Director of Communications (New York, New York)

Organization Overview

Founded in 1999, PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.  Equity means just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and achieve their full potential.  Our primary goal is to impact the lives of the 100 million people living in or near poverty in the United States.

Position Summary

Communications is essential to advancing equity and achieving PolicyLink goals, and for those reasons, the Communications office was established with the organization's founding in 1999. The newly created Communications Director position reports to the Vice President for Communications, and is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate to drive communications for the organization's future, to be at the forefront of demonstrating how effective communications strategy can catalyze equity results.  In addition to developing and implementing strategic communications across all platforms, the Communications Director will provide leadership, guidance, and direction to a staff of eight to 10 communications professionals whose skills include strategic communications, editorial and print production, social media, media relations, and digital communications. 

Collectively the team will position and support senior leaders throughout PolicyLink offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, to advance policy campaigns using all communications platforms.

In addition, this individual will oversee the development and implementation of strategies designed to attract ever-growing numbers of funders, advocates, and interested others to push and support policies that will bring opportunities to some of the many distressed communities in the nation.  By focusing on these communities and successfully helping them to advance, PolicyLink believes the entire nation is poised to succeed.

Key Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with senior leaders on the creation of a comprehensive internal and external communications plan that will enable PolicyLink to maximize our social impact through thought-leadership and key initiatives.
  • Lead and mentor our team of dedicated communications professionals to help them achieve success in their roles; work with individual team members to support their professional development goals; be an advocate for the communications team, and advocate for cutting-edge resources.
  • Be a communications "visionary," consistently bringing an understanding of communications trends, best practices and technologies to bear on PolicyLink work and how these might be best utilized given our organizational goals and resources.
  • Communicate complex and powerful ideas to a diversity of audiences, engaging internal and external stakeholders in ways that foster a sense of community.
  • Act as a strategic communications counsel, partnering with senior leaders to build internal and external content, such as fact sheets, position papers, marketing materials, press releases, and digital resources for dissemination across various PolicyLink communications platforms, with a keen eye for specific PolicyLink audiences and constituents.
  • Oversee the development of consistent messaging across the organization to promote the PolicyLink mission, vision, and values.
  • Enhance communications standards and systems including branding and style guides, social media content policies, and inter-departmental workflows.
  • Train cross-functional teams around communications best practices and systems.


  • Ten years' experience in external affairs, communications, and/or marketing with progressive leadership responsibility and a track record of creating innovative communications plans and strategies that employ measurable tools and tactics; experience working with national progressive policy/advocacy organizations is especially valued.  
  • Excellent project and team management skills, alongside a profound enjoyment for leading and mentoring individuals in their professional development.
  • Excellent analytical, written, and verbal communication and presentation skills, with proven success tailoring messages to a variety of audiences, particularly in translating complex policy and advocacy work to a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Keen understanding of promoting thought-leadership to strengthen an organization's brand and support differentiation in a competitive market.
  • Ability to develop and enhance strong communications standards, workflows, and branding guidelines while disseminating content across multiple mediums, including social media, newsletters, and more.
  • An innovative and opportunistic approach to identifying new opportunities to advance the mission of an organization through strategies that position it to be a thought leader, develop new partnerships, and elevate organizational visibility.
  • Independent thinking with openness and excitement for new ideas; passion for collegial team environment and working with multiple colleagues on different projects at the same time.
  • Intellectual curiosity coupled with a sense of humor.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in a changing, fast-paced, high-performing world-class organization.
  • Some national travel in support of collaborative work efforts.
  • Bachelor's degree required; Master's degree, or similar advanced degree preferred.

To Apply

Please upload a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your leadership capabilities, skills, and experience meet the qualifications of the position and stating how you heard about this opportunity, both in Word format, addressed to Milly Hawk Daniel, Vice President for Communications at

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

PolicyLink offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills. PolicyLink is an equal opportunity employer.

Associate, Equitable Economy Research


The Associate, Equitable Economy Research will focus on the organization’s equitable economy portfolio with a specific concentration on All-In Cities, a signature initiative of PolicyLink. Under the supervision of the senior director, the associate will work on multiple projects within the equitable economy team to identify the policies, business models, and strategies that advance equitable economic growth, and share these strategies with community leaders and policymakers. Since 2011, PolicyLink has been advancing the idea that equity—the economic and social inclusion of low-income communities and communities of color—is essential to secure our future economic prosperity, particularly in the context of our demographic transition to a majority people of color nation by 2043. Our work to advance an equitable economy includes data and research, policy development, place-based initiatives, and strategic communications, including the production of a bimonthly national newsletter that lifts up promising practices, thought leaders, and new research on how equity is an economic imperative.

This is a new position that will help to move forward the key goals of the All-In Cities initiative and the organization’s equitable development research agenda. This position is expected to prepare the fellow for a career in policy analysis, research, or advocacy with a focus on racial equity in a broad range of non-profit organizations or government agencies.

Key duties and responsibilities:

  • Work closely with staff leading the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network learning community to build out the economic equity policies that complement the housing policy work of the learning community. This project will be developed in collaboration with community-based organizations, local policymakers and elected officials, national advocacy groups, and philanthropic partners;
  • Work with staff leads on our justice portfolio to develop a more integrated approach to justice and economic opportunity/security through the All-In Cities initiative, including research on divest/invest strategies that could be implemented in cities;
  • Conduct independent research and interviews to create original content expanding the All-In Cities online policy toolkit;
  • Respond to requests for research support from local leaders and organizations related to economic equity and inclusive growth;
  • Track recent literature and debates on inequality, mobility and economic equity; and
  • Research and produce reports, policy briefs, memos, and blog posts focused on innovative public and private sector models, best practices, and state and local policy initiatives that advance an equitable economy, including strategies to raise the floor on low-wage work, strengthen the capabilities of our diverse workforce, remove barriers to employment, create good jobs, and build wealth in low-income communities of color.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences;
  • Commitment to racial and social equity issues;
  • Experience working with low-income communities of color;
  • Demonstrated capacity for critical, independent, and creative thinking while working within and across teams;
  • Strong research and analytical skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to work within a fast-paced environment and maintain flexibility and a sense of humor while meeting deadlines;
  • Good time management skills and ability to effectively work on multiple projects; and
  • Knowledge of/interest in current themes and debates in economic issues concerning growth and development, including income inequality, intergenerational mobility, access to educational opportunity, and implications of demographic change.


  • Experience and/or academic coursework related to economic development and inclusion; and
  • Some familiarity with public policy and the legislative process.


  • Information on the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program:
  • All applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application System (
  • Application deadline: March 14, 2018, 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

This position is only available through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program.
You may not contact the host institution to inquire about this position.