Director of Internal Communications

07 Oct, 2020


Director of Internal Communications

Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Chevy Chase, MD

HHMI is focused on supporting and moving science forward in a variety of different ways ranging from conducting basic biomedical research, empowering educators, inspiring students, developing the next generation of scientists – even stretching into film and media production.  Our Headquarters is in Chevy Chase, MD and is home to over 300 employees with expertise in communications, digital production, biomedical sciences, and everything in between.  The work housed here supports and augments the groundbreaking research conducted in HHMI labs across the nation.  As HHMI scientists continue to push boundaries in laboratories and classrooms, you can be sure that your contributions while working here are making a difference.


HHMI is seeking an experienced Director of Internal Communications to lead a lean function (currently three additional employees) that’s in high demand. We are seeking a proven and inclusive internal communications leader who can connect with and balance stakeholders, set priorities, and effective execution in a frequently changing and highly matrixed nonprofit environment.

The Director is responsible for: setting strategy based on organizational priorities and employee needs; managing information flow to/from employees and helping to shape the organizational conversation; overseeing Internal Communications team members and their work output; and personally serving as an internal consultant to leaders and teams at varying levels within the organization. This role reports to the Chief of Communications.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Set Strategy. Serve as a connector across HHMI – be curious and learn about the entire organization, including programs and operations. Continuously scan our internal and external environments to anticipate what employees need to know and how to best inform and engage them. Set and communicate priorities. Be flexible and adaptable, while focusing limited staff capacity on high-value activity.

  • Organize and Plan Work. Develop an internal communications framework that establishes well-designed structures and processes to deliver different types of information (strategic priorites, change initiatives, employee engagement, etc) across dedicated channels. Proactively collaborate with colleagues in other departments to increase the organizational conversation. Work to understand how communications are landing with employees and what they need.

  • Direct and Manage the Internal Communications Team. Delegate effectively, listen and learn, and ensure diverse team members have an equal opportunity to thrive by playing to their strengths, receiving actionable feedback, and growing in ways that advance their own goals, as well as HHMI’s.

  • Act as an Internal Consultant. Build productive relationships across the organization, establishing yourself as a trusted and approachable resource. Work to inform, support, and enable frequent communicators at different levels, from the President’s Office to frontline managers. Stay abreast of internal communications practices and extend that knowledge to others, enabling leaders to learn what’s necessary to communicate effectively. Diplomatically guide partners to the “just right” level of communication.

  • Practice Effective Communication. Be a hands-on communicator – outlining, writing, reviewing, publicly speaking, and performing other technical tasks as needed.  Have an eye for tone, voice, and detail. Regularly “zoom out” to big picture needs and strategy and also “zoom in” to tactical levels of detail necessary for execution.


  • Manages teams, including external consultants.

  • Manages the Internal Communications budget.



  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism, or other related fields


  • 10+ years of communications experience preferably focused within internal or employee communications, and including organizational communication planning, execution, and evaluation.

  • Demonstrated experience building and leading internal communications and working collaboratively with a broad range of internal partners in an organization.

Skills and Abilities

  • Proven ability to take ownership of work – figuring out what needs to happen to make work successful, proposing steps, spotting potential problems, proposing solutions, and being accountable for execution.

  • The technical leadership, systems thinking, and consultative skill to work “wide” across the Institute, building and overseeing enterprise communications strategy, including the development of methods, tools, and capability to elevate the organization’s approach to communicating.

  • Strong interpersonal and coordination skills to manage in a highly matrixed environment (e.g., listening, negotiating, facilitating, managing conflict, flexibility).

  • The skill to plan, align, and direct a variety of communications work simultaneously, with clear strategic intent, process, and feedback designed to continuously assess outcomes and develop talent on the Communications team.

  • The leadership presence, maturity, and credibility to counsel leaders at all levels, meaningfully engage with peers, and lead through indirect influence.

  • Highly energized, motivated, problem-solving, and committed to doing excellent work.

  • Ability to work both carefully and quickly, with precision and attention to detail.

Physical Requirements

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet).

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Please Note:

This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however.  Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is an independent, ever-evolving philanthropy that supports basic biomedical scientists and educators with the potential for transformative impact. We make long-term investments in people, not just projects, because we believe in the power of individuals to make breakthroughs over time.


At HHMI, you are not just an employee – you are a part of a creative and talented team with colleagues in biomedical research, investment management, information technology, law, among many other areas of expertise.

We encourage collaborative and results-driven working styles and offer an adaptable environment where employees can do their best work.

Find more information about us at

A Note for Job Seekers

We are thrilled by your interest in our organization. Please be aware that HHMI’s recruitment team will never contact you from an email that does not end in,, or and we will never ask you to participate in a Google Hangouts activity.

Your best option for consideration in our career opportunities is to apply directly via our HHMI Careers site. There, you will learn more about HHMI and can find information about our available roles.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-10-07