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Chief Communications Officer

Carnegie Institution for Science
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 21, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Administrative, Public Relations and Communications
Salary Band
Not Specified
Employment Type
Full Time
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Carnegie Institution for Science
Chief Communications Officer
Washington, D.C. or Pasadena, California

Andrew Carnegie founded Carnegie Institution for Science in 1902 as a home for world-transforming scientific discoveries. Today, Carnegie Science’s mission—to advance investigation, research, and discovery, and apply that knowledge to the improvement of humankind—is more urgent than ever. An independent, nonprofit research institution, Carnegie provides its researchers with the flexibility to follow their discoveries, seize opportunities, and define new fields of investigation.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with three research divisions. Led by President Eric D. Isaacs, Carnegie Science recently completed a strategic planning process that resulted in the joining of six departments into three scientific divisions: The Carnegie Observatories (including the Las Campanas Observatory), the Earth and Planets Laboratory, and the Life and Environmental Sciences division on both coasts of the United States and Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

This is an exciting time for Carnegie Science. Carnegie Science is now executing a strategic plan to ensure its impact for the next century. The plan includes investment in new science at the interface of life sciences and ecology and to greatly expand its footprint in Pasadena by constructing a new, state-of-the-art research facility on land provided by Caltech, adjacent to its campus, that will house the Life and Environmental Sciences division. Forming this new alliance with Caltech will open many opportunities for breakthrough research between the two institutions.

In the coming years, Carnegie Science will focus its explorations where the institution can have the greatest impact--capitalizing on its distinct advantage of being an independent, world-class intellectual community; leveraging its technical expertise and scalability through strategic partnerships; and embracing its leadership role in fostering a diverse community of scientific minds.

Carnegie Science’s strategic plan has not only sharpened the institute’s vision for the next generation of science but also provides the framework for a new communications program that will be critical in shaping how the institution positions its work to the world, as well as in optimizing communications amid the recent reorganization. 

Amid a backdrop of institutional preeminence and bold investment in the future, Carnegie Science seeks candidates for the newly created position of Chief Communications Officer (CCO). This is an opportunity for an experienced and dynamic professional to join a highly collaborative and innovative group of colleagues in advancing the mission of one of the world’s premier research institutions. Reporting to the President, the CCO will lead and oversee the execution of a comprehensive communications strategy for all facets of Carnegie Science. The CCO will have responsibility for developing, implementing, and overseeing Carnegie Science’s external and internal communications initiatives, with focus on advancing the institution’s brand, reputation, and mission on a national and international scale. The role requires exceptional vision and strategic leadership to identify and exercise communications possibilities, as well as an ability to access and utilize a wide range of communications platforms and tools. A collaborative approach to establishing internal and external partnerships is essential to the success of this role.

Working directly with the President, the CCO will raise the visibility of Carnegie Science’s public profile and communicate its impact to multiple constituencies across multiple channels. The CCO will also closely collaborate with the Chief Development Officer to make the case for giving to support this dynamic institution and to plan for a future fundraising campaign. The CCO will directly manage a centralized, three-person staff. In addition, the CCO will provide dotted-line/indirect oversight to several communications staff members who report directly to Carnegie Science research division directors. The CCO will foster collaboration and strategic integration with these colleagues, balancing the institution’s historically decentralized character with an evolving, more cohesive profile, toggling appropriately between distinctive unit identities within the institution and an enhanced, unified brand.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional skills, qualities, and competencies:

  • Commitment to and passion for the mission of Carnegie Science; ability to communicate and generate excitement about mission, history, vision, programs, and fundamental strengths.
  • Minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible, related experience in strategic communications and public relations planning and execution. Backgrounds in communications, media relations, marketing and advertising, or related fields will be considered.
  • Demonstrated ability to attract and retain talent, with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including creating and managing a budget.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically while maintaining awareness, judgment, and sensitivity.
  • Broad understanding of communications best practices, including public relations vehicles and social media platforms to effectively integrate related functions.
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills; a personal communication style that is open, cordial, and persuasive. Experience with community relations and speaking on behalf of a major institution.
  • Project management and budget planning experience, ability to manage multiple priorities, embracing a philosophy of teamwork and hands-on implementation.
  • Demonstrated business acumen, including the ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about strategy and process.
  • A creative, innovative thinker with a track record of translating strategic thinking into successfully executed, integrated action plans for communications in support of mission and programmatic, fundraising, event, and institution-wide goals.
  • Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople.
  • Experience in leveraging emerging trends and technology, crafting effective digital strategies, and architecting an engaging user experience online and within social media platforms.
  • Bachelor’s degree.

Carnegie Science provides equal employment opportunities without discrimination to employees, fellows, volunteers, and applicants and demonstrates this commitment in its employment practices, including recruitment and hiring, supervision, compensation, benefits, promotions, transfers, training, discipline, employment and terminations and other terms and conditions of employment. No person shall be discriminated against or harassed based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, citizenship status, marital status, military and veteran status, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, personal appearance, political affiliation, family responsibilities, matriculation status, or any other protected status in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. For additional information about harassment and Carnegie’s policy and guidelines associated with harassment, please see: Anti-Discrimination and Harassment.

To further ensure Carnegie’s commitment to equal employment opportunity, Carnegie maintains an affirmative action program in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, executive orders, and government directives. Carnegie has taken, and will continue to take, affirmative action to recruit, employ, and advance qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.

Carnegie Science has retained the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director
Practice Leader – Fundraising & Advancement
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10174 | 212.542.2587



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