External Affairs Manager (98835)

09 Jul, 2020


External Affairs Manager (98835)

American Water
St. Louis, MO

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Camden, NJ, the company employs over 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 46 states.  To learn more about American Water and additional career opportunities, visit www.amwater.com.



Position Location

The ideal candidate will be located within the St. Louis region.

Primary Role

The primary role of this position is to provide senior-level communications counsel to the state president and the state senior management team and to develop, coordinate, implement and manage all external communications activities to support the success of the state business plan and operating objectives. The primary areas of responsibility include media relations, public relations, community relations, corporate social responsibility, support to business development and government relations activities, and meeting the information needs of customers. This professional is poised to respond rapidly and tactically to unanticipated events and critical issues such as main breaks and other critical incidents, and is equally focused on providing proactive and strategic communications counsel and advise to the state senior management team. This role is focused on anticipating and managing local communications issues and effectively positioning the company with key opinion leaders and key constituencies. The External Affairs Manager is the critical communications resource maximizing the company’s communications effectiveness, flexibility and responsiveness within the communities we serve. This professional has a comprehensive depth of communications knowledge and experience with demonstrated expertise in implementing integrated, strategic communications programs. While not directly responsible for customer communications or internal communication, the External Affairs Manager is an active and vital component of an integrated communications team operating through a matrix management model that is responsible for functional excellence reaching all audiences with a full array of internal and external communications messages, tactics and activities. This role is responsible for identifying, developing, nurturing and sustaining strong and enduring relationships with the media not only  during unanticipated events but also to proactively leverage media coverage. This function ensures that American Water is aligned with key community groups and organizations and is well regarded and respected as a “good corporate citizen”. Leads and directs all communications activities to reflect American Water’s commitment to its customers and communities. Working closely with the State President and the state senior management team, the manager ensures that the company is effectively aligned and positioned to develop and sustain key relationships with community leaders, government and regulatory authorities, as well as elected and appointed officials. The External Affairs Manager will report to the Director of Government and External Affairs and indirectly to the State President and to the Director of External Affairs at corporate.

Key Accountabilities
  • Directly supports the strategic communications needs of a state and the state senior management team. Provides senior-level communications counsel and ensures the effective implementation of external affairs and related communications activities. Assists in strategy development and the proactive development of communications materials/tactics that produce cost, time and resource efficiencies across the business as well as ensures consistent messaging for all audiences. Ensures wise budget management.
  • Works directly and closely with the state senior management team to develop and sustain key relationships – with community leaders, the media, elected/appointed officials, regulators and their staff members, and to manage and advance important communications objectives to these target constituencies. Employs a keen awareness and knowledge of community resources and contacts; understands the attitudes and concerns of the community. Implements communications strategies, tactics and activities to ensure ongoing, consistent and targeted communications before, during and after rate case filings.
  • Develops, manages and directs comprehensive strategic communications plans and supporting materials for public communications including media relations, conference participation, community relations/events, business development opportuntiies, government relations, and sponsorships/memberships, and executes in a proactive manner. Interacts and provides communications counsel on communications-related issues, challenges and opportunities.
  • Develops effective crisis plans, crisis communications and serves as a spokesperson in a crisis situation. Is highly effective when developing messages for American Water during a crisis.
  • Effectively manages internal and external resources, such as public relations agencies and other communications consultants, and adheres to all budget management requirements.
  • Monitors internal/external business developments, as well as identifies connections between business activities and industry trends, that may pose a threat or benefit to the company’s reputation. Works closely with the Customer Communications Manager, the Internal Communications Manager and the Customer Service Center Communications Manager to ensure that materials are anticipated, planned for and developed on a timely basis to meet the needs of state operations. Provides communications support to business development activities, including strategic messaging guidance and effective communications tactics to reach external audiences.
  • Effectively establishes and maintains relationships with key media outlets and educates the media on issues of interest to American Water.
  • Develops, executes and measures the effectiveness of media relations strategies in support of the state’s capital investment program.
  • Predicts and anticipates the needs of the news media/reporters and is cognizant of meeting these needs. Plans and manages large press and community events. Effectively utilizes social media to support the company’s goals and communications objectives.
  • Develops talking points and corresponding media materials, invitations to the media, media pitching and coaches the State President and the state senior management team on how to convey key messages effectively when dealing with the media (during an interview or when attending an editorial board meeting) or when speaking before community groups.
Key Accountabilities (cont.)
  • Works collaboratively to develop strategic communications plans and time communications tactics in support of the company’s Corporate Responsibilities (CR) initiatives. Works with state and corporate legal teams to ensure consistent and appropriate language is in all materials.
  • Works closely, collaboratively and seamlessly with peer communications professionals supporting the state including Customer Communications Manager, the Internal Communications Manager, the Director of Government and External Affairs, the Customer Service Center Communications Manager and the entire Corporate Communications team in corporate to ensure communication integration and maximum effectiveness.
  • Regularly communicates and discusses best practices with peer communications positions.
  • Works in a seamless and integrated manner to ensure the effective strategic alignment and coordination of all communications, both internal and external, within each state and works closely with the state government relations lead to provide communications counsel, support and all necessary materials
  • Interfaces with local elected officials and develops and sustains strong working relationships with these targets.
  • Has a thorough knowledge of strategic communications. Extensive experience in developing, implementing and measuring all related tactics and activities in support of effective integrated communications strategies.
  • Displays a thorough knowledge and understanding of the media and the ability to assess a reporter’s focus/beat. Is highly adept at developing and placing media materials including press releases, letters to the editor, and op-eds. Confident and experienced in arranging and conducting editorial boards. Experiences and effective in utilizing social media to reach and influence external audiences.
  • Possesses strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Is knowledgeable of community-based organizations, the political background and agendas of these groups, and other grassroots initiatives. Understands local and state political issues and is knowledgeable about the key players.
  • Understands Reg FD disclosure requirements pertaining to publicly-traded companies and understands the difference between material and nonmaterial information.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks and produce quality materials while achieving results and meeting deadlines.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and re-prioritize quickly. Ability to multi-task and meet strict deadlines.
  • Has excellent and efficient working knowledge of PowerPoint, Word, Excel and other programs used to create and organize content.
  • Is familiar with project management work and has experience managing vendors and vendor contracts.
  • Has experience planning and executing community outreach events.
  • Seven to ten years of experience in public relations, media relations, media reporting, marketing and community relations in a fast-paced corporate and/or agency environment
  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, public relations, English, advertising or related field preferred, or demonstrated experienced commensurate with the requirements of the position.
Travel Requirements

20% within the state and in the United States

Prioritizes & Role Models Safety
Develops Talent
Plans, Aligns, & Directs
Drives Engagement
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Job posted: 2020-07-09