National Director, Communications

National Director, Communications

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Executive Summary

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. As the National Director of Communications, you will play a key role in helping NAMI build a movement that educates and informs the public about mental illness and resources available for help. Integrating our communications across different platforms to create widespread awareness, offer information and education, and inspire people to take action is paramount to our success.

In this role, you will manage a team of 7 and be responsible for developing and implementing NAMI’s overall communications strategy by creating a strong brand identity and reputation that broadens NAMI’s reach. To achieve greater impact (people in need will know who we are and how to find us, accomplish policy priorities, etc.) and create a unified, powerful strategy, we will rely on your ability to recognize opportunities, build consensus, and leverage our 900 local affiliates and state organizations.

Working closely with our COO, you will coordinate the many component pieces of our communications tactics. You will set clear goals and create rigorous metrics that measure achievements and accomplishments, thereby focusing the department on outcomes that are in service to NAMI’s mission. You will build a framework for collaboration with other departments and our affiliates and volunteers, advancing the mission through your support and promotion of the work of the entire organization and our network.

We are seeking a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic, and process-minded leader with experience in leading cross-functional teams and developing a results-focused culture among a group of diverse and talented individuals. We will rely on you to assess and ensure our communications capabilities are utilized effectively, organizing your resources to achieve necessary programmatic and impact milestones. You will be an integral part of the organization’s thought leadership as we develop new, better, more effective integrations of our programs and services with the field. And as a member of our leadership team, you will collaborate on strategic and organizational challenges that extend beyond your normal day-to-day work.

About Us

Today, we are an association of close over 900 local affiliates and state organizations, along with volunteers who work in communities across the United States to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. NAMI advocates for all who are affected by mental illness, both the individuals and the people in their lives. In particular, we do not rest until we remedy injustices and intervene early to prevent needless loss of quality of life. In addition to being advocates, we educate, we listen, and we lead as evidenced by our public awareness campaigns, the range of numerous programs we provide, and our strong public policy.

Strategic Goals

Over the next few years we anticipate that you will:

  • Implement a clear communications vision as it relates to our mission. Set the strategy and direction for managing competing interests that impact departmental resources. Develop metrics for communications, public affairs and public relations activities, understanding where we are having the greatest impact and realigning departmental priorities as appropriate.
  • Ensure that we stay aligned and in close partnership with our local affiliate and state organizations, understanding how the engagement of the larger NAMI network makes for a greater impact on our mission.
  • Offer alternative and creative solutions. Rather than just saying no, you offer alternatives and provide clear communication and data to support your recommendations. By closely managing resources and leveraging cross-functional teams, we can accelerate progress towards goals.
  • Develop aligned performance management systems and strategies. We are moving towards a results-based culture that supports results over activities. You will create an environment that aligns mission and communications strategy with performance and is supportive, accountable, and fun.


  • Provide day-to-day team leadership, building a strong culture of collaboration and teamwork that relies on open, honest communication with clear lines of accountability.
  • Establish departmental plans, roles, and responsibilities, including hiring as appropriate. Equip the team with the tools necessary for success and provide oversight to ensure execution of the plan. Provide hands-on efforts where appropriate.
  • Develop metrics and tools to assess progress against the strategic plan and achievement of the department’s business plan. Use communications analytics to demonstrate how people take action.
  • Partner with the development department as necessary to achieve development strategy goals. Assist with responding to grants, and creating and presenting proposals, as needed.
  • Budget management and accountability, including understanding and management of vendor contracts and deliverables.
  • Establish campaigns and cultivate national partnerships and sponsorships in support of NAMI and our community engagement initiatives.
  • Establish media campaigns and ensure national execution of media relations efforts. Serve as a national media spokesperson.
  • Oversee all digital and print publishing initiatives, including the development and oversight of a strategic content management plan.
  • Improve content promotion to membership to ensure highly varied members feel supported by NAMI communications and efforts, no matter their specific interest in NAMI’s mission.
  • Establish and oversee brand governance. Ensure communications brand is aligned with NAMI mission.
  • Oversee website development, updating, and web relations efforts. Revamp online content strategy, including our website update process and extranet. Improve content experience both within and outside of the organization.
  • Establish and oversee social media and digital communications strategy and execution.
  • Participate and engage in executive leadership tasks, including organizational development.
  • Work in partnership with the executive team and other national directors to provide advice and support for strategic initiatives and operational planning as relates to the communications department.


  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • At least 10 years of relevant communications experience.
  • Demonstrated management of an organization’s entire communications portfolio managing multiple projects, timelines, and expectations.
  • Wide breadth of experience in communications, including marketing, web-communications, public relations, public affairs, crisis communications, social media, messaging, brand management, and VIP relations.
  • Experience with the communications style of grassroots advocacy with the intent of taking action on advocacy issues and running public awareness campaigns. Health-related experience is ideal.
  • Strong experience as a spokesperson/media contact for your organization. Media-savvy.
  • Knowledgeable about the operations, unique needs, and goals specific to nonprofit organizations is desirable. Experience managing a nonprofit affiliate network, volunteer network, or similar.
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal and communication skills, including experience driving and managing successful strategic and change initiatives.
  • Demonstrated experience managing resources to accomplish mission goals.
  • Must have excellent problem solving skills with solid judgment required for complex or sensitive relationships and communications.
  • Experience with using performance metrics and tools to measure results.


  • Team player. You work as an integral part of a team that works and wins together. You are articulate, persuasive, and willing to listen to and respect the views of others. You confidently engage with staff at all levels to define needs and expectations. You collaborate on projects and communicate results.
  • Mission-driven. You understand the big picture and easily translate our objectives that impact public policy. You get what matters and what serves the mission.
  • Results-driven. You see the big picture and the details, monitor your key performance metrics, and take the action necessary to produce results.
  • Flexible. You are comfortable working in a fluid environment and are capable of making adjustments in both day-to-day and larger-scale activities based on new information and situations.
  • Consensus builder. You understand the concerns and needs of others and how to realistically manage expectations.
  • Strong business acumen. You set priorities wisely and know how to make tough resource allocation decisions, always finding a way to forward strategic initiatives while enriching relationships. You also know how to translate strategy into action. You enjoy solving tactical and process problems.
  • Strong leadership. You will be working with a wide range of staff, colleagues, affiliates, and state organizations; this requires a firm, fair, and flexible style that both complements the efforts and supports the needs of others.
  • Partnership. You know how to build trust internally and externallyl.  You are viewed as professional and accountable.

What’s Attractive to the Right Candidate?

  • NAMI is building a powerful and wider sweeping movement to address the social and structural injustices that stand in the way of care and recovery. Your work here not only affects NAMI but the individuals, families, and communities that we support.
  • You will be in charge of a large national grassroots platform, working to advance an agenda that matters to every family.
  • This is an exciting time to join NAMI. Our new leadership is working to build a results-driven culture that is accountable, but also supportive and fun.
  • This role is challenging, both tactically and strategically, and you thrive on complexity. As a key member of the executive leadership team, you enjoy systems thinking and playing a critical role in helping orchestrate an organization’s time, talent, and treasure to achieve strategic priorities.
  • We offer an excellent compensation package including health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement and supplemental retirement accounts, paid vacation, sick time, holidays, and more.

To Apply

Simply email your resume to Aileen Hedden at with “NAMI Director of Communications /2017-2199 CW” in the subject line of the email.

Staffing Advisors is committed to helping our clients create a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. Some positions may require pre-employment screening potentially including a criminal background check, verification of academic credentials, licenses, certifications, and/or verification of work history.