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Chief Communications Officer

The Optical Society

Washington, District of Columbia 20036
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
The Optical Society
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Job Details

The Optical Society is recruiting for a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) who will develop and implement an exceptional communications plan for The Optical Society (OSA), directly managing communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s messages and brand. The individual will be an ambassador for the organization and will build relationships with the volunteers and stakeholders across the globe, as well as with other members of the OSA Executive Team to ensure consistent branding, messaging and advocacy. The goal is to advance the organization’s position and visibility with relevant constituents, as well as to drive broader awareness and donor/financial support for OSA and the value and benefits of optics and photonics.  The CCO serves as an active member of the Executive Team and works collaboratively across OSA to complete projects and meet/exceed goals.




1.      Communications Strategy, Vision, and Leadership


Lead, direct, manage, monitor, and evaluate OSA Communications activities focused on internal and external relations to support OSA’s mission and enhance OSA’s reputation.  Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance OSA’s brand identity; broaden awareness of its programs and initiatives; and increase the visibility of its programs across key stakeholder audiences.  Identify challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization. Work with Executive Team and staff to recognize internal and external communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them. Provide input to the strategic planning process.


2.      Organizational Branding and Marketing


Serve as principal convener of OSA Branding and Marketing Steering Committee composed of individuals from appropriate OSA divisions (Publishing, Meetings and Industry, Membership, Foundation, etc.). Work collaboratively with units and outside consultants as needed to develop and maintain a comprehensive branding strategy, updating current brand guidelines, creating templates for use, empowering units to be creative, and auditing their usage. The Steering Committee will be responsible for ensuring compliance with branding guidelines and messages throughout the organization in a consistent manner. The Steering Committee will also be responsible for ensuring that marketing and communications efforts throughout the organization are consistent in extending the OSA brand and logo.  


3.      OSA Digital Platforms


Serve as principal convener of Steering Committee composed of individuals from appropriate OSA divisions (IT, Publishing, Meetings and Industry, Membership, Foundation, etc.) to ensure optimal visibility, timeliness, and consistent messaging on and its constituent websites. Working with IT and outside consultants as needed, oversee, overhaul and redesign of and updates to Oversee video content strategy and creation across OSA platforms for brand, tone and voice.


4.      Public Relations


Ensure effective development, implementation, and evaluation of public relations plans for individual programs.  Initiate proactive focus on positioning OSA and evaluation of efforts and modification based on assessment. Work with individual OSA divisions to develop social media guidelines and monitor compliance with guidelines. Ensure that all opportunities for the CEO, Executive Team and Officers are fully vetted.  Draft materials for the CEO and officers of OSA as needed, including speeches, messages, columns, presentations, and introductions. Use various forms of video to create engaging stories which align with our brand values and goals.


5.      Internal Communications


Develop and deliver an annual internal communications strategy, with goals of promoting strategy and brand awareness and inspiring employee engagement across the company.Strategically manage and partner with key stakeholders with content development and programming across communication delivery channels including intranet, all staff meetings, events, webcasts, digital communications and email distribution. Work with highly confidential materials across a wide spectrum of constituencies and coordinate multiple projects simultaneously. Establish, interpret and recommend communications for company-wide policies and practices.Collaborate with PR Director to anticipate and manage internal and external crisis communications.






1.      Oversee special projects/initiatives as requested

2.      Liaise with teams and organization for crisis management

3.      Oversee, coach, and mentor staff by challenging, motivating, and promoting their professional development through goal-setting and effective evaluations

4.      Anticipate operational needs and plan accordingly for appropriate staffing, costs, and efficient operations

5.      Establish policies and procedures for communications and ensure the development of operational guidelines as needed 




  1. Master’s degree required; candidates with relevant experience will be given priority
  2. Fifteen years’ professional work experience in progressively more responsible roles in external and internal communications, branding, including at least five years professional work experience in project management and proven supervisory experience
  3. Experience working with a volunteer, governance-driven science-based organization (i.e., professional & individual membership); priority will be given to candidates who have worked in scientific/engineering nonprofit organizations and scientific/engineering societies
  4. Experience with a fast-paced office environment and shifting priorities
  5. Strong record of accomplishment of high integrity, sound judgment, confidentiality, and discretion




1.      Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to operate diplomatically, effectively, and collegially with volunteers, members, customers, colleagues, and staff

2.      Outstanding leadership; oral and communication skills

3.      Ability to lead by example, develop and challenge staff, and develop effective teams

4.      Innovative and resourceful problem-solving ability, focus, and initiative

5.      Ability to see the “big picture,” think strategically, synthesize large amounts of data and information, and draw appropriate conclusions

6.      Excellent planning and project management skills, with a keen attention to prioritization, execution, deadlines, and efficiency

7.      Excellent financial skills from developing and managing budgets to analyzing return on investment, explaining variances, writing budget narratives, and making projections

8.      Ability to adapt to a rapidly changing situation/fast paced environment

9.      Ability to travel domestically and internationally



Located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, OSA offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to




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