A Career Opportunity

UNICEF is the world’s farthest-reaching humanitarian organization for children. Across 190 countries and territories, and in the world’s toughest places, we work day in and day out to help children survive. To defend their rights. To keep them protected, healthy and educated. To give them a fair chance to fulfil their potential. Our work for every child relies entirely on voluntary support, including donations from generous Canadians.

Director, Communications

(Permanent; Full time; Flexible-Hybrid; based either in Toronto or Montreal)

UNICEF Canada is seeking a high-performing, creative and strategic leader with exceptional communications and media relations skills to support the organization’s strategic plan and amplify the organization’s mission across Canada.

Reporting directly to the VP, Marketing & Communications, the Director, Communications, is responsible for leading an integrated communications strategy and leveraging key strategic brand campaigns, events or moments to advance UNICEF Canada’s goals and position the organization as a leader in the humanitarian space. The Director will lead a communications team skilled in media and influencer relations, digital and social content creation, and brand and corporate communications.

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the Director will provide strategic communications oversight and guidance on complex geopolitical and other issues as they relate to UNICEF’s work around the world. The Director will also act as a UNICEF Canada spokesperson and be part of an emergency response team within UNICEF Canada.

The ideal candidate is smart, collaborative, and strategic with the ability to think big and execute creatively.to win the hearts, minds and support of Canadians aligned with UNICEF Canada’s global impact, influence and income goals. You are also an inclusive and trusted people leader with a proven ability to coach and influence a high-performing team to advance UNICEF Canada’s mission and goals.

The responsibilities of the position will include:

Strategic Communications and Thought Leadership Planning (35%) 

  • Define the communications strategy in support of the strategic and operational priorities of UNICEF Canada, lead its implementation, and assess its impact.
  • Develop and execute a robust media relations strategy that situates UNICEF Canada as the lead organization on child rights’ issues. 
  • Lead a Strategic Communications Calendar that highlights moments of significance to make best recommendations on communications, advocacy and marketing campaigns to build UNICEF’s brand in Canada.  
  • Provide proactive and ongoing strategic communications advice to the Executive and Senior Leadership Teams.   
  • Provide thought leadership advice, guidance and support to the Executive team to advance UNICEF Canada’s strategic and operational goals.  
  • Maintain strategic relevance and provide oversight to the organization’s UNICEF Ambassador program in Canada.  
  • Actively participate in the organizational strategic planning process to embed strategic communications to drive growth in all areas. 
  • Provide leadership on setting content priorities for the organization. 
  • Lead the development and execution of proactive strategies to generate positive earned media coverage, as well as increased organic social media engagement. 
  • Work closely with the Programs team to identify and develop integrated strategies to help achieve UNICEF Canada’s operational and strategic goals. 
  • Oversee the team’s creation and dissemination of messaging to support media requests, as well as the professional development and training of UNICEF Canada spokespersons. 

Stakeholder Relations and Issues Communications (35%) 

  • As an active member of the Senior Leadership Team, informing the team of plans and strategies. 
  • Lead the team through the support the various operational areas by providing strategic consulting services and functional leadership as needed. 
  • Act as senior media spokesperson and contact for the organization as required.  
  • Develop strong relationships with key stakeholders’ groups, including Canadian media, colleagues at UNICEF international, UNICEF National Committees, counterparts at peer organizations, and key advocacy and government partners. 
  • Lead or support the team through the development and execution of proactive and reactive strategies, in consultation with UNICEF’s Global offices in times of global emergencies and/or reputational issues. 
  • Foster cross-functional relationships across organization to achieve common goals with clearly defined objectives and accountabilities. 
  • Act as the communications lead within the internal Emergency Response team during global emergencies.  
  • Work with the team to develop responses and disseminate global messaging and other communications to provide accurate and timely public information.  
  • Provide strategic communications guidance and support to Executives, SLT and other stakeholders as required, including all aspects of reactive and proactive media relations.  
  • Proactively manage issues affecting the organization's reputation with various internal and external stakeholders and the general public. 
  • In collaboration with Executives, provide on-site or remote support for emergency response operations (crisis management, content gathering, communications training, and media relations) as required. 
  • Liaise with Canadian government communications counterparts to ensure alignment of public messaging with UNICEF’s work, as required. 

People Leadership and Program Management (30%) 

  • Lead a dynamic, proactive and engaged team of communications professionals in the areas of media and influencer relations, digital and social content creation, and brand and corporate communications. Act as a leader and facilitator for team members, guide their actions and help them carry out their duties. 
  • Contribute to and lead the team through regular organizational and campaign reporting including KPI performance and outcome measurement of brand and operational objectives. 
  • Commit to creating a safe, inclusive and collaborative environment where all individuals feel valued, empowered and supported in reaching their full potential, regardless of their background or identity. 
  • Conduct individual and departmental annual goal setting, planning, and performance reviews as established by people management processes. 
  • Ensure team resourcing needs are evolving with the business requirements and for long term organizational goals aligned to budget. 
  • Ensure integrity with the organization’s mission and values in all people-related activities. 
  • Anticipate the long-term implications/risk of decisions and plan for contingencies, anticipating obstacles and roadblocks.  

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Experience and proven results in strategic communications leadership, issues management and media relations. 
  • Demonstrated experience developing and launching creative communications campaigns and initiatives. 
  • Strong and dynamic people manager who is a proactive, curious and a creative problem solver. 
  • A post-secondary degree, college diploma or equivalent years’ work experience in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations, or related field. 
  • A minimum of ten (10) years’ experience in a senior communications capacity, including experience in crisis management. 
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal). 
  • Strong budget management skills. 
  • Excellent relationship-building and interpersonal skills. 
  • A strong commitment to customer service (internal and external). 
  • Experience supporting an organization’s efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion and collaboration. 
  • Reflects the values of UNICEF Canada, including working with respect and inclusiveness, collaboration, fostering a knowledge sharing and learning environment, and driving impactful results. 
  • Experience in international development/affairs communications.  
  • French/English bilingualism (an asset).  

Working conditions:

  • This is a full-time position with a flexible schedule in hybrid mode, requiring a minimum of 2 days in the office per week.
  • Ability to work non-traditional and longer hours, often on short notice, especially during emergency response.  
  • Ability to assume on-call duties on a periodic basis outside of business hours to ensure media coverage in all Canadian markets and to provide surge capacity in case of emergency.  
  • We welcome applications from candidates eligible to work in Canada.

Salary Range: $107,000 to $131,000 per year.

What we offer

UNICEF Canada strongly supports workplace wellness and offers the following benefits:

  • Extended Health and Dental Benefits with Health Care Spending Account
  • Life insurance and AD&D
  • Short Term Disability (STD) 
  • Long Term Disability (LTD) 
  • Employer contributions (5%) to Group Pension plan
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
  • 2 paid personal days
  • 10 paid sick days
  • Maternity and Parental leave top-up
  • 4 weeks of annual leave (vacation time increases with time served)
  • One additional day of vacation on the anniversary of each year of service, up to a maximum of 30 days.
  • Staff Appreciation Days.
  • Currently offering Flexible-Hybrid work option. 
  • Learning and Development Opportunities.
  • Discounted rate for a GoodLife membership.  

For consideration, please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@unicef.ca by February 20, 2024. Please attach your cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume as one document and reference “Director, Communications” clearly in the subject heading.

UNICEF Canada sincerely thanks all applicants for their expressed interest in this opportunity, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Consistent with our Child Safeguarding Policy, the successful candidate must receive clearance by a police background check, including a vulnerable sector screen.

UNICEF Canada is an inclusive workplace and is committed to championing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process providing the applicant has met the requirements for the position.