Vice President/Communications

Knight Foundation seeks an experienced, innovative leader to head its communications team.

The Foundation

Knight Foundation supports an effective democracy through informed and engaged communities. The foundation, headquartered in Miami, continues the legacy of John S. and James L. Knight, the brothers who built one of the largest and successful newspaper companies in America in the 20th century.

The Knights believed that a well-informed community could best “determine its own true interests” and was essential to a well-functioning, representative democracy. They were known for their journalistic principles, integrity, respect for others, and openness to the application of evolving media technology.

Today, Knight Foundation is an innovative, fast-paced, transformational social investor, willing to fund experiments as well as institutional programs. With an endowment of approximately $2.5 billion and annual grants of about $135 million in journalism, the arts, and the application of media technology in both, research, and the betterment of American communities, Knight Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on impact and community engagement. Knight Foundation’s work is national in scope, but it has a special focus on 26 communities where John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Knight has offices in eight of those U.S. cities, and Knight staff work through community foundations in 18 others. Additional information about the foundation and its programs are further described on their website in their Statement of Strategy.

The Role

The Vice President, Communications – reporting to President and CEO, Alberto Ibargüen, and serving on the Foundation’s Executive Committee – will aggressively lead the application of a proactive, comprehensive strategy designed to strengthen the impact of the organizations it supports, the engagement of the communities they serve, and amplify the reputation of the foundation. The Foundation recognizes the value of communications and seeks a leader who will drive and own the strategy and outcomes. They will be accountable for the external impact of all communications, and be acutely focused on audience engagement, the measurement of impact and program influence. Knight is looking for a highly driven leader whose success with the communications strategy will directly influence the foundation’s program effectiveness. At the enterprise level, this individual will lead efforts to amplify and elevate the Foundation’s brand and increase its overall visibility with key constituencies; with the programs, they will enhance the communication team’s efforts to operate as partners and true members of the program teams. The position is located at Knight’s Miami headquarters.

Specific responsibilities of this position include:

  • Strategic and dynamic vision setting & organizational leadership:
    • Design, develop, and execute comprehensive communications strategies to advance the work of the foundation.
    • Engage full spectrum of media in coverage for the foundation’s and grantees’ activities with a particular focus on outcomes and impact.
    • Provide communications counsel beyond core communications-related competencies.  
  • Proactive storytelling, reputation management and results measurement:
    • Develop a robust thought-leadership strategy and content agenda to position Knight as the leader in the social investment and independent media and democracy scholarship spaces.
    • Own the responsibility to maximize impact of the foundation’s investments through communications activity.
    • Obtain extensive and impactful coverage of foundation and grantee activities through broad and diverse media contacts (traditional press, specialized bloggers, leading social media voices) and measure outcomes and reverberations.
    • Develop and nurture relationships with key stakeholders and influencers, including top-tier journalists, as well as other potential allies and partners.
    • Lead efforts to support Foundation grantees and amplify their work by leveraging Knight’s convening power and capacity building.
    • Chief advisor to the CEO on all reputation and issues management strategies.
    • Measure and report success and results through targeted metric tracking and data analytics on factors like audience engagement and media coverage.
  • Team leadership:
    • Lead with enthusiasm, authenticity, and intensity to optimize the functional setup and leadership structure of the communications team.
    • Attract, develop, mentor, motivate, and retain an outstanding, diverse, high-performing group of driven communications professionals.
    • Create an environment that encourages a sense of urgency, ownership for results, passion for the mission, trust, and collaboration.

Candidate Profile

Leadership Characteristics & Core Competencies

Key characteristics of transformational leaders include relentless discovery and acceptance of the facts, vision to see what is possible, courage to push for change, all while having the skills to get the job done and the tenacity to stick with it until results are achieved. As such, the successful candidate will:

  • Be innovative, bold, and assertive. Possess a risk-taking mindset, a business sensibility, and a high-level of urgency in their approach, constantly pushing themselves and others to achieve strategic outcomes for the organization.
  • Drive smart and outcomes-based change and innovation.
  • Develop and execute a creative and inspired vision and strategy for the communications function, while also being hands-on in the execution of the work.
  • Have a fluency in digital outreach and a proven track record of embracing new platforms and products that transform how people are informed and engaged.
  • Have a demonstrated ability to partner with, counsel, and influence an executive leadership team to drive strategic outcomes.

The ideal candidate will bring a range of experiences, with an emphasis on outcomes-focused, consumer product-style communications expertise. A passion for the mission, data-orientation, and interest in an entrepreneurial organization are all musts, though it is not required that this person have worked in a non-profit environment.


Applications, including cover letters, resumes and nominations should be sent to the attention of:

Alisha Hathaway
Russell Reynolds Associates
Direct: +1-202-654-7844
Mobile: +1-202-285-1166
[email protected]
Kenny Dougherty
Russell Reynolds Associates
Direct: +1-202-654-7836
Mobile: +1-203-536-6349
[email protected]

For more information about Knight Foundation, please visit

Knight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.