Director Public Affairs, Rapid Diagnostics

01 Mar, 2021


Director Public Affairs, Rapid Diagnostics

Abbott Laboratories
Lake Forest, IL

Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals, and branded generic medicines. Our 109,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

Our location in Abbott Park, IL currently has an opportunity for a Director Public Affairs, Global Diagnostics. The Director, Public Affairs, Rapid Diagnostics plays a pivotal role in identifying opportunities, developing strategy and managing programs to protect and enhance Abbott’s reputation generally and in the rapid diagnostics division, specifically.

The Director is responsible for identifying storytelling opportunities, developing compelling content, and engaging media to help convey those stories amongst multiple external and internal stakeholders. Candidates must have a proven ability to develop compelling storylines, frequently from highly scientific topics, that align to traditional, digital and social channels and a track record of success in earned media placements.

The Director must be able to demonstrate strategic thinking and the ability to provide thoughtful counsel to a broad range of internal and external contacts across all levels of management.

The Director will be expected to work autonomously where appropriate and keep the department director apprised of progress.

The Director is responsible for the supervision of public relations firms and management of internal client relationships to help execute communications programming.

Responsibilities include serving as a Company spokesperson on diagnostics business activities, products, issues and performance.

The position will report to the Director, Public Affairs for Abbott’s rapid diagnostics business.


  • Develop strategic communications and positioning for diagnostics products (roughly 80% split on international programming / 20% US).
  • Support the Infectious Disease – Emerging Markets business unit and Cardiometabolic & Informatics business unit within the rapid diagnostics division.
  • Cultivate strong relationships with media in both the trade (health and diagnostics) arena and consumer media (business, health) – leading to coverage in top-tier business, financial and consumer media as well as trade journals. Maintain relationships with key contacts through thoughtful, strategic engagement.
  • Work extensively with US and international business, including international affiliates, to enhance the visibility of our products, digital technologies and services amongst identified target audiences, with approved key messages.
  • Bring to the table an understanding of today’s communications environment amongst earned, owned, social and paid media and how to align and maximize opportunities provided by these channels for Abbott’s diagnostics products.
  • Drive good communications practice globally. Provide counsel and support to senior leaders in markets regarding how to utilize and execute strategic communications to help achieve their business goals.
  • Oversee development and approval of messages, press materials, social posts and other communications tools.
  • Act as a primary spokesperson for assigned topics – by business or therapeutic area, and in other situations as required. Interact with journalists to help ensure favorable positioning within stories.
  • PR agency management – independently and in coordination with colleagues.
  • Interface with various division and corporate internal stakeholders to achieve goals, including government affairs, investor relations, legal, finance, marketing, regulatory, medical, clinical and senior management.
  • Coach divisional spokespeople and third-party spokespeople on delivery of messages.
  • Work to anticipate, identify, plan and mitigate issues which could represent a business risk. Collaborate across functions to develop coordinated responses, mitigation plans as well as counsel management on reputation/business impact. Work to actively influence the business decision making process. As issues arise, develop issues management plans, statements/ other communication documents and oversee execution of plans.
  • Responsible for compliance with applicable Corporate and Divisional Policies and procedures.
  • Finance/Administrative: Ensure proper adherence to all financial and administrative policies. Ensure programs fall within budget parameters and all paperwork is completed in appropriate manner (invoice logging, purchase orders, statements of work, etc.).



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, Public Relations, Communications, Business, Marketing or related field is required.
  • More than 12 years of experience in media relations, with at least 6 years in a high-level communications environment within a corporate environment or public relations agency preferred.


  • Strong contacts and working relationships with a variety of top tier media with a deep understanding of how to use external communications to enhance reputation.
  • Able to achieve results while dealing with ambiguity and a rapid pace of change.
  • Demonstrated ability to use communications to drive business results.
  • Excellent writer and communicator who can organize, summarize, clarify and communicate ideas simply, succinctly and accurately.
  • Experience with science storytelling and successfully communicating complex scientific topics in understandable language.
  • Experience in developing and implementing media relations plans and proven ability in placing media stories and managing relationships with national/international contacts
  • Experienced user and creator of social media to drive awareness and engagement
  • Experience with issues and policy communications preferred.


At Abbott, you can have a good job that can grow into a great career. We offer:

  • TRAINING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT, with onboarding programs for new employees and tuition assistance
  • FINANCIAL SECURITY through competitive compensation, incentives and retirement plans
  • HEALTH CARE AND WELL-BEING PROGRAMS including medical, dental, vision, wellness and occupational health programs
  • 401(K) retirement savings with a generous company match
  • THE STABILITY OF A COMPANY with a record of strong financial performance and history of being actively involved in local communities


Follow your career aspirations to Abbott for diverse opportunities with a company that provides the growth and strength to build your future. Abbott is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to employee diversity.

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Job posted: 2021-03-01