Communications Manager

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA

Food Export USA – Northeast and Food Export - Midwest are private, non-profit trade associations of Northeast and Midwest state agricultural promotion agencies. Our mission is the development and expansion of international markets for U.S. food and value-added agricultural products. We participate in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program of the Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA.

Position Details

Communications Manager
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Develop and implement overall communications strategy:

  • Work with cross functional teams to identify key messages, various target audiences, etc. to establish annual, quarterly and monthly communications strategies 
  • Ensure that communication tools are compliant with Federal requirements for accessibility and can be demonstrated as such to federal auditors as needed 
  • Innovate and ensure consistent brand standards across all communications platforms including print, digital, social media, trade event presence, etc. supplemented by collateral imaging and messaging with our partners 
  • Establish and optimize use of outside vendors, as budget allows, to assist in design and implementation of Communications functions 
  • Fully leverage the time and skill set of internal Communications team-members, supplemented by outside vendors to ensure communications strategy and objectives are achieved

Manage print and digital communications as well as public relations activities:

  • Oversee all aspects regarding development and distribution of Food Export – Northeast and Food Export – Midwest’s print, digital and public relations efforts including web content, print and electronic newsletters, social media channels, video content, annual reports, etc. 
  • Development and maintenance of all presentation materials for both associations. At times being tasked with giving public presentations on the associations to various stake holders including participant companies, USDA Foreign Agriculture staff, member State Departments of Agriculture, member state 
  • Congressional delegations and relevant committees, and other industry groups/partners. Management of all public relations functions to communicate information about the associations to relevant audiences 
  • Responding to inquiries from the media, funding agencies, or member state agencies with customized or formulated correspondence 
  • Overseeing identification, creation, tracking, dissemination of organizational success stories to the public and state/federal government officials including members of congress on a regular and ongoing basis 
  • Establishing and maintaining a solid network of public relations and media outlets 
  • Monitor media for activity related to Food Export’s mission, and engage in both proactive and reactive communication efforts to address issues as necessary 
  • Address other communications-related duties such as proactive public relations strategy for various industry sectors, especially seafood; legislative education strategy; media monitoring and response and development of a crisis communication plan and implement as required

Supports and leads staff for effective implementation:

  • Responsible for supervision of Associate and Coordinator staff members both in the Chicago and Philadelphia based offices with direct accountability for their successful performance 
  • Lead efforts on selection and hiring recommendations for vacant or new positions 
  • Conducting mid-year and annual performance reviews for all communications staff 
  • Contributes to and supports the Food Export Management Team through participation in regular meetings, collecting and responding to communications needs from various program areas, etc. Adherence to a “challenge up, support down” approach to management is essential.

Performs duties in a manner consistent with the organizations’ standards of excellence:

  • Operates in a manner which includes Service and Quality, Integrity and Responsibility, Timeliness, Professionalism and Fiscal Responsibility, Teamwork, Communications, and Staff Development.



  • Four year college degree in communications, journalism, public relations or a related field. Preference given to candidates holding additional related education.

Work Experience (highly preferred):

  • 10+ years of related work experience ideally in non-profit or association environment(s).
  • 5+ years of experience in a supervisory capacity.

Core Competencies:

  • Ability to develop and execute marketing and communications plans across all platforms 
  • Design of print and digital communications 
  • Public relations 
  • Social media management 
  • Communications management 
  • Knowledge or experience in the food and/or agriculture industries

Physical Demands/Work Environment:

  • Work is performed in a standard office environment. This position requires light duty physical work, conducting general office duties, participation in trade shows, and market promotions, Requirements include carrying multiple files and printed materials.
  • Occasional domestic travel required (up to two to four weeks per year). There may be an opportunity for international travel.

We offer an excellent benefits package. Must be authorized to work in the United States. Financial assistance for relocation is not budgeted for this position.

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