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Director, Internal Communications and Community Relations
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Reporting to the Vice President for College Relations and Communications, the Director, Internal Communications and Community Relations will serve as an advisor to offices across the college and the liaison between Smith and the City of Northampton, and will oversee crisis communications. In this role, they will protect and strengthen the reputation of the college and its relationships. The ideal candidate will be an accomplished writer and a strategic thinker. Equal parts thinker and doer, they will identify opportunities to further the aims of the college, develop plans to address those opportunities, and work collaboratively with others to achieve them.
Internal Communications: (40%)
- Serve as advisor to college departments (e.g., Residential Life, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Human Resources) that create messages for the Smith community. Review and edit messages to ensure consistency with college messaging and with an eye towards potential reputational impact. Draft messages as needed.
- Represent College Relations on Smith’s COVID Incident Response Team (CIRT). Write and send COVID-related messages to the Smith community. Provide information and input to the Digital Strategy team so that COVID-related policies and information are accurately represented on Smith’s site.
- Serve on college committees as appointed (e.g., Campus School, Campus Safety Advisory Group)
- Support other Smith-focused initiatives (e.g., United Way campaign) as assigned.
Community Relations: (40%)
- Serve as primary relationship manager with the Office of the Mayor of Northampton
- Create strategy for community giving: evaluate, recommend, and manage sponsorships that are mutually beneficial, strengthening relationships with the city while advancing Smith’s goals.
- Identify opportunities for strengthening community relationships; create and effectively implement plans to build on such opportunities.
- Manage annual community breakfast for Smith leadership and Northampton business and government leaders; write remarks for President; develop invitation list; work with Mayor to create agenda; coordinate with Events Management to produce event.
- Serve as primary communications contact for the Carbon Neutral/Geothermal Project, and any other major projects that affect the city.
Crisis Communications and Reputation Management: (15%)
- First point of contact for urgent campus communications
- Coordinate with Strategic Communications to manage media response
- Prepare talking points and draft communications as needed
- Act as key member of ad hoc crisis communications teams, providing communications advice to minimize reputational damage
- Develop and maintain crisis playbook
- In conjunction with the Social Media Manager, monitor engagement with Smith’s Social Media accounts and student message boards to anticipate potential issues of concern
- Engage with crisis communications consultant as needed
- Serve as College Spokesperson
Government Affairs: (5%)
- Monitor federal, state, and local issues that affect higher education and Smith; make recommendations for action, as appropriate.
- Evaluate and respond to requests by NAICU to support federal legislation.
Direct Reports: 0
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS (KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, CERTIFICATIONS, LICENSES):
- Bachelor’s degree with 5 – 7 years’ experience in community relations, public affairs, or similar role
- Superior writing, editing and proofreading skills
- Superior verbal communication skills.
- Proactive; calm under pressure
- Proven ability to develop and manage relationships with a broad range of stakeholders
- Strong understanding of social media and its role in building and harming institutional relationships.
- Experience beyond higher education a plus
- Excellent attention to detail
- Ability to work independently and take feedback well
- Demonstrated commitment to supporting a diverse workforce, and willingness to participate in the College’s efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment
- Highly collaborative team player; the ability to build effective relationships across campus and with members of the Northampton community
- Proven ability to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.
- Proven ability to handle confidential information with integrity and discretion, exercising sound judgment
- Demonstrated ability to initiate and manage multiple tasks under competing deadlines and shifting priorities
- Ability to achieve high performance goals and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment
- Proficient with Zoom, Google Workspace and Microsoft Office, including the ability to create visual presentations and slides using powerpoint or other platforms
This position is eligible for Smith’s Remote/Hybrid work program. Given the nature of the position, the schedule would be 70% in office/30% remote.
For the care and safety of our community, Smith College requires that all employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment and as such, the incumbent will be required to be immunized against COVID-19 on or before their first day of employment. Proof of vaccination status will be required. Individuals may seek medical or religious exemption with HR, but must do so prior to their arrival.
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About Smith College
Located in Northampton, MA, Smith College is one of the largest women’s colleges in the country and is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research across the liberal arts. A faculty of outstanding scholars interact with students in small classes, as advisors, and through student-faculty research projects. The College is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students cross-enroll and faculty cross-teach across the Five Colleges.
Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 151B, it is the policy of Smith College to provide reasonable accommodation when requested by a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. The policy regarding requests for reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment, including the application process. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact our recruiting team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diversity and a culture of inclusion among students, staff, faculty, and administration are crucial to the mission and values of Smith College. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, color, religions, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status in the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by all applicable laws and regulations. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Job posted: 2022-08-25