Job Listings

Chief Communications Officer

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, 02138
Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School


Job Summary
As Chief Communications Officer (CCO), you will lead, manage, motivate, and develop a talented team of 15 staff that comprise the Office of Communications and Public Affairs (OCPA) to design, execute, and assess integrated strategic communications that (1) elevate the School's shared priorities to both internal and external stakeholders, (2) amplify the policy impact of the School, giving "voice" to the research, (3) in coordination with key offices, set the strategic direction to promote and market educational programs and events with partner offices, articulating the value proposition of such programs and events that are fundamental to the Harvard Kennedy School's (HKS) teaching and learning mission, and (4) strengthen and protect the institutional position and further evolve the School's brand identity and reputation. The CCO will approach this mission-centric work with a high degree of creativity, a willingness to experiment, take calculated risks, and adapt to evolving communications modalities.  

The CCO reports to the Executive Dean with a dotted-line reporting to the Dean's Office on crisis communication.

Position Description
As CCO, you will:
  • Develop, execute, and assess integrated strategic communications programs encompassing editorial content creation, media relations, digital communications, executive communications, publications, brand management, and marketing campaigns, for both internal and external audiences, leveraging various modalities and channels to reach different audiences and leveraging the skills and talents of the OCPA team.
  • Provide leadership and effective personnel management to the OCPA team, promoting collaborative interdisciplinary teamwork, experimentation, creativity, open communication, responsible self-direction, and professional development.
  • Work closely with the Dean, Dean's Office staff, and Executive Dean, as well as with other HKS leaders, faculty, and communications experts in creating and implementing an effective communication strategy that reflects and advances the School's priorities.
  • Lead the HKS-wide communications affinity group (CAG), which includes communications staff from other administrative departments and HKS research centers, to ensure integration, collaboration, consistency, and improved cross-unit communication processes. Strengthen relationships with communications professionals across the School.
  • Lead and strengthen coordination and alignment of priorities and information sharing between OCPA and leadership and communications/marketing staff in Professional and Lifelong Learning (Executive Education & Public Leadership Credential), Degree Programs and Student Affairs, and Alumni Relations and Resource Development.
  • Provide strategic guidance to support the enrollment goals of all academic programs, including Professional and Lifelong Learning (Executive Education and Public Leadership Credential), including mapping the right tools to the right audiences.
  • Spearhead media relations, particularly in crisis communications and when immediate and strategic media communication is needed in response to crises and other urgent matters at the School (i.e. talking points, statements). Work very closely with the Dean, Executive Dean, and Dean's Office on media and public messaging.
  • Work with School leadership to manage and respond to challenging media issues. Act as chief spokesperson for the school with the media; communicate with both internal and external audiences, including news media and professional communities.
  • Build effective relationships with key members of the HKS community and serve as a thought-partner on a wide range of communications issues.
  • Drive the development of a compelling and effective editorial and digital presence resulting in vibrant and responsive online communications that support School priorities and initiatives and advances the policy impact of faculty research, and work with the OCPA team to identify and proactively tell compelling narratives that fully capture diverse stories coming out of HKS.
  • Bolster internal and external communications regarding HKS's initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Take a proactive approach to editorial content, marketing, media relations, social media, and owned digital and print platforms ensuring that HKS messages and stories reach key target audiences and have impact.  
  • With other senior administrators, maintain appropriate communications policies to ensure that privacy regulations, public safety efforts, and HKS-wide practices are understood and effectively implemented.
  • Work with the Dean's Office to ensure compliance with University use of name policies, including trademark, logos, and other graphic products where appropriate.
  • Employ appropriate metrics and analytics to measure impact of cross-channel communications initiatives. 
  • Establish and sustain a productive relationship with Harvard Public Affairs and Communications and other communications staff across the University.
Basic Qualifications
Bachelor's degree and at least 10 years of experience in progressively responsible positions within the Communications field. Experience managing staff.

Additional Qualifications and Skills
Professional and Personal Profile
If you have some, but not all of the following, you are encouraged to apply; we value employees with a willingness to learn:
  • Master's degree in communications, journalism, or a related field preferred.
  • Innovative strategic communications leader with at least 10 years of successful experience in progressively responsible positions; adept at building relationships and navigating complex organizations and issues while advising and providing sound communications counsel at senior levels.
  • Experience in higher education or other non-profit organization is preferred. 
  • Experience in developing strategies to effectively communicate research to public and social sector audiences preferred.
  • Experience experimenting with different communications modalities and multi-pronged approaches to reach different audiences.
  • Demonstrated success leading and managing teams.  Successful track record as a leader, hands-on manager, and strategist.  Able to execute effectively and achieve change in a large, complex, decentralized, and mission-driven organization.
  • Demonstrated savvy and success in media relations and brand and reputation management, including adeptness at managing press and media opportunities, and proven effectiveness in employing social media and other digital technologies.
  • Experience with brand development and management; familiar with marketing campaigns.
  • Substantial experience responding to and managing communications in response to crises and issues.
  • Successful track record of moving projects forward, coordinating multiple programs simultaneously, thinking critically and anticipating future demands and developing forward-thinking approaches. 
  • Demonstrated experience in diversity-related communications and ability to make strategic diversity-related decisions regarding all communications.
  • Ability to judiciously build consensus, manage relationships across a diverse group of internal and external constituents, and decisively problem-solve in a fast-moving, decentralized organization.
  • Skilled in leading, motivating, and developing a diverse team of strategic communications professionals, and in being a role model who demonstrates respectful and collaborative behavior with multiple stakeholders.
  • Knowledgeable of and a commitment to the mission of education and research and/or public policy and leadership.
  • Successful track record of navigating a complex, matrix environment with multiple internal/external audiences.  Able to manage/lead through influence.
  • Demonstrated understanding of shared governance and collaborative decision-making as it relates to consensus building around programs and messaging. 
  • Must have excellent oral and written communications skills. 
  • Superior interpersonal and organizational skills, along with a demonstrated ability to think strategically and critically.
  • Must be able to consistently exercise sound judgement and possess strong skills in the areas of leadership, persuasion, negotiation, and people management. 
  • Team player; strong people and relationship skills, a highly visible and accessible management style, and a genuine willingness to listen.
  • Confident decision-maker; self-starter with high energy/drive, a sense of humor, a positive attitude, and is results oriented.
  • Demonstrated success with financial planning and management.
  • Commitment to fostering an inclusive culture.
Additional Information
Important Application Instructions:
Harvard Kennedy School has retained the Executive Search Firm, The Ward Group, to lead the search efforts.  Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to:
and reference "HKS" in he subject line.

Learn more about our work culture and see yourself at Harvard Kennedy School.

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.
Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background checks. 
Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

This is a hybrid position based on our campus in Cambridge, MA.  As a campus-based institution, we place a high value on the in-person experience, cross-team collaboration, and strong community building in order to create a vibrant campus for our students, faculty, staff, and research fellows. Specific days and schedule will be determined between you and your manager.

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Salary Range: $181,800 - $336,400
Note: Starting salaries are determined by the scope of the position, the candidate's relevant experience, and internal equity.

Work Format Details
This is a hybrid position that is based in Massachusetts. Additional details will be discussed during the interview process. All remote work must be performed within one of the Harvard Registered Payroll States, which currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, and California (CA for exempt positions only). Certain visa types and funding sources may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.

About Us
Through its commitment to research, teaching, and engagement with practitioners, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) has been enhancing public policy and leadership for over seventy years, fostering societies that are safer, freer, more just, and more sustainably prosperous. Today, Harvard Kennedy School stands as one of the world's leading social science research and teaching institutions, encompassing 12 research centers and institutes, educating over 900 degree program students annually, 2,000 learners through the Public Leadership Credential program, and offering more than thirty executive education programs with 4,500 participants annually. With a global reach and influence, Harvard Kennedy School boasts over 46,000 degree program alumni across more than 200 countries and territories, 1,000 Public Leadership Credential alumni, and 60,000 Executive Education alumni, serving in diverse roles within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website ( to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:
  • Paid Time Off: 4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.
Job Function

Department Office Location
USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
CM0262 Communications Management Dir

Work Format
Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)


Salary Grade

Office of Communications & Public Affairs

Annual Salary Range

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Hourly Rate and/or Rate Range

Time Status

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard Kennedy School's Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism

At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership-because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.

Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School's commitment to Diversity Equity, and Anti-Racism.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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