Director, Global Communications

10 Nov, 2020


Director, Global Communications

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Seattle, WA

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that by creating an environment for our employees to personally and professionally thrive, we will have maximum impact toward our missions to achieve our vision.

To learn more about our vision and missions, please visit our website at

To learn more about career opportunities at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, please visit our Careers site at

Division Summary

In June 2020, the foundation hired a Chief Communications Officer and established a new Communications Division to oversee the foundation’s global communications strategy. The division brings together internal and external communications to advance the foundation’s mission of a more equitable world.

Group Summary

The Global Communications team is responsible for shaping internal and external use of foundation voice in order to protect the foundation’s reputation and advance its priority advocacy and program objectives and ensure that employees are meaningfully connected to the foundation’s mission and community. The team is responsible for comprehensive voice planning for foundation leadership and key spokespeople as well as driving engagement with media.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

We expect foundation leadership to demonstrate our leadership principles and management expectations. As a people leader, you are responsible for:

  • Creating a culture for impact by shaping an environment where your team thrives, and their unique perspectives and identities are valued

  • Strategy development, refinement and management to ensure your team goals align with overall foundation strategies

  • Nurturing people and building great teams by prioritizing collective success, team development, setting expectations and assessing performance

Position Summary

The Director, Global Communications, will lead the Global Communications team within the Communications Division. The director will serve as a foundation leader and will be responsible for teams driving the foundation’s voice and brand narrative, media relations, and employee engagement. The director will play a central role in synthesizing global priorities and driving leadership voice through coordination within the Communications Division, across the foundation, and with the foundation’s affiliates and key partners. The role is based in Seattle and will work collaboratively with colleagues across the foundation’s global offices, including a team of Regional Communications offices with dotted-line reporting into this role. The director will report to the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) and will be an integral part of the CCO’s leadership team.

Core Responsibilities

Duties include the following:

  • Lead a central team of communications officers and media and public relations managers and play an active role as a contributing member of the Communications Division leadership team;

  • Provide leadership to drive a comprehensive communications strategy that clearly defines the foundation’s voice and brand narrative and determines most effective approaches to drive progress on the foundation’s core priorities;

  • Lead all aspects of media and external relations and reputation management to advance the foundation’s communications objectives through proactive and reactive engagement with media, partners, and foundation colleagues;

  • Lead all aspects of employee communications such that employees can speak with a common voice, are engaged with the foundation’s work, and understand foundation priorities and operations;

  • Coordinate with Regional Communications teams to align on strategy and execution and enable those teams to provide mentorship, input and feedback on global communications strategies;

  • Collaborate closely with other members of the Communications Division leadership team, especially the Director, Content & Campaigns, other foundation teams, the co-chair’s private offices, and key foundation partners and affiliates;

  • This role will be responsible for hiring the talent needed to achieve our goals, ensuring successful onboarding, communication of performance expectations, creating goal alignment, integrated project and change management, giving and seeking feedback, providing mentorship, supporting leadership and employee development, and recognizing achievements and lessons learned.

Core Knowledge and Skills

The director will be a strategic, creative, inspiring communications leader. The ideal candidate will have significant leadership experience and experience leading high-performing teams in a fast-paced environment, leading innovative, global communications strategies and initiatives, and engaging colleagues and employees through strategic employee communications. Expertise in global media relations, leadership communications, and risk management is required.

The director will understand the strategic work of the foundation and the global communications and media landscape. They should have a strong sense of curiosity, excellent judgment, and ability to collaborate across a diverse set of partners. Global experience and/or proficiency in additional languages is a plus. Additional qualifications include:

  • Ability to effectively encourage and manage staff with proven experience of coaching and developing talent;

  • Significant experience with strategy development and execution: guiding implementation, delivery, and impact measurement of strategic objectives. Experience owning the execution of strategy, annual updates, and future strategy development;

  • Understanding of the global health and development policy and advocacy environment;

  • Preference for international experience and shown cultural competency;

  • Understanding of communications measurement and demonstrated success in delivering on communications objectives.

  • Experience in a dynamic environment with demonstrated ability to lead teams that are balancing multiple and competing demands and effectively establishing priorities, while providing continual attention to detail;

  • Experience with budget management and financial forecasting;

  • Demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills in positions requiring communication with a broad and diverse audience on a range of sophisticated and technical issues;

  • Demonstrate excellent leadership, intellectual quickness, creativity, curiosity, discipline and resourcefulness;

  • Passion for the foundation’s mission;

  • Ability to travel up to 20% of time (including international) as needed.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree and 15+ years of experience in roles of growing scope, responsibility and demonstrable results. You will bring a combination of experience in strategy development and implementation, business operations/performance management, as well as deep exposure to philanthropy and international development in low-resource settings. Advanced degree and global experience, ideally in Africa and/or Asia highly preferred.

  • Understanding of the global communications landscape, and/or experience working with communications teams or divisions preferred, but not required.

Important Note

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with Heyman Associates in the search for a stellar candidate to take up this exciting and challenging appointment. Should you wish to apply for this position, we kindly ask you to submit your CV directly online. Your application will be reviewed by Heyman Associates.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pride ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. We have four missions to:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.

Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking. Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-11-10