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Director of Communications

The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) is the premier professional organization advancing the field of immunology and elevating public understanding of the immune system. AAI members have been responsible for some of the most significant immunological discoveries of the past century, including the development of cancer immunotherapies, monoclonal antibodies, transplant technologies, and dozens of life-saving vaccines. With a new strategic framework and brand identity, AAI is seeking a strategic and hands-on Director of Communications with experience developing and implementing advocacy-driven media relations and communications strategies. Your expertise will increase awareness of the value of AAI’s programs and services, position our organization as a credible public health resource and a thought leader on related policy issues, and inspire current and future members to get involved.

 

Reporting to the Chief Membership and Engagement Officer (CMEO), you will supervise one direct report with the potential to add an additional direct report and work closely with senior leadership, colleagues across internal departments, AAI members, volunteer leaders, vendors, and external stakeholders. You’ll lead the creation and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy, ensuring our messaging resonates effectively across audiences, including current and prospective members, policymakers and legislators, scientists in the immunology and biomedical research communities, and stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry. You will oversee all aspects of digital communications, from content management to social media engagement, ensuring alignment with AAI’s strategic goals while maintaining a consistent voice. And you will actively engage with mainstream and industry media, crafting compelling stories and fostering relationships to amplify our reach and influence and provide media training to key AAI staff and member representatives.

 

AAI currently has a membership of over 7,000 professionals, publishes one of the most respected and long-standing publications dedicated to immunology, and hosts an annual meeting that draws around 4,000 attendees from around the globe, showcasing cutting-edge research and fostering collaboration. AAI supports the growth of early career and established immunologists, ensuring immunologists stay up to date on advances in the field and mentoring bright young scientists as they enter the workforce.

 

How You’ll Make an Impact

AAI is at a pivotal juncture in its well-respected history, with a firm commitment from leadership to deepen engagement with existing members and attract new ones. Building our communications function from the ground up, you will have the opportunity to effect substantial change at AAI and contribute to a mission that stands at the forefront of exciting new immunological advances that will dramatically improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

 

Work Environment, Salary, and Benefits

  • You’ll enjoy a hybrid work environment, collaborating with colleagues 2 days on-site weekly at our Rockville, MD, office. This role requires travel up to 10%, including the annual meetings.
  • The budgeted salary range for this position is $130 – $160k with an outstanding benefits package including generous PTO and sick leave, medical, dental, and vision insurance, flexible spending accounts, retirement with a 10% employer contribution, disability/life insurance, and employer-paid parking.

 

Responsibilities

Communication Strategy, Vision, and Leadership

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated communications strategy to enhance awareness of AAI’s value, programs, and services within the immunology and biomedical research communities, as well as among members, potential members, and other key stakeholders.
  • Provide regular updates on performance towards established goals to the CEO, CMEO, AAI Council (the board), and committees.
  • Identify opportunities, challenges, and emerging issues and collaborate with leadership and staff to devise and execute integrated strategies to leverage or address them.
  • Support the CMEO and leadership team in developing alignment around organizational messaging.

Storytelling and Content Creation

  • Serve as the primary storyteller and curator for AAI, overseeing the development, review, editing, and production of AAI content vehicles to ensure compelling and accessible content suitable for various communication platforms and diverse audiences.

Media and Public Relations

  • Establish a robust media relations program showcasing AAI members, their research, and noteworthy findings published in AAI journals and presented at the annual meeting. Generate media attention for the association through purposeful outreach, cultivating relationships with media outlets, journalists, and industry influencers.
  • Develop a strategic plan for AAI’s ongoing public awareness campaign, aiming to educate and inform key audiences about the connection between immunology and overall health while fostering confidence in AAI as a trusted health resource.
  • Manage the agency selected to support the public awareness campaign and act as a liaison to the Public Communications Committee.
  • Leverage media relationships and collaborate with member volunteer champions to secure media coverage. Pitch stories, draft and disseminate press releases, invite reporters to the AAI annual scientific meeting, and conduct on-site press briefings.
  • Provide media training and develop and share media response guidelines and best practices with key AAI storytellers, including executive and member volunteer leadership.

Digital Communications

  • Develop and maintain a content strategy and oversee content management across all digital platforms, including the website, microsites, social media, email, and e-newsletters. Establish and maintain a communications calendar.
  • Provide guidance, training, and oversight for key content providers to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency with AAI’s brand voice in communications.
  • Implement tracking and reporting to optimize performance and enhance initiatives.
  • Manage AAI’s digital presence, including the website and social media profiles, to effectively engage with the immunology community and the public.

Executive Communications and Crisis Management

  • Offer support to executive leadership and the AAI Council in crafting effective communications, including talking points, speeches, press releases, and presentations. Provide guidance and counseling to senior executives on communication strategies and tactics.
  • Develop and maintain a robust crisis communication plan, oversee crisis preparedness training, lead rapid responses to crisis situations, and conduct post-incident evaluations to enhance future crisis communication strategies.

Project Management

  • Develop project management processes to ensure timely delivery of communications support and content.
  • Develop internal communications processes.

 

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, journalism, or a related field (or equivalent).
  • 10+ years of experience in strategic communications, with a proven track record of building successful media relations and communications strategies to enhance the influence and reputation of an organization. Experience in science, STEM, or medical communications is preferred.
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills, with the ability to think strategically, set clear objectives, guide and mentor teams, and engage with leadership, influencers, and key stakeholders to build credibility and trust.
  • Proficiency in budget planning and management, ensuring effective allocation of resources for communication initiatives. Experience managing partnerships with vendors.
  • Established relationships with mainstream and industry media and a deep understanding of how to position subject matter for positive coverage.
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive (DEAI) workplace and ensuring that these values are reflected in communication strategies and content.
  • Passion for immunology and its role in advancing human health, with a genuine interest in communicating the impact of AAI’s work to a wide range of audiences.
  • Deep familiarity with digital communication tools, social media platforms, and content management systems, with the ability to leverage these tools to amplify AAI’s reach and engagement.

 

About AAI

The American Association of Immunologists, located in Rockville, MD, is an association of professionally trained scientists from all over the world dedicated to advancing the knowledge of immunology and its related disciplines, fostering the interchange of ideas and information among investigators, and addressing the potential integration of immunologic principles into clinical practice. The association serves its members by providing a center for the dissemination of information relevant to the field and its practices, organizing and sponsoring educational and professional opportunities, planning and presenting scientific meetings, addressing membership-derived issues and opinions, and responding to important funding and policy challenges.

Staffing Advisors is committed to reducing bias in every aspect of the hiring process. We have long recommended a competency-driven approach to hiring. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.

 

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Director of Communications