Director of Marketing and Communications

  • Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Jan 09, 2020
Full time Marketing Media Communications Public Relations Non-Profit

Job Description

About MPC:


For 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Northeastern Illinois region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges.  MPC is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with an established track-record of high-quality research, advocacy and demonstration projects to help our region and its local communities thrive. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems—with a focus on economic development, vibrant neighborhoods, quality housing, sustainable water management, and transportation choices—and we think ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.


With a professional staff of 28 and growing, three Senior Fellows and a team of Research Assistants/Interns, MPC’s 2019 budget is $5.062 million.  More information on MPC can be found online at:


The position:


MPC is seeking a Director of Marketing and Communications to advance organizational goals through strategic communications. The Director will oversee and develop MPC’s brand, strategic media & messaging, marketing tools, and communications capacity, promoting MPC’s experts as thought leaders. Ultimately, the Director will elevate MPC’s profile and attract new supporters and allies to our work. 


Reporting to MPC’s President, the new Director will be a strong and creative team leader with extensive experience and a demonstrated track record of delivering a full range of integrated marketing, public relations and communications initiatives and activities.


  • Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance MPC’s new brand identity (to be adopted in Q4 2019); broaden awareness of its agenda and priorities; and increase the visibility of its overall impact across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Oversee the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range of marketing and public relations activities related to the strategic direction and positioning of the organization and its leadership.
  • Manage communication activities and content that promote, enhance, and protect the organization's brand reputation, staying on the cutting edge of emerging technologies.
  • Work with staff to develop effective message and communications strategies for a range of MPC’s policy, systems-change and narrative-change goals.
  • Co-develop and execute innovative public and private event concepts, including attracting top-tier speakers, moderators and event sponsors that grow MPC’s audiences, advance project goals and align with organizational priorities and values.  
  • Develop co-branded events and communications opportunities with peer organizations throughout the region and country, and coordinate closely with various coalitions.
  • Work with external advisors to design and launch an interactive content hub.
  • Provide media relations coaching and training to staff and prepare MPC experts for interviews and other public appearances.
  • Regularly conduct targeted outreach to local, state, regional and national reporters and bloggers; Develop key relationships with press and secure growth in top tier media hits.
  • Respond in real time to media inquiries on a range of issues (from TV networks and cable television to the trade press and bloggers)
  • Prepare, pitch and place news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor and other editorial products.
  • Oversee and mentor the communications team (Content Strategy Manager, Events Manager and Marketing Associate) to promote positive team culture, develop individuals professionally and exceed team goals.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the organization, building and sustaining mutually beneficial external relationships, and acting as on-the-record spokesperson for MPC, as needed.
  • Create and implement crisis communication strategy, as needed.
  • Other projects and tasks, as assigned.


  • Minimum of 8 years of relevant experience in journalism, media relations, public relations, marketing and/or communications.
  • Bachelors and/or Masters degree in journalism, communications or related field, or equivalent experience.
  • Ability to speak and write in a clear and understandable manner for internal/external audiences, including public officials.
  • Excellent news writing and editing skills required, preferably involving public policy.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills essential.
  • Personal relationships with major regional and national reporters and bloggers a plus.
  • Proven record of securing placements with traditional and digital media.
  • Competent social media skills and thorough knowledge of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and data visualization tools.
  • Knowledge of media database tools, including Meltwater, a plus.
  • Spanish-language skills and multi-cultural competencies a plus.


Knowledge, skills and abilities:


A qualified candidate:


  • is a self-starter, able to prioritize, handle concurrent tasks and projects, and work in a fluid environment;
  • is a team player and project leader who is highly organized and brings an ability to see immediate task needs with an eye to the bigger picture of desired outcomes;
  • is able to communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with staff colleagues and multiple external partners;
  • is passionate about the issues that MPC addresses and committed to supporting the organization’s mission, as well as developing her/his competency in diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • is willing to navigate uncertainty and challenge assumptions and status quo thinking in a productive manner;
  • enjoys a fast-paced, challenging, intellectually-stimulating workplace;
  • is an excellent writer and an articulate speaker in a range of settings, including with the Board;
  • is entrepreneurial, and executes timely and skillfully on assigned work;
  • has a working knowledge of relevant stakeholders and institutions in the Chicago region; and
  • has experience communicating complex ideas to diverse audiences.


Values-Driven Workplace:


MPC has a values-driven workplace and we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated commitment to—and willingness to have active conversations about—creating a region that is:

  • Equitable: For MPC, equity means that every individual and community in our region has the opportunities they need to thrive. Promoting equity means that we recognize the harm that discrimination and racism have caused and continue to pose to our lives and neighborhoods. That’s why we drive policies, investments and ideas that ensure all current and future residents can reach their full potential.
  • Prosperous: For MPC, prosperity means that both the Northeastern Illinois region and all of its people are economically healthy and prepared for growth. MPC is focused on ensuring that everyone who lives and works in our region can provide for themselves and their families. We support commitments that bring resources, development, and fairly paid and quality jobs to all communities.
  • Sustainable: For MPC, sustainability means that our region meets the natural, human and financial needs of the present while improving conditions for future generations. MPC’s agenda supports ecological vitality, residents’ health and economic stability for the long term, and ensures that as things change, our region adapts.
  • Engaged and Responsible: For MPC, civic participation and effective government are cornerstones of our region’s viability. We drive policies that strengthen the participation and impact of residents in local and regional decisions. We also promote adaptive, collaborative, just and transparent governance at all levels.


How to apply:

Please send the following materials by email to:

Skyler Larrimore

1) A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job being filled;

2) Your résumé; and

3) A short writing sample (2-3 pages)

4) Three professional references  

No phone calls please.