Director of Communications

The Center for Global Development (CGD) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit policy research organization in Washington, DC and London, UK that focuses on the issues and institutions that are critical to inclusive development. Through rigorous empirical research and active engagement with the global policy community, we focus on the policy intersections of low- and middle-income countries and the governments, institutions, and corporations that can be partners in delivering greater progress.

Since its creation in 2001, CGD has earned a global reputation as a highly effective “think-and-do tank.” Headquartered in Washington DC with a Europe presence led from our London office, the Center has about 130 full-time staff and an annual budget of approximately $37 million.

An important measure of CGD’s success is the impact we have on influencing the thinking and actions of policy makers, opinion leaders and other researchers. To achieve this, we rely on an active and multi-faceted communication and outreach strategy that encompasses digital and traditional media, publications and convening of events

The role

CGD is seeking an exceptional communications professional to lead its communication efforts and the team that delivers it.

The ideal candidate will have entrepreneurial creativity; broad knowledge of US and international development policy issues; the ability to craft messages that help lead to policy change; outstanding writing and editing skills; demonstrable managerial experience; strong knowledge of the foreign affairs media landscape and related press contacts; and the ability to engage collegially as a member of a diverse community of world-class scholars and policy professionals.

We recognize that the communications landscape is changing rapidly and the post-covid world will see further change in the tools, channels, and technologies for effective communication. The successful candidate should be able to visualize these changes and operationalize them in our work.

The director will lead a ten-person communications team, and report to the CGD president, and work closely with the executive leadership team of the organization, program directors, and other key internal, board of directors, and external stakeholders.

Key roles and responsibilities

The Director’s principal responsibilities will include:

Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Be aware of emerging trends in policy communications and assess how best CGD should take advantage of the new communications landscape
  • Design and implement strategies to increase the scope and scale of CGD’s impact and influence, including by raising the organization’s visibility around the world.
  • Work closely with CGD researchers to help clarify policy goals arising from their research, identify audiences, and then collaboratively devise and implement an inclusive communications plan to reach these goals.
  • Raise the visibility of CGD’s president and other staff through securing high-profile media placements and speaking opportunities.
  • Serve as a senior advisor to the CGD president and contribute actively as a member of the Center’s executive leadership team.
  • Convey the scope of the Center’s influence and impact to the board, funders, and other supporters and implement creative strategies to communicate impact.

Communications Operations

  • Ensure high standards of excellence in all external communications through oversight of CGD’s publications, website, blog, newsletters, events, the podcast, social media, and press outreach.
  • Ensure that CGD’s ideas, messages, and commentary are picked up and amplified by traditional and new media, and write or edit talking points, speeches, and other supporting material as needed.
  • Oversee a lively events program with approximately 150 events per year, recruiting high level speakers, and providing guidance on the type and format of the event and target audience. The director may be called upon to moderate or participate in select CGD events.
  • Collaborate closely with the executive leadership team and the institutional advancement team to develop imaginative and appropriate messaging and tools to support CGD’s fundraising activities.
  • Provide counsel on and oversee crisis communications plans as needed.
  • Ensure the Center’s values surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of our communications strategy and activities.

Team Development and Management

  • Manage a highly professional communications team that spans DC and London. Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality.
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance reviews, and work with colleagues to administer salary policies, promotions, and total rewards programs.
  • Promote communications excellence and participation among researchers and other senior staff, including by providing media training to new staff members.
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the communications functions including budgeting and staff development.
  • Work closely with senior communications team members to establish shared priorities for the team, disseminate communications policies and milestones, and operationalize new, big ideas.

Experience and skills

The successful candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • A significant and impressive body of experience to include progressive management/leadership level positions in communications, with preference given to individuals with broad knowledge of global development policy issues and a passion for reducing global poverty and inequality.
  • Outstanding speaking, presentation, writing and editing skills.
  • Creative and visionary individual able synthesize communication and policy goals and develop and implement customized, outcome-oriented communication strategies.
  • Demonstrable experience working with US and international media figures.
  • Ability to quickly digest complex research, identify key findings and policy implications, then translate the research for a broad policy audience.
  • Strong management experience leading teams and developing individual team members, along with a management style that is warm, open, collaborative and focused on achieving results. A proven record in mentoring and developing team members by building a culture of feedback, accountability, transparency, and mutual support is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to continually assess and improve the complex systems of people and processes that make up the communications function at CGD, including team structure and roles.
  • Superb cross-cultural interpersonal skills and an impressive history of forging strong relationships with multiple stakeholders, strong listening skills and an ability to relate well to people at all levels. Experience contributing to the development and modeling of values related to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a leader within an organization preferred.
  • A BA degree is required. Experience in a government, political or nonprofit setting is a strongly encouraged. An advanced degree in international affairs, communications, public policy or development studies, or the equivalent in experience is a plus.