Locations of position: New York, NY or Washington, DC
Reporting relationship: This position reports to the Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to build a more equitable world by supporting community-driven change in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by advocating in the United States for foreign policies that prioritize human rights and democratic norms.
Through philanthropy and advocacy, we provide financial support and build strong partnerships with activists, organizations and social movements facing complex global challenges – from authoritarianism, to attacks on women’s and LGBTQI+ rights, to climate change and humanitarian crises. Working at the intersection of Jewish values and global issues, AJWS’s grassrooted human rights approach is making demonstrable change in the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Our Change-making Strategies:
To promote lasting change, AJWS funds and strengthens grassroots and global human rights organizations – with the understanding that the people who are most affected by problems are best suited to address them. We also advocate for U.S. and international laws and policies that help overcome injustice; we conduct research to learn about and strengthen our work and advance the field of human rights; and we use strategic communications to amplify our grantees’ voices and those of our supporters to influence policymakers in the U.S. and around the globe.
Director of Media Relations and Thought Leader Content/Communications
The Director of Media Relations and Thought Leader Content (the director) will ensure that thought leaders and authors associated with AJWS will express their views through strategic editorial placements on a wide array of topics, including AJWS’s model of social change, relevant U.S. and global policies, the role of philanthropy, AJWS’s application of progressive Jewish values to 21st century challenges and AJWS’s commitment to anti-racsim, diversity, equity and inclusion. The director will do this by authoring and co-authoring guest essays, op-eds, press statements, letters to the editor and blogs, which they will place with various news outlets, digital platforms and verticals. The director will apply their superlative writing and pitching skills to each of these products, as crafting and placing thought leader editorial content in the name of multiple authors associated with AJWS is at the heart of this position. AJWS authors with whom the director will collaborate include the president and CEO, as well as program, advocacy, humanitarian response and in-country staff and AJWS grantee-partners and allied social movement leaders, trustees and high-profile supporters of AJWS, including progressive American rabbis.
The director will also supervise one half-time staff member and additional consultants, who will develop “technical thought leader content” for the program’s staff who are presenting at professional meetings of human rights and global development professionals and grantmakers and who are also writing for more technical outlets with the goal of influencing professionals in various fields to either support the work of AJWS or to embrace AJWS’s distinctive model of social change, which combines grassroots grantmaking with global and domestic policy advocacy.
The director will also be responsible for responding to journalists and content creators from a wide array of publications and platforms—from major news organizations covering human rights issues in the global south, to local and national Jewish community newspapers, to specialty publications dedicated to philanthropy, global development, human rights and foreign policy. As part of this work, the director will prepare AJWS spokespersons for media interviews by developing talking points with them and organizing preparatory Q&A sessions, helping them maximize the value of limited media opportunities.
In recent years, AJWS has been most successful in crafting and placing op-eds and essays by AJWS staff and grantees in newspapers and major news sites, and the director will be expected to build on this strategy which has provided AJWS with significant exposure for its thought leadership. On a very selective basis, the director will build proactive relationships with reporters covering AJWS’s issues and the countries in which the organization works.
The director must possess superlative writing and pitching skills and demonstrate significant media relations experience, especially a track record of writing, editing and placing guest essays, op-eds, substantive press statements, letters to the editor and blogs on behalf of leaders of mission-driven organizations and causes. Most crucially, the director must demonstrate intellectual rigor and a commitment to social change, rooted in AJWS’s deep belief in the primacy of grassroots social movements that are challenging structural inequities in the 18 countries in the Global South in which AJWS works.
The director must have a track record of grasping complex concepts related to social change and communicating them clearly and concisely without compromising the message that the author wishes to deliver. The director will also have a demonstrated record of working with authors from diverse professional, intellectual, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, evincing an ability to write for multiple authors with respect for their voices and views. While respecting the voices and views of each author, the director will have skills and judgement to share direct feedback with authors with tact and sensitivity, helping them understand why they may need to make changes in style and phrasing to ensure that their pieces are published by influential news organizations, digital platforms and verticals.
The director must have significant campaign experience and a proactive campaign mindset, which will enable them to draw quickly and strategically on the intellectual capital of AJWS’s thought leaders and advance very specific time-bound goals in placing content on news and other platforms.
The director must be a mission-driven professional with a deep belief that the communities that are most affected by social injustice and social inequities are best positioned to lead efforts to challenge and solve those problems. At the same time, the director must be comfortable advancing AJWS’s mission inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice and explaining how those values animate AJWS’s work for social change.
The director must thrive while working as part of a diverse staff of human rights advocates in a global organization that is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. The director must possess outstanding interpersonal skills, treat every person with dignity and respect and work confidently and comfortably with top officials and spokespersons.
Experience and Responsibilities:
- Apply superlative writing and editorial skills, have a track record of creating persuasive press statements, blog posts, guest essays and op-eds, as well as tailored communications for editorial boards and columnists.
- Work effectively with writers, reporters, bloggers, editorial and op-ed columnists, producers and other content developers.
- Generate strategically significant content for previous employers and clients, especially mission-driven nonprofit organizations, foundations, advocacy and political campaigns and elected officials.
- Amplify the impact of published thought leader content with social media strategies.
- Organize their time effectively to juggle multiple complex tasks.
- Demonstrate strategic thinking to advance organizational reputation and thought leadership.
- Exercise superlative judgment in a complex organization grappling with multiple policy issues in a culturally diverse and inclusive environment.
- Work collaboratively with colleagues across a complex organization to express a wide range of opinions and views.
- Counsel the vice president for communications and marketing, the president and CEO, other members of the executive leadership team, programs and advocacy staff and trustees on key communications questions affecting AJWS’s reputation, including crises.
- Manage a half-time staff member who is responsible for developing “technical thought leader content” with the goal of influencing the fields in which AJWS is actively engaged through presentations at professional meetings, infographics and other materials for “technical” outlets and platforms.
- Ability and commitment to work outside regular office hours.
- Maximize promotion of AJWS’s thought leadership by identifying newsworthy trends and angles.
- Cultivate relationships with journalists via AJWS’s social media channels and the social media channels of the president and CEO. Work collaboratively with AJWS’s digital team, which manages AJWS’s digital presence, including its social media and web presence.
- Serve as a member of AJWS’s Communications Leadership Team, directors’ group and advocacy campaign teams.
- Brief and train AJWS spokespersons and grantees before their media interviews, provide them with constructive feedback and improve their performances.
- A minimum of 10 years of experience in authoring and co-authoring superlative thought leader content.
- A minimum of 10 years of experience collaborating effectively with media organizations, ranging from traditional news outlets to the most innovative digital platforms and verticals, with a proven track record of placing thought leader content.
- A keen understanding of what constitutes a good news story or opinion piece in relation to breaking news and other trends.
- Extensive contacts among editors at mainstream and specialty news outlets and digital platforms and verticals.
- A love of engaging with editors and content creators, building relationships and pitching stories.
- Experience responding to reporters and organizing press calls and webinars.
- Experience briefing top-level staff for media interviews and training spokespersons to maximize the effectiveness of their media interviews.
- Track record of amplifying published thought leader content through social media channels.
- Knowledge of global human rights and development issues, as well as U.S. politics and advocacy.
- Extensive experience in a fast-paced domestic or global advocacy organization and a campaign mindset.
- Ability to meet deadlines and work unusual hours, often within very tight timeframes.
- Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to organize oneself and others to achieve goals on deadline.
- Ability to work proactively with focus, making and carrying out recommendations.
- Strong interpersonal skills and judgment.
- Capable of working well with a variety of personalities and leadership styles and people from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds.
- Willingness to travel in the U.S. and globally as necessary.
- B.A. required, master’s degree a plus.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
AJWS’s leadership is deeply committed to enhancing our organizational culture, policies and practices to ensure that they are diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI).
We strive to build a culture in which each member of our team—particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color—is welcomed in their full humanity, treated equitably and with respect and able to lead and thrive at AJWS. We see our continued exploration of what DEI means to our staff and our Board as intimately tied to the values that drive our work and will be crucial to our success as an organization moving forward.
How to apply: Please submit your resume using the "apply" button and email a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org