Position Overview

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is seeking a strategic, innovative, and experienced Chief Communications Officer (CCO) to provide vision, leadership, and direction for SPLC’s communications. Through crafting the organization’s communications strategies and messaging at the state and national levels, the CCO will play a critical role in the SPLC’s programmatic and branding work, leading SPLC’s engagement of the media and enhancing SPLC’s visibility, image, and influence through effective communications.

Reporting to the SPLC president and working closely with executive team members, the CCO will spearhead efforts to weave a compelling and engaging narrative about the organization’s mission and impact. The CCO will oversee teams in media, creative and design services, editorial and digital engagement and will collaborate on marketing programs that intersect with the department’s functions. 

This is an incredible opportunity to serve as SPLC’s lead storyteller as the SPLC advances its mission to achieve racial justice, build intersectional movements, eradicate white supremacy and institutional racism, and protect the human rights of all people. At a time of significant transition within the organization, including the communications department, the CCO will help chart the course in a new era for this storied civil rights organization.

The Organization

The SPLC is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. As W.E.B. Dubois noted, “as the South goes, so goes the nation.” The SPLC chooses to focus on bringing racial justice in the Deep South in order to eradicate institutional racism across the country.

The SPLC identifies four key areas of impact that will lead to transformation in the South and beyond: eradicating poverty, decriminalizing and decarcerating black and brown people, protecting voting rights and civic participation, and eliminating white nationalism. Our strategies include litigation, education, research and documentation, and policy advocacy. SPLC also built and maintains the Civil Rights Memorial and its interpretive center, the Civil Rights Memorial Center, in Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement.

Today, the SPLC has a dedicated staff of some 350 in seven offices – Montgomery (headquarters), Atlanta, New Orleans, Jackson, Tallahassee, Miami and Washington, DC. In the last two years, we also opened a few satellite offices in remote locations in the Deep South to represent those facing immigration charges and deportation. In the next few years, the organization anticipates developing a strong state presence in each of the five Southern states where we have offices; this presence will include communications work and staff. The communications department – including media relations, editorial, digital, and creative – consists of more than 25 talented individuals and is expected to grow to meet the needs of an organization with an ambitious mandate.

Position Responsibilities

  • Develop and lead innovative and creative messaging and communications plans to promote SPLC’s work and collaborations to diverse audiences, including the media, policy makers, political leaders, the legal community, and donors. Serve as chief storyteller to engage targeted audiences in the organization’s narrative and work.
  • Manage a large (more than 25 people) and growing communications department that includes media relations, digital, editorial, and design, providing mentoring and coaching to support the work.
  • Hire, train, establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign duties, and conduct performance reviews.
  • As a member of the Executive Team, work with colleagues to develop SPLC’s brand and engagement strategies and craft the communications strategy for all major initiatives of the organization.
  • Effectively recruit, train, and support diverse and growing communications team meeting high standards of performance.
  • Manage crisis communications and determine responses to external attacks and hostile coverage about SPLC’s work.
  • Manage and support transparent internal communications
  • Create and drive plans for public and media engagement of the SPLC president.
  • Construct and provide oversight to departmental budgets.
  • Develop new structures and processes to best serve the organization in a time of significant transition.

Key Qualifications

  • Minimum of twelve (12) years of related, progressively responsible work experience in communications.
  • Minimum of seven (7) years managing, developing, mentoring and supporting a diverse and high-performing team of communications staff.
  • A record of success in senior level communications positions, with preference for experience in the legal, advocacy, not-for-profit, political, or government sectors.
  • Comprehensive operational, service and strategic planning and execution skills, including metrics for performance and results.
  • Superb interpersonal skills, with an impressive history of forging strong relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability in creating and implementing communications strategies for a large, complex organization.
  • Successful experience in challenging, hard-hitting public policy campaigns.
  • Significant experience dealing with regional (South) and national media.
  • Ability to partner with subject-matter experts to develop communications plans.
  • Ability to be available off-hours for rapid response and crisis communications.
  • Excellent writing and editing skills and demonstrated ability to handle controversial issues and translate information about them to broad audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience at integrating communications strategy into the fabric of the organization and effectively reaching and influencing intended audiences.
  • Commitment to ideals of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Commitment to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

This role has the following work designation options: 

  • Distant Remote: Will work remotely and are not expected to work in the states in which the SPLC has an office or in an SPLC office. They may be required to attend occasional meetings or activities in the states in which the SPLC has an office or elsewhere.
  • Local Remote: Will work remotely but are expected to attend work-related activities that occur at the SPLC offices or in the states in which the SPLC operates.
  • Telework: Will work at an SPLC office at least three days per week and may work two days per week from an alternative work location.

Other Special Considerations:

This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.

Disclaimer:

The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.

An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.

Date posted: 8.11.2022

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Confirmed 15 hours ago. Posted 30+ days ago.

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