Director for Communications and Programming


Organization Information


The McCain Institute for International Leadership is a center for research and action in national security and foreign policy. It seeks to promote leadership and decision-making, in the best American tradition of open inquiry, spirited discussion and practical action. Through its policy research, events, fellows programs, and other activities, the Institute aims to inform, convene, train and assist current and future leaders from the United States and abroad.


Job Description


The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University seeks an experienced, skilled, and highly entrepreneurial individual to serve as its Director for Communications and Programming. This position is based at the McCain Institute’s offices in Washington, DC.


The Director for Communications and Programming reports to the Executive Director, and supervises the Institute’s Events Director, a Fellow in Strategic Communications, and communications interns (varying in number throughout the year). The position has overall responsibility for developing and managing the Institute’s external events and communications strategies, overseeing: press releases, earned media, website content, social media, public events, video production and editing, newsletters and other electronic communications, and email-list development and maintenance. The Director also has responsibility for managing the Institute’s annual Sedona Forum – a large, complex, and high-level international conference held in Sedona, AZ, each April.


The Director for Communications and Programming should play a leadership role within the Institute, proactively working with other staff to ensure an effective collaboration between content and communication across the full range of the Institute’s activities.


Job Responsibilities


  • Develop a long-range strategic communications plan for the Institute and oversee its execution.

  • Work in close coordination with the Institute’s Strategic Advisor for Communications.

  • Supervise at least one professional staff member, plus students/fellows/interns.

  • Identify and manage contract relationships with service providers in the communications and programming areas.

  • Manage the Institute’s execution of the annual Sedona Forum.

  • Conduct a significant number of public events for the Institute – in Washington DC and elsewhere – particular in its “Debate and Decision Series” and “Leadership Voices Series.”

  • Work closely with the Institute’s Chief of Staff on communications to/from the Executive Director.

  • Build media and other relevant partnerships and relationships for the Institute.

  • Oversee all aspects of the Institute’s external communications, including website, social media, newsletters, email, etc.

  • Build a robust, targeted, and effective email distribution list for the Institute’s communications and programming.

  • Develop and maintain accurate, professional quality, coherently themed promotional materials for the Institute and its activities – often in collaboration with the Director of Development.


Job Qualifications  


Education:  An undergraduate degree, preferably with a specialization in media, communications, journalism, or international relations, is required. A graduate degree is preferred.


Experience:  A minimum of 5 years of relevant experience in either the private sector, NGOs, or government – or any combination thereof – is required. Supervisory experience of some kind is also required. Additional, diverse experience is preferred.


The ideal candidate will have had direct, personal experience across the full range of communications functions: in media and communications strategy development and execution, press relations, earned media placement, website development, maintenance and strategy, social media usage and strategy, video production and use, and communication list development and maintenance, and event management. An ideal candidate will also have had experience negotiating and working with outside service contractors essential to these tasks, as well as experience managing professional staff.


Desired Skills and Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of and experience in developing and executing communications strategies.

  • Earned media experience.

  • Broad knowledge in foreign affairs and public policy.

  • Excellent judgment and understanding of global issues.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

  • Proven track record of leadership and management skills, including managing staff and interns.

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively as well as to convey vision to others.

  • Strong interpersonal skills.

  • Ability to work effectively with key Institute stakeholders, including board members and university officials.

  • Ability to represent the Institute effectively in interactions with NGOs, foundations, corporations, governments, and the media.

  • Capacity to plan, prioritize and manage multiple, sometimes competing demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced environment.

  • Capacity to work in a fluid, entrepreneurial organization with minimal support staff.


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