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Posted on July 17, 2020

Senior Director of Program Communications

Washington, DC or San Francisco, CA

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. 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 partner with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.  Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, Tallahassee, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, Chicago, and Washington, DC. 

In addition to a talented cadre of environmental lawyers, legislative advocates, and other staff, Earthjustice has a robust and savvy communications team that works in strategic partnership with every department at the organization to advance our public affairs and public relations objectives. We are currently looking for a Senior Director of Program Communications to lead the advocacy communications portion of our work, which is dedicated to advancing our programmatic goals. The position manages a large, complex team of roughly 20 national and regional strategists and press secretaries, providing high-level strategy guidance and priority-setting to the team along with active management of its day-to-day operations. The Program Communications team sits within the larger Communications Department, which numbers around 50 staff.

As the head of the Program Communications team, the Senior Director oversees messaging, media and advocacy work on our three major program areas (Climate & Energy; Healthy Communities; and Lands, Wildlife & Oceans) as well as on critical cross-cutting areas, such as politics and the intersectionality of environment and social justice. The Program Communications team is organized in a two-prong structure: a national strategy team that focuses on a set number of major issue priorities for the organization, and a regional strategy team that manages a much broader array of casework organized by geographic regions or programs. The Senior Director directly oversees the national team (which includes press secretaries), while managing and partnering with an Associate Director who oversees the regional team.

Additionally, the Senior Director sits on the Program Leadership Team (PLT), which consists of Vice Presidents from various departments, tasked with leading the overall programmatic work of the organization and ensuring alignment between litigation, policy, and communications. The Senior Director’s role is to provide leadership with high-level guidance and strategy on how to effectively use communications to advance our issues.

The Senior Director also plays a leadership role in the Communications Department, collaborating with the VP of Communications and other directors on setting department-wide priorities and policies, and managing relationships and workflows with other teams to ensure alignment and cohesive department morale.

Along with the Associate Director, this position serves as a critical liaison to managing attorneys and policy staff. Duties include level-setting expectations, articulating a clear vision of the role of program communications, and providing insight and clarity on communications decision-making and processes.

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


Strategy Development (40%)

  • Provide strategic leadership and guidance in the development, execution, and evaluation of high-impact program communications plans; ensure that communications strategy is integrated at the very outset of major programmatic initiatives
  • Spearhead top-level message development and framing for organizational positioning within the environmental movement and the broader progressive movement; oversee message development and framing for priority issue areas
  • Ensure prioritization and alignment of programmatic goals between Communications, Litigation, and Policy staff; serve as Communications representative in the Program Leadership Team which oversees program alignment and execution throughout organization
  • Partner with Associate Director in integrating regional communication strategies with national communication strategies, and ensuring that regional priorities are appropriately resourced; serve as liaison to managing attorneys and other regional staff to build cross-team partnerships, alignment, and understanding of the role and value of Program Communications
  • Oversee development and execution of national media strategy for priority issue areas; guide the development of organizational thought leadership; lead rapid response efforts during major media moments or crisis situations
  • Work with program staff to develop initiatives aimed at movement-building and expanding our partnership with diverse clients and partners; work with Communications and Development on initiatives to expand our supporter base through our program work

Team Management (60%)

  • Partner with Associate Director to foster collaboration between national and regional communications staff, including the formation of cross-cutting teams on high priority projects
  • Work with VP of Communications and Communications Directors to define workflows and processes on content strategy, production, and promotion; promote greater transparency on workflows and processes for partners in Litigation and Policy.
  • Directly manage national strategy team (which includes press secretaries) and the Associate Director of Program Communications who manages regional strategy team
  • Recruit, develop and retain talent who fit position requirements and organizational culture; provide appropriate training and onboarding to new staff
  • Deliver consistent performance feedback to staff – both positive and constructive – and act as a coach and mentor; develop staff by identifying and encouraging training and professional development opportunities and creating development plans
  • Lead team meetings and retreats and create other opportunities for teambuilding; foster a learning culture by encouraging innovation, honest feedback, and constructive debriefing after major projects
  • Create a respectful and inclusive work environment; promptly address micro-aggressions and other concerns brought to their attention; resolve interpersonal conflict among team members; ensure all supervisors within Program Communications follow company protocols and management best practices
  • Actively participate in trainings, learning opportunities, initiatives, and conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion; encourage staff to be equally engaged.
  • Manage Program Communications budget processes, including budget allocations, spending projections, expense tracking, invoicing
  • Manage other administrative functions for the Program Communications team as needed

Directly Supervises 6 FTE:Associate Director of Program Communications; National Communications Strategist for Lands, Wildlife & Oceans; National Communications Strategist for Healthy Communities; National Communications Strategist for Climate & Energy; National Communications Strategist for Justice & Partnership Storytelling; National Communications Strategist for Politics & Policy


  • Bachelor's Degree required. Concentration in communications, marketing, political science, or environmental studies preferred.    
  • Experience: 10+ years of experience managing a large, multi-functional advocacy 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.
  • Robust experience leading national advocacy communications efforts; critical thinker; able to see long-term, big picture but still anchor vision to concrete strategies
  • Proven experience overseeing the development of ambitious media plans; deep knowledge of current political and media landscape
  • Strong familiarity with environmental/social justice issues; experience working with legal field preferred
  • Ability to manage up and down; ability to engage 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 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
  • Exceptional people & management skills with rich history of leading large teams, including remote staff; enthusiastic about managing highly motivated, advocacy-oriented team with a wide range of skills and interests; ability to demonstrate strong emotional intelligence and cultural humility in day-to-day management
  • Demonstrate an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations
  • Contribute to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Candidate may be asked to provide a writing sample as part of the job application process

Salary is based on experience and location.

Salary range in San Francisco, CA: $175,200 - $194,700

Salary range in Washington, DC: $166,500 - $185,000

We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.

Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search.  Please submit your resume and expression of interest to Chris Spagnola, Partner, at and Jessica Martinez, Senior Recruiter, at

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are 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.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco:  Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles:  We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.


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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