- Purpose of the Job:
Under the general direction of the Executive Director, plans, coordinates and directs communication strategies, activities and staff-members engaged in developing messages and materials designed to inform both US and international English-speaking audiences of MSF, its field activities and the humanitarian principles that underpin them; to raise awareness about the plight of the populations we serve; to promote public communication aimed at exposing and describing the field reality, including dilemmas and challenges; and to garner public understanding for our advocacy messages related to field operational concerns and the Access Campaign, via the media, print and digital channels , public awareness and advocacy campaigns, conferences, etc. Guides the communications efforts of all MSF USA in developing a coherent voice and delivering clear public messages, whether in fundraising materials or advocacy campaigns.
As a member of the Management Team, the Communications Director participates in developing collective decisions, and setting priorities for MSF USA given resource constraints, approving internal policies and making collective recommendations to the Board of Directors, especially through the Annual Plan. Through the Management Team, direct communication with other Departments, and participation on other cross-departmental teams, as needed, the Director integrates the activities of the Communications Department with the rest of the office.
Through intensive interaction with the Operational Centers, the field teams, and the Access Campaign, the Communications Director participates in defining and carrying out MSF’s communication strategies and activities. The Communications Director works with other the Directors of Communications of the OCP Partnership (currently MSF-France, MSF-Japan,and MSF-Australia) to ensure the implementation of the OCP Strategic Orientations. When a member of the international Communications Directors meeting participates in formulating and administering organization-wide communication strategies and messages. .
- Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
DEPARTMENTAL ACTIVITIES (50%)
Leads and oversees the development and implementation of US efforts to increase awareness of MSF’s activities, accomplishments, and concerns, expertise and values through the media, speaking events, internal print and digital publications via the following areas of activity.
Communications Support to Field Operations and Advocacy
Collaborates closely with the Humanitarian Representation and Advocacy Unit to design and carry out communications strategies and activities aimed at garnering public understanding of MSF’s field activities, operational concerns and advocacy messages.
Collaborates closely with the US Access Campaign, the Access Campaign team in Geneva and the field to design and carry out communications strategies and activities aimed at garnering public understanding and support of the Access Campaign’s advocacy messages.
Constantly monitors medical operational developments , and supports the formulation of advocacy messages and approaches as issues arise. Directs the implementation of the approaches as they pertain to the activities of the Communications Department.
Works with the OCP Communications Director to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the OCP Strategic Orientations for Publications Communications.
Participates in defining communication strategies and policies for field missions that are under the management of the OCP NY Desk, in support of the OCP NY Desk Communications Officer and OCP NY Desk Manager.
Assists the OCP Deputy Medical Director and members of the Medical Support Unit in devising communications strategies, policies, and activities to advance the objectives of the delegated medical dossiers (currently, antibiotic resistance/infectious diseases, tropical medicine, diarrheal diseases, and health information systems).
Works with the decentralized positions of Epicentre, and other satellites, to develop communications strategies, policies, and activities aimed at deepening the understanding of the general public, donors, prospective field staff, and key strategic audiences (e.g. public health experts) of MSF’s operational field research.
Maintains regular contact with North American office of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to coordinate public communications activities, when appropriate, related to the R&D of neglected diseases and access to therapeutic products.
Oversees the organization of public conferences and speaking events that present MSF’s field activities, explain MSF’s medical-humanitarian values and principles and support field operations and Access Campaign advocacy messages.
Participates as a core member of the MSF-USA Crisis Cell (composed of the Executive Director, Communications Director, and Field HR Director, and other staff as needed), and develops, maintains, and executes crisis communications strategies related to critical incidents (e.g. abduction of MSF-USA field staff; medical evacuation of MSF-USA field staff; breach of confidential donor data; financial malfeasance).
Working through the MSF-USA Crisis Cell coordinates, as appropriate, with responsible Operational Center CMT in the management of critical incidents affecting MSF-USA field staff.
Coordinates – when requested - MSF’s international communications during crises, sometimes from the field and Access Campaign events.
MSF Network Internal Communications & Coordination
Maintains contact and fosters relationships with the Communications Directors of all Operational Centers and the International Office
Actively contributes to the elaboration and implement of DirCom5 priorities.
Supervises the Media Relations Director who directs the strategic planning the strategic planning for, and collaborates in the implementation of media activities that target US audiences, US-based media with an international focus, and worldwide English-language media with messages that bear witness to MSF field activities and support our advocacy messages.
Ensures that the Media Relations Unit assists and coaches MSF staff and field staff, BoD and BoA members with preparation for media interviews, public speaking engagements, presentations, and preparation of articles and/or opinion pieces for publication.
Develops and maintains high level contacts – particularly with editors -- and relationships with domestic and international media representatives to create opportunities for keeping MSF in front of public.
Develops ideas and opportunities for feature articles, interviews, presentations, and other public relations activities that promote awareness of MSF, its field work and advocacy efforts.
Researches and pitches stories to media on MSF personnel and projects.
Writes and distributes press releases in conjunction with international communications network
Maintains database of public relations contacts.
Public & Internal Events
Supervises the Public & Internal Events Manager who directs and oversees the strategic planning, including the development of themes and selecting target audiences in the US, for speaking events and/or special exhibits that bear witness to MSF field activities and support MSF’s advocacy messages.
Supervises the Public & Internal Events Manager, Association Coordinator, and OCP Association Communications Officer, who develop strategies and activities to foster critical reflection and debate within MSF-USA via debates, brown bag lectures, and other forums.
Supervises the Public & Internal Events Manager who leads the development of public engagement strategies through the creation and execution of offline (e.g. panel discussions, film screenings, exhibitions) and online (e.g. webcasts, Reddit AMAs) activities
Working with the Association Committee of the MSF-USA Board, supervises and supports the Association Coordinator (including the recruitment of additional staff to the rotating pool) in the achievement of Associative objectives.
Working with the OCP Association Coordinator, supervises and supports the OCP Association Communications Officer in the development of content and activities to foster debates on and awareness of operational issues and associative challenges.
Oversee the Guides and advises on the preparation and presentation (content and logistics) of public education projects.
Supervises the Editorial Director who plans, coordinates and directs editorial activities and workers engaged in selecting and preparing material for print and electronic publication in MSF newsletters, annual reports, MSF-USA website, social media channels, and related publications.
Confers with department heads, MSF network and web and print publications staff to formulate policy.
Directs and oversees content, architecture, implementation, visual design and functionality of the “doctorswithoutborders” website.
Reviews quality of final print or electronic product before release.
Medical & Access Communications
By co-supervising the Medical Editor, ensures the development of medical publishing strategies aimed at sharing MSF’s operational research through peer-reviewed scientific journals, medical blogs, and scientific forums.
Supports development and implementation of communications strategies to achieve Access Campaign priorities both internationally and in the US.
Brand Management & Trademark Protection
Supports the Executive Director, Executive Officer, and legal counsel, to ensure the protection of the “Without Borders” trademark.
Evaluates costs and benefits of licensing the MSF trademark for use in films, documentaries, or other channels in the US, and presents these requests and risk assessments to the Executive Director for approval.
Ensures the regular monitoring of the perception and awareness of MSF’s identity and principles among the US public, donors, and opinion leaders through the execution of public opinion polls
Collaborates with the Development Director to develop and ensure effective implementation of strategies and approaches to achieve five-year fundraising goals
Works with the Development Director to ensure ethical practices consistent with MSF’s humanitarian principles and internal policies in all fundraising activities
Works with the Development Director to develop, maintain, and implement MSF-USA’s corporate gift acceptance policy, including the critical evaluation of corporate or other fundraising opportunities that fall within “grey zones” of existing gift acceptance policy
Ensures that information and messages in all fundraising collateral is accurate and coherent with MSF’s actual medical humanitarian programs, advocacy positions, and ethical standards (e.g. photo guidelines, patient confidentiality)
External Relations with Other Humanitarian Organizations
Develops and maintains contacts with Communications Directors counterparts from other humanitarian and relief organizations; US government agencies; UN and other multilateral bodies based in US.
Web Team (CMS Project)
Supervises the Web Manager who oversees a four-person team that maintains and develops the CMS Platform, which currently supports the websites of MSF-USA, MSF-UK, MSF-Canada, MSF-Ireland, MSF-Czech Republic, and MSF-Italy, as well as the website of MSF operations in Myanmar. By the end of 2015, the Platform will also support the websites of the MSF-Belgium, MSF-Luxembourg, MSF-Mexico, and MSF-International.
Supervises the Web Manager in the development of the annual budget for the CMS Platform, and coordinates with the Communications Directors of the participating sections and offices.
Works with the MSF-USA Finance Director in development of cost-sharing models and rebilling to participating sections and offices.
DEPARTMENTAL MANAGEMENT (25%)
Leads team to create annual communications plan and budget, and guides and oversees implementation. Analyzes activities, costs, and operations to determine department progress toward stated goals and objectives.
Plans and implements MSF USA's communications strategies, policies, and procedures.
Confers with Executive Director and other administrative personnel to review achievements and discuss required changes in goals or objectives resulting from current status and conditions.
Coaches team in defining implementation strategies for annual goals and objectives
Appoints, leads, conducts yearly performance evaluations , and manages communications staff.
Delegates authority, consults with and guides staff to achieve goals. Provides ongoing feedback in a context of mutual respect.
Holds regular departmental meetings to coordinate activities and exchange information, to gather input for MT agenda, and to report to the team regarding MT and BOD decisions, and to provide ongoing support and problem resolution.
Sets clear attainable objectives for staff, evaluates employee job performance accordingly, in accordance with established MSF procedures, and collaborates with staff to establish appropriate development paths.
Resolves team problems requiring senior management intervention.
Prepares and administers department budget. Oversees relationships with all departmental vendors.
MSF USA MANAGEMENT (10%)
Participates in developing and carrying out organization-wide goals and objectives, formulating and administering organizational policies, and in making decisions with an organization-wide impact as a member of the MSF USA Management Team.
INTERDEPARTMENTAL COORDINATION (5%)
Explores opportunities and advises on communications needs of other departments and organization-wide activities.
Reviews and advises on publications produced by other departments, especially Fundraising, Program and Field HR.
Works with marketing and other fundraising personnel to coordinate communications activities that support promotional and fundraising activities.
Works with Field HR to support outreach activities and develop communication tools that support the goal of recruiting qualified field personnel.
Participates in the Access Campaign working group, and plays a key role in developing communications strategies and carrying out communication activities for the Access Campaign in US and Anglophone media.
Participates in defining and communicating a strategic approach to the Internet, Intranet and Extranet with regards to the needs of MSF USA and the network.
Attends monthly staff meetings and several annual office-wide debates to participate in information sharing across all departments, and to keep staff informed on important MSF topics so they will be able to contribute to the organization’s ongoing development.
MSF NETWORK COORDINATION and REPRESENTATION (10%)
Participates in formulating communication strategies and carrying out communications activities to increase awareness of MSF’s activities and concerns, expertise and values through the media, speaking events, internal publications, via intensive contacts with other MSF sections, the field teams and via representation on international and OCP communications platforms.
Reviews and selects materials produced by others in the MSF network for adaptation and use in the US and/or internationally.
- Supervisory Responsibilities:
Manages four subordinate supervisors (Media Relations Director; Editorial Director; Public & Internal Events Manager; Web Strategist & Manager ) who supervise eleven employees and special project personnel as needed, plus four senior level staff co-supervised with other managers (Medical Editor, OCP NY Desk Communications Advisor, Association Coordinator, OCP Association Communications Officer ) and an Assistant, all of whom may supervise and/or coordinate the work of office volunteers, interns and/or Work Study students. Is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of these areas. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.
IV. Fiscal Responsibility
Develops departmental budget for review and approval by Executive Director and the Board of Directors. Implements, controls and reviews approved departmental budget, in accordance with MSF’s policies and procedures. Responsibilities include quarterly budget review and revision, signing and administering departmental contracts, reviewing and signing off on others’ purchase orders, expense reports, credit card reports, and timesheets, and managing own credit card. Is one of the signatories for MSF USA financial documents.
- Extent of Public Contact
Regularly represents MSF to external contacts, including senior representatives of the media, policy makers, and other NGO’s regarding complex and/or sensitive subjects. Within the MSF movement, the Director interacts with all levels of staff, field volunteers and Board to strategize, plan, and coordinate, as well as to stay abreast of MSF issues and to research topics.
- Physical Demands
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to sit for long periods and to concentrate on work, including typing, and turn out heavy volumes of work accurately, within the context of a moderately noisy office with many interruptions. Must be able to proofread own work accurately so that only minor corrections are needed on an infrequent basis.
To travel to the field (usually in the developing world), the employee must attest to physical fitness to endure physically difficult, high stress situations which may include the necessity to walk long distances, carry a backpack or other equipment of up to 50 pounds, to ride long distances over very poor road conditions, to eat a limited diet and/or to reside in potentially uncomfortable housing or tents.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Working Conditions, Travel and Environment
The duties of the job require regular attendance 5 days/week for a minimum of 35 hours. Must be available to work before 9:00 am, after 5:00 pm or on weekends, as required.
Must be able to travel as required (minimum 25%) for standard domestic and international business travel as well as to MSF field projects. While performing the duties of this job in the field, the employee may be exposed to precarious settings under high security and/or very basic living conditions and outside weather conditions.
Ability to ‘think clearly’ analyze, synthesize and present complex information in a convincing, straightforward and clear manner
Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints.
Ability to write speeches and articles that establish the message and correct tone for the organization, and to edit others’ written materials accordingly.
Ability to effectively present information on controversial or complex topics to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.
Strong interpersonal skills.
Ability to work independently, under tight deadlines and pressure.
Experience managing a staff with diverse expertise and overseeing project management.
Genuine interest in and commitment to the humanitarian principles and culture of MSF.
Demonstrated leadership, communication and management skills
Ability to travel extensively within the United States and to Europe
Willingness to travel and serve in the field for several weeks at a time.
Master's degree (M. A.) or equivalent; or four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Fluent French and/or Spanish
Prior experience in a non-profit work environment.
To apply, send cover letter and resume to: Employment.firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Director of Communications
High 130’s, salary commensurate with experience. Great benefits. Generous paid time off. A friendly, supportive environment with growth potential.