The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking an experienced Communications Director to lead our public relations, rapid response operations, and corporate communications efforts globally. The ideal person is:
- An influential communicator who advocates for one of the world’s most popular and beloved brands — Wikipedia — and its global volunteer communities.
- A fast-thinking strategist who navigates sensitive, high-stakes global communications issues with uncompromised values.
- An experienced team leader who guides staff and partners to achieve proven impact on Wikimedia Foundation goals.
They will join a growing and distributed team of highly collaborative and adaptive media strategists, marketers, writers and designers working to champion free information and knowledge around the world. The team manages a high-volume of communications, including more than 40 press requests a month, more than 10 executive speaking appearances a quarter, and thousands of earned media stories each year.
The Communications Director will be directly responsible for:
Strategic planning & team leadership
- Lead team responsible for wide array of external communications activities: media relations, crisis communications, corporate announcements, executive communications, and public speaking
- Set media priorities and ensure alignment with department and organizational strategy
- Develop long-term communications strategies to promote Wikimedia values, projects, and communities
- Partner with other departments to understand and respond to communications needs across the organization
- Cultivate talent at all levels, supporting the professional development and performance of team members
- Manage and proactively work with external agency of record and other contractors and vendors
Rapid response & issue management
- Lead communications responses on pressing and sensitive issues, such as censorship threats, major reputational risks, and disputes in our various communities
- Prioritize, develop and execute crisis communications and issue management plans, and effectively mobilize internal and external resources
- Manage real-time monitoring, message development, response and analysis of breaking news, emergencies and other scenarios
- Partner with stakeholders to manage rapid response communications and other sensitive issues, and ensure effective internal coordination and exchange of information
- Act as spokesperson for statements during a crisis and emerging events
- Leverage networks of experts and influencers to support our responses to critical issues
- Proactively track trending news and sensitive situations to get ahead of emerging issues
The Communications Director will also oversee core communications functions including:
- Set the direction and priorities for our interactions with the press to support the Wikimedia mission and values
- Oversee responses to regular incoming requests, rapid response, and proactive outreach
- Manage team in developing campaigns to raise the visibility of Wikimedia projects, communities and the Wikimedia Foundation, and generate significant media coverage of major milestones and developments
- Provide media training, thought leadership strategy and mentorship for public-facing staff members and executives
- Serve as a significant on-the-record spokesperson with the media and in public speaking
- Develop strong relationships with media outlets, and maintain relationships with top-tier international journalists
- Serve as trusted communications advisor to the Executive Director, top-level executives, and Wikipedia’s founder, counsel on media and community issues, relationship management, and staff interviews and public appearances
- Partner with Communications Manager to support executive public speaking, appearances, and travel
- Direct resources to produce presentations, speeches, talking points, and briefing documents aligned with messaging strategy
- Ensure key executives and staff have training and tools to be effective communicators with the public
Corporate and community communications
- Support team to manage organization-wide announcements, including announcements from the Office of the Executive Director and Board of Trustees, and distribute across appropriate channels
- Support the development of organizational responses to community questions related to organization-wide issues
- Ensure collaboration and information-sharing with communications contacts at Wikimedia affiliates and throughout community around movement-wide public issues
- Liaise with Board of Trustees members on communications from the Board, acting as facilitator and strategic advisor
- Support department’s efforts to provide capacity building trainings and opportunities for community stakeholders in communications work
Skills and experience
- More than 7 years of experience in strategic communications or public affairs
- Experience with sensitive issues and rapid response
- Both agency and in-house experience preferred
- Experience building and supporting teams (distributed, global, etc.)
- Compelling writer and public speaker
- Proven experience in measuring results and communicating impact
- Ability to strategically shape the thoughts and plans of collaborators
- Demonstrated experience as both a strategic thought partner and hands-on team player
- Interested in a fast-moving, highly-diverse grassroots environment
- Ability to communicate across cultural and geographic contexts
- Experience at international NGO and/or political campaigns a plus
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and hosts Wikipedia and several other Wikimedia free knowledge sites. Every month, the Wikimedia sites are accessed by more than a billion unique devices. Wikipedia consists of more than 40 million articles across hundreds of languages. Every month, more than 250,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) non-profit that is funded primarily through donations and grants. It currently employs over 300 staff members.
At the Foundation, we build technology to help people everywhere access Wikipedia, across devices and in nearly 300 languages. We engineer privacy for our readers and editors so they can safely and securely explore Wikipedia. We create programs and initiatives to make Wikipedia freely available to more people in more parts of the world. We build new tools for the community of editors so they can continue to improve and grow Wikipedia. Roughly a quarter of our budget goes to supporting the community that make the site possible, including through grantmaking programs that enable volunteers and enrich the information on the sites.
The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply.
Benefits & Perks *
- Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
- The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
- The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
- Flexible and generous time off – vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays – including the last week of the year.
- Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
- For those emergency moments – long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
- Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
- Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
- Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
- Great colleagues – diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people
* for benefits eligible staff, benefits may vary by location