The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) is one of the pre-eminent organizations in the world focused on advancing Africa
Driven by a commitment to support governments address the policy and institutional barriers that hamper sustained economic growth on the continent, ACET was founded in 2008 with the support of national governments alongside major multilateral, bilateral donors and foundations. ACET is an economic policy institute that provides research, policy advice, and institutional strengthening for African countries to develop their economies, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods. To learn more about ACET visit our website.
- Think Tanks
- Public Relations
Background and Summary of the Position
The Director of Communications will be responsible for promoting and enhancing ACET’s brand, reputation and stature as Africa’s preeminent policy institute. The Director will lead the development of an ambitious, forward-leaning, integrated communications and reputation management function that delivers bold advancements in ACET’s reputation among key internal and external stakeholders.
As ACET continues to grow and expand its scope and strategy, the need to clearly define, differentiate and position the institution is more acute than ever. ACET is seeking a Director of Communications, who will be responsible for promoting and enhancing ACET’s brand, reputation and stature as Africa’s preeminent policy institute with a singular mission: to help governments and business deliver economic transformation that improves lives.
The Director of Communications will lead the development of an ambitious, forward-leaning, integrated communications and reputation management function that delivers bold advancements in ACET’s reputation among key internal and external stakeholders – including current and prospective employees, existing and potential donors, the media, and global thought leaders – in a manner that inspires confidence, trust, and excitement.
The Director will: evaluate and determine how best to structure the global communications function; develop, manage and mentor a high performing team; and create and implement proactive, distinctive, and coordinated communications strategies that further evolve ACET’s global narrative and solidify the organization’s position as the clear leader among its peers.
The Director will serve as ACET’s top advisor and counselor to the President and executive management team regarding all strategic messaging and institutional positioning matters. Specifically, they will be responsible for leading all internal and external communications, including media relations; internal communications; executive communications; partner communications, policy communications; digital communications; and thought leadership activities.
This is a distinct, career-defining opportunity to make a lasting impact on ACET’s growth and success as an innovative, rapidly evolving organization that is committed to shaping the future of Africa and its transformation.
Duties and Accountabilities
Reporting to the Executive Vice President, the Director of Communications will be responsible for the following:
- Manage the development and implementation of an overarching communications strategy that is aligned with business objectives, ACET’s mission and values, and ensure that it is integrated and consistently articulated to a diverse array of internal and external stakeholders.
- Provide strategic counsel to ACET’s President and executive leadership team regarding all strategic communications issues. Stay abreast of global trends and storylines ensuring ACET has a voice in key moments and conversations, as appropriate.
- Evaluate, manage and lead a high-performing communications team (5 core team and 2 consultants). This includes determining how best to structure the team, building bench strength within the team, and providing ongoing opportunities for professional growth and development.
- Serve as the organization spokesperson and senior-most advisor on all issues related to communications and reputation management.
- Develop, strengthen and manage strategic relationships with top-tier media and influencers. Leverage relationships to secure strategic media opportunities that advance ACET’s priorities.
- Help to ensure that ACET is speaking with “one voice” across all channels (editorial, social and digital) and stakeholder groups, both internally and externally.
- Drive and manage executive communications and thought leadership opportunities, including pursuing high-profile media appearances/interviews, speaking engagements and conferences. Support the President and the executive management team in interactions with external media by providing messaging counsel and coaching, and proactively identify opportunities to drive earned media.
- Direct the overall planning and strategy of ACET’s live or virtual events. This will include defining goals, success metrics, and messaging for events, implementing best practices and developing planning standards, policies and procedures.
- Establish strong and collaborative working relationships with ACET’s key partners to ensure that all communications strategies are aligned, consistent and synchronized.
- Build and lead an internal communications strategy that engages, inspires and informs staff and further connects them to ACET’s mission, vision and values.
- Support ACET’s fundraising and donor outreach strategy by ensuring globally consistent messaging strategies.
- Manage ACET’s branding and editorial content, including the positioning of flagship reports, and the writing, development and pitching of opinion pieces and blogs.
- Develop and manage an effective crisis and issues management program that monitors and tracks potential reputational risks that could be disruptive to ACET’s work.
- Ensure that the communications function is leveraging and experimenting with cutting-edge communications tactics and techniques, particularly via digital and social channels.
- Drive quantifiable impact of ACET’s perception in the media, including ACET’s share of voice.
- Develop monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes to assess the effectiveness of communications activities and share results on a regular basis.
- Manage all creative agency and third-party vendor relationships, as necessary.
- Establish a department budget and manage within expectations.
Experience and Qualifications
The successful candidate will have a keen intellect and a strong long-term results orientation; a passion for ACET’s mission; and a relentless commitment to continuously improve, inspire and grow. S/he will be a hands-on, highly collaborative, genuine leader who can define and drive transformational change while also fostering teamwork and building cross-functional partnerships. This individual will also have a deep understanding of and appreciation for the relationship between culture, brand identity, and authentic communication, regardless of audience.
- 15+ years of progressive leadership experience in broad-based communications roles with large, diverse, global organizations.
- Demonstrated and successful experience serving as a primary spokesperson to the media, and managing crises with agility, speed and sound judgment.
- Demonstrated track record serving as a strategic advisor to CEOs/chairman level and/or senior leaders in an organization, combined with the proven ability to develop and effectively manage strong working relationships with professionals at all levels of an organization.
- Hands-on media relations experience and established relationships with top-tier media and digital influencers globally, particularly in Africa.
- Demonstrable experience of raising the profile of an organization, through delivery of successful communications strategy and campaigns. Proven track record in securing influential media.
- Proven success in hiring, developing, mentoring and inspiring a team of professionals who perform at world class levels and deliver measurable results.
- Proven record of developing and executing integrated communications strategies within fast-paced, dynamic, rapidly changing environments that require sound judgement, discretion and speed. This includes the ability to strategically weave social/digital and new media into evolving communications plans.
- Strong ability to take research findings and turn them into compelling communications content, such as blogs, social media content, video and other assets.
- Prior experience in a policy, economic development, a think tank or international development organization is a plus, with a desired focus on Africa.
- Strong understanding of social, economic, political and public policy issues, and the proven ability to take an institutional strategy and translate it into a communications plan in a clear and compelling manner.
- A strong and relevant media and press contact list based on individual countries, region and global contacts.
- Superior writing, editing and verbal presentation skills.
- Clear command of leading-edge communications, measurement and analytics tools.
- Proven ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively across business units, functional departments, geographies and disciplines through transparent communication and effective collaborative leadership skill.
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills. A good working knowledge of French is a plus.
- Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree a plus.
How to apply:
Interested applicants should email their CV and an accompanying cover letter to [email protected] (NB: applications sent via other channels will not be considered)
The closing date for the receipt of applications is 30th April 2021.
Kindly note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.