Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Managing Director, External Communications

Job Locations US-NY-New York | US-DC-Washington | US-IL-Chicago
Posted Date 2 months ago(3/13/2024 1:29 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings


NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Beijing; Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New Delhi; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; and Washington, D.C.


NRDC is seeking a Managing Director, External Communications to work with the Communications Department in our New York City, Washington, D.C., or Chicago office.


Position Summary
NRDC is looking for a Managing Director, External Communications, to join our Communications team. The ideal candidate has experience in leading a team of integrated communications, media relations and influencer engagement professionals; developing executive positioning plans; and coordinating large-scale public relations campaigns.


As part of the Communications Leadership Team, they will help develop and implement a proactive communications strategy to support NRDC’s institutional priorities, advocacy campaigns and member engagement.

The ideal candidate has a proven ability to help create powerful storytelling narratives that reach diverse audiences, drive impact and inspire people to take action. They take initiative, conceive, and make the case for new ideas, and effectively move projects forward in rapidly changing environments and ambiguous situations. They can synthesize complex information and manage projects efficiently. They also have experience cultivating internal relationships in pursuit of shared goals and outcomes.

This role will report to the Chief Communications Officer and oversee the Media, Equity Communications and Entertainment Partnerships teams. They will also work closely with the Managing Director, Brand and Digital Strategy, and collaborate with other senior managers across the organization, including NRDC’s regional advocacy impact and program sector leaders.


  • Support the development of NRDC’s external communications strategy to help advance the organization’s vision, mission, and institutional priorities at the regional and national levels.
  • Help cultivate a high-performing external communications team.
  • Develop proactive earned media strategies that influence and shape public policy efforts and advocacy campaigns.
  • Manage the Media, Equity Communications and Entertainment Partnerships teams, and their budgets, ensuring the teams are aligned with institutional and Communications department priorities.
  • As part of the Communications Leadership Team, ensure quality and consistency of values—including racial justice and equity, brand identity, and public narratives across all communications channels, as well as effective collaboration with internal stakeholders to ensure message alignment.
  • Prepare senior leaders for media interviews, speaking opportunities and events.
  • Coordinate closely on communications strategy with advocacy coalition partners and other environmental organizations.
  • Manage external communications consultants and vendors as needed.
  • Other duties as related and assigned.


  • Bachelor's degree or higher in a related field.
  • Minimum of 15 years of professional experience in public relations, communications and/or public affairs; at least 8 years managing strong, diverse teams.
  • Track record of developing highly visible PR campaigns and securing top-tier media coverage for national organizations and senior leaders.
  • A proven record of accomplishment in driving earned media and influencer/entertainment partnership work, agency experience a plus.
  • Familiarity with media tools and software, such as Cision, Nielsen, Comscore, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability applying a racial justice lens to communications, including crafting of culturally competent messaging.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with strong attention to detail.
  • Strong collaborative spirit, with an ability to compromise when needed to advance toward a common goal.
  • A multitasker and strong project manager with the ability to manage teams in a fast-paced environment.
  • Dedication to providing leadership, with a willingness to offer consistent support to direct reports through regular meetings, professional development, and goal setting.
  • Ability to travel to NRDC’s U.S.-based offices, approximately 10-15% annually.
  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission, values, and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) principles.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.


We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.


We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. Internal equity will be reviewed and considered to determine a final offer. For this position, the salary range is $197,000 to $217,500.


Our offices are open and we are operating in a hybrid model. We offer NRDCers flexibility, and we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence.


As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.


To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.


If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.


For more about NRDC, visit


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