Director, Corporate Communications

21 Dec, 2021


Director, Corporate Communications

Sallie Mae
Sterling, VA/Newark, DE

Who we are:

Sallie Mae is proud to help Americans aspiring to create the life they imagine—whether that means helping them make college happen, or other endeavors they pursue to invest in their future. Our colleagues across departments and across the country are united in our passion and our customer-first approach. Whether you want to join a growing company, be part of an agile workforce, or gain new skills—you’re in the right place.

What you’ll contribute:
The Director, Corporate Communications is a leader in Sallie Mae’s dynamic, fast-paced Communications department. The Director develops and executes communications strategies on a variety of consumer, corporate, and public affairs topics to earn positive media coverage for Sallie Mae, increase overall brand awareness, and promote the company’s various industry leading products and services. The Director regularly acts as a corporate spokesperson with media and external audiences and helps lead the development and execution of public affairs and consumer public relations strategies and tactics. In addition, the Director assists in drafting the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility report and major research studies and prepares executives for media-related opportunities. He/she also monitors related news coverage, develops relationships with media, and positively represents the company to external parties. The Director also works with our external PR agency and researches, vets, and pursues media opportunities to effectively position the company and support its business objectives.

What you’ll do:
Public Affairs


  • Assists in developing public policy related content including website copy, social media, digital ads, messages/talking points, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and internal communications (as needed).
  • Supports VP, Corporate Communications and SVP, Government Relations through drafting various communications to policymakers.
  • Engages with, and develops, strong relationships with internal business partners to identify key messages and public relations opportunities.
  • Develops industry-leading research reports and assists in drafting Corporate Social Responsibility report.
  • Coordinates approvals from subject matter experts, legal, and compliance.

Media Relations


  • Under supervision of VP Corporate Communications, represents the company with business, personal finance, education, consumer and trade journalists and bloggers.
  • Conducts media outreach on assigned saving, planning, and paying for college topics.
  • Addresses incoming inquiries from media and other external parties. Researches and develops response.
  • Monitors relevant media coverage and blog posts to identify new contacts and strengthens relationship with existing contacts.
  • Helps manage and oversee outside PR agency.   

Project Management, Planning and Crisis Management


  • Assess risks to the business and develop strategic outlook and risk mitigation recommendations.
  • Ensure implementation and oversight of, and adherence to, risk controls, procedures, and compliance programs.
  • Support and develop crisis-communication plans, content, and activities, including rapid response.
  • Helps maintain department policies and procedures.


Required Qualifications:What you need to succeed:

Being focused on our customer helps us to deliver a lasting impression and instill trust. Through collaboration and teamwork, we are able to communicate effectively across departments leading to better decision quality. We hold ourselves to the highest standards ensuring accountability in all we do to deliver on our mission and shared values.

A leader at Sallie Mae will need to be strategic with their teams to achieve our corporate goals. Their ability to drive our vision and purpose amongst their teams and helping them to develop to the next level of talent will be imperative. Being able to adapt to situations quickly and effectively will foster a positive proactive work environment and result in a leader being successful at Sallie Mae.

What you bring:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience
  • 7+ years of experience in a corporate communications/public relations position or public relations agency, ideally related to financial services; public affairs experience affairs preferred
  • Excellent writing, editing, communication, and media interview skills; extensive experience drafting news releases, and pitching media
  • Experience as an on the record spokesperson, preferably with both national and local media
  • Proven track record in developing relationships with media
  • Sound professional judgment with ability to identify risks and opportunities
  • Understanding of regulatory and legal environment, fair disclosure needs of a publicly traded company
  • Experience with news retrieval services, reporter databases, news release distribution, Associated Press style
  • Extensive experience in Windows operating systems with advanced knowledge of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat
  • Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously and under tight deadlines                                                                     
  • Ability to work under pressure, in fast-paced environment                                                                                                     
  • Focus on corporate reputation, image, and risk management                                                                                                 
  • Strategic planning experience                                                                                                                                                 
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with other team members and across departments and with senior-level executives and external parties.

• Accountability – Hold self and others accountable to meet commitments.
• Collaboration – Build partnerships and work collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.
• Communication – Develop and deliver multi-mode communications that convey a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.
• Customer focus – Build strong customer relationships and delivers customer-centric solutions.
• Decision quality – Make good and timely decisions that keep the organization moving forward.
• Instill trust – Gain the confidence and trust of others through honesty, integrity, and authenticity.
• Develop talent – Develop people to meet both their career goals and the organization’s goals.
• Situational adaptability – Adapt approach and demeanor in real time to match the shifting demands of different situations.
• Strategic mindset – See ahead to future possibilities and translate them into breakthrough strategies.
• Drive vision and purpose – Paint a compelling picture of the vision and strategy that motivates others to action.

Strategic / tactical / transaction:  40% Tactical / 60% Transactional.
Accountability:  Accountable for the completion of assigned processes or programs.
Judgement:  Acts autonomously on most decisions. Requires guidance on more complex judgements.
Influence & Impact:  Influences timelines, expectations, and proactively negotiates within department.
Leading & Managing:  Team manager. May also be an individual contributor. Develops staff on specific projects and control deployment of resources.


What You’ll Get at Sallie Mae:

  • Comprehensive Compensation and Healthcare Benefits (Medical, Dental, Vision plans)
  • Financial Well-being: 401(k) company match, employee stock purchase plan, and basic life insurance and short-term disability are provided to employees at no cost
  • Work/Life Balance: Paid time off, time off to volunteer, and tuition reimbursement. In addition, after 6 months of employment, primary caregivers receive 12 weeks of 100% fully paid time off and secondary caregivers are eligible for 4 weeks of 100% fully paid time off, for birth or adoption
  • Wellness: Fitness centers/gym subsidies, free Fitbits with step challenges, and wellness education
Learn more here

Job posted: 2021-12-21