Vice President of Communications and External Relations

Catholic Extension

Catholic Extension was founded in 1905 and established by Pope Pius X as a “papal society” in 1910 with a mission to build churches in America's most rural regions. One-hundred-and-thirteen years later, Catholic Extension remains committed to strengthening and supporting the Catholic Church across the United States.

In poor mission dioceses throughout our country, there are more than 15 million Catholics who are on fire for their faith and committed to building up vibrant parish communities. In these areas, the faith is thriving, but the resources are scarce. Catholic churches are exceeding capacity during Sunday Mass; communities without access to a church building are using empty storefronts and warehouses as places to gather; and pastoral and lay leaders are traveling hundreds of miles a week to offer faith formation, lead youth ministries, and provide social outreach to numerous parishes throughout their dioceses.

It is with a strong commitment to its legacy that Catholic Extension invests in these faith communities, ensuring that Catholics across the country can experience the fullness of Church life. Catholic Extension funds church construction projects in places where old buildings are inefficient or can no longer sustain the capacity of their communities. It supports Catholic leaders of all ages so that they can increase their impact for the people they serve. It funds Catholic ministries and programs that engage Catholics in dynamic faith formation, fostering communities full of active parishioners. Together with its generous donors, Catholic Extension is celebrating the mission of the people who do God's work in their communities.

Catholic Extension is answering Pope Francis’ call to go out to America’s “peripheries.” Since its founding, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $1.3 billion in today’s dollars to expand and strengthen the Catholic Church in the poorest regions of America.

Position Details

Vice President of Communications and External Relations
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Vice President of Communications and External Relations is an integral member of the senior management team and is responsible for the strategic planning and daily implementation of brand management, public relations, advertising, and marketing efforts (to include broadcast development and distribution). This role consults departments on miscellaneous marketing pieces and develops marketing collateral as needed. The Vice President will conceive and implement innovative communications and marketing strategies across all media platforms to elevate Catholic Extension’s brand awareness nationally. The Vice President will articulate a clear vision for how to communicate the essence of Catholic Extension’s mission and brand by guiding the creation of compelling stories about the work the organization performs. This vision will convey the passion and unique niche of the organization and deliver a cohesive sense of the organization’s identity to both external and internal constituents. The Mission and Development teams will be the primary internal clients of communications and external relations support, both strategically and tactically. The Vice President will serve as a strategic partner in executing the community relations so central to the organization’s mission work and in advancing integrated fundraising efforts.

The Vice President will work closely with the Chief Operating Officer to create integrated, strategic plans and corresponding goals for communications and external relations reflecting the larger strategic goals of the institution. S/he must be a solutions-based leader who champions strategic, data-informed decision-making, industry best practices, and an ethos of continuous improvement and transparency. The Vice President will supervise a staff of five, as well as external, strategic consultants for broadcasts and public relations. The Vice President will be empowered to optimize the organizational design/functional alignment of the team in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer.

Catholic Extension seeks candidates who are dynamic, highly-organized, goal-oriented, and strategic, with outstanding presentation and writing skills, a keen sense of organizational diplomacy, and deep experience in communications and marketing. The successful candidate will be a proven leader, manager, mentor, and collaborative colleague who is comfortable leading major initiatives and supporting the leadership of others, and who has a track record of effectively leading organizational change. Candidates must be motivated by matters of faith, community, service, and justice. (Note: Catholic Extension is not an ideological platform or advocacy organization.)

Required qualifications and experience:

  • commitment to and passion for the mission of Catholic Extension, and the ability to communicate and generate excitement about its mission, history, vision, programs, and fundamental strengths; commitment to and understanding of the mission and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church; 
  • bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, journalism, or a related field is required, advanced degree preferred; 
  • minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible leadership positions in communications and marketing, preferably within a faith-based, nonprofit organization(s) related to social outreach, organizational capacity building, or human services on a regional, national, or international scale, though other relevant backgrounds will be considered; 
  • demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget; 
  • steeped in modern communications and marketing best practices and able to effectively integrate related functions; 
  • must have the breadth of skills required to devise communications and external relations strategies, inclusive of organizational branding, communications, and marketing, as well as support for fundraising; 
  • innovative thinker with a track record of translating strategic thinking into successfully executed, integrated action plans for strategic communications, media relations, and marketing in support of mission and programmatic, fundraising, event, and institution-wide goals; 
  • nuanced, sophisticated understanding of how to strategically leverage various communication mediums and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact; 
  • deep experience in leveraging emerging trends and technology, crafting effective digital strategies, and architecting an engaging user experience online and within social media platforms; 
  • extensive, successful writing experience with a variety of externally focused print and online communications media; 
  • demonstrated business acumen, including the ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about strategy and process.

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