Associate Director, Internal Communications

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Sep 16, 2020
Full time   Other Administrative Positions

Job Description

Posting Details

    • Posted: September 9, 2020
  • Full-Time
  • Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    +0 more less

Job Details


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.



Working under the direction of the Chief Communications Officer, and in collaboration with Communications (COMM) colleagues, Executive Leadership, and administrative offices, the Associate Director of Internal Communications is responsible for researching, evaluating planning and executing Salk’s strategic internal communications program that:

  • supports and strengthens connections between Salk’s leadership, faculty and employees,
  • fosters greater information sharing and collaboration among labs and departments,
  • builds community by enhancing the Institute’s cultural connectivity and furthering its efforts to foster an engaged, diverse, inclusive and welcoming workplace environment; and
  • advances Salk’s overarching mission to better humanity through groundbreaking research and a commitment to enhancing our collective human experience.

The candidate must be a forward-looking, strategic thinker with sound judgment and the ability to balance and successfully meet multiple competing demands and priorities of internal stakeholder groups within a relatively “flat” organizational structure, often under tight deadlines. The individual also must be an excellent writer, experienced in crafting organizational narratives and the art of storytelling, who can establish and project a consistent institutional voice and create, or facilitate the creation of, a wide range of written and multimedia content for various channels that resonates with key audiences.

The candidate will be responsible for proactively identifying and overseeing the use of internal communication channels that support the Institute’s overarching internal communications strategy through regular interaction and collaboration with various departments, faculty and staff, as well as participation in activities throughout the Institute. The individual also will support the advancement of Institute-wide initiatives and crisis communications as well as serve as a proofreader and copyeditor to ensure that all materials are consistent with Salk’s Style Guide.



Executive & Strategic Communications (35%)

  • Working with COMM leadership, researches, plans and develops—individually and with colleagues—original content appropriate for dissemination across a wide array of internal communications channels in support of executive leadership, faculty and department directors.
  • Manages the internal communications editorial calendar and the timing of strategic communications and the gathering of content to enable timely distribution of information across appropriate channels.
  • Working with the Chief Communications Officer, provides communication support and content development to Institute leadership throughout all stages of the process, including facilitating content review, approval and delivery.
  • Incumbent has primary responsibility for ensuring internal Town Hall forums—including program design, promotion and content development, speaker communication and support needs, and logistics (A/V, etc.)—are handled by the appropriate personnel. Facilitates any rehearsals and oversees all aspects of the day of program.
  • Provides ongoing review and evaluation of communication messages, campaigns and strategies for their efficacy and provides recommendations and actions to make appropriate adjustments that incorporate communication best practices.

Content Development and Distribution (25%)

  • Serves as the primary storyteller to engage Salk’s diverse internal community by sharing timely, relevant information in a compelling way.
  • Proposes, designs and executes materials on specific communications strategies aimed at internal stakeholders for key initiatives, events, news, classes and announcements with the goal of garnering attention to raise awareness and/or result in action.
  • Develops communications strategies based on current best practices in the field, detailing key messages for use with internal audiences.
  • Independently develops content and stories to drive greater awareness around specific issues or further engagement. Includes identifying, reporting and writing news items, special features, profiles, Q&As and other stories about the Salk community for the Salk community.
  • Creates, manages and compiles content for Salk This Week e-newsletter, intranet content, email notices, bulletin board postings and others.
  • Helps set digital strategy for Salk intranet, including videos, website updates and e-newsletters.
  • Serves as primary author for campus-wide emails, including developing, writing and editing internal communications to Salk employees.
  • Ensures that timing of a wide array of communications is appropriate by virtue of their relationship with one another, impact on one another, volume of messaging to the community and the importance of the motivating factors for the respective communication(s).
  • Develops and coordinates internal communications messages ensuring consistency with external communication strategy and messaging.
  • Proactively develops and manages content and editorial calendars to ensure information flows through email, events, chat, content and other activities within approved timelines and approved budgets.
  • Storyboards and assists with videos, presentations and other multimedia for Institute departments and internal events (e.g., board meetings, chair celebrations, staff recognition events, etc.).
  • In conjunction with COMM leadership, develops internal communications policies, both for standard communications and those connected to Salk’s Campaign for the Future.
  • Participates in cross-campus internal working groups to provide strategic input.  Recommends involvement where identified needs for internal communications exist. Attends leadership meetings when requested.
  • Serves as the primary liaison for internal communications with internal administrative offices (e.g., Postdoctoral Office, OEI, HR), committees and Salk executive leadership to develop strategy and support their communication priorities and goals.
  • Drafts, edits or rewrites content from others for publications, newsletters, reports, presentations and other materials ensuring that it is consistent and compelling.
  • Works in conjunction with the digital team to facilitate processes for timely publication of content on intranet and other internal outlets.
  • Identifies opportunities to use external channels of communications such as video, social media, bulletin boards and others for promoting Salk messaging.
  • Responsible for the distribution via various methods of internal communications collateral such as posters, postcards, publications, etc.

Employee Engagement Activities (15%)

  • Attends events and meetings across campus to identify content ideas and to gather information and specific details on news items relevant for distribution to the Salk community.
  • Provides communications support for community initiatives and other employee engagement activities. Proactively suggests areas for consideration to enhance communication efforts (e.g., timing, medium, etc.).
  • Tracks and reports online and digital metrics to measure employee engagement with content and to use agreed upon metrics to shape editorial content decisions. Meets with stakeholders and COMM leadership team to change direction as appropriate.
  • Working with stakeholders, and with sensitivity to confidentiality and anonymity considerations, engages third parties or uses internally available technology to develop surveys, distribute content, evaluate resultant data and to measure the effectiveness of messaging for engagement or other purposes. Ensures follow-up communications and other activities are handled in accordance with standard operating procedures.

Project Management (15%)

  • Supports the day-to-day management of internal communication features on the Salk intranet.
  • Works with A/V and videography personnel to develop non-print solutions to engage the internal community and support initiatives.
  • Establishes best practices across the organization by conducting gap analysis of existing processes, identifying needed changes and documenting approved Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Maintains editorial and publishing calendars and uses other project management tools to coordinate deadlines of the development, editing, approval and distribution of internal messaging, emails and other notifications.
  • Works with the Communications Projects Administrator to ensure Communications materials are proofed in a timely fashion.
  • Assists with internal and external special event support and media relations as needed and as other priorities allow.

Copyediting and Proofing Salk Communications (10%)

  • Edits, reviews and rewrites various types of content developed with or created by internal clients to ensure a consistent voice, tone and style of communication to ensure the high-quality content and grammatical correctness, rewriting as needed.
  • Assists in copyediting material—including but not limited to internal print and electronic content; executive communications; material from a variety of departments; and other publications—for spelling, grammar, style, accuracy, and consistency according to Institute style.
  • Communicates with content creators and project leads resolve inconsistencies in content and/or style.
  • Proofs layout and coordinates with applicable staff to ensure all Salk materials are accurate, clear and adheres to Salk style.
  • Helps to update and maintain the Salk Style Guide.




  • A minimum of 7 years of experience working in internal communications, general communications public relations, or related field.
  • Experience in a role that requires strategic development and best practice knowledge sharing/recommendations to broad stakeholders about effective internal communications
  • experience that demonstrates creativity, expansive thinking and an understanding of the criticality of narrative and storytelling.
  • Experience providing communications support to executive leadership and directly supporting strategic internal initiatives.
  • Experience developing and distributing digital content.
  • Demonstrated experience in utilizing various computer software applications for word processing and desktop publishing.
  • Extensive experience authoring, editing and proofreading communications.
  • Experience working with a diverse population utilizing best practices in internal communications to engage with them.


  • Prior work experience in a larger (500+) nonprofit organization
  • Experience working in a shared governance organization.




  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism or Public Relations, or other academic background, or an equivalent combination of education.




  • Demonstrated mastery of the English language and strong communication skills, including composition (spelling and grammar), editing and proofreading. Skill to draft and edit correspondence, articles and other copy.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills for effective communication and presentation to stakeholders.
  • The ability to develop and direct effective and comprehensive communication strategies for a broad array of internal clients and stakeholders.
  • Strategic thinker with excellent judgment.
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills with ability to prioritize daily operations in order to meet rigid deadlines to ensure smooth workflow and manage and execute multiple projects simultaneously, often working under pressure with frequent interruptions.
  • Ability to bring creativity and innovation to internal communication efforts.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to communicate and interact in a positive, politically correct and effective manner with diverse and demanding clientele, using a high degree of tact, diplomacy and discretion, with emphasis on flexibility and professionalism.
  • Ability to ensure confidentiality of information and sensitive documents by following operational procedures and exercising judgment in responding to requests.
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
  • Demonstrated ability to work under tight deadlines, respond to dynamic Institutional needs in a timely manner and to effectively respond to editorial comments.
  • Ability to independently coordinate and prioritize multiple projects in a fast-paced environment, as well as the ability to work with individuals from multiple backgrounds and areas of expertise.
  • Personable and able to communicate with department heads, scientists and other stakeholders in a positive, productive manner.
  • Ability to be goal-oriented, self-motivated, reliable, detail-oriented, articulate and poised; and to possess personal integrity and sound judgment.
  • Knowledge of AP and Chicago Writing Styles.


  • Knowledge of project management software programs (e.g., Asana, Basecamp).
  • Familiarity using online tools like SurveyMonkey and intranet systems



  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Will require occasional evenings and weekends to assist with events.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must be willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.



This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing, and working inside. 


<p class="opportunity-equal-opportunity-employer-description" data-bind="text: EqualOpportunityEmployerDescription" data-automation="job-equal-op

Application Details

When inquiring or applying for positions at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, please also reference

Applicants with dual-career considerations can find university jobs such as professor jobs, dean jobs, chair / department head jobs, and other faculty jobs and employment opportunities at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and at other institutions of higher education in the region on