The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1966. We are the leading organization devoted to celebrating and advancing Chicago as a center of architectural innovation. Our mission to inspire people to discover why design matters serves the dual purpose of challenging public audiences to understand the environments that affect their lives while providing them with the tools and knowledge to shape their environment. Through docent led tours, including the world renowned architecture river cruise, festivals, exhibitions and public education programs, CAC connects people with the architecture that defines Chicago and reflects its history and influence. At the heart of CAC’s mission is its collaboration with local schools and major youth-serving organizations to execute on our vision to engage youth in the wonders of design and inspire them to explore the built environment. With unique programs for students in grades K-12, CAC offers hands-on opportunities for exploration in STEM and STEAM education.
*CAC employees are temporarily working remotely due to COVID-19*
The Director of Communications is responsible for managing and directing the organization's press efforts and helping to position CAC as a prime tourist destination and local cultural attraction for a variety of audiences. This position will:
- Create an institutional press strategy promoting the various “product lines” of the CAC (Center, Tours, Programs, other) and positioning CAC as the premier organization that educates and engages the public in a discussion about design, architecture and infrastructure through tours, exhibits and programs with press.
- Manage advocacy communications media interviews with the CAC president and other designated spokespersons; assisting in adverse event and crisis communications.
- Create and manage media lists, writing op-eds, letters to the editor, and guest blog posts, responding to incoming requests from working journalists and influential bloggers and utilizing media monitoring platforms and return on investment metrics.
- Oversee and manage internal communications to internal constituents, including: The Board of Trustees, Docents, President/CEO and staff.
Duties and Responsibilities
Media Relations and Public Affairs
- Establish and manage implementation of a comprehensive annual calendar for public relations, internal and external media services, community relations, government relations, and special events.
- Develop a comprehensive long-range and short-term public relations plan, in conjunction with the CEO, that maximize public awareness of CAC; set priorities and goals; analyze and report on progress in achieving them
- Develop positive media relations, including preparation of news releases and feature articles, as well as coordinating interviews between CAC staff and press, radio and television representatives, while ensuring that all messaging is on brand.
- Coordinate media relations on behalf of CAC and its officers. Prep experts and/or senior leadership for press interaction. Interact and interface with all key departments to manage media activities. Assist, from the media standpoint, in the management of special events (i.e. exhibit openings, donor recognition, galas, city activities).
- Strategize press pitches, pitch and follow up.
- Write press releases.
- Be flexible, willing to pivot and respond to the changing needs and landscape of the media.
- Develop strong relationships with members of the local, national and international press that benefit the CAC.
- Support outreach, and partnership efforts at public events and with community and government organizations.
- Manage crisis communication and media.
- Monitor, analyze and track print and broadcast coverage.
- Leveraging public affairs and communications strategies in partnership with senior leadership to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
- Write, edit and proofread institutional writing projects within the organization, such as speeches and policies.
- Respond to and manage confidential and sensitive information with poise, tact, and diplomacy.
- Assist with communication projects as needed.
- Write press releases
- Develop pitches and pitch stories
- Media tours
- Maintain media database
- Work with media partners
- Work with CAC team
- Champion organization-wide and departmental initiatives focused on becoming a more equitable and inclusive institution.
- A bachelor's degree and at least 7 years of experience. Degree and/or experience in journalism, communications or marketing preferred.
- A proven record of success in communications, public/media relations and public affairs/government relations. Experience advancing these activities for an educational institution, government, non-profit or other complex organization is preferred.
- Demonstrated ability to establish strong relationships with news media at the national and local levels.
- Demonstrated ability to oversee and produce strategic communications employing a range of content across a variety of communication vehicles.
- Professional, energetic ability to take initiative with demonstrated poise, tact, and diplomacy, including with confidential or sensitive information.
- Comprehensive knowledge of grammar, punctuation and AP Style. Should be able to write materials that do not need proofreading.
- Excellent writing and communications skills.
- Excellent public speaking skills and the ability to serve as a spokesperson for the CAC.
- Experience with Crisis Communications and/or Public Affairs Communications.
- Commitment to providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for staff, volunteers, and visitors.
- Superior customer service orientation and skills. Must be a proactive and enthusiastic team member and team leader throughout the organization as a whole.
- Flexibility and the ability to work evenings and weekends, as the job requires.