum and awareness to optimize the effectiveness of communications activities. Lead content strategy to systematically engage key audiences. Decide to whom, what, where, and when to disseminate.
  • Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all print and electronic collateral including, but not limited to, newsletters, annual reports, research and policy briefs, online appeals, blog posts, brochures, and First Place for Youth's website.
  • Manage public relations strategy including updated key press target list, cultivating media contacts and building a speakers bureau that spotlights First Place subject matter experts for speaking engagements and content opportunities such as Opinion Editorials, contributed editorial content and press releases.
  • Mentor and manage a Communications Associate responsible for raising awareness of FPFY strategic initiatives and outcomes with social media, E-news, blog and website updates, content, analytics as well as event logistics.
  • Assure strategic management for donor events including house parties, annual donor luncheons, mentoring lunch and learn career chats, webinars, virtual events and more.

Position Competencies

  • At least seven years of communications experience, including website content, events newsletters, and donor communications. Previous experience will demonstrate the ability to convey complex data and information into simple, coherent, resonant and actionable messages that raised awareness of a cause. Expertise in identifying and growing target audiences by optimizing distribution channels is critical.
  • An experienced leader with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position the brand and communications discussions at both the strategic and tactical levels.
  • A highly collaborative relationship builder with the experience, flexibility and finesse to "manage by influence" and an entrepreneurial self-starter, who enjoys implementing new initiatives and can work independently to lead communications strategies for key initiatives.
  • Facility with writing and editing content using simple, lively prose to describe complex concepts, you meet your readers where they are and have work samples showing how you translated industry terminology for lay audiences.
  • Experience managing virtual and live events: including webinars, small virtual events, house parties, luncheons and galas.
  • Clear Communication Excellent written, verbal, interpersonal, and presentation skills, Communicates clearly and effectively with co-workers, supervisors, and youth. Must be able to comprehend, follow, and clearly convey instructions to others.
  • Computer Skills Must be able to work on a computer for up to 40 hours per week. Proficiency with Office 2010 applications including MS Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, Project and Outlook required. Experience with performance management systems preferred. Previous experience working in WordPress, MS PowerPoint and SharePoint, Adobe Creative Suite, MailChimp, Hootsuite and Facebook business manager interfaces preferred.
  • A sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all, from staff, to board members, to volunteers, donors, program participants, and other supporters.
  • Ability to maintain a professional demeanor in all situations.
  • Highly organized with superior attention to detail and project management.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Committed to First Place for Youths dedication to thread accountability across all efforts to support and sustain a racially equitable organization. Demonstrate a passion of advancing organizational DEI objectives and influencing others to approach all work with an equity lens. Promote processes and communication that encourage organizational cultural competence and inclusion.

Organizational Core Competencies - required of all staff for successful performance at First Place

  • RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE - Intentional use of data to improve performance Possesses strong drive, initiative and motivation Detail and Results orientation Demonstrates good work habits Resiliency in persisting through setbacks Demonstrated success, with the ability to think strategically while executing tactically within a resource-constrained environment.
  • STRATEGIC THINKING - Seeks and utilizes resources to inform and contextualize own work Thinks interdependently, framing the goals of one department/project within the entire vision Synthesizes information to make astute recommendations and/or decisions Prioritizes goals for success.
  • INVESTMENT IN OTHERS - Creates an environment that maximizes the return on investment in others Collaborates to set and achieve goals that comport with First Places mission, strategic plan and desired measurable outcomes Creates and utilizes development opportunities to address individual needs and capacity to accomplish performance objectives Creates and identifies opportunities for recognition of success Provides supportive environment to learn from mistakes.
  • EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION - Courageous, strategic, clear and direct communication that resolves discrepancies and overcomes challenges and obstacles to organizational success Ability to respectfully ask questions, challenge, and communicate both positive and difficult messages to subordinates, superiors, peers and youth Sound judgment regarding the appropriateness of guarding confidentiality to protect the privacy rights of colleagues or youth Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • COURAGE - Asks questions in order to learn and encourage dialogue Willing to make mistakes and to be accountable for own work Speaks about issues truthfully and without blame Leads by example, displaying behavior that respects the mission, youth and First Place Holds high expectations for self, one another and for our youth.

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

Physical requirements include the ability to lift and reach for light objects (up to 20lbs); close visual acuity to prepare and analyze data, text, and figures; ability to type utilizing a computer keyboard; ability to travel to outside locations; ability to communicate and exchange information; ability to move about the office to access file cabinets and office equipment; and the ability to remain stationary and work at a computer for extended periods of time as a primary job function. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


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