The world’s biggest social problems are complex, multi-faceted, and pervasive. No academic center, 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 – a major new initiative at Stanford University – invests in mission-driven 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. Learn more at our work and impact at https://impact.stanford.edu/.

Please apply to this position via the Stanford Career Portal. In addition to your resume and a cover letter, please submit a relevant writing sample that showcases your ability to make nuanced research or policy work accessible to wider audiences.


At a time of dramatic growth in the organization, Stanford Impact Labs is seeking an inaugural Director of Strategic Communications and Outreach to envision and deliver on SIL’s external engagement. Your work will build Stanford Impact Labs’ public reputation and brand, establish an institutional tone and standard for public engagement, and demonstrate a tireless commitment to rigorous research and practical partnerships for public impact. Specifically, the Director of Communications and Strategic Outreach will:

  • Review, revise, and adapt our existing communications and engagement strategy to grow our audience and build the public profile of SIL.
  • Develop concrete goals for our external engagement strategy and establish clear metrics for evaluating progress.
  • Design new ways to make Stanford Impact Labs’ work understandable and relevant to key audiences across the university and externally, including generating core messages and language, developing timely content and analysis, and creating opportunities for engagement with key external audiences.
  • Build and maintain networks and relationships with partners and stakeholders in government, nonprofit, business, private philanthropy, and universities to inform our communications and outreach strategies and create opportunities for them to benefit from, use, and share Stanford Impact Labs’ ideas and insights.
  • Build and lead an integrated communications program, combining online engagement, media relations, events, and outreach with government, nonprofit, business, and private philanthropy to maximize the influence and impact of Stanford Impact Labs’ work. 
  • Provide coaching and training on writing, media engagement, public speaking and presentations to staff and teams to increase communications capacity and impact.
  • Develop content style guidelines for Stanford Impact Labs’ communications activities.


  • You are excited to turn research and ideas into compelling content that inspires real-world action. You have demonstrated experience creating, leading, and overseeing inspiring communications content and external engagement to make it happen. You have experience managing communications teams as well as external vendors for website development, publications, events, and marketing campaigns. 
  • You are a skilled and professional communicator with 8+ years of experience and a track record of engaging a range of audiences. You have assumed leadership roles, demonstrated skills for external correspondence with partners, funders, and broader audiences and have experience building and maintaining relationships with senior staff at relevant media outlets. 
  • You bring rigor and fluency in communicating evidence-based social science research. You have demonstrated expertise writing about economics, social or environmental issues, political science, or other social science issues for non-academic audiences. Experience communicating quantitative research is strongly desired.
  • You are a flexible, resourceful, and well-organized project manager. You have a proven track record of coordinating multi-faceted and complex projects designed to change policies or behaviors among key audiences and networks, including the ability to anticipate issues, develop proactive solutions, and engage the right stakeholders to support and champion success.
  • You are a thoughtful relationship builder, engaging communicator, and people connector. You have a demonstrated ability to bring, build, and maintain networks and working relationships with partners and key stakeholders from one or more of the following audiences: nonprofit and community-based organizations, private philanthropy, government, business, and higher education institutions.
  • You are a team leader, invested in team members’ and other stakeholders’ growth and development. You have the ability to provide just-in-time training, coaching, and mentoring for staff and partners for events, media engagement, and other public engagement opportunities. You are excited to serve as the first team member dedicated to communications and strategic engagement. You have management experience with direct reports and are eager to grow our communications efforts with a Communications Associate (to be hired).
  • You are a catalyst for racial and social justice work. You hold an analysis of racial and social inequities and systems of oppression. You have a demonstrated track record of working effectively across lines of difference. You are committed to centering equity and inclusion in programs and practices.
  • You thrive in a dynamic, open, and collaborative work environment. You are at home in a lean start-up environment with the ability to stay focused and nimble in the face of rapid change. You believe in collaboration and including a diversity of views, experiences, and perspectives.

Research shows that many applicants who would be successful in a position are reluctant to apply unless they meet every listed requirement. We encourage applications from candidates who do not meet all the listed requirements, but who believe they have the ability to grow and thrive as the first Director of Strategic Communications and Outreach at Stanford Impact Labs. 

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