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Director of Communications, Weave: The Social Fabric Project

Department: SOCIAL FABRIC
Location: Washington, DC

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

About Weave: The Social Fabric Project

Weave: The Social Fabric Project was launched in May of 2018 under the leadership of David Brooks (Executive Director) of The New York Times. Weave started with a national listening tour where we identified and then went out and got to know people all around the country who are building community through caring relationships. We did this in big cities like Chicago and Houston, medium size places like Greenville, Youngstown and Missoula, and rural places like Wilkesboro, North Carolina and Nelsonville, Ohio.

What we found inspired us: people who selflessly serve others. We found that people all across the country, across many different divides were expressing and living out the same values, even though they don’t even know about each other, even if they don’t have time to step back and express their values as a coherent philosophy.

Weave has identified the core problem of society as hyper-individualism. It’s a cultural wave that has lasted 60 years know and prioritizes the self over society. But these community weavers embody a philosophy you might call relationalism. It is a philosophy, a set of values and way of living that puts relationship building at the center, not the self. It emphasizes the whole person—heart, soul, body and mind. It emphasizes radical mutuality—we are all walking together. It practices radical hospitality and aims at deep connection. Weave will champion this creed, which we think the entire Aspen Institute has been living out and embodying for the past many decades.

As we enter into the next phase of our work, we look to find ways to introduce these stories and this creed into the national conversation. Partly we will do it with the stories we write, the videos we will produce, and cultural products we develop to engage the hearts and minds of individuals. We will do this through a big gathering in May, which will bring together a large group of writers, donors, community weavers and non-profit leaders around relationalism and its distinct definition of the good life. This work is just the beginning of the cultural splash that Weave’s director of communications will help design, execute, and amplify.

Basic Function:  

The Director of Communications for Weave: The Social Fabric Project brings proven experience developing and executing strategic communications approaches at national scale. The director plays a key role in supporting Weave byleveraging storytelling and developing cultural products that engage hearts and minds to shift culture from a hyper-individualistic focus to one that prioritizes relationships. The director oversees a communications unit of 4 full-time staff, interns, freelance writers and vendors to design and distribute content and resources that showcase promising practices, conceptualizing and conducting local and national media outreach that elevates Weave’s messages and supports a growing national movement around identity. The ideal candidate is a gifted communicator with an exceptional work ethic, sound judgment, and experience creating and implementing an effective integrated communications strategy using mixed media. He/she will be highly motivated, creative, and passionate about the goal of shifting culture using grassroots and national approaches. To accomplish this work, the director will develop and execute a communications plan and provide team leadership to accomplish our goal of shifting culture within the American public. 

Responsibilities include: 

 1.     Communications Strategy 

  • Develop and implement strategic communication plan for Weave in collaboration with the Executive Director and program directors that:
    • o  Increases the visibility of Weave and the cultural forces it aims to elevate;
    • o  Strengthens the impact of Weave’s strategic priorities and goals;
    • o  Provides a messaging framework for timing and translating complex concepts into effective messages;
    • o  Enables Weave to stay informed and aware of similar complementary and contradictory efforts and their impact; and
    • o  Proactively considers and targets key audiences (youth, thought leaders, advocates, journalists and others) for dissemination and influence;
    • o  Supports our goal of creating a cultural splash at an event in May aimed at galvanizing local leaders around a national movement.
  • Work closely with Weave senior leaders to recommend ways to use communications strategies and tactics to fulfill program objectives and create impact that furthers the overall mission of Weave;
  • Work with Executive Director in positioning Weave publicly in order to meet communications objectives;
  • Alongside the Executive Director and Managing Director, set and manage the budget for the Weave Communications Unit
  • Track, measure, analyze, and report regularly on the reach and impact of Weave and its initiatives, as well as specific communications projects.
  • Develop, oversee and maintain Weave’s website

 2.     Content Development

  • Alongside the Executive Director (editor in chief) and Associate Director (journalism), set editorial direction for content developed by Weave. 
  • Work with executive director (editor in chief) to oversee the operations to develop all content – written, digital, video and social media – originating from Weave;
  • Oversee all copy for press materials, mass emails, reports to funders and board;
  • Develop and oversee the Weave brand voice and style across all content.

 3.     Content Distribution & Media Partnerships

  • Build external relationships and partnerships with outside media organizations, including content outlets (radio, TV, digital and print) to distribute Weave content and key messages;
  • Build internal relationships with programs within the Aspen Institute to communicate and advance Weave’s mission by leveraging the full reach of other Institute programs and constituents;
  • Build and maintain press relations, building media lists, identifying media opportunities, and managing relationships with members of the press.

 4.     Public Relations

  • Act as primary press contact for Weave and for members of the public;
  • Monitor media coverage of local, state, and national issues and trends relevant to Weave to inform program’s content development and outreach strategies.

 5.    Management and Staff Operations

  • Manage the Weave communications unit, including the associate director, program coordinator(s), freelance writer(s), intern(s) and vendor(s), monitoring their workloads and adherence to the communications workplan, providing guidance and feedback to ensure excellence in their work and professional growth, and ensuring high quality deliverables;
  • Plan and facilitate regular communications meetings for Weave;
  • Initiate and support relationships with the Aspen Institute communications team, facilitating collaboration and leveraging resources they make available;
  • Build internal capacity, including coaching and supporting staff, to produce distributed, disciplined, strategic, coherent, and intentional external messaging.

 

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

  • 10+ years in supervisory/management role leading communications teams  
  • Ability to represent Weave with senior Institute staff, Board of Trustees and the public
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Experience developing communications strategies for programs, projects, publication releases, and/or public events.
  • Understanding of and experience managing digital, video, and social media content
  • Superior writing and editing skills
  • Exceptional ability to think creatively and strategically about communicating key messages to diverse audiences.
  • Strong familiarity and experience in dealing with news media sources 
  • Must be self-starter who works well in a team-oriented environment
  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Superior interpersonal skills
  • Effective project and time management skills
  • Ability to grasp conceptual plans and implement them
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced, dynamic environment 
  • Sophisticated knowledge of national and global policy issues and current events
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Willingness and ability to travel up to 20% 

Level of Authority:

  • Supervisory position
  • Budgetary authority

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 regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.  

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