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People For Education Communications Director Call For Applications

People For Education an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario’s English, French, and Catholic schools. For the past 17 years, the organization has been a powerful voice for public education in the province. We conduct vital research, answer parents’ questions, make policy recommendations and manage an extensive communications strategy to ensure there is a broad and ongoing dialogue about education issues in the media, online, and in a wide range of forums. Our goal is to ensure that every student has access to an enriched, broadly based education and that every student has an equitable chance for success. Together we make Ontario’s schools great.

People For Education is seeking a Communications Director, a new position within the organization, responsible for spearheading strategic direction initiatives and planning, coordination, and management of People For Education’s marketing, public relations, and strategic communications program.

We are a small, cohesive/team-organized organization with a commitment to using communications and research to have policy impact. Currently the People For Education website receives approximately 200,000 unique visits per year, the online community has 1,250 members and our staff has more than 6,000 followers on Twitter. We also have a presence on Facebook and 13,000 subscribers to our listserv.

Working collaboratively with the Executive Director, staff, board, and partners, the new Communications Director will build on People For Education’s current programs and initiatives, working toward greater impact, and broader engagement in a range of education issues.

As a core contributor to the organization’s team, the Communications Director will have a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including: maximizing People For Education’s on- and off-line presence; building public awareness of the organization’s work, services and products; increasing its reach into under-served communities; leveraging its relationship with partner organizations to maximize the spread of People For Education materials and information; and building capacity within the staff.  This is a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to one of the most important issues the province faces today at a time when education is at the top of the public’s awareness and holds a significant position on the Government’s agenda. In this role, the Communications Director will have high potential to make a significant contribution to educational outcomes in Ontario.

The Communications Director will be responsible for spearheading strategic direction initiatives and planning, coordination, and management of the organization’s marketing, public relations, and strategic communications program. The Communications Director will work with both external and internal constituencies to create and communicate the organization’s messages and ensure overall continuity of institutional brand consistency and image.  As well, the Communication’s Director will support the organization’s staff and board in developing and maintaining strategic partnerships with external organizations and funders. The Communications Director will ensure that People For Education is viewed as the primary source, disseminator, and conduit of information within this diverse network and constituent base. In particular, the Communications Director will be responsible for:

Communications Strategy Design and Implementation

  • Together with the Executive Director, board, and staff, develop and execute a strategy using communications, marketing and public engagement standards and practices that reflect the organization’s mission and values including a business plan and maintenance strategy to sustain relationships with other community agencies, government bodies, educational institutions, and other non-profits and businesses
  • Identify emerging issues and trends and potential strategic responses and/or new and innovative approaches that could enhance the impact and reach of People For Education

Brand Development and Reinforcement

  • Develop a value proposition and key messages to communicate our core brand identity
  • Work closely with People For Education team to ensure messaging is consistent with overall communications, marketing and public engagement objectives

Marketing and Communications

  • Oversee and contribute to the organization’s on- and off-line presence
  • Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all print and electronic collateral including, but not limited to, newsletters, brochures, and People For Education’s website and online community (NING) to engage audience segments and lead to measurable action
  • Foster broad awareness of the organization and its campaigns on-the-ground and among funders, partners, government, non-profits, academics, parents, students, and advocates
  • Develop and oversee communications around research and policy initiatives

Media Relations

  • Manage media relations, research editorial opportunities, and build relationships with key industry media
  • Manage all media contacts

Partnership Development

  • Nurture and develop relationships with a wide range of organizations and individuals to advance the organization’s mission and programmatic goals
  • Leverage social networks to build affinities with potential partners, sponsors or issue positions

Capacity Building

  • Develop and execute the training for communications management and content creation that will allow staff to manage their respective communications’ roles
  • Provide communications strategy, content oversight, and creative management to the People For Education team, including working with consulting writers, designers, and programmers
  • Collaborate with board, Executive Director, and staff to realize the organization’s broader vision and mission and help build, and contribute to, the organization’s culture and values of innovation, commitment to public education, “humanness” and openness to new ideas and multiple points of view

Tracking Administration and reporting

  • Plan and administer budgets for communications/marketing for the organization
  • Provide monthly reporting to the team
  • Put communications vehicles in place to create momentum and awareness as well as to test the effectiveness and relevancy of communications activities

The ideal candidate will be open-minded, collaborative, have a sense of humour, and be a leader capable of working with a group of leaders. He or she will have the expertise necessary to effectively deliver on the organization’s mandate. In particular the Communications Director will have:

  • A degree in a relevant field, including public relations, journalism, communication, or marketing
  • A minimum of five years professional experience, ideally with some experience working in non-profit advocacy
  • Experience developing and implementing communications strategies
  • Demonstrated interest in the public sector and educational issues
  • A passion for public education
  • Excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills
  • Comprehensive knowledge of media operations and expertise in the field of public relations and release of information for publication
  • Proven ability to develop communication strategies related to organizational policies in collaboration with a diverse team
  • Knowledge of the latest advances in effective use of digital and social media for effective communication, including (ideally) online communities, search engine optimization and other digital marketing tools
  • Ability to handle multiple projects under time and resource pressure
  • A high level of energy and passion, and a willingness to be a strong advocate for the organization’s mission and programs and its role on the education landscape
  • The ability to take initiative, think strategically, and work creatively
  • Proficiency in basic financial management
  • High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position communications discussions at both the strategic and tactical levels
  • A flexible and enthusiastic approach to work and a proven capacity to be an effective team player with others in a collaborative workplace
  • Computer proficiency and experience with web management and WordPress
  • Be known as a relationship-builder and collaborator
  • Be detail- and results-oriented
  • A facility with other languages – French in particular – would be an asset

Compensation is commensurate with experience. The position is based in Toronto, Ontario and the ability to travel is considered an asset.

To apply or recommend candidates for the position please contact Ruth Richardson of Open Blue Consulting, in confidence, at ruth@openblue.ca. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resumé in one singular document in .pdf format to ruth@openblue.ca by Friday 21 June 2013 at 5:00 PM EST. Please also include 3 writing samples.