Director of Communications (Job ID: 2021-2584)

12 Jul, 2021


Director of Communications (Job ID: 2021-2584)

Brookings Institute
Washington, DC


Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.


Foreign Policy at Brookings is a leading center of policy-relevant scholarship exploring the rapidly re-ordering geopolitics of the major powers, and the disordering relations among states and transnational actors. In line with Brookings’s core values of quality, independence, and impact, our scholars provide concrete policy recommendations for how U.S. strategy, the international security architecture, and leading states should adapt to changing threats and opportunities.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms. We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college-goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


Please note: This position is based in Brookings’ Washington, DC office. In response to COVID-19, Brookings staff are temporarily teleworking. The person hired for this position must be willing to move to or currently reside in Washington DC, Maryland, or Northern Virginia by their date of hire.


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


The Director of Communications leads the Foreign Policy (FP) program’s strategic communications, media relations, and digital strategy efforts, and provides high-level substantive and administrative management of FP’s publications, convenings, and digital engagement.


Reporting directly to the Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy (VP FP), the Director of Communications is a member of the senior leadership team of the program and is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive communications strategy for FP, its researchers, and its research centers. This includes digital marketing and outreach activities; media and stakeholder outreach to remain aware of developing news and media interests and to promote the work of FP scholars; branding and positioning strategy; digital media presence and content development; and input on public and private forums to promote the program’s researchers and work. The Director also develops editorial priorities, provides guidance on the content, framing, and copy of written works, and conceptualizes and implements special editorial projects.


The Director manages a team of communications professionals and coordinates communications efforts with other FP staff involved in communications activities. The position also works closely with Brookings’s Central Office of Communications. The Director plays an integral role in the management of FP, assisting and advising on management issues and strategic planning for the program. 


Impact (40%)

  • In coordination with VP FP and other internal stakeholders, designs, plans, and implements overall FP editorial and communications strategy.
  • Assists VP FP with long-term strategic communications efforts, including branding and outreach, to ensure that the program is achieving high impact and serving as a leading source of foreign policy analysis.
  • Develops strategies and tactics to help FP scholars establish, maintain, and enhance their public profiles and their positions as leading subject matter experts; supports implementation of strategies and tactics.
  • Identifies key consumers of FP products, including contacts in the Executive branch; relevant members and committees of Congress and their staffs; producers and reporters in international and domestic media; and thought leaders and policy experts in academia and other foreign policy communities and ensures dissemination of FP scholars’ products to those consumers.
  • Coordinates FP strategy with overall Brookings Institution (BI) communication strategy.
  • Develops metrics and mechanisms to capture policy impact and communicate impact to internal and external stakeholders.
  • In coordination with FP scholars and staff, conceives and oversees the design and preparation of communications and promotional materials.
  • Maintains familiarity with emerging communications technology and trends, and develops plans to utilize relevant technologies and Brookings capabilities as they emerge.

 Editorial (40%)

  • Represents and advocates for FP within Brookings on editorial issues, including participation in daily editorial meetings and ongoing dialogue about external promotion of FP research.
  • Working with VP FP and with center/team leadership, helps set general direction and priorities for FP publishing including broad themes, efforts involving multiple scholars, and modes of publication including blogs, op-eds, essays, papers, videos, and podcasts.
  • In coordination with Foreign Policy leadership and scholars, helps shape the research agenda and outputs, including identifying topics for blog posts, policy briefs, essays, and other written publications.
  • Oversees and contributes to editing for all FP blogs, policy briefs, articles, reports, essays, and papers, including performing and/or managing FP staff in editing for clarity and style.
  • Ensures compliance with FP’s peer review policy. Manages and directs FP staff in coordinating peer review process for papers and reports, manages collaboration with other FP staff and external contacts as necessary.
  • Writes blog posts summarizing FP research and events, as well as other topics under the guidance of FP leadership.

Management (20%)

  • Participates as member of FP’s senior management team to ensure communication and coordination between FP Communications staff and FP VP, Development, Finance, and Administrative staffs.
  • Interacts with Central Communications to establish and refine institution-wide policies and processes and manage workflow between Central Communications and FP staff.
  • Provides day-to-day oversight, guidance, coordination, and professional development of all FP communications staff.
  • Oversees the production and distribution of internal communications related to the work of the communications team, including updates on outreach activities, media engagement, and impact metrics.
  • Coordinates with appropriate staff and oversees website posting and prioritization.
  • Serves as FP’s primary representative in meetings with central Brookings Communications staff.
  • Holds primary responsibility for maintaining awareness of relevant institutional and Central Communications policies, guidelines, and priorities. Manages dissemination to FP staff and helps ensure compliance.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:


Education/Experience Requirements:


A Bachelor’s degree in international affairs, political science, or a related area is required; a Master’s degree in a relevant field is preferred. Minimum six years of relevant work experience including writing and editorial experience, familiarity with various modes of publication (written work, videos, podcasts, etc.), a background in strategizing and agenda-setting, and staff management is required.  Experience with digital marketing is preferred. Complete fluency in written and spoken English is required and foreign language capability is a plus. A strong academic record and outstanding research, writing, and analytical skills are important. Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.


Knowledge/Skills Requirements:


Topical knowledge: Knowledge of global international relations and U.S. foreign policy, obtained through education and professional experience, is required. Familiarity with operations and priorities of mass media and foreign policy organizations is required. Advanced knowledge of at least one aspect of U.S. foreign policy, the international relations of one or more international geographical regions, and/or one non-English language is preferred.


Strategy and Outreach: Ability to conceptualize and implement digital strategies and projects that respond to current events, and effectively communicate policy research, is required. Advanced understanding of and sound judgment on strategic communications and objectives is required. Ability to identify, plan for, and as required implement impact opportunities for the full suite of FP products is required. Up to date knowledge of media and outreach best practices and a network of professional contacts in mass media and/or foreign policy organizations are required.


Editorial: Superior writing and editing skills, as well as demonstrated editorial judgment, are required. Must be able to work effectively with Brookings experts to frame research projects for policy relevance, readability, and impact. Ability to oversee and contribute to consistent, professional editing of a large volume of written products in different formats.


Professional and Management: Superb organizational and interpersonal skills, and poise, tact, discretion and mature judgment to handle and respond appropriately and professionally in a high-pressure atmosphere are required. Must demonstrate leadership across a diverse and active program, and pro-active management of a small communications staff. Superior organizational and multi-tasking skills, and attention to detail, are required. Must be a mature, self-motivated, team player who works well with little or no supervision and gets along well with a variety of personality types.


Additional Information:


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings.


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2021-07-12