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Director – Health Communications

Waxman Strategies, a mission-driven policy and communications consulting firm led by former Congressman Henry Waxman, is accepting applications for a Director Health Communications. We’re looking for talented candidates with experience in strategic communications focused on policy solutions, a strong commitment to health issues and health equity, and strong project management skills. 

As Director Health Communications, you will lead a critical part of our work to develop, influence, and advocate for policy related to health equity, health care systems, and public health by working with a variety of Waxman Strategies’ clients. You will bring communications expertise to our health client work — including strategic narrative building, media engagement, communications planning, and more — and work in close partnership with our experts in policy development, coalition building, and lobbying to develop and execute holistic plans to advance policies that will build a better future.

Who we are:

Recognized as “one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era” by President Obama, former Congressman Henry Waxman leads the firm’s work in the areas of health and the environment. Waxman Strategies uses advocacy, communications, and campaigns to shape policies. Building on a powerful legacy, we are driven by an uncompromising commitment to create and sustain change in the public interest.

Our Health Team uses its deep policy knowledge and experience to provide strategic counsel, issue analysis, policy development, communications strategy, and stakeholder and decisionmaker engagement support to our diverse portfolio of clients. Building on a powerful legacy, we are driven by an uncompromising commitment to create and sustain change in the public interest. A sample of our current health clients include: Arnold Ventures, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Commonwealth Fund, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Medicines360, the Public Health Institute, and United States of Care.  

Background on the position:

As Director — Health Communications, you will work closely with our health communications staff as well as the rest of our team of health policy experts, former Congressman Waxman, our CEO, and our clients to shape and advance policy around health issues, one of the most pressing and high-profile issues in our country. You will work to influence dialogue nationally, at the state-level, and inside the beltway on a range of health and health equity issues, including: addressing the rising cost of drug prices and health services; protecting and advancing reproductive health care rights and access; reducing nutrition insecurity; and more. You will be a part of a practice and firm that works to ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) practices are a central part of our work in a meaningful way. Our team recognizes the systemic racism and discrimination along with inherent inequities in our health care system and works every day to advance health equity through dedicated project work. 

Please note: The Director will serve as an invaluable mentor and project manager to junior staff, but will not immediately oversee staff as a direct supervisor. This could change in the future if desired.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Developing and managing annual work plans for clients to ensure timely, high-quality execution of tactics and deliverables to help advance policy goals;
  • Serving as a lead communications expert in collaborative, strategic work with colleagues with expertise in policy development, coalition building, and lobbying to develop holistic plans and work for clients to advance policy goals;
  • Serving as key point of contact with clients, leading day-to-day project management; 
  • Facilitating, leading, and contributing to strategic conversations with clients and health team staff related to communications approaches and plans in service of advancing client policy goals;
  • Leading work on a variety of communications materials — including press releases, reporter pitches, fact sheets, talking points, and op-eds;
  • Supporting narrative development with clients around their health policy focus areas, including translating complex concepts into simple messages to advance public policy solutions;
  • Strengthening and cultivating relationships with health reporters and health policy media, actively pitching stories and generating coverage, and training and managing staff around reporter outreach;
  • Supporting new business development research and conversations as needed; 
  • Bringing a strong DEIJ and equity lens to all internal and external work, including supporting firm-wide DEIJ initiatives and helping clients center this focus in their communications; and
  • Mentoring and project managing other health practice and health communications staff.
What we’re ideally looking for you in:

Key qualifications:

  • You have a minimum of five years of professional work experience, including a background in communications at the federal policy/ federal advocacy level. Experience working on health and health equity issues is a plus.
  • You are organized and have strong planning skills. You are capable of project planning the full scope of work for individual clients. 
  • You have strategic communications experience, including developing communications plans and tactics to advance a policy agenda. 
  • You have experience working as part of a team pushing to advance a policy goal and helping to align communications with policy and advocacy work.
  • You have experience distilling complex topics into simple messages targeted at a wide variety of audiences in service of advancing a policy agenda.
  • You are familiar with the D.C. political scene and have an understanding of federal legislative and/or regulatory work.
  • You have experience: directly engaging with reporters, coordinating communications across coalitions, writing public-facing materials such as press releases, placing op-eds, developing talking points and prepping/staffing spokespeople for interviews. 
  • You have spent time engaging with funders, clients, or stakeholders.
  • You have excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with people at varying levels of expertise on health issues, such as reporters and clients.
  • You are passionate about health equity and working on behalf of communities harmed by systemic discrimination.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience with DEIJ initiatives is a plus.
  • Experience analyzing opposition messaging and political climate/context to develop effective counter narratives is a plus.
  • A master’s degree in a related discipline is a plus.
  • Working knowledge of design across Canva, PowerPoint, and InDesign; experience interfacing with graphic designers; and fluency discussing design elements are pluses.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.

More about our team: The firm is made up of people from various backgrounds, including federal agencies, nonprofit advocacy groups, and legislative offices, at a range of experience levels. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming place for people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, parents, empty-nesters, and more.

Details: This is a full-time position. Candidates should be based in the Washington, D.C. area.  We primarily work remotely, but staff have access to our Washington, D.C. office.

You will report to our Senior Director of Health Communications and work with the rest of the health team.

Compensation and benefits: The salary range for this position is $95K- $125K, depending on experience. We have a generous benefits package, including group health insurance, dental benefits, unlimited vacation time, paid holidays, and a 401(k) plan.

Interview process: Our interview process involves a phone interview, two video interviews, a candidate exercise, and reference calls for candidates advancing in our process. 

To apply: Please complete our short application and submit a resume by clicking on the apply button. Please let us know how you heard about the job. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and the job will remain posted on our website until it is filled. 

If you require reasonable accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, completing any pre-employment testing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please contact Aliya at aliya@waxmanstrategies.com.

Our DEIJ Commitment: Waxman Strategies conducts our work with the understanding that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) values are central to our mission, our culture, our success and our impact. With the knowledge of this country’s historically unjust economic and social systems in mind, our organization tries to maintain a workplace environment that embraces the diverse backgrounds and identities of our team, partners and clients.

We strive to make decisions transparently and inclusively, working to eliminate barriers so that all present and future Waxman Strategies staff – particularly those with traditionally excluded identities – have equitable, comprehensive access to resources, opportunities for leadership, and oversight of day-to-day activities.

Equal Opportunity Statement: Waxman Strategies is an equal opportunity employer; we strictly prohibit discrimination against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression and any other characteristic protected by law.

Women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community and other historically marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.