Senior Communications Officer



Senior communications officers are professional staff responsible for creating, developing, implementing and managing communications for and about the Foundation’s initiatives to improve the health of all Americans. Their primary responsibility is to work with team/portfolio directors and fellow officers to design and implement communications strategies that promote the over-arching objective of the Foundation: to build a Culture of Health in America. Senior officers initiate and manage contracts and relationships with communications firms on behalf of the Foundation and its grantees. They also help amplify the voice of the Foundation by creating, managing and monitoring communications-related grant deliverables, including dissemination of information about Foundation research, programs and outcomes to policymakers, the media and other key constituents. As with staff at all levels of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, senior communications officers are expected to demonstrate a passion for the mission of the Foundation—improving the health of all Americans—and to the guiding principles of the Foundation.


Communications Program Development and Monitoring

  • Initiates and contributes to the design, implementation and oversight of communications strategies for the Foundation, program/portfolio teams and signature grantees.
  • Serves as a partner with other communications leaders in executing on team-specific and Foundation-wide strategic communications objectives.
  • Provides strategic communications counsel to program/portfolio team directors.
  • Uses social media and traditional media relations to promote the work and expand the reach of the Foundation.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the changing landscape of public interest communications and a willingness to experiment with new channels to reach new audiences.
  • Leverages his/her networks to advance the work of the Foundation.
  • Leads the development and monitoring of the team’s performance indicators.
  • Prepares monthly summary of communications activities and achievements.

Learning, Dissemination, Audience Identification and Development

  • Implements and manages a team communications model that fosters “one Foundation” impact.
  • Collaborates with team director and Research-Evaluation-Learning staff to develop plans to disseminate research products that demonstrate Foundation-wide impact, including content to be featured on

Grantmaking and Contracting Processes

  • Responsible for recruiting and managing communications consultants and vendors to help amplify the work of the team and its signature grantees.
  • Screens and assesses prospective communications proposals, works with communications firms to refine plans and project budgets.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all aspects of team-wide and project-specific communications proposals including strength of the activity, value for dollars requested and the organization's stability.

Foundation and Field Contributions

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding team communications and grantmaking results.
  • Provides communications support and coaching to members of senior management in preparation for public appearances; prepares support materials for meetings and media outreach opportunities.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance professional status.


  • Completion of a BA or BS degree in relevant field of study (English, Journalism, History) and six plus years of relevant experience. Advanced degree (JD, MBA, MA) a plus, but relevant hands-on experience most important pre-requisite.
  • Proven leadership skills.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity; ability to work effectively with team members across the Foundation.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential to success in this position; able to synthesize material and focus quickly on the essence of an issue; to identify major opportunities in a specific area; to see the big picture.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Strong project and people management skills.
  • Personally motivated to support the Foundation’s mission and goals.
  • Creative—able to think imaginatively; smart risk taker—willing to respond to novel and innovative approaches to addressing an issue.
  • Able to inspire others to work toward achieving team goals.
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills; collegial, energetic, able to develop productive relationships with colleagues, grantees and consultants.
  • Demonstrated maturity and sound judgment. Ability to make decisions quickly and justify recommendations.
  • Able to travel—including for site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.

Post Date

September 22, 2014

Due Date

November 3, 2014 (10:00 a.m. ET)