The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF; the Foundation), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have focused on developing and promoting innovations in health and healthcare to improve the lives of millions. In partnership with others, we are working toward a nation that is rooted in equity, compassion, and respect; a nation that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. This requires addressing many harmful obstacles to well-being, including poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination.
We take seriously our responsibilities, and we pledge to work in ways that reflect our Guiding Principles. These are rooted in equity and influence everything we do at RWJF. Equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI), and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich our work and strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. Our efforts to build a Culture of Health and achieve health equity requires us to dismantle structural racism and other barriers to health. Part of this work includes actively shaping a multicultural, inclusive, antiracist organization where all staff thrive as we build and use our capabilities, voice, and power to advance health equity. The Foundation offers a collaborative, collegial, and creative work environment. With a career at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you will make a difference.
About This Opportunity
Reporting to the director, program Communications, the senior communications officer is responsible for working to further the Foundation’s vision and objectives using strategic communications. Core responsibilities include (1) working collaboratively with others to develop, implement, and manage communications for and about the Foundation’s initiatives that advance health equity and help build a Culture of Health; (2) initiating, interpreting, and synthesizing communications research to help the Foundation develop messaging that engages and activates audiences across political, ideological, and cultural perspectives; and (3) leading and managing teams of communications professionals, including external firms and contractors, to develop communications plans and budgets to help amplify the voice of the Foundation, our grantees, and partners to achieve desired objectives. As with staff at all levels of RWJF, program associates are expected to demonstrate experience and a commitment to equity, and to the Foundation’s mission and Guiding Principles.
Essential Job Responsibilities
Communications Program Development and Monitoring
Develop, manage, and implement communications plans with measurable objectives, strategies, and tactics for the Foundation.
Work in partnership with RWJF Communications, Program, Research-Evaluation-Learning, and Policy colleagues in executing on theme, department, unit-specific, and Foundation-wide strategic communications objectives.
Manage the work of firms and consultants under contract with the Foundation to advance strategic initiatives.
Coordinate and collaborate with colleagues throughout the Communications department to develop and implement communications strategies.
Use all available media platforms and media relations to reach target audiences with strategic content and messaging to further the impact of the Foundation.
Demonstrate an understanding of the changing landscape and science of communications, advocacy, policy, and media;and a willingness and ability to experiment with new ways to reach, engage, and activate new audiences.
Leverage networks to advance the work of the Foundation.
Have and/or develop a strong content knowledge and understanding of how the assigned area of work contributes to the Foundation’s health equity goals.
Coordinate with other Communications colleagues to spark creativity, break down silos, and leverage the full power of the Foundation’s Communications department to achieve impact.
Provide strategic communications counsel to theme/team directors, other colleagues, grantees, and, at times, partners.
Develop and manage a portfolio of grants and contracts that advance Foundation program, communications, research, and policy initiatives.
Learning, Dissemination, Audience Identification, and Development
Commit to measuring impact and sharing lessons learned—including failure—within the Foundation and with grantees, partners, and other Communications practitioners through dissemination strategies and by presenting at conferences and other forums.
Collaborate with theme/team directors, senior leadership, Research-Evaluation-Learning, Policy, and Communications colleagues to disseminate Foundation research products on RWJF and external platforms.
Use innovative Communications research techniques to understand, reach, and motivate target audiences to influence and act on Foundation priorities.
Develop strategic Communications plans that include defined objectives, target audiences, and measurable outcomes.
Grantmaking and Contracting Processes
Recruit and manage Communications consultants and firms to help amplify the work of the Foundation, its partners, and its grantees.
Commit to diversity and inclusion in contracting and collaborating with outside firms and consultants.
Screen and assess prospective Communications and program proposals and work with Communications firms, grantees, and partners to refine plans and project budgets.
Assess proposed Communications strategies and tactics in major grant proposals, including appropriateness and strength of the proposed activities, value for dollars requested, and the organization's communications capacity.
Foundation and Field Contributions
Represent RWJF at events, conferences, and other public forums as needed and serve as an ambassador for the Foundation.
Provide Communications support and coaching to members of senior management in preparation for internal presentations and public appearances; oversee or coordinate the preparation of support materials for meetings, conferences, media, and other public opportunities.
Dedicate time to professional development and lifelong learning. Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to stay informed about innovation, ideas, and practices in Communications.
Commitment to racial and health equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.
Successful experience fostering an inclusive environment working effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
At least ten (10) years of demonstrated experience in Communications, preferably with an organization with various departments and a multidisciplinary staff.
Outstanding written and oral communication skills, as well as an ability to synthesize and present complicated material in a clear and compelling manner.
Experience managing contracts with and working successfully with Communications firms, consultants, and external partners to develop strategy and execute tactics.
Experience handling multiple priorities; good time-management skills.
Experience assessing intended audiences, strategic objectives, and desired outcomes; developing and executing a strategy to drive toward those outcomes; and evaluating and measuring the success of communications efforts.
Ability to think critically and strategically.
Highly developed interpersonal skills, including demonstrated ability to work in a complex team matrix environment; must be collegial and engender trust among colleagues.
Demonstrated maturity, good judgment, and analytic skills; ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear.
Strong project and people management skills, including a demonstrated ability to think independently, with limited supervision, be flexible, juggle multiple priorities, and work jointly with others.
Strong creative thinker who is willing to take risks and develop novel and innovative approaches to challenges.
Ability to use and learn about emerging Communications trends.
Energetic and passionate, with the ability to inspire others to work toward achieving goals.
Ability to travel—including for site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
Demonstrated enthusiasm for and strong commitment to the Foundation’s mission.
Completion of an advanced degree in relevant fields of study. A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirement.
Physical Requirements/Working Conditions
The senior communications officer will perform job duties in a typical business office environment. Specific physical abilities required by this job include operating basic office equipment. Will be required to attend meetings, potentially both in person and off-site via phone or videoconference. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
This position is assigned to our Princeton, N.J., HQ offices.
As of January 1, 2023, the Foundation has implemented a Hybrid: Flexible Purpose operating model. All RWJF employees will be required to come into Foundation offices during the year for purposes related to their position such as critical tasks (e.g., building operations, grantee meetings, etc.), organizational events (e.g., training and development), and internally-focused team activities. All RWJF offices remain open for all Foundation employees for focused work, optional organizational activities, and connecting with colleagues informally as needed for individual purposes.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.