Vice President for Communications

  • Washington Office on Latin America
  • Washington, DC, USA

Job Description

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) seeks a VP for Communications. This position works with staff at all levels of the organization to design and implement comprehensive strategies that advance WOLA’s advocacy on behalf of human rights in the Americas. WOLA seeks a bilingual, talented leader who will join the organization’s senior management team and who will build on WOLA’s success, guiding the organization to expand our impact and external reach through three pillars: advocacy-focused press and media relations, strategic communications and innovative multimedia content and campaigns, and audience expansion and engagement through strategic marketing and outreach.
Vision for Communications at WOLA:
  1. Advocacy-focused press and media relations. Through strategic, high-impact press engagement the VP helps advance programmatic goals and positions the organization as a leader on human rights, Latin America, and U.S. relations with the region. Press and media relations should include but not be limited to traditional large and small media outlets and should include both traditional and non-traditional formats.
  2. Strategic communications and innovative multimedia content and campaigns. In coordination with program staff, oversee the design and implementation of strategic communications plans, processes, and products including: message development, editorial content, digital and video production, highly creative graphics and data visualization, web content, and social media.
  3. Audience expansion and engagement. Collaborate in leading WOLA's efforts to expand audiences and audience engagement through innovative strategies to increase our impact and support. The communications field is evolving and WOLA wants to remain on the cutting edge. Expansion and engagement of audiences require experimentation, knowledge of the latest developments in the communications field, and close collaboration across the organization, especially between the communications and fundraising teams.
The VP for Communication will drive the strategy on how WOLA can be most effective in these pillars along with collaborative efforts across teams. New resources will be required to expand WOLA’s impact in the medium to long term, especially in the second and third pillars. The Communications team is currently structured for a VP, two direct reports, and a Senior Fellow as strategic advisor. WOLA is seeking resources to expand the team, and the strategy developed and implemented by the VP will be essential in obtaining those additional resources.
Qualified candidates will demonstrate initiative, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively in both English and Spanish. This position brings a committed individual into contact with journalists and other members of the media, as well as human rights, religious, cultural, and foreign policy communities in Washington, Latin America, and Europe.
WOLA is an organization in which everyone is self-motivated, goal-oriented, and passionate about our work. We are committed to what we do. Our leadership works hard to support us with a culture of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. WOLA has twice been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of D.C.’s “Best Places to Work” and by The Washington Post as one of D.C.’s best-managed nonprofits.
WOLA’s office has a full-time staff of approximately 25, plus seven interns and six senior fellows.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Contribute to WOLA’s overall organizational strategy as part of WOLA’s management team.
  • Supervise a team of communications professionals and work with all staff to implement cutting-edge communications strategies.
  • Integrate communications strategy into WOLA’s annual planning process to maximize strategic impact.
  • Advise WOLA’s President on communications strategies and opportunities, including drafting talking points and speeches.
Media Relations and Messaging:
  • Work with programs to develop effective communications campaigns and messages to meet advocacy goals.
  • Ensure messaging consistency and coordination across programs and platforms.
  • Create proactive press strategies that position the staff as experts and that influence policy.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with journalists, editorial boards, and media outlets.
  • Edit, approve, and/or oversee drafting of press releases, op-eds, media advisories, etc, as needed.
  • Lead rapid response and crisis communications efforts.
Institutional Communications:
  • Create an annual communications work plan and a corresponding budget to meet the organization’s needs.
  • Ensure WOLA’s brand guidelines are followed across all departments and products vehicles.
  • Ensure that WOLA’s products, website, online platforms, videos, and graphics adhere to the organization’s high quality standards.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key audiences, including with press, partners, activist celebrities, and others.
  • Strategically position WOLA and its programs to build brand strength and credibility, establishing presence at events, publications, and any convenings where WOLA should be present.
  • Work in close and regular partnership with the fundraising team to advance WOLA’s sustainability, partnering on messaging and campaign designs, as well as through key activities, such as WOLA’s annual Human Rights Awards and Benefit gala.
Digital, Social Media, and Multimedia:
  • Provide strategic guidance on the creation of multimedia products including microsites, videos, infographics, and interactive projects.
  • Develop innovative communications campaigns, in collaboration with programs and fundraising, to advance organizational and programmatic goals.
  • Ensure WOLA’s website and social media platforms function effectively for advocacy, institutional, and fundraising goals.
  • Seek and establish relationships with outside consultants and vendors, including graphic designers, professional videographers, web developers, etc.
  • Ensure that the technologies that WOLA’s communications team relies on are up-to-date and top notch.
  • Train staff on communications processes, guidelines, and equipment.
  • Help staff develop communication capacity through trainings and coaching.
  • Develop mechanisms to monitor the impact of our communications strategies.
  • Keep rigorous metrics of how WOLA’s informational products are consumed and shared, and apply lessons from those metrics to future products. Report quarterly on communications metrics and benchmarks to management, the Board of Directors, and staff.
  • Strong commitment to human rights and Latin America.
  • Deep knowledge of U.S.-Latin America policy issues and debates.
  • Experience with human rights non-governmental organizations in Latin America.
  • Fluency required in English and Spanish; able to speak, write, and edit with fluidity in both.
  • Knowledge of and experience with communications as an advocacy tool to impact policy.
  • Must have 8-10 years of professional experience in the field of communications, journalism, or a related field of advocacy, policy, or human rights.
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Masters preferred.
  • Strong experience with U.S. national media and in-country press in Latin America, extensive contacts with them desirable.
  • Must have experience designing and implementing communication campaigns with proven, successful results.
  • Experience in management of a department and/or team.
  • Expertise in social media and multimedia.
  • Work well under high-stakes, high pressure environments.
  • Diplomatic, adaptable, creative, innovative, flexible, and persuasive.
  • Additional job requirements: overseas travel required; full-time position; some long hours and occasional weekend work required based on the rapid response aspect of the job.
SALARY: Commensurate with experience. Full health, dental, vision, and life insurance 100% paid by employer; four weeks annual vacation.
DEADLINE: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
START DATE:  As soon as possible.
TO APPLY: Please submit, in English, the following items in one PDF document: cover letter, resume, and two one-page writing samples, one in English and one in Spanish. Please also include a list of three references with daytime telephone numbers and email addresses and send the application to
-No phone calls please-
WOLA values a diverse workplace and encourages minority candidates to apply. WOLA is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate based upon race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, or any other status protected by applicable law.