Director – Communications

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ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi- arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these disadvantaged populations to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agricultural production systems.

ICRISAT is headquartered at Patancheru near Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and eight country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT envisions a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. Its mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics. ICRISAT conducts research on its mandate crops of chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet in the arid and semi-arid tropics. The Institute focuses its work on the drylands and in protecting the environment. Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, thereby trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and making them dependent on external aid.

 Position overview

ICRISAT has a compelling mission to fight poverty and improve the lives of people living in the semi-arid regions around the world. The semi-arid tropics are harsh environments with some of the highest levels of poverty and malnutrition, impacted strongly by climate change and battling water shortages and environmental degradation. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met unless we are persistent in escalating efforts towards finding solutions in these most challenged landscapes.

This is an exceptional opportunity to become a part of a modern and innovative agricultural research organization.

ICRISAT is changing in many ways in response to the changing global priorities, and this role will be pivotal to ensure that our communications strategy is aligned to the changes. The intent is to bring about a step-change in communications and this role comes with great a challenge and responsibility, as the right communications strategy and effective execution will support critical business development efforts and the public perception and brand image of ICRISAT. Managing this perception involves developing marketing and communication strategies, ensuring that information released is consistent with the organizational strategy at large, understanding the importance of timing and setting, responding to crises and setbacks, and overseeing a team of diverse communications professionals. Improving organizational impact through consistent and effective communication is an important requirement of this position.

The Director – Communications will lead a focused communications team handling both external and internal communications and will report to the Director General. The successful candidate will need to be nimble, engage professionally and build relationships across multiple stakeholders, besides working closely with the Institute’s Leadership Team and scientists across all our locations in Asia and Africa. The incumbent will shape ICRISAT’s messaging and promote it across multiple channels, maximizing its ability to inspire and influence audiences globally and to mobilize the resources needed to accelerate progress to achieve the SDGs. The successful candidate will be a highly creative leader who can seamlessly work across executive, internal and external communications, publications, digital platforms, and media engagement.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Establish and drive a multi-channel communications strategy to support ICRISAT’s organizational strategy.
  • Enhance ICRISAT’s brand image and influence by positioning ICRISAT as a thought leader in the dryland agriculture research domain.
  • Monitor external trends and track engagement across various platforms to inform the organisation’s leadership positioning and external engagement.
  • Manage the communication needs and visibility of the Director General.
  • Develop consistent brand voice and maintain brand integrity across all platforms.
  • Oversee the production of all communications material, including videos, social media and online content that engages audience segments and leads to measurable action.
  • Manage, monitor and analyze ICRISAT’s presence and impact across the social media landscape.
  • Manage media relations and develop contacts with media members, influencers and community leaders, achieving high level media coverage.
  • Regularly refresh content on external webpage and intranet—ensure that new and consistent information (article links, stories, and events) is posted regularly.
  • Be a key team member in reputational risk management through development and activation of communications mitigating measures.
  • Strive to ensure that the communications function remains agile, creative and keeps abreast of the latest developments, particularly in new technologies.
  • Lead a team of communications and design professionals.
  • Ensure quality control of all information released.

Candidate profile

Skills and Knowledge

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of the following skills, knowledge, experience and personal characteristics:

  • Understanding of the role of communications in support of business development
  • Demonstrated knowledge and proficiency with communications technologies
  • Understanding of social media platforms and social media marketing
  • Excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills in English. Knowledge of other international languages, especially French, will be an advantage.
  • Impeccable copywriting and copy-editing abilities
  • Understanding of graphic design, layout and publishing both in print and electronic formats
  • Working knowledge of content management systems and digital graphics production
  • Strong leadership track record
  • Highly collaborative style of working
  • Strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key initiatives concurrently
  • Relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to “manage by influence”
  • High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to serve as a unifying force and to position communications discussions both at strategic and tactical levels
  • Self-starter, able to work independently, and entrepreneurial; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives that align with, and are embedded in, the institutional strategy

Qualifications and Experience

  • Graduate with a degree in communications, marketing, public relations or a related discipline. A Master’s degree is an added advantage.
  • A minimum of 15 years of experience in communications, preferably in the not-for-profit sector.
  • Experience in managing digital content.
  • Established media relations.
  • An understanding of agricultural science and its critical role in tackling issues such as climate change, natural resource management, malnutrition, gender issues and rural poverty across developing countries that impact the UN SDGs, will be an asset.

Assignment Location:

The position will be based at ICRISAT’s headquarters in Patancheru, near Hyderabad, Telangana State, India. Hyderabad is the largest city and capital of the Telangana State, and the de jure capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is India’s fourth largest city; and is a fascinating combination of the ancient and the modern India.

Hyderabad has developed into one of the major hubs for the information technology industry in India. In addition to the IT industry, various biotechnology and pharmaceutics companies have set up their operations in Hyderabad owing to its established Public sector in Life Science Research and Genome Valley. The city incubates several promising start-up companies and is one of the most exciting business centers in the country.

Located at the crossroads of North and South India, Hyderabad has cultivated a unique culture that is reflected in its language and architecture. Hyderabad is known for its rich history, food and its multi-lingual culture. There are four major languages spoken in Hyderabad: Hindi, Deccani-Urdu, Telugu and English. English is the language of business and administration and is widely spoken and understood. The Hyderabadi cuisine is known for its delectable flavors. Traditional Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is the most celebrated dish from Hyderabad.

Hyderabad has world class education facilities. While it is home to the prestigious Indian School of Business, the city also houses educational institutes and schools imparting various national and international curriculum. Noteworthily, ICRISAT hosts the International School of Hyderabad within its campus.

Hyderabad is an ideal destination for expatriation. A vibrant international community, warm and friendly residents, negligible crime rate, sophisticated luxury hotels, sprawling shopping malls, boutique cafes and world class recreation facilities make the city an ideal destination for global citizens.

Duration of Assignment:

This is an Internationally Recruited Staff (IRS) position for three years with attractive compensation and benefits. A new contract may be offered at the end of the present tenure based on the performance of the incumbent, funding availability and the Institute’s continuing need for the position.

How to apply:

If this position interests you, please follow the below instructions to apply.

Applicants should apply on or before 25 March 2021, with latest Curriculum Vitae, and the names and contact information of three references who are knowledgeable about their professional qualifications and work experience. All applications will be acknowledged. However, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Please CLICK HERE to submit your application.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing diversity and maintaining a progressive and inclusive workplace. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age, marital status or whether they have a disability.

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