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Senior Director, Program Communications

Program Communications    •    Washington, D.C.

Earthjustice is the premier non-profit environmental law organization.  They take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. They wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. The organization partners with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of the time, and bring about positive change. They are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections.  They achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.  With a current operating budget of $65MM and a committed staff of 300, Earthjustice is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Alaska, California, Florida, Mid-Pacific, Northeast, Northern Rockies, Northwest, Rocky Mountain, and Washington, D.C.


In addition to a talented cadre of environmental lawyers, legislative advocates, and other staff, Earthjustice has a highly creative and savvy communications team that works in strategic partnership with every department at the organization, helping to move the needle on important issues while building robust public support for our work. The Senior Director of Program Communications leads the Program Communications team within the Communications Department, which consists of national and regional communications strategists and press secretaries with expertise in advocacy campaigns, media relations, and storytelling. Most of that team is located in Washington, D.C., where the Senior Director is based, but the position will work closely with other direct reports and colleagues in San Francisco, New York, and other regional offices across the country.

The Senior Director oversees communications strategy and execution on our three major program areas (Climate & Energy, Healthy Communities, and Lands, Wildlife & Oceans) as well as on critical cross-cutting issues such as access to the courts.  Each of these program areas are supported by a two-prong structure: national communication teams that focus on a set number of marquee issue priorities, and regional communication teams that focus on a given geographic region or program. The Senior Director will directly manage the national communications teams, while working closely with an Associate Director who will manage regional communications staff. The entire Program Communications team currently amounts to 18 full time employees, while the Communications Department as a whole numbers around 40 employees.

In addition to overseeing the Program Communications team, the Senior Director will play a leadership role in managing relations, partnerships, and work flows with the Brand Communications team within the Communications Department (consisting of editorial, marketing, digital, multimedia, social media and graphic design staff) as well as with attorneys, policy staff, and senior leadership within the organization. Along with the Vice President of Communications and other Communications Directors, the Senior Director of Program Communications serves on the Communications leadership team, collaborating on department-wide communications plans and policies, and working with staff across Earthjustice to achieve shared organizational goals.

To succeed in this role, candidates must be seasoned strategic communications leaders with exceptional management and communication skills and strong emotional intelligence. The Senior Director of Program Communications must be able to serve as a respected leader, an inspiring mentor, and a trusted partner for her/his team, forging successful partnerships within the doors of Earthjustice and beyond.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Staff & Project Management (60%)

– Ensure prioritization and alignment of work between Program Communications and litigation and policy staff on marquee issue areas

– Work with Associate Director to foster collaboration between national communication staff and regional communications staff, including the formation of cross-cutting teams on high priority projects

– Oversee all media efforts pertaining to national priority issue areas; work with Associate Director to manage media strategy for regionally significant casework; oversee the tracking, reporting, and analysis of media hits to the organization and board

– Work with VP of Communications and Communication Directors to define work flows and processes between Program and Brand Communications on story development, production, and promotion of high-value content

– Partner with Brand communications in content strategy meetings to plan and prioritize the execution of major storytelling endeavors that serve both program and brand communication needs

– Directly manage national communications and media strategists and the Associate Director of Program Communications in charge of regional communications

– Deliver annual performance reviews for staff; provide ongoing coaching and mentoring; lead team meetings and retreats

– Develop strategy documents, work plans, schedules, budgets, and reports; manage the overall Program Communications budget, including contracts, expenses, and spending projections.

  • Strategy / Research (20%)

– Provide strategic leadership and guidance in the development, execution, and evaluation of communications plans and media strategy among Program Communications and litigation and policy staff. Strategies include earned media, digital storytelling, community organizing, coalition building, events, online advocacy and other audience engagement tactics.

– Spearhead message research and polling to help with message framing and audience targeting; work with communication strategists to develop talking points and narratives around key issue areas

– Work with staff to develop initiatives aimed at movement-building and expanding our partnership with diverse clients and partners; work with Brand Communications and Development on initiatives to expand our supporter base through our program work

  • Communications Leadership Team (20%)

– Represent program communications interests as a member of the communications leadership team to spearhead and implement organizational policies, and enhance coordination and planning across the Communications Department

– Work with communications leadership team to cultivate a positive and welcoming culture within the department, and serve as a positive ambassador for Program Communications to other departments

– Partner with Marketing Director and National Media Strategist on executive communications and thought leadership program to elevate the media profile of senior leaders; work with National Media Strategist on rapid response situations and crisis communications if needed


  • 10+ years of experience managing a large, multi-functional communications team. Management experience in nonprofit/advocacy organizations, media, and community organizing a plus.  
  • Background in environmental issues, environmental law, social justice, and other progressive advocacy preferred.
  • Bachelor's Degree required. Concentration in communications, marketing, political science, or environmental studies preferred.    

Critical Competencies / Critical Success Factors:

  • Exceptional leadership and management skills; enthusiastic about leading a highly motivated, advocacy-oriented team with a wide range of skills and interests, spread across multiple locations
  • Proven experience overseeing national advocacy campaigns and major press initiatives involving a broad range of internal and external stakeholders
  • Deep knowledge of the current political and media landscape, as well as comfort with social media and other digital advocacy tools
  • Ability to manage key stakeholders in the handling of fast-changing political and legal situations requiring rapid response
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with demonstrated experience in public speaking. Ability to speak persuasively and to build strong relationships internally and externally
  • Outstanding organizational skills with demonstrated ability to maintain oversight and prioritize a broad range of communication and administrative activities
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. Experience effectively managing staff, stakeholders, and vendors in a positive, collaborative team environment, and exhibits outstanding team building/collaborative skills.
  • High level of emotional intelligence.
  • Candidate may be asked to provide a writing sample as part of the job application process.
  • Skill in operating various office equipment. Ability to perform routine bending, stooping, twisting, and reaching. Ability to travel periodically to Advocacy Communications staff in other offices.
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Personal / Professional Attributes:

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Experience successfully managing a creative and diverse staff.
  • Exceptional knowledge of communications, brand marketing, online fundraising, and advocacy fields.
  • Experience managing large department budget in a fiscally responsible manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement projects and work plans.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience with public speaking.
  • Ability to think strategically.
  • Knowledge of information technologies.
  • Excellent computer skills.  Ability to use a variety of computer and online systems.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.


Earthjustice offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package.

To Apply:

Earthjustice has retained the executive search services of DHR International. Please send your expression of interest and resume to

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Core values lead the company to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve the mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.  As an equal opportunity employer, the company is committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.


If you need reasonable accommodation in order to complete the application, interview or some other portion of the selection process for a job at Earthjustice, please contact Human Resources at

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About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.