Managing Director of Communications Operations (Job ID: 2024-3483)

Job Function
Posted Date
1 month ago(6/13/2024 4:27 PM)
Job ID
The projected hiring range for this position is $158,200 to $175,000.


Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.


The Office of Communications is a centralized service unit that develops effective communications products and strategies to empower and share impactful scholar messages to wide audiences. The Office of Communications meets the daily needs of the institution through web development and publication support, convening and event support, multimedia services like video, animations, and podcasting, governance of visual design and brand systemts, social media management, and institutional brand and media communications. 


Position Location: This position is hybrid. Hybrid positions combine regular in-person presence at our Washington, DC, office with the option of at least two days of remote work each week.


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


Reporting to the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs (VP), the Managing Director of Communications Operations (MD) is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Office of Communications (COMM). They serve as a key advisor on a wide range of strategic and operational issues, manage the department’s finances and budget, administrative, and personnel functions, and work with the Vice President on change management efforts across the department. They work directly with other business units (HR, Finance, Office of General Counsel, Brookings Technology, and Facilities) to ensure smooth processes and compliance in and with all COMM activities. They serve as a point of contact to all staff in COMM and throughout Brookings and represent the department on the Institution's Management Team.


They are responsible for translating the Vice President’s strategic goals into operational plans and ensuring that the department's teams have the support required to achieve their strategic objectives. They will directly manage approximately 4 employees.


The MD is a sophisticated, thoughtful, and decisive leader with the ability to shape, communicate, model, and enact a strong operational and integrated direction for COMM. They set clear goals and expectations and are committed to coaching, supporting, and empowering staff. The MD brings a forward-looking, analytical, and results-oriented lens to our work and ensures strong integration and teamwork across teams and across the Institution. They communicate effectively, build strong consensus and trust with internal and external stakeholders, and translate strategies and operational plans into action.


Strategic Leadership and Operations (40%)

  • Serves as the deputy and trusted advisor and partner to the VP and as a strategic, thoughtful, and action-oriented senior manager for the department. Models strong communication, collaboration, coordination, and collegiality with colleagues across Brookings.
  • Provides advice and guidance to the VP on the department’s overall direction, strategies, and objectives, and assists in crisis prevention and management through effective communication and leadership.
  • Represents the department’s interests and priorities effectively in internal discussions, meetings, and committees across the Institution and externally, and serves as a stand-in for the VP, as needed.
  • Serves as the department’s representative for Institution-wide working groups, committees, or taskforces pertaining to the duties of this position.
  • Partners with the VP in establishing and upholding a culture across the department that promotes Brooking’s values of diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.
  • Builds and sustains strong working relationships with the directors of communications and their teams in the research programs through thoughtful communication, engagement, and proactive coordination.
  • In close partnership with the VP, oversees the finances/budget and human resource needs of the department.
  • Develops and executes operational plans—consistent with the department’s budgetary goals.  Advises on Press and Studio budgets in partnership with the Press Publisher and Director of Event Strategy, respectively.
  • Leads the department’s strategic, financial, operational, and human capital planning for launching new projects.


Personnel Management (40%)

  • Serves as the HR Liaison between department and with central Brookings HR to ensure collaborative, solutions-based employee relations approach.
  • Oversees all administrative and personnel management operations for the department, ensuring high-quality and responsive services are provided to all staff.
  • Provides vision and ensures excellence in the department’s HR efforts, including organizational development, change management, recruitment, performance management, compensation, employee relations, staff retention, and organizational culture development efforts.
  • Maintains and ensures the department’s compliance with Brookings policies and procedures. Serves as the main point of contact for staff on Brookings policies and procedures; ensures that new and existing policies are well-articulated and understood by staff.
  • Provides ongoing supervision, training, and coaching to direct reports.  
  • Leads staff engagement initiatives, developing formal and informal methods for staff to communicate ideas, concerns, and feedback with each other and with leadership.
  • Directs staff appreciation and cohesion efforts, promoting effective communication of department and institution-wide goals to all staff.
  • Establishes an ongoing positive and constructive feedback loop with staff and actively coaches to success. Monitors and assesses resource requirements and works closely with the VP and Directors to address staff needs.
  • Works closely with Brookings HR and staff to lead inclusive and equitable recruiting and hiring practices. Works with supervisors and to draft and edit job descriptions that meet department needs. Advises supervisors on best hiring, recruitment, and retention practices. Coaches staff to participate in hiring committees.
  • Leads onboarding process including mission overview, culture buy-in, coordination with central Brookings, program experiences and administration for new team members.
  • Works with Directors to create and sustain a plan for staff training and professional development.
  • Helps to shape the evolution and execution of performance management processes, including goal setting, reviews, coaching, and effective feedback loops. Evaluates and reports on usefulness, accountability, fairness, and consistency of staff evaluations. Ensures deadlines are well understood by all department staff and assists supervisors to make their deadlines.
  • Handles and coordinates confidential information with complete discretion.


Project and Special Initiatives Management (20%)

  • Leads Project Intake team, including commitments to institutional initiatives and efforts for communications services and products.
  • Leads project management for assigned projects, working with the VP and other staff to draft and coordinate internal communications plans for special projects and
  • communications initiatives. Tracks implementation of these plans in collaboration with department and program staff.
  • Reviews institution contracts, grants, and funding proposals for department to track communications commitments and mitigate reputational risk.
  • Coordinates tracking around special communications priorities, including creating media summaries and trackers. Works with analytics and media relations staff to develop metrics as part of efforts to assess impact.
  • Identifies and develops strategic communications opportunities to make ongoing recommendations and solutions to the VP.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:


Education/Expereince Requirements


Bachelor’s degree required. Minimum of 10 years of successful experience in communications, public relations, non-profits, NGO’s, government, think tanks, or agency (in positions of increasing responsibility) required. Knowledge of best practices in the field of communications. Management experience in a policy, political, or media environment preferred. Experience working cross-functionally across finance, operations, and human resources. Leadership and management experience overseeing and coaching staff and proactively directing day-to-day activities and operations is required. Experience managing complex strategic plans across multiple department functions and teams is essential. Experience advising senior management and/or officers on complex communications and policy matters desired. Proven track record of creatively thinking of ways to assess and message impact. Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.


Knowledge/Skill Requirements


A sophisticated, proactive, and diplomatic individual, possessing high emotional intelligence, professional maturity, credibility, patience, good judgment, honesty, and integrity. Must have a commitment to teamwork, accountability, and collaborative decision-making. Affinity for the mission of Brookings with the ability to serve as a compelling ambassador for the Institution. Commitment to developing a workplace culture of engagement and collaboration across teams and enthusiasm for coaching and mentoring staff at all stages of their career. Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. A superior communicator who shares information readily and concisely; listens and gives advice and respects the abilities of others; earns trust and respect of people at all levels. Demonstrated expertise in managing complex financial activity and systems, including budgeting and reporting. Ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines and maintain disciplined adherence to goals.

Must be a team player who welcomes collaborative decision making. Energetic and willing to work hands-on in developing and executing program strategies and operations. Demonstrated strong and persuasive writing and communication skills: articulate, persuasive, polished, and sophisticated with ability to successfully interact with high-level individuals in diverse settings. Must have sound judgment and the ability to use discretion in handling sensitive and confidential HR issues and information.


Additional Information


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings. Our comprehensive benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision benefits, generous time off, and workplace flexibility. For more information, please visit Brookings Benefits.   


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: If you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


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