SUMMARY:

America and the world have reached a tipping point. Climate change is destroying and burning our most treasured forested landscapes while turning our cities into ovens, aided by lack of trees and the urban heat island effect. Climate impacts are hitting our most vulnerable communities the hardest, worsening already searing inequities along income and racial lines. The natural assets provided by our forests are being diminished, from supplying clean drinking water and habitats for fish and wildlife, to flood protection, to delivering key physical and mental benefits for communities.

This is why on the brink of its 150th Anniversary, American Forests (“AF”) is entering a new, more critical era, one in which we are laser-focused on meeting two most pressing imperatives of this moment–slowing climate change and advancing social and racial equity—with forests and trees at the center.  In a time when green spaces have proven their value for people and the planet, our movement has taken flight, which is why we are aiming for a number of bold new goals by 2030 – from reforesting 20 million acres of public land to supporting 100 cities in achieving “tree equity” in their highest-need neighborhoods to helping 100,000 people from our most marginalized communities thrive in the “green jobs” sector.

To help us achieve these goals and following a successful rebrand, American Forests now seeks an experienced, campaign-oriented marketing and communications leader with the vision to take AF to this next level. As a key member of AF’s management team, the Vice President of Marketing & Communications will lead on a creative, dynamic, and responsive communications strategy to promote American Forests’ mission. S/he will have in-depth experience in designing a proactive, long-term communications strategy that draws on public relations and rapid response, multimedia and advocacy campaigns, and traditional and digital marketing efforts that support program work and fundraising and convey complex science and data in accessible ways.

The Vice President’s communications strategy will be designed with a broader view than AF alone.  AF prides itself as a movement-builder and thoughtful partner on global and U.S. stages, and therefore, it is essential that we are also a compelling storyteller that inspires cross-sector actions to address forest conservation, equity, and climate solutions.

Finally, the Vice President will coach and build a team of communications staff and hire an agency of record to collaborate with AF’s leadership team and growing team of subject matter experts in their spokesmanship to ensure AF’s communications are sustainable, insightful, and effective.

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE: 

Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a marketing or communications leadership role required. Deep experience in building and managing a communications team in the environment, policy, or philanthropic fields or a campaign-driven organization and with proven metrics around building a national voice for an organization across key audiences.

Excellent verbal/written communications are assumed, as is a knowledge of design, digital and social media platforms, and multimedia / policy campaigns and implementation. Strong understanding of and/or relationships in print, digital, and broadcast media strongly preferred.

WORKING CONDITIONS: 

Some travel may be required. General office work environment.

SUPERVISES:

Supervises communications department with direct reports and external vendors.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES:

Communications Strategy, Vision and Leadership 

  • Reimagine and implement an integrated strategic communications, events, and marketing plan, while directly managing communications activities that promote and protect the AF’s brand and message; broaden awareness and visibility of AF’s programs and priorities across key audiences; support dissemination of its knowledge and research; and, alongside the Vice President of Philanthropy, enhance AF’s base of public and private support.
  • Design and support several key national and regional campaigns around AF’s “tree equity” and “resilient forests” programs, its U.S. and global policy priorities, its 150th Anniversary, and external partnerships, including with high-level funders, the World Economic Forum (1t.org), and others, to achieve private and public sector outcomes related to our 2030 goals.
  • Assess and improve all of AF’s communications vehicles including web, print, digital, graphic design, social media, PR, and marketing efforts so that they are effective in achieving AF’s 2030 strategies and effectively reaching key audiences including, but not limited to, federal and local policymakers, national and regional funders, community-based organizations, and climate and forest science experts and academic partners.
  • Work with the leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external communications challenges, opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to address them; ensure coordination among Marketing & Communications department’s efforts with those of the Philanthropy and Program teams.
  • Research, vet, retain and oversee the use of agencies of record, and other outside services and vendor contracts; manage department budgetary and operational functions.
  • Ensure high-quality KPIs are set and employed to gauge the effectiveness of Marketing and Communications in meeting AF’s brand and program goals.

Communications operations and public relations:

  • Oversee and lead implementation for AF’s external collateral including its website, print and electronic publications, e.g. its award-winning magazine American Forests, marketing and fundraising materials, events, media statements, digital assets and social channels in order to ensure enhancement of the AF’s brand, programs, and 2030 goals.
  • Track and anticipate current affairs, news, events, and milestones in the fields of forestry, climate change, and policy in order to proactively manage a long-term editorial and events calendar and rapid response tactics on behalf of AF. 
  • Oversee all aspects of media relations/public relations and digital marketing, including ensuring ongoing and new relationships with key print, broadcast, and digital journalists, editorial boards, and publications that may advance AF’s core mission and messages.
  • Develop and implement rapid response/crisis, social media, and digital strategies that gain positive exposure for the organization and its programs and initiatives in the community. 
  • Ensure responses to media requests for information and oversee development of press/information kits, news releases, news materials, and fact sheets on organizational programs and initiatives. Seek pro-active media opportunities and op-ed placements. Facilitate media interviews with appropriate spokespersons and prepare appropriate briefing memoranda, Talking Points and Q&A documents. 
  • Oversee appropriate thought leadership platforms to elevate American Forests, its leadership and subject matter experts; oversee securing key speaking opportunities for leadership and subject matter experts. Draft speeches, op-eds, and articles for submission to relevant publications and outlets.

Team and Budget Management

  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communications function including budgeting, planning, and staff development, and as needed supervise contracted communications and marketing projects and manage relationships with associated vendors.
  • Design and manage a communications team to support the development and execution of the communications and marketing strategies.
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that emphasizes learning and a commitment to excellence through a supportive and collaborative approach.
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, and conduct annual performance appraisals.
  • Effectively manage the department budget and, as needed, work with other AF departments and vendors to ensure that AF is getting the best value from its marketing and communication investments.

Qualified applicants should apply at www.chaloner.com.  Amy Segelin (amy@chaloner.com) is leading the search.