Marketing and Communications, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Politics/Policy

Vice President for Communications

  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Washington, DC

This position has been filled.

The Opportunity

Think tank outreach has changed dramatically during the past decade. To keep ahead of the competition, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) External Relations department has doubled in size over the past five years with new, dedicated teams focused on multimedia, streaming and broadcasting, podcasts, and social media to accompany more traditional functions such as publications, media relations, conferencing, and Congressional outreach.

CSIS has also recently completed a major strategic plan. One of the critical elements of this plan is to grow the Center’s audience and impact and strengthen its brand around the core issues that will be foundational to the future of America’s national security.

To help implement this strategic plan and help CSIS adapt to a changing landscape, CSIS seeks a Vice President for Communications who can work with the Chief Communications Officer, Vice President for Programs and Operations, Executive Vice President, and President & CEO to develop and execute on a vision for CSIS’ future outreach. The Vice President for Communications will work with the Chief Communications Officer to provide overall, Center-wide leadership for strategy, planning, and execution of all outreach activities.

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • Be a strong manager of a diverse and dynamic workforce of 50 staff who have both technical and creative backgrounds;
  • Be able to work collaboratively with CSIS’ approximately 50 scholars and subject matter experts to develop comprehensive outreach strategies that align with their individual theories of influence; and
  • Contribute to developing comprehensive strategies across a range of communications enterprises and manage teams to implement such lines of effort. Contribute to front-facing efforts to help shape the public image of CSIS by hosting events and podcasts and working with institutional leadership to develop the organization’s distinct visual style, as well as manage critical internal communications across CSIS programmatic areas of study.

CSIS is looking for a rising thought leader within the field of public policy communications specializing in foreign affairs, national security, and/or economic and development policy. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to impact the effectiveness of CSIS and its scholars in defining the future of national security.

CSIS Overview

CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.

Founded in 1962, CSIS’ purpose is to define the future of national security. The organization is guided by a distinct set of values: non-partisanship, independent thought, innovative thinking, cross-disciplinary scholarship, integrity and professionalism, and talent development. CSIS’ values work in concert toward the goal of making real-world impact.

Today, CSIS is one of the world’s preeminent public policy institutions on foreign policy and national security issues. Policy makers rely on CSIS’ work and its intellectual integrity. The Center’s 250 full-time staff and large network of affiliated scholars conduct research and analysis and develop policy initiatives that look to the future and anticipate change. They organize conferences, publish, lecture, and make media appearances that aim to increase the knowledge, awareness, and salience of policy issues with relevant stakeholders and the interested public. CSIS is regularly called upon by Congress, the executive branch, the media, and others to explain the day’s events and offer recommendations to improve U.S. strategy. CSIS has impact when its research helps to inform the decision-making of key policymakers and the thinking of key influencers, working toward a vision of a safer and more prosperous world.

CSIS has been ranked the #1 think tank in the U.S., #1 think tank for national security in the world, and #1 think tank for external relations by the University of Pennsylvania’s “Global Go To Think Tank Index.”

Required Qualifications and Experience

While CSIS will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience:

  • Passion for CSIS’ mission and areas of focus. Intellectually curious, with a broad understanding of the national security and international policy issues CSIS covers.
  • Minimum of 10 years of outreach experience in roles of progressive leadership responsibility, with a working knowledge of all areas within outreach, including publications and multimedia production, media and Congressional relations, podcasts, and events and conferencing, preferably within a nonprofit organization that is national or international in scale. Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a nonprofit setting that prioritizes engaging new audiences in new ways.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide strategic and operational management, with at least seven years of senior-level outreach management experience, including creating and managing a budget. A supportive and accessible management style and strong record of recruiting and developing talented individuals. A history of increasing the effectiveness of a communications department and staff through established objectives and performance standards.
  • Demonstrated ability in working with communications in support of achieving organizational goals. A functional understanding of how to effectively leverage various communication platforms and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact, and experience working with technical tools and with a technical and creative staff.
  • Experience in international relations and the cultural sensitivity it requires. A global orientation and knowledge of strategies and trends in global communications.
  • Strength in developing strategic outreach plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. Experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization.
  • Highly developed skills in organizational efficiency and project leadership, including demonstrated accomplishments while working with cross-functional teams. Skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions when necessary to meet goals or respond to changing priorities.
  • Sophisticated understanding of the Washington, D.C. policy environment and corresponding networks is strongly preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree strongly preferred.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

CSIS has retained the Diversified Search Group for this engagement. Managing Director Gerard F. Cattie, Jr. is leading the search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed via email to



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