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Position Description

Director of External Affairs


REPORTS TO: Executive Vice President of External Affairs & Programs

FLSA: Exempt

DEPARTMENT: External Affairs


The Director of External Affairs reports to the Executive Vice President of External Affairs & Programs and serves as a vital member of the External Affairs team. Along with the EVP, the Director is responsible for outward-facing communications and managing the Chicago Urban League’s brand.  The Director works closely with senior staff to advance strategic priorities, anticipate issues, respond to opportunities, identify project needs, build strong relationships with stakeholders, and manage deadlines. The Director also helps to plan, coordinate and implement special events to help the League meet its goals and pursue its mission. Some weekends and evenings are required.

The ideal candidate will be a dedicated, detail-oriented, highly organized professional with outstanding interpersonal and communications skills, a passion for creating and executing dynamic events in brand awareness, community engagement and fundraising contexts.

Essential Functions

  • Produce weekly email newsletter
  • Provide strategic communications counsel to program department leads
  • In collaboration with departmental leads, coordinate internal and external communications to promote the visibility of events and manage the production of print materials.
  • Demonstrate extremely creative thinking and bring to all events, new and exciting ideas and concepts to enhance event appeal, attract media/press and public interest, increase stakeholder and community engagement, and set the League apart from other event offerings in and around the Chicago metropolitan area
  • Support planning and execution of two annual fundraising events: the SUMMIT Luncheon and the Golden Fellowship Dinner.
  • Support EVP of External Affairs & Programs in producing annual reports
  • Serve as a liaison to Chicago Urban League auxiliaries
  • Ensure creative, highest-quality, cost-effective event services by closely managing approved event budgets; obtaining competitive bids from, contracting with, and managing relationships with event vendors; and remaining in control of all aspects and moving parts associated with event activities.
  • Manage and support effective event committees and guide the participation of staff, auxiliaries, Board members, funding partners and other volunteers in events. Manage VIP participation, including travel arrangements and speaking engagements.
  • Manage and ensure smooth and efficient day-of-event coordination.
  • Write, edit, compile, and prepare event materials and collateral. Draft remarks, speaking points, and overall run-of-show guidelines. Demonstrate clear and effective communication to ensure understanding and collaboration between all areas of the League.
  • Supervise event consultants, as needed, and stay abreast of event trends, venues, vendors, and technologies.


Manage Chicago Urban League Participation in Community and Other Public Events

  • Working closely with Development department and other League staff, coordinate logistics and execution of cultivation and other events, including but not limited to trade show participation and other external events on which we partner and/or participate, e.g., Bud Billiken Parade or UNCF Walk.
  • Prepare budgets and periodic progress reports to staff directors for each event
  • Hire and manage vendors and production staff; oversee budgets, timelines, etc.
  • In collaboration with the Development department, coordinate event-related print materials.
  • Execute event-day logistics and staffing plans.
  • Prepare post-event acknowledgments and debriefs.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Supervise External Affairs Manager and Interns
  • Work with EVP and Media Relations Consultant to manage media inquiries.
  • Prepare and submit check requests and invoices for External Affairs department.
  • Undertake other duties and responsibilities, as assigned from time to time.


Required Skills

The Director must possess:

  • Excellent communications skills, including writing and proofreading
  • Superlative interpersonal skills and customer-service orientation
  • Proficiency in use of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • The ability to forge positive working relationships with senior staff, partners, community stakeholders, vendors, and others.
  • Strong data management data management and technology skills
  • Exceptional organizational skills and follow-up
  • The ability to effectively multi-task and demonstrate responsiveness
  • Graphic design skills and a strong eye for crisp, clean design are preferred


Education and Experience

  • Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in communications or public relations; at least 7-10 years’ experience working in special events and/or public relations
  • Experience managing staff and/or interns
  • Writing sample will need to be provided.