Senior Director of Strategic Communications

01 Feb, 2021


Senior Director of Strategic Communications

Austin Pets Alive!
Austin, TX

Austin Pets Alive! Is seeking a Senior Director of Strategic Communications to oversee the highest levels of national and international communications for American Pets Alive! and the Human Animal Support Services project. Today, the entire animal welfare sector stands at the cusp of a massive change to better help people and animals. APA!’s groundbreaking lifesaving history (making Austin the largest No Kill city in America) is now combined with an international effort to help animals and people where they live, to provide support and programs that keep families together, even in challenging times. With a network of hundreds of shelters and thousands of animal welfare professionals involved in our work, we are positioned to make a fundamental change to build a world that is kinder and better to people and animals who most need help. 


We are searching for a candidate who has demonstrated success as a communications director, vice president of communications, public affairs director, or a related position. The right candidate will be bold, inspired, organized, tireless, accomplished, and wildly passionate about the work of helping people help pets. They will be able to articulate the work in a creative way that people understand, get excited about, and inspire action.. In short, we need an individual who feels called to share their unique gifts and passion to help change the world alongside our incredible team. Experience working in animal welfare is NOT a requirement of this position.  




  • Build and execute media strategies that align with international, national and local initiatives that include industry-facing, public, and donor-facing content to meet strategic goals of unifying the industry voice, building an informed community voice for public policy change, developing an inclusive, diverse animal welfare field, leading with evidence and thought as well as demonstrating success in pilot communities.
  • Develop and implement an integrated, organization-wide strategic communication plan to broaden awareness of APA!, AmPA!, The Maddie’s Learning Academy, and HASS; and strengthen brand identity across key stakeholder audiences. 
  • Engage in and direct appropriate research, testing and evaluation of communication tools, strategies and tactics. 
  • Regularly survey the communications and narrative ecosystems to ensure APA!’s messages, narrative and communications remain relevant within the dynamic animal and human services landscape. 
  • Proactively build crisis strategies to ensure forward momentum of the cause.


Partnerships and Relationships

  • Identify and cultivate strategic communication partnerships within and outside of the animal welfare sector.
  • Nurture and grow our community of media, collaborators, brand loyalists, social media followers, funders, and national partners by fostering relationships, planning brand 
  • Develop strong relationships with local and national media to keep HASS/American/Austin Pets Alive! top of mind with the editorial community and to drive media coverage, experiences, and securing media coverage of Austin Pets Alive! and its affiliated brands.
  • Work closely with the philanthropy team to ensure all communications keep our donors in mind and are coordinated with messaging around donations, grants and sponsorships as we change and grow.
  • Build a narrative for the organization in collaboration with the APA! board and directors that centers on social equity and justice. 
  • Predict and communicate with leadership, when and where content is needed to instill confidence from the public, build and rally community support and educate decision-makers.



  • Understand and articulate the APA!, AmPA! and HASS mission, vision, goals, values, and elements, gaining working knowledge and ability to articulate effectively to the public.
  • Secure national media attention for HASS/AmPA! in industry-facing and mainstream media by engaging national media outlets, independent writers who can produce content, and existing AmPA!/HASS partners to advise and assist. 
  • Develop news materials including news releases, pitch announcements, and executive briefing materials 
  • Absorb, process, and communicate out all the working happenings of all Austin Pets Alive! Initiatives (APA!), including its local operations, its national outreach, and education through American Pets Alive! (AmPA!), and how these are related.
  • Create and coordinate the key messages of the organization, to ensure all channels and audiences receive appropriate content
  • Write content for collateral materials (including talking points, news releases, reports, and other content) supporting various APA! programs.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization with the media and public.
  • Oversee social media strategy for APA!, AmPA! and HASS.

State and Local (Related to Austin Pets Alive! And Texas Pets Alive!)

  • Align all communications with funding strategy, ensuring all communications support the need to engage and win the support of donors as APA! transforms into a national organization
  • Collaborate with Government Affairs and Policy team to develop legislative materials
  • Promote state and local leadership profiles in national and state-based publications
  • Position APA! leadership and staff as subject matter experts with media and promote the Austin model nationally


National (Related to American Pets Alive!, Human Animal Support Services and the Maddie’s Learning Academy)

  • Translate work of AmPA! instructors into public-facing marketing and communications materials rapidly, focusing on how what we offer, what they do is one-of-a-kind and invaluable – make AmPA! work nationally known through curated storytelling and showing impact. 
  • Manage the creation of HASS Marketing and Communications standards guide and provide training to Tier 1 shelters  and working groups on utilizing it. 


Management and Training

  • Recruit, hire, train, supervise, and manage a small team of  marketing and communications staff members, building a cohesive staff structure that best utilizes personnel towards achieving the goals in the strategic plan. 
  • Develop a media training platform for employees on media relations best practices.
  • Identify and train appropriate spokespeople for the organization. Expand and diversify the number of key spokespeople for the issues and work of the organization. 
  • Work with staff to develop short and long-term communications strategies, including developing and managing future ideas, identifying messaging opportunities, and building partnership opportunities. 



  • Attend and participate in all required training sessions and meetings
  • Maintain open and consistent communication with APA!!’s CEO and AmPA! Director, the HASS Pilot Implementation Director, HASS/AmPA! staff colleagues, and other APA! and AmPA! leadership staff members
  • Able to react to change productively and perform other related duties as assigned
  • Able to work evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed
  • Able to work in a high volume, fast-paced, high-stress environment


THE IDEAL CANDIDATE: has excellent verbal and written communication skills; has experience working  with diverse people and organizations and you have a strong commitment to social and racial justice; has excellent relationship-building skills with the ability to influence others to move towards a common vision or goal; has a proven track record of accomplishments in communications and leadership especially around pivoting with a quickly changing environment; has served as a spokesperson in previous roles; is creative, innovative, and aren’t afraid to try new ideas; can recommend and initiate projects with minimal direction; is able to work with other leaders, organizations and funders; is a natural leader and thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative environment; is an excellent multitasker and can prioritize to meet deadlines in a dynamic environment; is organized and your pay attention to detail; embodies APA!!’s Core Values of Innovation, Respect, Drive, Resourcefulness, and Inclusion; and is willing to and committed to working well with volunteers and staff in all roles



  • Work will be performed both remotely and in-person in Austin, Texas. The candidate will primarily work remotely but will need to be located in the Austin area. 



  • Primarily Remote, but must be located in or near Austin, Texas
  • Some may travel may be required


COMPENSATION & BENEFITS: Salary is competitive with nonprofit and public sector Vice President Communications and Public Relations/Communications Director positions and is commensurate with experience.  All employees are eligible for a discounted gym membership and access to an Employee Assistance Program. Full-time employees are eligible for insurance benefits including medical, dental, vision, voluntary short-term life insurance, and voluntary short-term disability, as well as Paid Time Off.

To apply, please visit the career page of our website to apply:

Job posted: 2021-02-01