Communications Director

18 May, 2020


Communications Director

Obama Foundation
Chicago, IL/Washington, DC

About the Obama Foundation

At the Obama Foundation, we are guided by a core belief: that ordinary people working together can change history. Our mission is to inspire those people to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together than they can alone.

We were founded by community organizers, so when we seek change, we do it by bringing people together.

That approach begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center. The Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home.

But that approach extends to all our work, whether it’s holding leadership training sessions in communities throughout the U.S., bringing local leaders together in countries around the world, working to support the global education of girls, or ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.

As President Obama has said, “we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” So join us.

For more information, please visit

About the Role

As a member of the Digital team, the Communications Director will lead internal and external communications and messaging for the Foundation and oversee the Foundation’s Communications Team.  Working closely with Foundation leadership, other functions of the Digital team (including Editorial, Brand, and Technology), and all Foundation teams, the Communications Director will manage “traditional” external communications such as earned media, but will also lead the development, planning, and execution of the Foundation’s strategic communications and overall messaging. The Communications manager will lead and develop internal, executive, and crisis communications strategies, and will serve as a key liaison to the Communications Team of the Personal Office of President and Mrs. Obama. The Communications Director will report to the Chief Digital Officer (CDO).


The Communications Director will be responsible for achieving the following outcomes within the first year:

  • Within the first month, engage key beat reporters and review the Foundation’s media engagement strategy and media lists
  • Within the first two months, work with the CDO, the Editor-in-Chief, and the Foundation’s Communications team to refresh and develop near-term and 2021 communications strategy
  • Within the first two months, review the Foundation’s strategic calendar content and process, in preparation for the 2021 budget and strategic planning cycle
  • Within the first two months, meet with the offices of the Foundation President and CEO as well as other key stakeholders across the Foundation, to review internal communications strategy and calendar
  • Within the first three months, review and refresh the Foundation’s thought leadership strategy and speaking engagement tools and resources
  • Within the first 3 months, make a set of recommendations regarding the Foundation’s short-, medium-, and long-term structure, budget, strategy, goals, etc.


The ultimate aim of the Communications Director is to achieve the outcomes listed above. In order to achieve those outcomes, we imagine that the Communications Director will spend their time in the following ways:

  • Work closely with the Chief Digital Officer and the Editor-in-Chief to create long- and short-term communications plans for the Foundation, including managing the Foundation’s strategic external calendar and programmatic messaging strategies
  • Recommend and manage thought leadership opportunities for Foundation leadership
  • Coordinate messaging across key functions, including fundraising and programmatic and event support
  • Manage the media relations team that works closely with Chicago, national, and international media outlets
  • Oversee and manage the Foundation’s Research team, which works to anticipate and mitigate communications and optics risks to the organization
  • Manage relationships with communications and public relations vendors


  • 10+ years experience
  • Experience working with NGOs/nonprofits, the private sector (e.g., media, culture, technology), and government/political campaigns strongly preferred
  • Track record of generating new and innovative approaches to developing communications strategies and messaging
  • Exceptional written and verbal communications skills, and the ability to build a narrative across a range of formats
  • Highly organized and detail oriented with a track record of meeting short- and long-term responsibilities in a fast-paced, deadline-driven, high volume organization
  • Ability to manage competing priorities, aggressively prioritize work streams and resources to meet goals,  and communicate effectively with others to achieve objectives and meet deadlines
  • Committed to our mission of inspiring, empowering, and connecting people to change their world

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please e-mail us at if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete this application.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-05-18