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Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Req Number: XK741
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posted: 9/12/2017
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Education
Job Type: Permanent


Founded in 1851 in the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, Saint Joseph’s University is a top-ranked Catholic university that provides a rigorous, student-centered education. With a total enrollment of 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students, SJU offers a wide-array of academic programs designed so that each graduate enters the world with a competitive resume and global perspective.  This is achieved through intense academic study led by thought-leading faculty scholars, a comprehensive campus experience and robust study abroad, service-learning, internship and co-op programs. Upon graduation, nearly 100 percent of students are employed, pursuing advanced degrees or volunteering in prestigious service programs. A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, SJU offers 20 Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports. SJU alumni – over 60,000 strong - provide a powerful network that spans the globe. 


The Chief Marketing and Communications Officer (CMCO) is responsible for developing and implementing the communications and marketing strategy for Saint Joseph’s University (SJU), advancing and protecting the brand/reputation of the University, and in so doing advising the President, the VP for University Relations and other members of the University Leadership Council [ULC] on such matters. The leader will be a highly experienced senior executive who is passionate about the University and its mission. Using a broad range of digital and traditional media (with a major focus on digital), s/he will manage, lead, and inspire the marketing, branding, public relations and communications function, collaborating with stakeholders in various schools and units to align strategy across a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders.  The successful candidate will partner with senior University officials to advance the goals and mission of SJU. 

As a member of the University Relations team, the CMCO advises the President and University leadership on how best to develop, refine, and disseminate messages about the University’s key initiatives, and brand identity. Working in partnership with the President’s Office, together they will provide strategic direction for a coordinated suite of presidential marketing communications initiatives, including speeches, opinion pieces, media appearances, and campus-wide communications. 

The CMCO will manage a team responsible for covering a full range of marketing, branding, and communications responsibilities. The successful candidate will manage media relations; successfully drive our influencer strategy, promote faculty research through press releases, video, and other outlets; manage the design and implementation of the University brand on sju.edu; oversee SJU’s social media presence; manage the SJU brand and wordmark program; and provide communications assistance and support for web design, messaging, events, video, photography, media training, and related activities. The CMCO will play a key role in crisis communications strategy and will prepare for a diverse spectrum of potential communications scenarios. 

S/he must be committed to the mission of Saint Joseph’s University, understand the unique university culture, embrace its values, and be dedicated to its brand and advancement. S/he will be responsible for helping to create, carefully tune, and communicate messages to its internal and external stakeholder base. 

The CMCO is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of marketing communications strategy for SJU. Specifically, s/he will: 

  • Create and implement institutional strategic marketing, branding and communications strategy:
    • Develop an overarching strategic marketing, branding, and communications plan, which emphasizes and leverages the University’s unique strengths and excellent academic programs, differentiating SJU from institutional peers and conveying a cohesive message related to the University’s strategic objectives.
    • Create and implement a compelling brand position and media relations strategy, taking advantage of digital and print mediums, marketing, advertising, and press relations efforts to increase the visibility, understanding of, and support for SJU.


  • Create and implement an ongoing reputational analysis program, and establish the means for measuring the overall success of communications initiatives. Promote widespread recognition of SJU’s contributions to the neighboring community, the city of Philadelphia, and the world at large. Develop proactive initiatives that are designed to advance and elevate SJU’s standing, prestige, and reputation. Proactively promote members of the faculty in the media (e.g., publicize their research and connect them to relevant media and think tanks as experts and leaders in their field).


  • Align the current array of messaging and communication activities for greater impact and brand consistency across all channels; ensure the appropriate direction and coordination of key communications that reflect the highest degree of quality, consistency, integrity, and effectiveness.


  • S/he will organize and implement a state-of-the-art crisis communications effort, including digital and social media monitoring to ensure a proactive and effective response to unforeseen scenarios. When relevant, serve as an official University spokesperson to media, and also be a key member of the University’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).


  • Build upon the current internal communications foundation across the SJU community, with particular focus and sensitivity to students, faculty, and staff. Manage and coordinate the University’s internal communications policy, major announcements, and practice changes, with a focus on education and engagement of the campus community.
    • In support of SJU’s strategic initiatives, partner with the Office of Inclusion and Diversity in efforts to promote inclusiveness on issues of diversity.


  • Lead and manage a marketing and communications staff and program.
    • Hire competent and motivated individuals and organize them within the operation in the best manner to deliver on institutional goals.
    • Develop, mentor and enhance the team’s capabilities, especially in strategic marketing communications.
    • Build robust, positive, and collaborative working relationships with institutional leadership including members of the faculty and the ULC.
    • Work with various constituencies, including communications personnel across the University, to ensure consistency of all communications.
    • Ensure the marketing and communications function is seen as a collaborative partner able to address opportunities and concerns, and an office whose opinion on all communication matters is valued.
    • Demonstrate extraordinary leadership, strategic vision, innovation, creative energy, collaborative spirit and proven skills for conveying both internal and external messages.


  • Be positioned to implement an overarching marketing and communication strategy that better positions SJU by creating clear, compelling, and consistent messages about the University and its mission, its resources/assets, and its leadership.
  • Build/realign staff and operation to deliver on new strategies.
  • Establish positive working relationships with the President, VP for UR, the Provost, deans and other members of the ULC. Accordingly, build our respective confidence in the CMCO’s strategy and ability to implement.


The CMCO will be an experienced professional who understands that communication is more than a process of providing information: it is a critically important strategic function. S/he will also understand that brand is a perception constantly being shaped through every interaction. Accordingly, this person must be a persuasive advocate for higher education and for the ideas, images, and approaches that best promote and enhance Saint Joseph’s University’s outstanding reputation. 

The ideal candidate will have served in the chief marketing and/or communications officer role or held senior academic, corporate, or government roles such that s/he has the breadth of both strategic and leadership experience required to achieve critical success. S/he will be a strong and confident leader, with a minimum of 10 years of integrated marketing communications experience in a complex organization with a diverse stakeholder base. 

Candidates may be employed in any of the following professional environments:

  • Higher Education
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Public Affairs/PR/Marketing Agencies
  • Government/Politics (including campaign experience)
  • Corporate

Required professional experience and qualifications include:

  • A demonstrated capacity to envision, develop, and implement a successful and comprehensive marketing and communications program across an organization with multiple constituencies and wide variety of audiences, ideally in higher education.
  • A thorough understanding of, and specific experience in, developing and implementing branding and strategic communications plans in both traditional and new media.
  • Extensive knowledge of higher education issues.
  • A track record of creative and entrepreneurial management; the ability to build, lead, mentor, and motivate staff to function as a strong and collaborative team; the ability to support growth and change in both people and programs.
  • Experience providing strategic communications counsel to senior leadership.
  • Superb organizational and written/verbal communications skills, strong knowledge of and appreciation for digital media, and demonstrated experience in managing communications during crisis situations.
  • Exceptional judgment, a reputation for integrity and discretion, and the ability to think strategically and deliver tactically.
  • Ability to work effectively with external constituents including public officials, financial institutions, and venders.
  • Strong skills in partnership/teamwork, and comfort working in a collegial environment in which information is shared and decisions are made in a collaborative fashion, guided by the vision of the President and the operational leadership of the Vice President.
  • Experience working with a Board of Trustees that is appropriately engaged and sophisticated in financial matters.

 Personal Attributes:

  • Saint Joseph’s University seeks candidates with superlative interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to work well with people at all levels of an organization. Candidates must have strong personal integrity and work ethic; demonstrate equanimity and humor; be flexible and adaptable; and possess the self-assurance and confidence needed to inspire trust and gain acceptance in an established organization. Candidates should be personally well grounded and steady under pressure, responsive, and highly professional. 


For well over a century, Saint Joseph’s University has advanced the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a rigorous Jesuit education – one that demands high achievement, expands knowledge, deepens understanding, stresses effective reasoning and communication, develops moral and spiritual character, and imparts enduring pride. 

An SJU education encompasses all aspects of personal growth and development, reflecting the Ignatian credo of cura personalis. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually through an intense liberal arts curriculum and advanced study in a chosen discipline. Students mature socially by participating in SJU’s rich campus life, noted for its rich variety of activities and infectious enthusiasm. Students grow spiritually and ethically by being challenged in their thinking and encouraged to live their values within the University community and beyond. 

Located on the edge of metropolitan Philadelphia, SJU provides ready access to the vast career opportunities and cultural resources of America’s fifth-largest city, while affording students a cohesive and intimate campus experience. Striving to be an inclusive and diverse community that educates and cares for the whole person, SJU encourages and models a lifelong commitment to thinking critically, making ethical decisions, pursuing social justice, and finding God in all things. 

SJU has two principal academic colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences and the Erivan K. Haub School of Business. In total, SJU offers over 55 undergraduate day majors, 50 minors and over 30 degree completion and certificate programs including online options. Graduate programs (business or arts and sciences) include over 40 areas of study; many programs offering both campus-based and online delivery options. Special programs include Study Abroad, the Honors program, the Cooperative Education Program, Summer Scholars, and Service-Learning. SJU is approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education and accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


The successful candidate must possess a B.A. or a B.S. Advanced degree preferred.


A competitive compensation package will be provided to outstanding candidates.


The Search Committee will begin reviewing candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For priority consideration, please send materials by October 15, 2017. Applications should consist of a detailed resume and a letter summarizing motivation, relevant leadership experience, and qualifications. 

To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and all applications (PDF files preferred) should be submitted, in confidence, to: 



Paul Chou
Senior Client Partner, Global Education Practice
Philadelphia, PA
Peter McDermott
New York, NY
Kirsten Larsen
Senior Associate
Boston, MA
Andrea Cruz
Project Coordinator
New York, NY


Saint Joseph’s University is a private, Catholic, Jesuit institution and expects members of its community to be knowledgeable about and make positive contributions to its mission. Saint Joseph’s University is an equal opportunity employer that seeks to recruit, develop and retain a talented and diverse workforce. EOE M/F/V/D


Korn/Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.





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