Chief Communications and External Affairs Officer

Posted On: July 28, 2022

Media-Related Job

Media Organization: Union Settlement

Company Description

Union Settlement is an East Harlem anchor institution, serving families, children, youth, older adults and businesses for more than 127 years. As a proud member of the settlement house movement, our nonprofit organization is always innovating to meet our evolving community. Since opening our doors in 1895, we have brought education, wellness, business support and community-building programs to our neighborhood, empowering New Yorkers with opportunities to realize their dreams.

Today, Union Settlement offers more than thirty programs and services, across nearly twenty East Harlem locations and serves more than 10,000 people and nearly 1,000 businesses every year. As a pillar of East Harlem, Union Settlement is a connector, convener and advocate for the neighborhood and our network of partnerships. We have a dynamic, diverse and collaborative team of more than 350 who are committed to supporting our neighbors and growing the vitality and success of East Harlem. With new leadership, Union Settlement is growing! For more information about Union Settlement’s history, programs and mission, please visit our website at

Job Description

Position: Chief Communications and External Affairs Officer

Department: Executive

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer

Hours: Full-time, Hybrid Work Schedule.

Salary: $135,000 - $145,000

FLSA: Exempt

Position Summary:

We are seeking a Chief Communications and External Affairs Officer to join the Executive Team. This is a new position at Union Settlement that will work with our recently appointed CEO to develop and execute a strategic communications strategy that will enhance the reputation of Union Settlement for the benefit of multiple stakeholders: the East Harlem community, team members, individual donors and philanthropy, the local media and government officials.

The successful candidate will establish a communications strategy that is aligned with our mission, vision and values, supportive of our organization’s strategic goals and reflective of our leadership and historical role in East Harlem. You will nurture our external partnerships with external stakeholders including media, elected officials, businesses and nonprofits, and build new relationships to support broader brand awareness and growth opportunities. You will have the opportunity to build a team, establish goals and lead branding and marketing initiatives to represent a cohesive message, a distinctly recognizable image and consistent narrative. The Chief Communications and External Affairs Officer will bring an understanding of best practices in external affairs, communications and management. This is an exciting opportunity for a self-starter who thrives in a fast paced, innovative and mission-driven environment.


Strategy, Vision and Executive Leadership

Serve as a member of the organization’s Executive team, with shared responsibility for achieving the organization’s vision and strategic goals.

Work cross-functionally to develop a comprehensive communications strategy for internal and external stakeholders.

Establish a communications strategy and external affairs strategy that are designed to accelerate and elevate the organization’s priorities and recognizes our significant role in the community.

Establish and grow a Communications and External Affairs Team to execute strategies and realize goals.

Develop and maintain one voice for Union Settlement – a cohesive and consistent narrative that is distinct and broadly recognizable.

Design and manage budget to support priorities and realize long term goals.

Develop key performance indicators to manage team and report on impact.

Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach, nurturing professional development and excellence.

Communications Responsibilities

Build, lead and manage a communications team.

Establish best practices for communication, cultivating high performance, supporting professional development and growth.

Develop and manage the execution of an annual communications plan, including writing content, maintaining social media presence, and publishing materials.

Create and manage organization-wide policies and practices to establish a unified voice, consistent and coordinated messaging and a cohesive narrative, including an organization-wide communications calendar that creates alignment across programs, outreach and development and considers stakeholder experience.

Manage the development and writing of talking points, speeches, external communications and letters.

Partner with Chief Development Officer on donor-facing communications and appeals.

Manage media channels, including drafting press releases and identifying and drafting opportunities for media publication, including op-eds and articles.

Lead and manage organization’s website, social media platforms and online presence.

Serve as a spokesperson for Union Settlement. Site visits and in-person activities should be expected.

External Affairs Responsibilities

Build, lead and manage an external affairs team.

Develop and manage an External Affairs strategy that includes expanding Union Settlement’s relationships, brand awareness and outreach within East Harlem.

Manage the maintenance and growth of relationships with elected officials, nonprofit organizations, business and community-based stakeholders, including NYCHA, community boards and community leaders.

Work cross-functionally to promote and support programmatic and organizational goals within the East Harlem community through outreach and relationship building.

Serve as external representative for Union Settlement. Site visits and in-person activities should be expected.


Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with specialization in journalism, communications or related field; equivalent combination of experience and education may be considered with extensive specialized experience.

Minimum of 8 years of progressive experience in media relations, strategic communications or relevant experience; 3 years in a senior management role. Interest in nonprofits, East Harlem and/or social services is a plus.

Demonstrated leadership experience managing a comprehensive communication, media relations program to advance an organization’s mission and goals and include internal and external stakeholders.

Proven ability to communicate, engage and build relationships with community members and media representatives.

Strong writing and editing experience with a variety of print, online, media and communication channels.

Experience building and leading diverse teams and cultivating excellence in external relations and communications.

Demonstrated history of identifying performance metrics, establishing and realizing goals through data management and analysis and reporting on impact with data.

Experience setting direction and strategy, realizing impact, and managing risk.

Experience partnering with executive leadership and Board of Directors is a plus.

Networks within East Harlem and New York City are a plus.

Fluency in Spanish or Mandarin is a plus.

Knowledge of East Harlem community and demonstrated interest in social services and nonprofit are a plus.


To Apply

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