Chaloner has partnered with Drug Policy Alliance on their search for a Managing Director of Communications.

Title:                Managing Director, Communications

Type:               Full-Time

Reports to:      Executive Director

Location:         New York, NY

Who We Are

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. We envision a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights; in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies; and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more.

We have played a pivotal role in transforming the national conversation about drug policy. We heightened the national conversation around the role of race in shaping drug policy and moved vital issues – like legalizing cannabis, ending mass incarceration, and prioritizing health and harm reduction responses to the overdose crisis – from the fringes of U.S. politics to the mainstream.

Under the direction of our incoming Executive Director, Kassandra Frederique, DPA will build power to actualize the world that our communities deserve, creating a world that supports people regardless of who they are, what they look like, and what they may or may not choose to put in their bodies.

We are ambitious risk takers and unrelenting advocates with radical imaginations, fighting to change hearts and minds and build a world that centers justice, communities, and dignity. We have more than 40 staff in New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington, DC; an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, 25,000 dues-paying members and more than 250,000 online subscribers. We have a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.

For more information, please visit our website at

Who You Are 

  • An experienced (10 years +) communications, public relations, or public affairs professional who has worked with an effective, visible advocacy organization or public policy campaign
  • Committed to DPA’s mission and strong social justice orientation, passionate about the complex issues related to drug policy work and understanding of how drug policy is inextricably intertwined with a host of connected issues
  • Able to create and operationalize innovative approaches to communications and advocacy, and take calculated risks in support of the organization’s mission
  • A proven leader who has built and managed high-performing teams with a deep understanding of what it takes to produce and sustain great results
  • Comfortable working in a highly collaborative, consensus-driven environment that values open communication and transparency
  • Committed to accuracy, rigor, and journalistic integrity
  • Adaptable and comfortable with change and evolution
  • Possessing outstanding interpersonal skills, flexibility, creativity, curiosity, and a good sense of humor
  • Comfortable giving and receiving critical feedback and having difficult conversations

What the Managing Director, Communications Will Do

The Managing Director, Communications will work very closely with DPA’s incoming Executive Director, Kassandra Frederique, to build on the organization’s history and use that momentum to be even more forward thinking, galvanizing and rigorous. In collaboration with the Executive Director, this position will craft the organization’s communications strategy, marketing, public voice and messaging, media relations, brand management, and communications with key stakeholders. DPA is entering a new chapter organizationally, and the Managing Director, Communications will join DPA’s senior management team to shape and drive overall strategic direction in this transformative time, both within the organization and in broader society.

We know we cannot achieve victory without the force of a dynamic movement, therefore the Managing Director, Communications will focus on how to develop and engage new audiences for our work, deepen and expand our collaboration with our existing base of supporters, and create effective communications strategies to augment DPA’s fight to end the drug war in a way that includes the radical work of building the just world after the drug war.

This position reports to the Executive Director. The Managing Director, Communications provides leadership and mentorship to a talented staff of five professionals with expertise in media relations, web-based advocacy, social media, multimedia work (audio and video), and public education and oversees a $1.2 million communications budget.


Communications Strategy and Planning

  • Develop a strong strategic communications plan designed to promote DPA’s vision, mission, and values and that includes issue-based campaigns, framing DPA’s agenda for multiple and diverse audiences
  • Work in close collaboration with the organization’s executive director, policy experts and leadership team to unite DPA behind the strategic plan, implementation process and execution strategy
  • Create and oversee DPA’s marketing and brand management strategy, ensuring consistency of messages, images, and materials
  • Hone and shape DPA’s organizational voice to establish subject matter expertise and serve as a strong driver of systematic change

Capacity Building, Media Support and Messaging

  • Manage online communications and ensure that DPA utilizes a cutting-edge approach to social media and other emerging media channels and technologies
  • Ensure the use of effective, well-researched messages throughout the organization
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization
  • Cultivate and support DPA spokespeople, training staff on communications strategies, key messages, and use of materials
  • Oversee (and participate in as needed) proactive, rapid response and reactive media relations to maximize exposure in print, broadcast, and digital media channels

Strategic Leadership and Management 

  • Act as the strategic communications focal point for key program areas and advise on communications strategies for these teams
  • Coordinate closely with the Executive Director, the Development Director, and other staff to support DPA’s fundraising efforts
  • Manage and mentor communications staff and oversee budgets for all DPA communications functions
  • Contribute to DPA’s overall management by serving on the senior management team
  • Maintain strong relationships inside and outside of the organization that help advance DPA’s communications work
  • Secure and oversee DPA’s representation at regional, national, and international conferences, symposia, and other events
  • Stay abreast of evolving trends and tactics in the communications field

Success in This Role Requires

  • Track record of success in creating effective strategies and messages across multiple platforms and media
  • Strong political analysis and understanding of intersectionality in movements and organizational practice
  • Demonstrated experience planning and executing major issue-based campaigns utilizing traditional and digital media channels and social networks
  • Proven success cultivating partnerships with key voices to lift up campaigns and garner organizational exposure, including leveraging relationships with influencers and amplifiers
  • Experience generating media interest in and coverage for policy issues and a proven track record of maintaining relationships with national and local media
  • Proven success in managing multiple and diverse internal priorities and working collaboratively with different stakeholders to create a nimble process and plan for communications efficacy
  • Strong leadership abilities; experience managing a multiracial, multigenerational, and geographically dispersed staff, including senior staff and consultants
  • A clear understanding of success metrics for communications efforts, including how to measure KPIs and other tools
  • Strong budget management skills
  • Exceptional writing, speaking, and analytic skills

Source: People’s Action