Senior Director, Communications

22 Jul, 2020


Senior Director, Communications

REFORM Alliance
New York, NY

Organization Overview


The mission of the REFORM Alliance is to dramatically reduce the number of people who are unjustly under the control of the criminal justice system – starting with probation and parole. To win, we are leveraging our considerable resources to change laws and policies while changing hearts and minds.


REFORM’s founding partners include award-winning recording artist Meek Mill; Philadelphia 76ers co-owner and Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin; entrepreneur and business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter; Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft; Brooklyn Nets co-owner and philanthropic investor Clara Wu Tsai; Third Point LLC CEO and founder Daniel S. Loeb; Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael E. Novogratz; Vista Equity Partners founder, chairman, and CEO Robert F. Smith. CNN host and activist Van Jones is the CEO.


The Senior Director, Communications will lead all REFORM Alliance communications effort with an aim to get criminal justice reform and REFORM into the bloodstream of American culture and media, educate Americans about the issue, capture hearts and minds, and support our efforts to get more Americans to take care and take action. Much progress is being made in criminal justice reform, but the efforts and its unique characteristics have not caught on amongst the mainstream media yet. This is a unique opportunity to add significant momentum to the movement with REFORM and its leadership playing an important role in elevating the issue.


The Senior Director will manage a team of smart and ambitious professionals along with our media agency partners that will prioritize national comms efforts alongside a savvy state and local press effort to support and advance our legislative efforts in states where REFORM aims to pass a bill. The team will also make sure that senior staff, board, influencers, and other representatives of REFORM are prepared for speaking and media opportunities when presented.


The core objectives of the communications team will be to develop deep relationships with a diverse network of media and press outlets, execute a world-class and culture shifting digital strategy and work to change the narrative around criminal justice reform. Additionally, the communications team will design an internal communications strategy to ensure the team is updated on news and current events related to the criminal justice reform ecosystem, REFORM, board members, donors, and other key stakeholders. The team will also draft and keep updated a set of collateral that includes core messages and talking points for everyone in the organization to use as a resource. The Senior Director and the communications team should add significant value to our vision for REFORM to be a learning organization for our staff.



The Senior Director will have a high-profile role within REFORM and will help evangelize a culture that thrives on effective communications and prioritizes the dissemination of press and media that affects the organization, the criminal justice reform landscape, and our mission. He/She will have opportunities to represent REFORM externally as a spokesperson with the press and media and, when relevant, will represent REFORM amongst partners, influencers, donors, and board members.


Specifically, in the first 6-12 months, the Senior Director’s role and responsibilities will focus on:


  • Develop a national communications strategy with an emphasis on getting attention to the progress and opportunities associated with criminal justice reform;
  • Contribute to the social and digital strategy on how and when REFORM should highlight and amplify press related to the mission and organization;
  • Develop an earned media strategy for REFORM’s signature campaign in 2020;
  • In collaboration with the partnerships team, develop a concept for a high-level thought leadership convening that should/may include a national media partner;
  • Assess REFORM’s current agency partnership(s) and determine how best to proceed with an agency relationship(s);
  • Manage and provide guidance to the legislative communications director as she/he develops the state and local media/press strategy to support in-state legislative efforts;
  • Be a part of the team that conceptualizes and builds out REFORM’s website;
  • Design an internal communications plan that keeps all staff up-to-date on relevant media/press associated with the ecosystem and organization;
  • Lead an internal task force to develop REFORM’s communications plan for responding to
  • incoming emails and requests from the public;
  • Develop core messages and talking points that are updated on a rolling basis as needed;
  • Work with relevant national partners on partnership announcements and other opportunities to align publicly;
  • Hire relevant staff to support the overall function.


Direct Reports:

  1. Director of Communications (Legislative) and related agencies
  2. Director of Digital and related social media and community team


Skills and Experience:

The SCD will have at least 10 years of communications experience, preferably in an “in-house” leadership role within a complex nonprofit, political or corporate entity, and covering areas such as press, media relations, website content, newsletters, and donor communications. The ability to take knowledge and transform it into exciting and useful messages and disseminate it to the right audiences through the best distribution channels is critical. The following are also essential:


  • Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Public Relations or related communications field;
  • 10+ years of experience as a respected communications professional and leader within an organization, company, or agency;
  • An established network of media/press relationships;
  • Training as a print or broadcast journalist and has a “nose” for the story.
  • Training in how to tell a story using words, images, or audio, and an understanding of the content and distribution environment;
  • The ability to lead and inspire teams of press/media professionals to achieve REFORM’s objectives;
  • Skill at pitching one-off opportunities and long-lead opportunities;
  • The ability to think like an educator, intuitively understanding what the audience needs to know and how they want to consume media;
  • A passion for innovation and leveraging new tools to achieve our objectives;
  • Clear articulation of the business goal behind the communications plan;
  • Leadership skills required to define and manage a set of goals involving diverse set of stakeholders;
  • Project management skills to manage editorial schedules and deadlines within ongoing opportunities;
  • Familiarity with principles of social impact campaigning and advocacy;
  • Incredible relationship building and people skills;
  • A willingness to embrace change and to adapt strategies on the fly;
  • Great powers of persuasion and presentation;
  • Multilingual abilities a major plus;
  • Audience development experience a plus.


REFORM is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified applicants regardless of race, sex, gender identity, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and strive for a workforce that reflects the population that we serve.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-07-22