The Aspen Institute

Closing Date: December 31, 2022

Open Until Filled

Senior Communications Manager

Position Description:

Department:  EDUCATION
Location:  Washington, DC
Salary:  $130,000 – $140,000 per year

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The Aspen Institute

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.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program (Aspen Education) improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for students of color and students from low-income families. Aspen Education supports leaders at all levels, from networks of urban superintendents and their teams, to state chiefs and their cabinets, to elected officials and their staffers.

About the Role:

The Senior Communications Manager (SCM) will serve as the Education & Society Program’s chief communications strategist, leading efforts to advance the program’s priorities, develop Aspen’s external profile, and frame public discourse. They will have the opportunity to refine the overall strategy and influence communication priorities immediately. The Senior Communications Manager will report to the Executive Director and join a high-performing, mission-driven team.

This SCM will be responsible for speaking directly and respectfully about the work we’re taking on, including the role of schools in advancing a rich vision of success within public education and the essential role of public schools in increasing racial and economic justice. Our communication strategy must honor the Aspen Institute’s commitment to equity, while crafting messages and stewarding our brand in ways that invite leaders and stakeholders to see common interests across lines of difference. We are looking for candidates who are excited to craft and lead this communication work and have experience communicating directly about education, opportunity, and racial and economic justice.

Essential responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Strategic Communications and Brand

  • Develop and implement a strategic communications plan that increases the visibility of Aspen Education’s work, builds our brand reputation, and advances our strategic priorities and goals.
  • Identify key audiences and strategize about reaching them for dissemination and influence (e.g., educators, policymakers, advocates, journalists and foundation leaders).
  • Provide feedback and guidance to the leadership team to frame and discuss complex and sensitive issues in education.
  • Build relationships and engage with media, partners, and the field to amplify Aspen Education & Society Program’s content.
  • Cultivate, retain and manage consultants to augment communications capacity of Aspen team.
  • Coordinate with the Institute’s communications team to leverage the Institute’s platforms and partnerships to further promote Aspen Education’s work.
  • Liaise with communications staff at partner organizations to support alignment, identify opportunities for collaboration and cohesion, and implement strategic partnerships.
  • Build internal capacity, including coaching and supporting Aspen staff, to produce disciplined, strategic, coherent, and intentional external messaging aligned to Aspen Education’s brand.

Content, Collateral, and Editorial Strategy

  • Create, frame, and inform blogs, OpEds, reports, social media content to advance our mission, and advise on strategies for dissemination to key audiences (policymakers, practitioners and philanthropy), and partners.
  • Develop and execute ideas for elevating the voices and stories of leaders that Aspen Education & Society Program convenes, including arranging ghost-writing and/or pitching stories to media outlets.
  • Monitor media coverage of local, state, and national education issues, policies, trends to inform program’s content development and outreach strategies.
  • Create and manage an editorial calendar and other mechanisms that help strengthen coherence across multiple priorities and activities.
  • Oversee publication process – from identifying opportunities to create publications, developing outlines, drafting content, managing design process, and promotion; including managing staff, vendors and consultants.
  • Support team with talking points, speeches and presentations.

Digital and Social Media

  • Oversee program’s digital presence on social media and measurably grow program audiences.
  • Develop, manage and curate website content.
  • Produce and publish internal and external newsletters and other regular email communications.
  • Provide social media guidance and support to members of the team.

About You:

  • Have 6+ years of strategy-related communications experience, preferably in the education or advocacy field;
  • Have a college degree or equivalent experience in journalism, public relations, or communications;
  • Belief in Aspen’s commitment to public education and to its role in advancing racial and economic justice, and passionate about deepening personal practices and knowledge around understanding of power, privilege, and equity;
  • Experience creating an overall strategy for a organization with multi-faceted priorities;
  • Effective storyteller who is adept at translating messages for different key audiences including media, educators, policymakers, and other thought leaders;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including writing for diverse audiences;
  • Record of results working collaboratively within teams and with external partners/vendors;
  • Excellent partner and consultant management skills, including strong organizing, planning, and follow-through;
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, internet research, social media platforms and tools; Basecamp, Zoom, Mailchimp, website (WordPress) maintenance preferred;
  • Committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across all functions, engagements, and relationships;
  • Have your own network of media, public relations, print/digital contacts, and influencers in the education or communication fields and can network across diverse organizations, building additional relationships with multiple stakeholders.

To Apply:

To apply, please visit https://www.aspeninstitute.org/careers/Applicants must submit cover letter and resume. The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. Candidates must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

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.


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Employers: Looking to find the best talent in education reporting and communications? Post your employment opportunities with EWA.

To apply for this job please visit apply.hrmdirect.com.

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