Chief Communications Officer

14 May, 2021


Chief Communications Officer

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Job Summary

Through research, teaching, and engagement with practitioners, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS) improves public policy and public leadership so that people can live in societies that are safer, freer, more just, and more sustainably prosperous. As Chief Communications Officer, you will play a central role in amplifying the impact of HKS’s ideas and enhancing HKS’s reputation locally, nationally, and internationally.  We seek an innovative and strategic leader with demonstrated savvy in contemporary communications strategy and media relations, able to execute effectively and achieve change in a large, complex, decentralized, and mission-driven organization, and skilled in leading, motivating, and developing a diverse team of strategic communications professionals.  We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture and seek applications from candidates who share our values and commitment.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

The Chief Communications Officer will lead a 15-person team of professionals in developing and executing an integrated strategic communications and engagement plan that will magnify HKS’s voice and strengthen its reputation with public officials, thought leaders, and prospective students.

Specific Duties Include, but are not limited to:

  • With the communications team, develop strategic communications programs encompassing media relations, digital communications, publications, and marketing programs, for both internal and external audiences. Take a proactive approach to ensure that HKS messages and stories reach key target audiences and have impact. Drive the development of a compelling and effective digital presence resulting in vibrant and responsive online communications that support key program objectives and initiatives. Bolster internal and external communications regarding HKS’s initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • With the communications team, execute the communications programs with excellence, bringing a high degree of care and precision to all aspects of communications.
  • Spearhead media relations, particularly in the area of crisis communications.
  • Work closely with the Dean, Executive Dean, and the Dean’s Office as well as with other HKS leaders, faculty, and communications experts. Build effective relationships with all members of the HKS community and provide guidance on a wide range of communications issues. Lead the HKS-wide communications affinity group, which includes communications staffers from other administrative departments and HKS Research Centers, to ensure integration and consistency.
  • With other senior administrators, maintain appropriate communications and media policies to ensure that privacy regulations, public safety efforts, and HKS-wide practices are understood and effectively implemented.
  • Provide leadership and effective personnel management to the communications team, promoting collaborative interdisciplinary teamwork, open communication, responsible self-direction, and excellence in all aspects of execution.


Basic Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years of experience in progressively responsible positions within the Communications field. Experience managing staff.

Application Instructions:
Please submit a Resume and Cover Letter along with a 1-2 paragraph statement describing how you have worked to create and foster an inclusive work environment.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Be an innovative and strategic leader of communications efforts.
  • Have demonstrated savvy and success in contemporary media relations, including adeptness at coordinating press for large events and proven effectiveness in employing social media and other digital technologies.
  • Have demonstrated experience in crisis communications
  • Have a successful track record of moving projects forward, coordinating multiple programs simultaneously, thinking critically, and anticipating future demands and developing forward-thinking approaches.
  • Be able to execute effectively and achieve change in a large, complex, decentralized, and mission-driven organization.
  • Knowledgeable and committed to the mission of education and research and /or public policy and leadership.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Be skilled in leading, motivating, and developing a diverse team of strategic communications professionals, and in being a role model who demonstrates respectful behavior with multiple stakeholders.
  • Be a self-starter with high energy and a focus on results.
  • Demonstrated experience in diversity-related communications and ability to make strategic diversity-related decisions with regards to all communications.
  • Master’s degree in communications, journalism, or a related field preferred.

Additional Information

Application Instructions:
Please submit a Resume and Cover Letter along with a 1-2 paragraph statement describing how you have worked to create and foster an inclusive work environment.

Please note: During the current period of Covid-19 related restrictions, this position may start as a remote position, with transition to onsite in Cambridge, Massachusetts when the office reopens. We continue to  monitor the evolving COVID-19 and lifting of restrictions. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility with our interview process. We will be conducting interviews virtually for selected candidates until further notice.

Salary Range: $160,200 – $295,600
Note: Starting salaries typically fall in the lower half of the salary range; however, they are ultimately determined by the scope of the position, the candidate’s relevant experience, and internal equity.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership—because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.
Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
Harvard offers a generous benefits package including:

  • Time Off: 3- 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 11.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
  • Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
  • Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.
  • Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation and complimentary health services.
    Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide Visa Sponsorship.

Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks.

Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment

Learn more here

Job posted: 2021-05-14