Position: Chief Communications Officer
Office Location: The ideal candidate is currently or will be located in New York City or Los Angeles; however, this position can be located in any of the major metropolitan areas where Lambda Legal has a regional office*
Type: Per Lambda Legal's Work From Home (WFH) Policy, Work From Office (WFO) and WFH options are available with supervisor approval. Report To: Chief Executive Officer
Annual Salary Range: $190,000 - $200,000, dependent on experience and geographical region
Travel: Up to 15-20%
FLSA Status: Full-Time/Exempt
*Regional Office Locations
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Who We Are
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ+ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, DC.
We believe that advancing legal rights for the full breadth of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, we must approach our work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, we recognize the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, we prioritize awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.
Chief Communications Officer
Lambda Legal is searching for a senior communications executive to serve as Chief Communications Officer.
This is a wonderful opportunity for a seasoned media professional, storyteller and marketer to help shape public opinion and build public support on timely civil rights issues, while solidifying the brand of a 50-year-old organization poised to be the most influential leader and defender of rights in the LGBTQ+ movement over the next decade and beyond. Most of the rights that exist for LGBTQ+ people in this country have been won through impact litigation, many because of Lambda Legal. This story must be more fully told.
Lambda Legal has been too modest about its achievements for half a century. For the organization to meet this moment in which LGBTQ+ rights are under intensive threat across the nation, the organization’s every lever must be activated, including the design and implementation of an integrated strategic communications and marketing plan to amplify the mission and vision of Lambda Legal and its importance to the future of families and individuals of all ages throughout the country, especially the most vulnerable among us.
The Chief Communcations Officer will occupy a critical role in executing Lambda Legal’s strategic plan, key priorities of which are to complement legal advocacy with persuasive public education to secure LGBTQ+ rights against discrimination and to make Lambda Legal a household name. By raising the visibility and influence of Lambda Legal, the organization will reach new audiences, deepen its relationship with current constituents and attract new supporters to drive revenue that fuels its critical legal advocacy. A prominent profile and brand recognition will enhance the organization’s ability to drive civil rights progress, while supporting fundraising and development efforts to secure Lambda Legal’s long-term financial heath--another strategic objective and a priority for the communications and marketing teams.
The CCO will guide:
External communications, including public relations, earned media, and advertising to elevate the organization’s profile and, in partnership with the Legal Department, client storytelling and issue campaigns to help achieve and then celebrate legal victories, inform of the ongoing threats to the LGBTQ+ community and everyone living with HIV, and educate the public about our communities’ legal and policy needs;
Development communications, in partnership with the Development Department, to bring attention to the mission impact of individual, institutional, and corporate contributions and impress upon the public, through all channels, the importance of funding Lambda Legal; and
Digital strategies to reach new audiences and introduce Lambda Legal to new generations of philanthropists and activists. They will ensure their team’s every effort is in service of growing the visibility and impact of the brand and reputation along with the organization itself.
The integrated strategic communications and marketing plan will include clearly defined and measurable objectives, benchmarks, and timelines; it will build on existing strengths, realign underperforming initiatives, recruit new skill sets, and leverage new technologies to elevate the outputs of the communications and marketing teams and the outcomes of their collective effort.
Using market and data analysis, technology, and other sources of information, the CCO will work with their partners across the organization to maintain a relevant mix of communications approaches -- digital and analog -- to extend the organization’s reach to new and existing supporters.
The CCO is charged with increasing the productivity and effectiveness of the communications team by allocating resources to achieve the greatest return and aligning each individual’s role and skillset with the strategic priorities of the department, as set by the organization’s strategic plan.
Lead the creation and execution of a comprehensive, strategic, integrated communications and marketing plan that includes clearly defined and measurable objectives and timelines
Build on existing organizational and human capital strengths while using new technologies to deliver positive messages that advance Lambda Legal's effectiveness as an advocate and reputation as a formidable champion and defender of civil rights
Enable and execute rapid response communications that ensure Lambda Legal’s voice and expertise is included in relevant issues covered in the media, that increase public understanding and support for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion in public life, and that optimize opportunities to further engagement with new and existing supporters
Build an employer brand as a recruitment tactic for talented employees
Translate complex legal analysis for non-expert/non-legal audiences to amplify the stories of our lawyers, policy experts, clients, key stakeholders and impact
Develop communications strategies for every active case aligned with the respective legal strategy to inform the public and lead the sector in compelling, educational, and real-time storytelling
Devise a thoughtful internal communications strategy to lift up collective and individual achievements among the staff, message organizational imperatives and announcements and inform staff of systems and policies changes
Cultivate a clear, bi-directional, ongoing flow of information with the development and legal departments
Ensure communications remain at the forefront of political and cultural trends that affect Lambda Legal's work
Marketing, Brand Cultivation + Stewardship
Define the Lambda Legal brand internally and externally
Drive brand awareness and development to ensure the organization's recognition and reputation match its mission, reach and vision
Cultivate Lambda Legal’s brand, and leaders as viable, influential expert authorities on civil rights through top tier thought leadership and unique partnerships
Ensure the brand and reputation grow in visibility and impact along with the organization
Develop and lead a sophisticated marketing strategy that reaches Lambda Legal's base and target supporters with high-impact messages and campaigns that inspire audiences to take desired actions
Build and maintain a ladder of engagement for Lambda Legal that attracts attention to the organization, recruits new supporters, converts supporters to members and donors and assists in efforts to cultivate donors to higher levels of giving
Track brand mentions, implement tracking software and constantly evaluate content performance
Cultivate media relationships and secure placements of spokespersons among various media outlets and contacts
Identify major media placement opportunities for brand recognition, validity and increased donations
Support legal and development leaders who are faces of the organization in meeting their communications needs and growing their visibility
Build a comprehensive digital and video storytelling strategy
Leverage all external activities – case filings, victories, losses, development and community events, Pride, etc. – as opportunities to highlight and draw attention to Lambda Legal’s work.
Key Responsibilities as a Team Leader
Cultivate an environment of trust, excellence and accountability among the team
Offer problem-solving leadership, listen to, and coach staff to grow and develop with Lambda Legal
Model effective cross-departmental partnerships and collaboration, with an emphasis on communications-development and communications-legal departmental relations
Lead a team of communications professionals to ensure the team achieves organizational benchmarks
Ensure communications and marketing staff have the skills necessary to achieve their specific benchmarks
Ensure staff understand accountabilities, messaging priorities, policy details and goals and other information that position them to meet their benchmarks
Successful candidates will welcome the opportunity to work in a racially- and gender-diverse environment and to contribute to a positive and inclusive atmosphere. Working at Lambda Legal requires a demonstrated awareness of and commitment to the concerns of the breadth of the communities that Lambda Legal serves.
Education + Experience Requirements
Bachelor's degree in communications, marketing or related field; related experience is required and will be considered in lieu of degree in these areas; advanced degree a plus
A minimum of ten (10) years in a similar executive role with proven leadership abilities and strategic communications experience (previous work in legal setting and/or focused on social justice a plus)
Demonstrable commitment to leading communications and marketing staff and strategies with a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) lens.
Experience developing and implementing effective communications and marketing plans and establishing brand awareness
Demonstrated success in managing and leading teams through periods of change
Ability to build relationships and work effectively with diverse cross-functional teams
A collaborative approach to work and a demonstrated capacity to "play well with others", including colleagues in other departments
Proven success managing through change; comfort working under tight timelines in a fast-paced environment with grace and good humor while ensuring quality and accountability
Experience as a spokesperson is a plus
Experience with nonprofit advocacy fundraising communications desired
Skills + Competencies
High emotional intelligence; able to understand the needs and concerns of partners and colleagues
Collaborative and visionary leadership with a demonstrated record of success in developing and implementing multi-faceted communications and marketing efforts that position and elevate the profile and perception of an entire organization or institution with multiple audiences
Comfortable with change; flexible, and agile in a constantly transforming environment
Strong attention to detail with an analytical mind and superb problem-solving skills
Strong interpersonal skills, exceptional communication and presentation skills (both written and spoken), supervisory and decision-making skills; good judgement
Highly organized with excellent time and project management skills
Adroit decision-making; clear, decisive and patient with an ability to consider multiple factors in a dynamic, complex, nuanced environment
Experience working in a diverse and geographically distributed organization
Ability to cultivate and maintain strong relationships remotely
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills; ability to work creatively in a problem-solving environment
Resourceful, proactive, self-motivated with a strong sense of ownership and accountability
Possess the following personal attributes: Trustworthy, Strategic, Organized, Results-driven, Self-starter, Inclusive, Transparent, and Collaborative
Ability to balance time, care and trust-building
Integrity in every word and action
Benefits include Short- and Long-Term Disability, Life Insurance, Medical Insurance (Telemedicine included), Dental Insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program – all at no cost for the employee-only premium. Employees may obtain additional coverage for themselves and/or their families including Vision Insurance at a low cost. They also may enroll in a pre-tax Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Dependent Care Account, and Commuter Transit Account. Lambda Legal offers a 403(b)-Retirement Plan with a percentage match from Lambda Legal as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between Lambda Legal management and the Lambda Unites bargaining unit. Paid time off includes the opportunity to accrue up to 15 days of vacation, 3 personal and 12 sick. Lambda Legal observes 10 holidays per year and is supportive of observance of religious holidays.
Read more about Lambda Legal's work on our blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
Lambda Legal believes in creating a more equitable playing field for applicants and values the depth of relevant skills built through successful education, work, and life experiences. If your background and skills are a close match for this position, you are strongly encouraged to apply.
Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ+, HIV-affected and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. Lambda Legal encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship or immigration status, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals and individuals living with HIV are all encouraged to apply.