Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

Job Summary

The Manager provides strategic direction, action oriented planning and leadership in the development of corporate communications and public affairs strategies. 

In doing so:

  • develops and implements strategies to enhance the awareness, understanding and support for IDRC amongst key publics such as policy developers, decision makers, private sector opinion leaders (including media), the academic and research communities, NGOs and the general public; and
  • directs and manages a team of skilled professionals. 

The Manager is part of the Division’s management team and participates in key strategic and operational discussions and decisions on communications issues, priorities, systems, processes, performance indicators, human resources and budgets. He/she provides strategic direction, develops policies, and initiates projects in support of IDRC’s strategic goals. This includes developing work plans and budgets to guide the work of the team of communicators responsible for the day-to-day management of IDRC’s public affairs and corporate communications.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Strategy and Planning

  • Participates as a member of the Corporate Communications Division’s management team in the development of the Division’s policies, guidelines, standards, and strategies to guide senior management at Head Office and in the Regions in conducting communications activities at their level.
  • Works with the Director Corporate Communications and the Manager, e-Communications to develop objectives, set priorities, and participate in planning for the Division.
  • Develops strategies to support the Communications Implementation Plan.
  • Creates annual work plans, including tools for tracking projects and measuring progress towards unit’s goals.
  • As a member of the Communications management team, develops the tools, processes, and reporting mechanisms to support the account executive model of service delivery.
  • Contributes to developing reporting mechanisms for the Division to ensure that the Vice-President Corporate Strategy and Communications and the Director Corporate Communications receive timely updates regarding the outcomes of key initiatives and projects. 

Public Affairs and Outreach

  • Develops and implements a comprehensive public affairs program for IDRC to foster awareness, understanding and support for IDRC’s activities and programs amongst its key publics.  This is done by developing a multi-year public affairs/outreach strategy, supported by annual operational plans and financial forecasts to meet the Centre’s public affairs/outreach goals.
  • Plans and implements strategies to maximize outreach of the products prepared by the writers and the publishing team. This is done to increase visibility and support for IDRC. It is performed by identifying key target publics for each of the products and strategic tactics to reach them. 

Parliamentary (Government) Relations

  • Contributes to the development, implementation and execution of IDRC’s parliamentary relations strategy designed to raise awareness of and build support for IDRC among Canadian Parliamentarians.
  • Supports IDRC’s efforts to position the Centre’s activities and interests in a consistent, positive and effective manner. This is done to ensure that the interests, concerns and long term objectives of the Centre are understood and considered by senior government officials at both the political and departmental levels. This is achieved via maintaining excellent relations with communication counterparts in key Canadian federal departments such as Global Affairs Canada (including International Development), the Privy Council office, the Prime Minister’s Office, and others.
  • The incumbent of this position shares responsibilities of parliamentary and government relations with President’s Office team, senior management and the Policy and Evaluation Division. 

Issues Management

  • Monitors and reviews current and emerging external and IDRC issues, devises and recommends strategies or actions to minimize any negative impact on the Centre’s reputation, and maximizes any positive spin-off. This is done by providing advice to senior and junior managers across the Centre concerning the public implications of issues and programs for which they are responsible. The management of these actions involves the utilization of the entire spectrum of public affairs and vehicles including: events, print, radio, television, displays, etc. Collaborates with the Manager, e-Communications on providing public affairs advice in the digital space. 

Media Relations

  • Leads IDRC’s national and international media relations efforts. 
  • Responds to media inquiries in a way that portrays IDRC in the best possible light. Responses are prepared in a timely, accurate and strategic fashion. Leads a proactive media outreach effort to enhance the Centre’s relationship with key media contacts. This is done by conducting media briefings, tours and seminars, to educate the media on IDRC’s program and activities. Media releases, media kits and fact sheets and other print or electronic materials are prepared and distributed as required.
  • Oversees the monitoring of publications and broadcasts to ensure accuracy and for taking prompt corrective action when errors are detected in media reports. Acts as a spokesperson for the Centre as required. 

Special Events

  • Plans, coordinates and conducts special events for projects, milestones, and completions/results of projects, anniversaries, and visits by foreign dignitaries to Canada and visits of Canadian dignitaries abroad, and other occasions. Identifies speaking opportunities for corporate executives. This involves the development and implementation of the overall strategy and specific plans including, writing of speeches and/or speaking points for senior officials, elaborating a guest lists, issuing of invitations, the production of hospitality plans, selection of gifts and souvenir items, and the arrangement of protocol, security and publicity.

Writing, Editing and Publishing

  • Leads and manages the development and implementation of the Division’s editorial policy for all printed and electronic publications.
  • Leads a team of staff and contractual professionals in providing a full range of writing, editing, design, and publishing services in support of IDRC’s corporate communications strategic plan and other Centre priorities. This includes:
    • Providing leadership in the development and management of projects, such as In_Focus books and complementary materials, from proposal to final product, to ensure bodies of IDRC-supported research are accessible;
    • Conceptualizing, researching, and writing – or directing these activities resulting in original material (e.g. feature articles, brochures, briefings, annual report, fact sheets, etc.) on IDRC activities;
    • Overseeing the conception and design of IDRC corporate materials.
  • Oversees the development and publication of scientific manuscripts to ensure widest possible dissemination of IDRC-supported research to Canadian and international audiences as well as of Web/print publishing projects aimed at decision-makers, researchers, and the public.
  • Provides support to the President through the provision of speeches and presentations. In this light, the incumbent prepares sensitive addresses or responses for the President or selects contractors to produce the material under direct creative and policy supervision.

Management (including Financial and Human Resources)

  • Manages a team of 11 communications professionals by assigning work, developing work plans, establishing work objectives, guiding and advising staff on work processes and procedures as well as providing regular feedback and evaluation performance.
  • Establishes and manages a budget for public affairs and corporate communications activities. Arranges for and manages contracts for external related services; ensures that these services meet IDRC’s requirements with regard to quality of products and delivery dates. Estimates costs of assigned or proposed projects and provides expenditure forecasts to management for input into Communications Division estimates.
  • Determines optimal team composition, identifies needs and recommends staff training and/or changes to the Director of Corporate Communications; participates in the recruitment and selection of unit staff members; mentors staff and evaluates performance. Establishes goals and priorities; develops work plans and assigns work; guides, directs, and advises staff on work processes and procedures; evaluates the work being carried out.
  • Leads on overseeing collaboration with communications colleagues in regional offices. 

Job Scope

As the first level contact with senior federal bureaucrats, this position makes decisions respecting the nature and value of information and other factors which may influence decision making by the Centre and which may also influence federal government’s support for the Centre.

Through the analysis of the various information sources and data, this position makes decisions on the value of the material and to what extent the final intelligence should be shared with IDRC senior management.

This position monitors and decides on the relevance of anticipated events resulting from changing government agendas and from other key external considerations that impact on IDRC. 

To complete these tasks, the position must continually assess priorities and demands influencing the flow of added deliverables.

This position regularly serves and provides leadership to small inter-divisional teams providing evaluations and input to government reviews, hearings, and cabinet issues.