Job Posting Details

Thompson Rivers University

Executive Communications Officer

Job Description

The Executive Communications Officer (ECO) will provide public communications for TRU’s senior executive, both internally to the TRU community and externally through local, provincial and national media, events and activities. The incumbent possesses superior writing skills, the ability to anticipate issues and craft communications to address them, experience translating strategic goals into effective communication plans and collateral, the ability to influence internal and external audiences and a desire to tell TRU’s story are key elements of the role.

The position is accountable to the Associate Vice-President, Marketing & Communications (AVP MarCom) and is responsible for directly supporting the President of TRU. The ECO works with departments within each executive’s portfolio to develop culturally-astute strategic communications.

The ECO works closely with the Office of the President, collaborating with the President’s full spectrum of direct reports and special advisors. The President’s communications activities pertain to internal audiences, external audiences, and institutional governance bodies, including the Board of Governors, Senate, Planning Council of Open Learning, and Boards of Directors as well as to political associations (TRU student and employee associations) and community audiences. The incumbent also works directly with the Vice-Presidents on a daily or weekly basis to understand major initiatives related to their departments, and provide internal communications, external media relations, issue management, and government relations communications.

As a member of MarCom, the incumbent will work with MarCom colleagues to access resources and expertise in design and creative development, web and digital marketing and communications to support and advance PVP priorities.

Building the University Community
The ECO is accountable for preparing integrated communications to help build a strong sense of community and cohesion among the University’s students, faculty and staff. This is especially true for advancing key administrative and institutional priorities such as the Strategic Priorities, the Open Governance Initiative, TRUCC and The Reach, The Academic Plan, NWCCU Accreditation and the Campus Master Plan.

Representing the University Community
The ECO is accountable for producing communications that help the President in his/her responsibility to represent TRU through strategic communications campaigns across multiple platforms over time. These platforms may include conferences, meetings, consultations and planning sessions, high-profile comment pieces in multi-level media channels, and speeches and presentations to various sector, regional, national, and international audiences. This requires broad knowledge of TRU and the post-secondary education sector in BC as well as knowledge of political environments and challenges, institutional culture, public policy priorities, and emerging educational trends. The role will also support messaging for PVP as required.

University Community Governance
The ECO helps PVP to effectively engage and communicate with the University’s institutions of governance. The incumbent is accountable for creating and enterprise-wide communication plans and materials to clarify governance achievements and developments. These could include strategic plans, major appointments, internationalization, Indigenization and other significant opportunities and challenges. The ECO understands and reflects the individual “voices” of the President and each Vice-President when preparing communications on their behalf.

Shaping University, and PVP Policies & Priorities
The ECO builds and sustains a high-value network of senior University officials and stakeholders to develop a sophisticated sense of where Presidential and/or PVP sponsorship and communications support would advance key University priorities. Examples could include gender equity, student health and welfare, Indigenization, international education, Continuing Education, capital projects, and other significant opportunities and challenges.

Crisis Communications
The ECO is responsible for working with the President and Vice-President, Advancement to develop statements, comments, and overall messaging with respect to tragedies and crises in and around campus. In doing so, the incumbent works closely with MarCom colleagues, particularly the AVP MarCom and the Manager of Communications and Digital Media. The incumbent will also have a role as part of the Emergency Communications Team in support of the Emergency Response Plan.

Communications Competencies
The ECO is responsible for visioning and managing the right communications strategies to support the President’s and/or the PVP. The incumbent exercises overall responsibility for the President’s digital presence, including periodically reviewing and refreshing the content strategy for the Office of the President website, ensuring messaging consistency with broader university marketing and communications activities, and coordinating with MarCom colleagues to ensure effective distribution of Presidential and/or PVP communications across digital and traditional platforms.

Strategic Planning
The incumbent will demonstrate proficiency in writing strategic media and communications plans, and key messaging within institutional objectives. This includes collaboration across all reporting lines to the President.

Collaboration and Outreach
The ECO will play a senior and lead role in developing positive relationships with key stakeholders relating to the Office of the President, with PVP, with other senior executives, as well as within MarCom. The incumbent identifies opportunities for internal collaboration and consultation with Faculties and Schools, Divisions and Departments on communications and administration leadership projects, and keeps MarCom apprised of such projects, and supports co-developed plans. The incumbent builds and maintains strong relationships with MarCom colleagues involved, particularly its senior leadership.

Managing the University’s Role and Reputation
The incumbent, working with the Vice-President Advancement and the AVP MarCom has a key responsibility for developing and managing the Presidential communications strategy in support of the overall internal and external image and reputation of the University and the Office of President. This involves regular consultation and dialogue with PVP and MarCom senior leadership, and with other individuals and offices as identified by the President and PVP.



  • Master’s degree in a communications-related field or equivalent education and experience.
  • 5+ years producing and implementing communications plans.
  • Ability to write the components of a communication plan effectively and on a timely basis.
  • A proven track record in a complex, fast-paced environment.
  • Critical thinking and excellent analytical and political skills to enable immediate and appropriate assessment of complex issues of concern to stakeholders including among others, the media, the public, government, internal stakeholders and funders.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Excellent writing, editing and verbal communication skills.
  • Extensive interviewing and researching skills.
  • Demonstrated track record of building relationships and trust with senior executives, colleagues and line staff.
  • The agility to plan ahead for major strategic initiatives yet also respond quickly to issues requiring immediate attention.
  • A service mind-set and a collegial team approach to working with colleagues and media partners.
  • The insight and experience to adapt senior executive “voices” to social media and alternative platforms.
  • Advanced skills in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Mail Poet, WordPress and other emerging communication-related software programs.
  • Work outside the normal operating hours can be expected in this role.

How to Apply
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Contact for Position

Thompson Rivers University


Job Location

Job Level & Type
  • Senior Level
  • Full Time Permanent Staff Position

Listing to be posted until:
Monday, September 25, 2017