The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) seeks a Vice President for Communications and Outreach. This position works with staff at all levels of the organization to design and implement comprehensive communications and outreach strategies that advance WOLA’s advocacy on behalf of human rights in the Americas. WOLA seeks a bilingual, talented leader who will join the organization’s senior management team and build on WOLA’s success, guiding the organization to expand our impact and external reach through four pillars: advocacy-focused communications strategy and message development, press and media relations, innovative multimedia content and campaigns, and audience expansion and engagement through strategic marketing and outreach.
Vision for Communications at WOLA:
- Strategic, advocacy focused communications. Through extensive collaboration with program experts and WOLA partners, the VP will develop strategic communications plans that develop coordinated messaging strategies across programs, measurably support program advocacy priorities with targeted audiences, and improve WOLA’s impact through press outreach, creative content and campaigns, or audience engagement and expansion.
- Press and media relations. Through strategic, high-impact media engagement, the VP helps advance programmatic goals and positions the organization as a leader on human rights, Latin America, and U.S. relations with the region. Press and media relations should include but not be limited to traditional large and small media outlets and should include both traditional and non-traditional formats.
- Innovative multimedia content and campaigns. In close coordination with program staff, oversee the design and implementation of creative products that support overall advocacy priorities, specific campaigns, and program messaging, including storytelling and editorial content, digital, audio, and video production, highly creative graphics and data visualization, web content, social media, and influencer outreach.
- Audience expansion and engagement. Collaborate in leading WOLA's efforts to expand audiences and audience engagement through innovative strategies to increase our impact and support. The communications field is evolving and WOLA wants to remain on the cutting edge. Expansion and engagement of audiences require experimentation, knowledge of the latest developments in the communications field, and close collaboration across the organization, especially between the communications and development teams.
The Vice President will drive the strategy on how WOLA can be most effective in these pillars while working in collaborative and coordinated efforts across program teams. The Communications team is currently structured for a VP, four direct reports, and a Senior Fellow as strategic advisor, and is likely to remain under this structure pending grant funding that the incoming VP must develop a strategy for retaining. Qualified candidates will demonstrate initiative, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively in both English and Spanish. This position brings a committed individual into contact with journalists and other members of the media, as well as human rights, religious, cultural, and foreign policy communities in Washington, Latin America, and Europe.
WOLA is an organization in which everyone is self-motivated, goal-oriented, and passionate about our work. We are committed to what we do. Our leadership works hard to support us with a culture of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. WOLA has twice been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of D.C.’s “Best Places to Work” and by The Washington Post as one of D.C.’s best-managed nonprofits. WOLA’s office has a full-time staff of approximately 26, plus three interns, and six senior fellows. Our office is currently remote through at least July of 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. The selected candidate will be expected to be able to be physically present in WOLA’s DC office once public health officials have determined that it is safe for the office to reopen.
Reports to: President
Supervises: Four team members including an associate, a digital strategy director, a graphic designer, and a consultant.
- Contribute to WOLA’s overall organizational strategy and development as part of WOLA’s management team.
- Supervise a team of communications professionals and work with all staff to implement cutting-edge communications strategies.
- Integrate communications strategy into WOLA’s annual planning process to maximize strategic impact.
- Advise WOLA’s President on communications strategies and opportunities, including drafting talking points and speeches.
Messaging and Campaigns:
- Work with programs to develop innovative and effective communications strategies, messages, and campaigns to meet advocacy goals.
- Ensure messaging consistency and coordination across programs and platforms.
- Lead rapid response and crisis communications efforts that incorporate messaging, media relations, digital, and creative content production.
- Proactively develop and maintain relationships with journalists, editorial boards, and media outlets.
- Strategically position WOLA to build brand strength and credibility, establishing presence at events, in online forums and publications, and any convenings where WOLA should be present.
- Lead the communications team in providing strategic guidance, draft, edit, and/or approve press releases, op-eds, advisories, graphics, video and audio production, interactive projects, etc., as needed.
- Work with management and teams to identify audiences key to WOLA's successful advocacy, and develop the strategies and communications tools to reach out to, engage, and retain those audiences.
- Create an annual communications work plan and a corresponding budget to meet the organization’s needs. Participate in fundraising efforts as appropriate to support the communications budget and the larger institutional budget.
- Ensure WOLA’s brand guidelines are followed across all departments and products vehicles.
- Ensure that WOLA’s products, website, online platforms, videos, and graphics adhere to the organization’s high quality standards.
- Coordinate the communications team in seeking and establishing relationships with outside consultants and vendors, including graphic designers, professional videographers, web developers, etc.
- Work in close and regular partnership with the fundraising team to advance WOLA’s sustainability, partnering on messaging and campaign designs, as well as through co-leadership of key activities, such as WOLA’s annual Human Rights Awards and Benefit gala.
- Lead the production of WOLA’s annual report and related branded material.
- Ensure that the technologies, including our website and databases, the communications team relies on are up-to-date and top notch.
- Provide trainings to staff on communications processes, guidelines, and equipment.
- Help staff develop communication capacity through training and coaching.
- Review and strengthen current mechanisms to monitor the impact of our communications strategies.
- Keep rigorous metrics of how WOLA’s informational products are consumed and shared, and apply lessons from those metrics to future products. Report quarterly on communications metrics and benchmarks to management, the Board of Directors, and staff.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Strong commitment to human rights and Latin America.
- Fluency required in English and Spanish; able to speak, write, and edit with fluidity in both.
- Must have 8-10 years of professional experience in the field of communications, journalism, or a related field of advocacy, policy, or human rights.
- Deep knowledge of U.S.-Latin America policy issues and debates.
- Knowledge of and experience with communications as an advocacy tool to impact policy.
- Expertise in social media and multimedia.
- Ability to work well under high-stakes, high pressure environments.
- Diplomatic, adaptable, creative, innovative, flexible, and persuasive.
- Additional job requirements: overseas travel required; full-time position; some long hours and occasional weekend work required based on the rapid response aspect of the job.
- Past experience living and/or working in Latin America.
- Experience with human rights non-governmental organizations in Latin America.
- Experience designing and implementing communication campaigns with proven, successful results.
- Strong experience with U.S. national media and in-country press in Latin America preferred, extensive contacts with them desirable.
- Experience in management of a department and/or team.