Senior Communications Manager | The 11th Hour Project

Senior Communications Manager
Palo Alto / Menlo Park, CA

About the Organization

The 11th Hour Project, a grant-making entity of The Schmidt Family Foundation, is committed to promoting a responsible relationship with the planet’s food, water and energy resources. Their work focuses on exposing and addressing the human and climate costs of destructive energy, agricultural and mining practices, while supporting efforts to advance more ecological and people-centered models. They believe that diversity brings about greater sustainability on all levels and aim to use their resources to generate greater social and environmental diversity through grant-making and other related investments. The 11th Hour Project is an equal opportunity employer and strives to create an atmosphere where diversity of identity, experience, and background are welcomed, valued and supported.

To learn more about The 11th Hour Project, please visit their website.

The Opportunity

The Senior Communications Manager will join the 11th Hour Project at a time of strategic evolution, increased visibility, and growing impact. Reporting to the Director of Emerging Strategies, the Senior Communications Manager will help to shape and lead the implementation of the Foundation’s newly revised communications strategy across The 11th Hour Project’s programmatic areas. With support from a growing and passionate team, they will continue to build momentum to identify, develop, and execute against opportunities to amplify the work of the Foundation and its grantees, while also raising broader awareness of key issues across a wider audience. The Senior Manager has the compelling opportunity to participate in and support a crucial movement towards a more regenerative economy through systems-level work at the nexus of energy, food and agriculture, and human rights.

Working collaboratively with and across teams, the Senior Manager will develop thoughtful narratives and create platforms of engagement for staff, grantees, and partners. Operating with the belief that the media has a critical role to play in highlighting the voices of disenfranchised communities and shedding light on underreported issues, this person will play a central role in carrying out The 11th Hour Project’s mission to raise awareness, leverage powerful storytelling tools, and influence action around some of the most pressing global issues of our time.

Key Responsibilities

11th Hour Project Communications Strategy (70%-80)

  • Articulate and implement a communications strategy of heightened but considered visibility for the foundation, aligned with the foundation’s desire to serve as an effective platform and source of leverage for its grantees and the important work they do.
  • Ensure that all communications pieces are aligned with the Foundation’s mission, brand, and identity.
  • Develop communications best practices to be implemented across Program areas, ensuring consistent messaging and delivery as well as effective crisis communications.
  • Lead event planning related to the Foundation’s annual CONNECT conference for grantees as well as other convenings throughout the year. 
  • Work in close partnership with Program staff to judiciously pitch stories, develop op-ed and other partner pieces with grantees and influencers as well as relevant speaking engagements.
  • Serve in an advisory capacity to Program staff relating to building grantee communications capacity.
  • Support Board communications through the development of talking points, speeches and synthesis of media metrics relating to programmatic work. 
  • Develop and implement social media strategy aimed at deeper engagement and increased visibility across platforms.

External Relations (20-30%)

  • Serve as the primary lead for all media relations work, pitching stories, developing op-ed pieces, and managing media outlet relationships.
  • Work closely with grantees to identify media opportunities to raise awareness of their work, crafting stories and developing partnerships to advance their causes.
  • Manage vendor relationships, setting objectives and timelines for deliverables.
  • Contribute to a small portfolio of media-focused grant making that is part of the Emerging Strategies program.

The Ideal Candidate

The 11th Hour Project seeks a communications professional who is driven and energized by a genuine belief in the Foundation’s mission and passionate about their programmatic areas. While content expertise is not required, candidates must demonstrate the intellectual curiosity to become a knowledgeable partner to both the Program staff and grantees. The successful candidate will leverage their communications expertise to work with and across stakeholders with the ever-present goal of expanding awareness and driving action around critical issue areas.

The incoming Senior Manager will bring experience designing and implementing communications strategies for mission-driven organizations, understanding how to distill organizational goals and needs into tangible strategic direction. Exceptional written and verbal communications skills are a must, along with the ability to develop and tailor content for use across a myriad of platforms and channels while translating complex topics into accessible, relatable, compelling narratives. Ideally, candidates will also bring a background in journalism and/or strong experience in media relations. This person will have a demonstrated track record of successfully pitching stories to media and securing coverage, while also staffing Program team members and sector experts in the creation of purposeful content.

As the primary person executing against the Communications strategy, the Senior Manager must bring strong project management skills and the ability to lead initiatives from inception to completion. Ideal candidates will be organized and detail-driven, able to juggle multiple priorities and comfortable managing through influence to achieve objectives and deliver against timelines in a dynamic and results-oriented environment.

Given the Foundation’s focus on increased exposure, the Senior Manager will need to bring a nuanced understanding of how to thoughtfully engage all staff as the organization tests new levels of visibility. Rather than operating as a sole contributor, the ideal candidate will collaborate with and support Program staff in ways that demonstrate a genuine desire to understand their work and that of their grantees. Leading with a sense of humility, the Senior Manager will possess a high degree of emotional intelligence, a mindset to iterate strategy to achieve alignment of foundation mission and key programmatic priorities, and a consultative approach to partnering with sector experts.

Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must possess a minimum of seven years of professional organizational communications experience, with a focus on media relations, public relations, digital media, and/or marketing. Journalism experience is highly desirable. Experience working in philanthropic and/or mission driven organizations is a plus. Communications / campaign experience related to social movements is also desirable, although not required.

Impeccable, top-notch written and verbal communications skills are essential, as is an understanding of how to translate complex topics into relatable content. Candidates should also bring strong project management skills and the ability to prioritize demands in a fast-paced environment amidst growth and strategic evolution.

This position will be based in Palo Alto, California with minimal domestic and international travel. In the near future, The 11th Hour Project will relocate its office to Menlo Park, California.

To Be Considered

The 11th Hour Project is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates who contribute to this diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.

To be considered, please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest and fit for the role via Waldron’s Candidate Web Portal.

The search for a Senior Communications Manager for The 11th Hour Project is being assisted by a team from Waldron:

Alison Kaneko, Search Director
Direct: 415.678.5001

Eliza Kinrose, Engagement Manager
Direct: 415.529.2057