The world’s biggest social problems are complex, multi-faceted, and pervasive. No academic centre, company, or organization can solve systemic issues – such as economic inequality, inequitable access to health care and education, and racial discrimination – alone. We need leaders with different skills and experiences to come together to generate fresh insights, evidence, and action to make progress.
Stanford Impact Labs is a major new initiative at Stanford University that invests in teams of researchers and practitioners from government, business, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy. These teams, or impact labs, work together on social problems they choose and where practical progress is possible. With our support, they rapidly develop, test, and scale new solutions to social problems that affect millions of people worldwide. We also provide training and professional support for students, academics, and impact lab partners to support public impact scholarship and partnership.
Stanford Impact Labs seeks a Director of Strategic Communications and Outreach to increase the impact and influence of its work. In this role, you will position Stanford Impact Labs as a new model for connecting academic researchers with partners outside the university in nonprofit and community organizations, government, tech, media, and philanthropy to build evidence and practical solutions to social problems. To do this, you will need to develop an active and integrated communication and outreach strategy that combines relationship-building, online engagement, storytelling, publications, and lively events.
The ideal candidate will have entrepreneurial creativity; a track record of turning research and ideas into practical action; experience working with at least one audience outside the university; the ability to craft stories and messages that capture Stanford Impact Labs’ insights, people, and progress to influence others; outstanding writing and editing skills; demonstrable managerial experience; and the ability to work collegially with a growing and diverse team of scholars, practitioners, and professional staff. You will have the opportunity to hire at least one additional team member in the first year. You will report to Stanford Impact Labs’ faculty director and work closely with the advisory board, associate directors, and core team.
Key roles and responsibilities
- Strategy, Vision, and Leadership
- Be aware of emerging trends relevant to Stanford Impact Labs’ work and advise the team on how to take advantage of current and emerging opportunities.
- Develop a communications and external engagement strategy to make Stanford Impact Labs visible and accessible with a growing number of partners in government, business, nonprofits, community organizations, and philanthropy.
- Build and maintain relationships with leaders in the public, private, and social sectors to inform our communications and outreach strategies and co-create opportunities for others to use and amplify Stanford Impact Labs’ ideas and insights.
- Raise the visibility of Stanford Impact Labs’ executive director, program participants and impact lab partners, and professional staff.
- Serve as a senior advisor to Stanford Impact Labs’ executive director and contribute actively to the leadership team, advisory board members, and program participants.
- Communications Operations
- Build and lead an integrated communications program, combining online engagement, media relations, newsletters, blogs, social media, events, and outreach with government, nonprofit, business, and private philanthropy.
- Set a high standard for communications that reflect the spirit of partnership, humility, and learning with others that is central to Stanford Impact Labs’ operations and reputation.
- Collaborate closely with team members and partners to design new ways to make the work accessible and relevant to key audiences. This may include drafting core messages, talking points, or speeches; developing timely analysis or outreach opportunities; or designing lively events. The director may be asked to moderate or participate in public events and/or support other staff to participate effectively.
- Finalize and roll out new visual identity and website; oversee all digital content including website, publications, and social media.
- Ensure Stanford Impact Labs’ values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are part of our communications and outreach strategy and activities.
- Team Development and Management
- Build small and effective communication and outreach team committed to high performance, collegiality, experimentation, and learning.
- Manage external vendors for specific projects such as website design and maintenance and graphic design.
- Develop concrete goals for external engagement strategy and metrics for evaluating progress.
- Promote savvy communications skills and participation from team members, faculty, and partners including by providing tips, advice, and training on writing, media engagement, and public speaking.
Experience and skills
- You have a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of experience, or a combination of education and experience. (We anticipate the right candidate may have significantly more than seven years of experience, including at senior levels within organizations).
- You have excellent written communication skills, reporting skills, and advanced skills in editing.
- You have the ability to work collaboratively with internal communications groups across campus.
- You have demonstrated interpersonal skills in working with a variety of people.
- You have the ability to write and synthesize materials and communicate information in audience-friendly ways.