Senior Director, Media and Public Relations

Northwestern Mutual

About Us:

At Northwestern Mutual, we believe relationships are built on trust. That our lives and our work matter. These beliefs launched our company over 160 years ago. Today, they're just a few of the reasons why people choose to build careers at Northwestern Mutual. What started in Milwaukee, WI has grown into 7,000+ home office professionals split across 3 campuses: New York City, Franklin and downtown Milwaukee (HQ) - each one bringing with it its own unique talent and culture. In a company with such a long and storied history, this may be the most exciting and important time to be a part of Northwestern Mutual as we are growing our digital and tech capabilities and are always on the lookout for bright, tech-savvy candidates.

Position Details

Senior Director, Media and Public Relations
Southeast Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI

What's the role?

Located in Milwaukee, Wis., and reporting to the VP, Strategic Communications and Public Relations as the Senior Director – Media & Public Relations you will be responsible for strengthening Northwestern Mutual’s reputation and advancing the company’s vision and business priorities through shaping and sharing the company story externally. You will cultivate a collaborative network that includes other internal and external communications leads, corporate business leaders, and field leaders. Your shared goal will be ensuring alignment and integration of messaging that strengthens and reinforces the company narrative across external strategic audiences and channels, including the public/media/social. You will maintain a thorough understanding of current company priorities and issues and proactively anticipate emerging opportunities and threats.

You will oversee the development and implementation of a national/regional/local media relations strategy in line with company objectives and focused areas, including but not limited to products (insurance and investments), innovation, company financials, technology, strategic philanthropy, field (advisor) PR in key markets, and diversity and inclusion. You will be responsible for building and strengthening relations with traditional/digital media (business, consumer and industry) outlets. You will oversee media interviews, speaking engagements, media materials, assets, etc. to help tell our stories working with company spokespeople. And, you will play a role in mitigating company issues/crisis events by working alongside key team members to manage the company’s reputation.

You will oversee company thought leadership efforts, including proprietary research driving our financial planning messaging. This also includes advancing the company’s executive visibility by showcasing the character and caliber of our leaders, positioning them as experts through channels inclusive of earned, owned, and speaking engagement opportunities that best position the company.

You will monitor global, national and industry developments to ensure senior management is counseled appropriately regarding potential vulnerabilities or news angles that may be anticipated and ensure the company maintains the appropriate level of readiness for possible news media inquiries on various topics related to our industry, distribution force, compensation structure, products, needs-based selling process, etc.

Your team’s success will contribute to the department’s KPIs (earned media reach / sentiment metrics). You will oversee the team’s ongoing metrics reporting (KPIs), merchandising the team’s impact/value to internal audiences (executives/employees/field), media line monitoring to respond to reporter/field inquiries in addition to overseeing daily media monitoring.

You will lead/engage with PR agency partners efforts and manage agency budgets to meet bottom lines.

Bring Your Best! What this role needs:

  • You've obtained a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, public relations, marketing or a related field is required; an advanced degree would be preferred. 
  • You have a minimum 10-15 years of progressive experience in professional corporate communications or public relations. 
  • You are a seasoned and versatile communications leader, with the ability to counsel senior executives and lead through influence at all levels of the organization and across a diverse set of functions. Able to develop strong relationships and influence multiple stakeholders in order to gain alignment on key issues will be critical for success. 
  • Ability to effectively to lead PR firms and manage relationships and budgets. 
  • You have a strong understanding of PR metrics and analysis and driving business outcomes. 
  • Expertise working with media and understanding of how to amplify placements across channels. 
  • You have solid experience using digital and social media as a lead element and experience in providing direction for content creation. 
  • Ability to lead and motivate a team. 
  • Strong resilience, ability to lead through ambiguity, and persistence to move ahead regardless of barriers. 
  • You are skilled at implementing messages to target audiences using a full range of communication channels. 
  • You have background working in issues/crisis management. 
  • You have superior skills in communications strategy, planning and execution, problem-solving, and writing.

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