About Mills College: Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students, with graduate programs for all genders. Consistently ranked one of the top master's universities and one of the best value colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills also has been named one of the Best Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. The Mills experience is distinguished by small, interactive classes, one-on-one attention from exceptional faculty, a culture of creative experimentation, and cutting-edge interdisciplinary learning opportunities which empower students to make a statement in their careers and communities. As one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country, we have a strong record of academic success with first-generation students, students of color, Latinx students, LGBTQ students, and other underrepresented students. Mills College has recently become a Hispanic Serving Institution. Applicants with expertise and experience in supporting and promoting success for Latina/o students are encouraged to apply.
Mills College encourages diversity in hiring and particularly welcomes applications and nominations from women, gender non-binary individuals, and minorities. Mills College seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice and our desire to maintain the excellence of our faculty. In so doing, we offer our students not only the opportunity to learn about varied disciplines but to engage with diverse perspectives and ways of knowing and learning. For more information, please visit https://www.mills.edu/
ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS: Reports to: Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing
Summary of Position: The Senior Director of Communications is responsible for providing senior-level planning and management of strategic media, communications and public relations programs that increase the level of positive awareness of Mills College in local, regional, and national media while supporting the Colleges overall marketing objectives. Reporting to the Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing, the Sr. Director of Communications will be responsible for developing annual communications, media and public relations plans, managing internal and external communications, developing and overseeing media relations, providing counsel and training for media interviews to high-level College administrators and faculty, and partnering with the Associate Vice President of Marketing to direct social media engagement and enhance the institutional image of the College in support of the Mills brand.
The Senior Director of Communications is a full-time exempt position which includes some evening and weekend work.
Essential Duties, Tasks and Responsibilities
Develop, direct and manage the strategic direction of Mills media relations for local, regional, national and international story placement and effectiveness. Provide direction for identifying media targets and prioritizing their relative importance to the College.
Develop, direct and manage the strategic direction of Mills internal and external communications including the development of plans that include a broad range of communication components for all stakeholder groups.
In conjunction with the AVP of Marketing, develop strategy, direct and manage dynamic social media and new media efforts.
Develop and implement strategic media, communication and public relations plans that support College initiatives and result in positive coverage for Mills that enhance the image of and broaden awareness for the College and its work.
Perform hands-on media relations work in a small, entrepreneurial department environment in collaboration with the Marketing team and student communications interns, including but not limited to: implementing plans, responding to direct media inquiries, researching College facts and resources, identifying College news sources, and proactively communicating with journalists across media outlets to advance the mission of the College in line with College objectives.
Develop and manage the implementation of a crisis communications plan for internal and external audiences with media relations, web and myriad other emergency communications components. Liaison with other campus offices as needed in the development of crisis/emergency planning and preparedness.
Serve as the Colleges primary spokesperson on media inquiries. Support the President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans and other senior administrators to better communicate with internal and external audiences when they serve as spokespersons for Mills.
Serve as the presidents primary 'ghostwriter' for communications to faculty, staff and students; and media statements. Work in conjunction with the VP of Enrollment and Marketing to develop an extensive communications strategy for the President and Provost to attract media attention, strategic partners, community leaders and brand recognition.
Build strong, positive working relationships with Mills administrators, faculty, and staff that will lead to a long-term and sustainable infrastructure for strategic media relations at the College and will enhance the reputation of Mills.
Develop, manage, and refine written media relations materials such as opinion editorials, press releases, fact sheets, web content, press kits, talking points, pitch letters, and any other related materials that support the Colleges initiatives as necessary.
Additional Duties and Responsibilities:
Collaborate with senior leadership to develop communications strategies that will broaden awareness, extend national reach, and deepen impact.
Keep abreast of changing technology as it impacts communications and public and media relations with the ability to recognize and adopt new media to the benefit of the College.
Oversee and drive multiple projects to completion under deadline pressure, ensuring a high level of attention to detail.
Develop and refine key messaging tied to Mills mission, voice, and brand in external communications for various target audiences; ensure consistency and positively position the College as an institution of higher learning.
Actively pitch potential news stories to media with confidence.
Serve as central clearinghouse for all media inquiries; oversee timely responses with information that ensures accurate reporting and consistent key messaging.
Effectively prepare and coach College spokespersons for interviews, working with them to develop statements, messages, Q&A documents, and by rehearsing interview questions. Develop and present training for senior leaders and other staff in media relations, presentation and public speaking.
Lead the creation and/or oversight of strategically focused media relations/news- generating programs such as media tours, faculty/administrator experts program, Women in Public Service Program, and media trainings.
Overall stewardship of newsroom management and the execution of biannual reports that measure and analyze all media/social media coverage.
Identify significant higher education issues and topics of interest to the media; create and implement plans to leverage them.
Work with faculty and outside resources to develop, solicit, and place contributed articles, bylines, editorials, and other key mentions.
Lead the creation and production of professional-quality videos.
Establish and maintain effective and productive working relationships with Mills senior leadership team, particularly the President and Provost.
Establish and maintain an effective customer service orientation towards all persons contacted during the course of job performance.
Interact effectively with all levels of a diverse and multicultural organization, demonstrating a strong team orientation, sophisticated interpersonal skills, and excellent follow through.
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Knowledge of:
Senior-level experience (10+ years) in a media or public relations management position, preferably in a higher education environment, or comparable experience in an environment with multiple constituents, such as the media, donors, customers, and the broader public.
Strong working knowledge of digital/social media platforms and demonstrated ability to effectively apply it to strategic communications and media relations.
Strong working knowledge of media relations best practices, strategies, systems, and techniques for obtaining positive news coverage and strategically positioning an organization while enhancing its reputation and its awareness level.
Demonstrated success in obtaining positive media coverage and the ability to measure and communicate successful results effectively to senior management.
Knowledge of current trends in journalism, news gathering and dissemination, social media, and current working knowledge of multiple media channels.
Demonstrated success in developing communication, public relations and media relations strategies and tactics across traditional and new media channels.
Strong working knowledge of print, broadcast, trade, and online media with established network of local, national, mainstream, and online media contacts.
Familiarity with the Chicago Manual of Style strongly preferred.
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Vocus or Cision, Adobe Photoshop, Social Media tools
Skilled at strategic thinking and planning with a strong track record of positioning organizations to achieve tangible outcomes in a highly competitive communications environment.
Ability to develop and execute strategic written media/public relations and communications plans with implementation strategies, metrics, timelines, and budgets while simultaneously managing daily media relations activities.
Flexibility to switch gears as priorities change and media opportunities arise.
Ability to make thoughtful, timely decisions utilizing sound judgment and knowledge of the organizations goals while consulting the appropriate individuals and keeping supervisor informed.
Outstanding oral and written communication and interpersonal skills
Entrepreneurial, curious and innovative. Able to define new strategies with emerging technologies and markets within tight parameters and budgets.
This is a full-time, exempt position with an FTE of 1.0. Salary is commensurate with experience, ranging from $90,000.00 to $100,000.00 per year, and includes an excellent benefits package including medical/dental/vision/life/LTD insurance, 403(b) retirement plan with college-matching after 6 month qualifying period, 22 days of vacation per year, 12 sick days and 10 paid holidays annually. Staff members also receive free admission to campus events, use of the pool, fitness center, and tennis courts. Tuition remission is also available after an introductory period. Voluntary benefits include: pet insurance, long-term care insurance, legal-assistance insurance, cellular provider discounts and computer hardware discounts.
Mills is an independent liberal arts college for women with graduate programs for women and men. The College educates students to think critically and communicate responsibly and effectively, to accept the challenges of their creative visions, and to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to effect thoughtful changes in a global, multicultural society. Mills encourages openness to experimentation in the context of established academic disciplines. Programs are designed to reflect the importance of global issues, provide an understanding of the natural world, and enhance opportunities for women in their developing roles throughout society. The curriculum combines traditional liberal arts with new educational initiatives that recognize the value of cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity. Inspired by a teaching philosophy that grows out of its longstanding dedication to women?s education, Mills provides a dynamic learning environment that encourages intellectual exploration. The faculty of nationally and internationally respected scholars and artists is dedicated to developing the strengths of every student, preparing them for lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth.