Morgridge Communicator in Residence
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations to build family economic prosperity and well-being. Ascend embraces a two-generation approach – focusing on children and the adults in their lives together – and is committed to centering gender and racial equity in our work. We believe that early childhood learning and care postsecondary education/employment pathways for parents, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being are the core elements that enable families to achieve their full potential. As a leading model of social innovation, Ascend has been on the forefront of advancing policies, systems, practice, and community solutions. We have built an ecosystem of diverse leaders and multi-sector organizations through a national fellowship program, an action and learning network, and the Family Prosperity Innovation Community. Ascend engages the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of families with low incomes to inform program design and policy development.
The Ascend Fellowship is our signature leadership program focused on leaders with bold ideas who are positioned to take a quantum leap and move the needle on economic and social mobility pathways for children and their families. Fellows bring entrepreneurial drive, intellectual depth and curiosity, commitment to justice, and a mindset of generosity and equity. All Fellows commit to an action plan that will create field or national level change and/or innovation. Selection is highly competitive, and expectations for change are high.
The Position: Morgridge Communicator-in-Residence: Chief Storyteller and Amplifier of Organizational Impact and Leadership
Ascend has an abundance of compelling content: stories, solutions, and proof points of problem-solving, success, and innovation. We are seeking a Communicator-in-Residence (MCIR) who will significantly increase our capacity to capture, package, and share the breakthroughs and results achieved by our Fellows and partners and the policy and community wins they deliver. The person will strategize with Ascend’s executive director to find ways to amplify her vision and voice, making Ascend a go-to resource for leaders from the nonprofit, business, and government sectors who want to advance family prosperity. Working closely with Ascend’s Fellowship and senior leadership team, the MCIR will adapt content to reach more audiences and build momentum behind the solutions we are seeding and scaling. The MCIR will also help ensure Ascend is well prepared to mark our 10 years, including documenting our journey, the growth of the two-generation field, our evolving point of view about leadership development, and the impact our work has had to improve life for children and families.
Candidates must have proven ability to break through the noise, strong instincts, and the ability to respond rapidly and catch the moment with the right angle. The MCIR must be ready to use a variety of media tools and channels creatively and strategically. The position requires someone who leads from a social justice perspective and understands the role of communications in policy, system, and mindset change.
They will be curious, ask probing questions that get to the heart of the matter, be solutions-focused, and value the experience and resilience of families. This position is funded by the Morgridge Family Foundation and is a one-year, results-oriented position with the possibility of renewal.
The Communicator-in-Residence will join a high-performing team of 16 at Ascend at the Aspen Institute. The MCIR will engage with and build strategic partnerships with select senior communications staff of funding partners as well as work closely with Ascend’s communications team and consultants as needed. The MCIR will draw on the intellectual and convening resources and multi-media platform of the Aspen Institute to expand the conversation around solutions for families with low incomes and advance practical new ideas and systemic shifts to serve children and their families more effectively.
Essential duties and responsibilities are as follows. Other responsibilities may be added, as necessary.
Document, create stories, amplify and accelerate the impact, innovation and influence of Ascend
Working closely with the Executive Director/VP, Associate Director for Leadership and Design, and Communications Strategist and Manager
• Amplify vision and voice of Executive Director in speeches, publications, and media;
• Work with Executive Director and leadership team to document Ascend ten-year impact and point of view on leadership development;
• Increase visibility of Ascend Fellowship and individual Fellows;
• Develop narrative and storytelling capacity with effective engagement of Fellows and additional partners, including Network, policy, and funding partners;
• Identify, craft, and disseminate written and multimedia products to highlight the impact of Ascend Fellows and other leaders and advance practice and policy solutions for children and families with low incomes;
• Develop a strong narrative strategy that showcases Ascend’s investments in leadership and the results achieved for children and families;
• Help frame and disseminate important field resources to advance thought leadership and innovation in the field;
• Develop influential media and communication outlet relationships and partnerships;
• Work closely with all members of the Ascend team to gather material and identify opportunities to highlight Ascend Fellows and other bodies of work as appropriate;
• Develop and edit materials, including for Ascend convenings and publications;
• Contribute to high-quality website and social media content on relevant issues as needed; and,
• Develop talking points, briefing materials, and draft op-eds for Vice President/Executive Director.
Learning and Knowledge Management
• Contribute to team-wide learning and knowledge management about ways to successfully communicate to amplify the work and build momentum;
• Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of Ascend’s communications work.
Knowledge, Education, and Experience:
• Exceptional communications competency, creativity, and continued growth and effectiveness;
• Minimum of 7-10 years of journalism, digital media, film, and/or other related narrative or strategic communications experience with a track record of accomplishment and concrete “wins”;
• Communications savvy: track record in high-impact, strategic communications and narrative development, including strong writing and editing skills and proven ability to engage audiences from public, private, and nonprofit sectors;
• Digital and multi-media experience is a given;
• Thrives in big picture possibility and strategy and can hold the details needed for high-quality execution;
• Proven ability to engage, inspire, and influence diverse leaders and communities of color and transcend divisive fault lines;
• Proven project planning and high-quality execution skills;
• Entrepreneurial acumen and drive, ability to see and respond to opportunities to strengthen and/or course correct to increase impact;
• Conscientious colleague who can be counted on to follow-through, close the loop, and deliver high quality work at speed;
• Excellent computer skills and presentation talent, including Microsoft Office Suite;
• Thrive in high performing, intellectually rich environment and as part of a collaborative team;
• Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
• Willingness and ability to travel.
Visit our career page at Work at the Aspen Institute | The Aspen Institute and follow the instructions for uploading your cover letter, communication sample and resume. All interested applicants must submit all three: cover letter, sample and resume. Cover letter should highlight applicant’s qualifications and share why this exceptional opportunity is a strong fit. The communications sample is an opportunity to show versus tell about a candidate’s work. The sample can be a relevant article, case study, interview, video, or surprise us.
Applications without resume, cover letter, and sample of work will not be considered.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is committed to having a workforce that reflects diversity at all levels of the program team. We recognize the importance of not viewing individuals based on a single identity, and we thrive on being equitable in our recruitment process as well as in our efforts to be inclusive of all employees. We encourage all applicants regardless of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or other social identity.
The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.
Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.
Job posted: 2020-05-20