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Director, Communications


Position: Director, Communications
Reports to: Associate Vice President, Marketing Strategy, Digital, & Communications
Department: Marketing and Communications
Location: Toronto
Status: Permanent, Full-Time

The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Life. We don’t want you to miss it.™

That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. Powered by donors and volunteers, we fund life-saving research and help Canadians lead healthier lives. 

Heart & Stroke is a health charity active in communities across the country. We are sustained by the commitment and generosity of more than 100,000 volunteers and more than 1.4 million donors.

The Opportunity

Are you a seasoned, confident communications leader who integrates innovative communications strategies seamlessly across digital and traditional channels? Can you differentiate your influencers from your celebrities? Do you know your way around content strategies and the alphabet soup of tools that can amplify, optimize and analyze your content? If so, and you’re also passionate about fighting heart disease and stroke, we should talk.

The Director, Communications is responsible for managing and directing the organization’s communications to build awareness and raise the profile of Heart & Stroke to better engage with donors, volunteers and people with lived experience; to protect and strengthen the brand; and to advance philanthropy to achieve Heart & Stroke’s vision and mission.  

This position works collaboratively developing integrated campaigns and initiatives with the marketing strategy, social media and digital teams, as well as providing a shared service support function to different mission and fundraising teams. This role leads our organizational content strategies across our communications platforms, supporting health information seekers, donors and potential donors in developing strong engagement and emotional connection with the foundation.

The position also enhances organizational cohesion, shared understanding, transparency and employee engagement by driving internal communications in close collaboration with the learning and development team, and the office of the CEO. This role further provides counsel and issues management support to the CEO and senior leadership.

Key Responsibilities

Communications Strategy Planning and Execution

  • Leads development of an integrated overall communication strategy.
  • Oversees development and implementation of communications strategies for the organization in order to increase the profile of Heart & Stroke’s work in research, advocacy, systems change, patient support, fundraising and volunteer development. This includes brand campaigns, corporate and internal communications
  • Stays abreast of trends and emerging professional practice to enhance Heart & Stroke’s communications strategies, integrating best-in-class approaches and new tools/channels as appropriate
  • Works with internal stakeholders across the organization as an expert communications advisor to develop and implement communications strategies and activities that support their goals. 
  • Supports senior leadership including the CEO, through the development of speeches, presentations, key messaging, briefing notes, counsel on issues management. 
  • Oversees development and execution of an internal communications strategy, prepared in collaboration with HR, learning and development and office of the CEO.
  • Oversees planning and execution of intranet site
  • Develops and updates issues management protocol; is lead communications counsel in management of organizational issues and crises.
  • Acts as organizational spokesperson as appropriate
  • Oversees the national communications roll-out of initiatives such as health reports (e.g., Heart & Stroke Reports) and public awareness campaigns with an understanding of the need to customize at a local level.

Communications Strategy Planning and Execution 

  • Leads development of an integrated overall communication strategy.
  • Oversees development and implementation of communications strategies for the organization in order to increase the profile of Heart & Stroke’s work in research, advocacy, systems change, patient support, fundraising and volunteer development. This includes brand campaigns, corporate and internal communications
  • Stays abreast of trends and emerging professional practice to enhance Heart & Stroke’s communications strategies, integrating best-in-class approaches and new tools/channels as appropriate 
  • Works with internal stakeholders across the organization as an expert communications advisor to develop and implement communications strategies and activities that support their goals.
  • Supports senior leadership including the CEO, through the development of speeches, presentations, key messaging, briefing notes, counsel on issues management. 
  • Oversees development and execution of an internal communications strategy, prepared in collaboration with HR, learning and development and office of the CEO.
  • Oversees planning and execution of intranet site
  • Develops and updates issues management protocol; is lead communications counsel in management of organizational issues and crises.
  • Acts as organizational spokesperson as appropriate
  • Oversees the national communications roll-out of initiatives such as health reports (e.g., Heart & Stroke Reports) and public awareness campaigns with an understanding of the need to customize at a local level.

Content Management 

  • Oversees development and execution of content strategy working with marketing strategy and digital teams (links with health information)
  • Supervises health information team, which works with mission and digital teams in producing and disseminating health information products and tools on heart and stroke conditions/diseases that meet the diverse needs of our constituents
  • Works closely with the Mission team to ensure the quality, credibility and scientific validity of our information.

Measurement and Evaluation 

  • Responsible for ongoing monitoring, measurement and reporting on our communications strategies
  • Testing of new methods and tools to assess their potential and integration into our communications strategies, as appropriate.
  • Evaluation of impact of our communications strategies against stated goals
  • Adjustments and changes in response to evaluation results

Collaboration and Integration 

  • Works jointly with marketing strategy, digital and social media in development and execution of brand initiatives
  • Works closely with the Mission team to ensure the quality, credibility and scientific validity of our information and alignment to our policy and advocacy positions.  

Administration

  • Develops and manages national communications budget and consults with program teams to ensure their communications budgets are sufficient
  • Contributes to the development, implementation and monitoring of systems and procedures necessary to the smooth operation of the communications department
  • Creates realistic budgets to support communications plans, and track spending.

Talent Management

  • Leads talent development, ensuring high standards, competence and that staff is well supported in fulfilling their accountabilities, developing their skills and achieving their career potential.  
  •  Provides clear direction on business goals and priorities; ensures optimal deployment of resources to achieve business goals.
  • Builds and develops cohesive lateral relationships cross functionally.
  • Establishes performance plan and objectives and reviews on an ongoing basis; provides coaching and feedback as per the performance management process
  • Recruits skilled talent in support of current and future Foundation needs, following Foundation policies, interviewing methodology and assessment guidelines. 
  • Understands and complies with all HSF policies while ensuring accurate administration of employee related information: absence records, vacation, title.

Reporting Relationships

  • Senior Manager, Communications (3)
  • Manager, Internal Communications
  • Regional Director, Marketing & Communications West
  • Regional Director, Marketing & Communications East
  • Editor
  • Senior Manager, Health Information
Qualifications

Education

  • Post-secondary education in communications, public relations, marketing or business; or related technical degree and combination of equivalent extensive background with strong communications experience.

Experience and Skills 

  • Minimum 10+ years related work experience, management experience in non-profit and/or healthcare industry preferred.
  • Experience in aligning plans and activities with organizational goals and objectives and experience in advising senior decision makers. 
  • Experience and confidence working with reporters, including issues management. 
  • Experience working successfully in a matrix organization 
  • Experience working successfully in a digital-first environment in an integrated way with marketing, digital, social media teams to maximize impact
  • Experience with content marketing
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate change in a complex governance and operating environment 
  • Strong leadership skills with ability to coach and direct others
  • Highly collaborative style; sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board members, volunteers, donors, program participants, and other supporters
  • Relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to " influence without authority"
  • Ability to lead cross-organization change/development
  • Proven high level of creativity with ability to innovate and build
  • Solid strategic thinking and analytical oversight skills
  • Knowledge of communications strategy development and execution theory, principles and practices.
  • Knowledge of communications processes, techniques and activities, including research, strategy, implementation and evaluation.
  • Digitally savvy with a comfort level in working across digital and traditional channels
  • Proven success in content management, developing and implementing communications, public relations and marketing plans.
  • Flexibility and ability to work with uncertainty
  • Strong influence, persuasion skills
  • Practical perspective, willing to roll-up sleeves as necessary
  • Strong computer skills and ability to use technological tools to organize and advance the work of the team (i.e., MS Office Suite, SharePoint, CRM and other workflow tools).
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills, ability to multi-task and work under tight deadlines with advanced organization skills and strong attention to detail. 
  • Superior verbal communications and interpersonal skills, with the ability to deal with all levels of staff, volunteers and suppliers, providing impeccable customer service.
  • Dedicated team player possessing an unflappable positive ‘can do’ attitude, with demonstrated innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in the form of continuous improvement to internal processes, able to work independently and to collaborate. 
  • Excellent writing/editing skills
  • High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position communications discussions at both the strategic and tactical levels
  • Self-starter, able to work independently, and entrepreneurial; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives
Applying

If you have the qualifications and share our passion for our mission, we invite you to forward your resume, cover letter and salary expectations to HSFC.Recruitment@heartandstroke.ca. We offer comprehensive benefits including pension, dental and medical coverage.

This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Please include the exact job title, including location, in the subject line of your email.

We thank all applicants for their interest however, due to volume, we can only contact those selected for interviews.

Candidates from diverse groups are encouraged to apply. We are committed to fostering an inclusive, barrier-free and accessible environment. If you have been contacted for an interview and require an accommodation due to disability to participate in the recruitment and selection process, please advise and we will work with you to meet your needs.

Learn more and get involved with Heart and Stroke at www.heartandstroke.ca
 
™Life. We don’t want you to miss it., Saving moments. Funding breakthroughs. Saving lives., and the heart and / Icon on its own or followed by another icon or words in English are trademarks of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

 

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