17 days old

Communications Strategist and Manager

The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC 20037
  • Job Code

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 advancing gender and racial equity. We believe that early childhood care and learning, 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 at 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.

Position Description:

The Communications Strategist and Manager is a senior position that will focus on setting priorities to use strategic communication to advance Ascend's work and being accountable for high-quality outcomes. This will include understanding which audiences we need to engage and pursuing strategies and tactics that do this successfully. Work includes identifying, synthesizing, and disseminating multi-sector policy and practice solutions that advance family economic mobility, educational success, and health and well-being. In this position, the Manager will work with Ascend Network Partners as well as additional experts, thought leaders, innovators and philanthropic partners to provide strategic communications that highlight relevant data, innovations, best and promising practices, and takes advantage of timely opportunities at the state and federal level. Content areas include early childhood development, human services, postsecondary education, workforce development, economic supports and assets, and health and well-being. S/he will be responsible for leading the communications strategy and execution, including web and social media strategy as well as communications to priority audiences in policy, practice, research, and philanthropy. S/he will be responsible for building and/or maintaining relationships with media outlets to educate journalists on issues facing families with low incomes and Ascend's work. S/he will liaise closely with the Aspen Institute's communications team to leverage the Institute's communications platforms, promote Ascend's work, and contribute to the Aspen Institute's overall goal to achieve a free and just society.

The Communications Strategist and Manager will be a member of the project management team that will activate the Family Prosperity Innovation Community, which the a broad range of family supportive policies. This multi-year initiative also includes a regranting and partnership process, policy and message development, and strategic communications.

The ideal candidates will possess content expertise in the area of family economic security and well-being and have a proven ability to take initiative, leverage external expertise and partnerships, cultivate strong relationships and provide strategic analysis. Candidates must have a keen understanding of the interplay of policy, practice, and research as well as the needs of media, policymakers, and other thought leaders.

This position is well suited for a mission driven, dynamic, high energy, and highly productive professional with good judgment and instincts. Ideal candidates should be intellectually curious with strong analytical skills. S/he must be gifted at working with diverse experts as this role will require engagement with members of the Ascend Network to identify and amplify innovations, solutions, and lessons learned in a way that will drive positive change for families with low incomes. Candidate must also possess strong interpersonal skills that foster strong connections with senior practice and policy leaders in the field.

The Communications Strategist and Manager will advance Ascend's goals of using all facets of public outreach, social media, policy efforts, external communications, event planning and execution, and media relations. The successful candidate will possess outstanding writing and analytical skills, and experience blending policy and communications strategies. Working closely with leadership, s/he will be a critical leader in developing and advancing Ascend's agenda. S/he will also oversee consultants that expand Ascend's communications expertise and

Ascend seeks a passionate and dynamic self-starter with creative ideas and strong attention to detail to both strengthen and support policy and communication efforts and help launch important new areas of work.

This position reports to the Managing Director and will work closely with other members of the Ascend management team. S/he will join a high-performing team of 19, which includes a communications associate and two other team members who have communications expertise. Ascend operates with a core set of values agility, boldness, creativity, determination, and excellence. Candidates should possess experience that is reflective of Ascend's core values and a commitment to racial and gender equity.


  • Conceptualize and implement a strategic communications plan
  • Conceptualize, implement, and assess annual communications goals and strategies
  • Identify, craft, and disseminate written and multimedia products to highlight the impact of Ascend, the Ascend Network, and other leaders and advance practice and policy solutions for children and families with low incomes
  • Conduct strong media relations including monitoring targeted local, state, and national media related to two-generation approaches and family economic mobility, building a media database, starting and advancing relationships with top journalists covering Ascend's issues, and generating media.
  • Support Ascend team members with public speaking requests, strategic presentations, and op-eds
  • Cultivate photos and video library
  • Curate storybank to capture partner work and use in various formats from speeches to collateral
  • Manage and/or support the planning and hosting of convenings
  • Coordinate with Aspen Institute communications team to leverage the Institute's platforms, including the Aspen Institute Magazine, Journal of Ideas, 5 Best Ideas of the Day, public programs, and other opportunities

Website and Social Media Responsibilities:

  • Key strategist and implementer for social media efforts
  • Grow our followers based on strategic goals
  • Maintain and manage content on various social media and online platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, with the support of the communications associate
  • Make Ascend website a valuable hub, well-visited by partners and allies, soliciting blogs and updated content from relevant team members and Network Partners
  • Coordinate with Aspen Institute communications team on social media strategy to complement and increase the impact of existing outreach
  • Review and edit monthly e-newsletter and other communications to our network and our field

Shared Responsibilities:

  • Actively participate in program design and strategic planning for Ascend
  • Contribute to effective engagement and stewardship of current and potential philanthropic partners
  • Contribute to team-wide learning and knowledge management, including drawing on and contributing to other Aspen Institute programs and resources
  • Supervise staff and consultants on projects related to communications
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of Ascend


  • Eight + years integrated communications experience, digital media, film, and/or other related or strategic communications experience with a track record of accomplishment
  • Communications or issue and/or political campaign and demonstrated expertise conceptualizing and advancing policy efforts at the local, state, and federal level
  • Outstanding writing skills with a focus on detail and accuracy
  • Knowledge of innovative strategies and tools for media relations
  • Social media and web savvy and experience working with wide range of social media tools
  • Entrepreneurial acumen and drive, ability to see and respond to opportunities to strengthen and/or course correct program plan to increase impact
  • Ability to work autonomously and with a small team
  • Attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks
  • Awareness, knowledge, sensitivity, and ability to build relationships with people of all backgrounds and communications skills
  • Proven experience in systems thinking, innovation, and/or best practice models
  • Graphic design skills and website development and maintenance a plus
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite, Salesforce, and Internet research
  • Strong organizational skills; the ability to plan and follow through with staff and a variety of constituencies in consistent, high-quality manner
  • Thrives in high performing environment and has a passion for making a difference in the lives of families
  • Good interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn
  • Eager to travel and engage with Ascend partners and innovators in the field
  • A sense of humor and willingness to be flexible

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.

Posted: 2020-11-18 Expires: 2020-12-19

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Communications Strategist and Manager

The Aspen Institute
Washington, DC 20037

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