Director, Strategic Communications

Purpose of the Position:

The Director of Strategic Communications is responsible for the implementation of CIFAR’s strategic communications planning with significant focus on identifying, developing, measuring and managing comprehensive marketing and communications strategies to engage CIFAR’s Knowledge Mobilization, Advancement, Research, and Shared Services activities. The Director serves as the lead point person for communications planning and coordination across departments and with external partners.


Supports the Vice-President, Strategic Communications in the development and implementation of CIFAR’s overall strategic communications planning and, specifically, the strategic goals related to the Strategic Communications team:

  • Participates as a member of CIFAR’s leadership team and serves as the lead on Marketing & Communications strategies.
  • Analyzes market potential, alignment with mission and internal capacity for new ideas and initiatives that increase CIFAR’s impact and reach, identifying opportunities to test and evaluate new methodologies.
  • Leads internal communications in partnership with Human Resources and other relevant committees and teams.
  • Ensures effective and consistent use of CRM, project management software and other digital tools.

Provides leadership direction, management support and implementation of the marketing and communications plans, including CIFAR’s brand strategy, to support CIFAR’s corporate plan objectives:

  • Manages cross-departmental project plans and teams to deliver on the agreed measurable goals and objectives.
  • Selects and manages external vendors and strategic partners.
  • Leads marketing planning and measurements.
  • Aligns and manages projects in order to achieve marketing objectives, e.g. Reach magazine, News & Ideas, events, and media relations activity.
  • Develops and implements brand positioning strategy across key marketing and outreach activities.

Directs messaging, materials management and design development across all channels (e.g. digital, print, event, online, traditional and social media):

  • Develops and continuously refines editorial guidelines to rollout across the organization.
  • Manages materials development and ensures accuracy and consistency in messaging across platforms.
  • Selects, evaluates and proactively manages relationships with agencies ensuring cost-effectiveness, high service delivery and quality of work.
  • Manages and implements communications across all digital and print channels.

Manages and maximizes CIFAR’s financial and human resources in Strategic Communications:

  • Works with CIFAR staff across groups as well as researchers to design, plan and execute marketing and communications strategies.
  • Plans and manages the Marketing & Communications budget in order to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Provides leadership, coaching, and supervision of all assigned roles and functions of assigned staff, including assigning additional duties when necessary, conducting performance reviews, resolving staff issues/problems, recruitment and selection.
  • Designs custom professional development plans with staff to address organizational needs and individual professional development goals.
  • Develops and proactively addresses efficiency of processes and mechanisms to support CIFAR’s priorities.
  • Performs other duties, as assigned.


Education/Experience required:

  • Seven to 10 years of experience managing successful marketing and communications plans in an academic, research, healthcare or agency environment, as well as a related degree or diploma in communications, marketing or relevant field. Experience with science and research communication and fundraising communications is preferred. Bilingualism is an asset.

Core Professional/Technical Knowledge & Skills required for the position:

  • Comprehensive knowledge and experience in translating marketing and communications strategies into project plans and executing with precision.
  • Experience with identifying demographics and psychographics of target markets and selecting, evaluating and managing an agency partner.
  • Experience implementing brand-centred strategies and make results a top priority in a fundraising environment.
  • Superior public relations and project management skills including writing, editing, design supervision, production, events and media relations.
  • In-depth knowledge of Canadian academic and research environment.
  • Extensive experience managing successful social media channels.
  • Experience using Customer Relationship Management tools (Saleforce is preferred) in marketing and communications campaign planning.
  • Excellent interpersonal, planning, time management, presentation and decision-making skills.
  • Collegial and supportive leadership with peers, direct reports and senior management.
  • Keen attention to detail with superior editing skills.

Position reports to: Vice-President, Strategic Communications

Term of position: Full-time, permanent              

Start date: As soon as possible

Contact: Please send resume and cover letter in confidence to quoting Director, Strategic Communications in the Subject Line.  The deadline for submitting your application is June 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm

One of CIFAR's core cultural values is Diversity - we value diversity and aspire to be inclusive in all aspects of our work.  CIFAR is an equal employment opportunity employer and is strongly committed to removing systemic barriers and biases, and by promoting the practice of inclusivity, so that all individuals have equal access to and benefit from the work we do.  We encourage applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to diversity within our organization.

ACCESSIBILITY FOR APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES - CIFAR is committed to providing accommodations throughout the recruitment and selection process to applicants with disabilities, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and the Ontario Human Rights Code. To request a reasonable accommodation, please email and include the term 'Accessibility' in the Subject Line, or call 416-971-4251. Please provide your name, preferred contact method, and a detailed description of the nature of any accommodation that you may require. Please include any materials or processes that may be used to ensure your equal participation.

CIFAR frequently communicates in both official languages and our preference is to hire employees who are fluent in both English and French where possible.  Other languages are also considered an asset.

We thank you for your interest in working at CIFAR. All applications will be reviewed however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.