American Forest & Paper Association: Seeking Director, Communications and Press Secretary

With Who:  American Forest & Paper Association

Location:  Washington, DC

Type of Employment:  Full-time

Position Description:  This is a great opportunity to oversee media relations activities for the advocacy priorities of a large trade association. The selected individual will contribute to strategic communications planning in support of the department’s integrated public policy campaigns and will proactively develop effective relationships to generate earned media coverage.

Essential Job Functions:  

  • Serves as a spokesperson, responsible for reactive and proactive communications efforts in support of key association policy issues and campaigns.
  • Assists Executive Director, Strategic Communications in crafting and delivering effective messages and communications plans in support of the department’s integrated public policy campaigns (supported by the Manager, Communications).
  • Develops strategies to pitch and place stories in support of AF&PA advocacy priorities and maintains effective relationships with reporters representing trade, congressional and mainstream media.
  • Writes press releases, op-eds, fact sheets, talking points, blogs, letters to editor and other supportive materials to proactively and positively position AF&PA in the media and increase awareness and brand recognition.
  • Monitors news stories to inform AF&PA staff and teams and identify opportunities for rapid response.
  • Drafts and contributes to strategic communications plans.
  • Prepares principals for media interviews to help ensure key messages are consistently conveyed.
  • Works with Coordinator, Communications to research and maintain a strategic editorial calendar across target publications and conducts outreach to secure placement.
  • Leads planning, management and delivery of all aspects of targeted earned and paid media campaigns on deadline in close coordination with communications team members, other AF&PA department heads and outside vendors.
  • Coordinates with Executive Director, Strategic Communications to monitor, manage, draft and present communications budget.
  • Collaborates closely with Manager, Digital Communications to determine opportunities for effective amplification of earned media.
  • Ensures earned media analytics are effectively tracked on a daily, monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
  • Oversees the management and maintenance of AF&PA press lists and distributions in Cision.
  • Supports the association’s activities and key public policy initiatives in collaboration with all departments.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Strong written and verbal skills, particularly in drafting strategic communications plans and supporting message materials.
  • Proven experience in maintaining good press contacts and experience working with members of the news media.
  • A strategic thinker with a finger on the pulse of the latest communications industry trends.
  • Demonstrates initiative and a proven willingness to take accountability for results.
  • Ability to build strong collaborative relationships across departments and external stakeholders, while also able to work independently when necessary.
  • Ability to work under deadline pressure, juggling multiple issues.
  • Familiarity with current cloud-based technology to manage media lists, issue public releases/statements and capture news coverage.
  • Proficiency using Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint

Education/Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, or related subject area.
  • Minimum of seven (7) years of experience in media relations, including significant experience as spokesperson and staffing interviews.
  • Experience managing outside consultants and coalitions a plus; federal government and/or trade association experience preferred.
  • Experience in making social media recommendations in support of communications goals.
  • Experience in advocating for and communicating complex policy initiatives to news media and stakeholders.

Apply (or see more information):  Submit your application today!

About Megan Gould

Ms. Gould is the Coordinator for Events, Outreach, and Public Relations for the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston.

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