Director of Communications and Membership

  • Posted on 12 January 2019

Job Description

Position Summary:

The Director of Communications and Membership provides strategic and technical leadership for the critical communications and membership functions at WCF. The Director is responsible for:

  • Developing and delivering our global communications strategy
  • External positioning of WCF and the industry, including branding and messaging
  • Identifying, managing and mitigating reputational risks
  • Ensuring effective member recruitment, engagement, and retention.

The Director is expected to demonstrate the ability to think strategically and creatively, communicate effectively, and lead the drive for strong communication and membership results. The fast paced and multi-dimensional nature of this role requires an exceptionally well organized, proactive professional with the ability to judge multiple competing priorities, switching between strategic and tactical approaches. This is an ideal position for a change agent looking to make a valuable contribution.

Position Details:

This position is based in Washington, DC, office and will report to the WCF President. The position supervises a Communications and Marketing Manager, a Membership and Outreach Associate, and consultants. Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. The salary for this role will be commensurate with experience. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Primary Responsibilities:

External Communications:

  • Develop and implement the WCF external communications strategy that directly supports WCF’s new strategic directions and business objectives, and the strategic objectives of WCF members.
  • Strengthen WCF and industry’s positioning among key stakeholders (including media, development partners, cocoa producing and consuming governments, and civil society organizations) by showcasing the sustainability efforts of WCF and members in high priority media outlets and at global events.
  • Monitor emerging issues that could affect WCF and industry’s reputation and prepare proactive communication and risk management strategies to address them, in collaboration with WCF leadership team.
  • Foster collaborative relationships with communication leads in WCF member companies and key partner organizations to encourage aligned global communication efforts around common messages.
  • Oversee preparation and dissemination of WCF communication and media products (including newsletters, blog posts, op-eds, speeches, website and social media content), and management of external communication and media relationships, to ensure delivery of effective and high-quality communication products for various external audiences.
  • Oversee management of WCF website and social media accounts, with a focus on promoting WCF thought leadership and expertise, while deepening transparency and public disclosure of WCF knowledge products, data, and corporate information.
  • Oversee design and delivery of WCF’s major annual cocoa sustainability conference and global partnership event.

Internal Communications:

  • Develop and implement the WCF internal communications strategy, and promote effective internal communications with staff, to ensure staff alignment on strategic directions and pride in WCF.
  • Strengthen WCF’s internal capacity for effective and strategic communication, by ensuring that comprehensive training and relevant tools and guidelines are available to all staff.
  • Provide selective and high priority cross-support to WCF departments to strengthen the quality and impact of their written communication materials and knowledge products related to WCF work.

Membership Services:

  • Develop and implement the WCF strategy for new member recruitment to achieve annual growth and revenue targets, including development of effective marketing materials that highlight WCF value proposition, landscape scans that identify high priority potential members, and targeted outreach to high priority prospects and high priority geographic markets.
  • Develop and implement the WCF strategy to provide timely, innovative, and cost-efficient support to existing members, particularly with regard to communication, networking and knowledge sharing services, to ensure high member satisfaction and retention.
  • Ensure necessary policies, tools and systems are in place for an effective membership model, including appropriate categories and fee levels for different membership types, streamlined membership recruitment process, strong account management, and regular member feedback.
  • Foster collaborative working relationships with all WCF departments to ensure that a strong focus on membership recruitment, engagement, and retention is integrated across all WCF work.


  • Ensure effective management of the Communications and Membership Team, including delivery of annual budget and work program through cost-effective use of resources in compliance with internal controls and policies
  • Contribute to WCF leadership team, and advise WCF management, Board of Directors and members on strategic communication developments and risks as needed, including preparation of talking points on key issues.
  • Regularly track and evaluate metrics of communications and membership services and adapt strategies to grow and improve outreach results.

Required Skills and Experience:

  • Minimum 10 years of full-time relevant professional experience in management, public relations, communications, or membership development, with experience in international development, public-private partnerships, industry associations, or broader sustainability issues.
  • Advanced degree in relevant discipline preferred, including international development, public policy, business management, communications, public relations, or related field (or 2 years of additional experience).
  • Extensive experience with communications and media approaches and tools, including all the tactics of media relations (press conferences, feature stories, Op Eds, etc), and exposure to membership services.
  • Excellent and effective communication skills, including ability to make and defend recommendations; diplomacy and tact; ability to persuade people with varied points of view; and present information in a concise and accurate manner.
  • Networking and relationship-building skills, including excellent inter-personal skills with an ability to work and foster multi-cultural teamwork, integrity, and strong inter-personal engagements.
  • Experience working with high-level global experts, including ability to convey difficult issues and positions to senior industry representatives and government officials.
  • Experience managing and mentoring staff, and contributing to a leadership team.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a fast-paced office environment, including adaptability to rapidly changing priorities, and ability to manage multiple deadlines and deliver high quality work products.
  • Highly motivated, proactive work style, demonstrated creativity and innovation, and excellent organizational skills.
  • Excellent written and spoken English. French language ability strongly desired. Proficiency in any of these languages is a plus: Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese.
  • International experience in Africa and/or Latin America desired.

How to Apply:

Interested and eligible candidates are requested to upload their cover letter describing their interest in this role and résumé to:

Please address the letter to “Human Resources” and name your files using the following convention: ‘J.Doe Cover and ‘J.Doe Resume’. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until position is filled. No phone calls please. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

About the Organization

General Description:

The vision of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector -- where cocoa farmers prosper, cocoa-growing communities are empowered, and the environment is conserved.

We believe the most powerful force for change lies in our connection with others. The transformation of traditional smallholder cocoa farming into more modern, environmentally sustainable, and profitable business requires coordinated action from all actors in the supply chain. Companies, farmer organizations, producing and consuming governments, development partners, and others must come together if we are to achieve our long-term goals of prosperous farmers, empowered communities, and a healthy planet.

With more than 100 company members from across the entire cocoa supply chain, WCF is uniquely positioned to catalyze joint stakeholder action. Drawing on the strengths of our members and a wide network of partners, our mission is to accelerate sector transformation through effective stakeholder collaboration and partnerships, a strong business and policy environment, and increased public-private investment in science, innovation, and learning.

WCF’s members include cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market. WCF’s programs benefit farmers and their communities in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas.

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