Vice President of Communications

  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Annapolis, Maryland 21403
  • Mar 16, 2017
Full time Administrative/Executive Communication/Public Outreach Water Quality Watershed/Stormwater Wetlands/Coastlines/Floodplains

Job Description


CBF seeks a new Vice President of Communications. Communications is one of CBF’s four operating programs. The others are Environmental Education, Environmental Protection and Restoration, and Litigation.

Established 50 years ago, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the nation’s leading regional conservation organization dedicated solely to restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest estuary. With 230,000 members, 185 full time staff, an annual operating budget of $26 million, a $55 million endowment, and the mission to Save the Bay, CBF is enjoying the fruits of our labors. The Bay is getting better. Crabs and oysters are rebounding, lush beds of underwater grasses are almost at historic levels in some places, and the water is so clear that one can see down ten feet in places. CBF’s most recent State of the Bay report, released in January of this year, documented the highest score in our report’s history.

But, the Bay is not saved yet, and our environment, our economy, and even our health suffer as a result. The remaining hard work, which will require governments at all levels, businesses, and individuals to work together, is more important than it has ever been. Since 2010, a Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint—a state/federal plan to reduce pollution to the Bay and its tributary rivers and streams—has been in place. It provides the roadmap for a science-driven restoration plan, and it is working. The goal is to reduce pollution significantly enough by 2025 to get the Chesapeake off the federal “Impaired Waters” list. Given the uncertain political times and the gap between where we should be and where we are, our challenge is huge. And, with the entire nation watching what happens on the Bay, it is a most exciting time to be part of CBF’s leadership team.

The Vice President of Communications serves on the Executive Management Team and partners with other senior staff on enterprise-wide management. In addition to shared resource allocation and strategic planning duties, the VP of Communications leads a 16-member staff in three states. The Vice President is responsible for developing and executing CBF’s marketing, public relations, and integrated communications plans and strategies relative to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its leadership. Responsibilities also include managing all aspects of public opinion research (both policy support and messaging); developing and disseminating research-based, understandable messaging; marketing CBF’s policy, education, and litigation agendas; educating and engaging strategic public audiences; expanding and diversifying CBF audiences and membership; writing, designing, and disseminating issue- and organization-based reports and other publications; and mobilizing its support for priorities, including advocacy and member-development objectives. 

CBF has enjoyed broad and regular earned media coverage and utilizes paid media as well, when needed.

Reporting to the President, the Vice President of Communications oversees all Communications activities of four functional areas:  Creative Services, Community Engagement (including internal and external audiences), Digital Communications, and External Media.

Currently, Communications is moving away from long-form narrative messaging to shorter-form narrative, graphic, and video storytelling. The new Vice President will have an appetite for continuing that trend in both owned and earned or paid for media.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, or related field required.  
  • Preferred education: Master’s degree in related field preferred.
  • Fifteen years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • Ability to define goals, identify audiences, develop strategic messaging and communications plans, and measure effectiveness.
  • Significant work experience in managing internal and external communications functions for $26M organization.
  • Demonstrated mastery of optimizing print and electronic media.
  • Preferred experiences: Serve as a member of a senior management group; experience leading a Communications department; expertise in managing website and multi-platform social media accounts, operating; association or nonprofit experience strongly preferred.
  • High degree of financial acumen. Strong project management, leadership and decision making skills. Results oriented.
  • Outstanding communications and writing skills and the ability to rapidly develop effective messages and statements.  
  • Ability to lead and develop staff. Ability to collaborate effectively across organizational lines.
  • Computer skills:  Proficient with technologies, programs, and platforms in a PC/MAC environment including spreadsheet and word processing software.

Apply no later than April 11, 2017

CBF offers a comprehensive benefit package to include 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, health, dental, life insurance, and a 403b retirement plan.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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