Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Job description

Job location: Colby College

Employment Type: Full-time
Posted data: 2020-10-09
Req: R0000193
Job DescriptionDepartment:VP of Enrollment and CommunicationsPay Rate Type:SalaryEmployee Type:Job Summary:Jack Gorman, from the search firm Isaacson, Miller, is leading this search with Elizabeth Neustaedter and Jocelyn Wickersham. For more information, to submit a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit:

Colby College seeks an innovative and collaborative professional to serve as its first chief marketing and communications officer. Colby’s reputation and resources have expanded dramatically under President David Greene’s leadership over the last six years. Applications have swelled from slightly more than 5,000 to nearly 14,000 since 2015; the College launched a $750 million comprehensive campaign, Dare Northward, the largest campaign among all liberal arts colleges; the College’s leaders and innovative programs have an increasingly visible presence in the national media (e.g., The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, CNBC, CNN, Fox, PBS, NPR, and others); the city of Waterville is being transformed through a partnership with Colby and more than $100 million in collective investments; the Colby College Museum of Art, one of the finest college art museums in the country, is a destination for study and tourism alike; and faculty research and scholarship have been highlighted by multiple outlets.

The chief marketing and communications officer (CMCO) will be responsible for capturing the achievements and potential of the College in a comprehensive, compelling marketing and communications strategy that targets a wide variety of audiences and extends across all media. Reporting to and in collaboration with the vice president for enrollment and communications (VPEC), the CMCO will oversee traditional, digital, and social media and channels; public relations and media; design and creative efforts; market analytics; multiple technology platforms; and ten staff as well as external agencies and partners. The CMCO will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies that enhance awareness of the diversity, excellence, and impact of the College and for executing a plan that increases brand recognition and elevates the reputation of Colby. The new CMCO will have at least seven to ten years of experience and be entrepreneurial, data-driven, collaborative, and creative with the vision, drive, and determination to position Colby’s communications operation as one of the best in the country. We encourage inquiries from candidates who will contribute to the diversity of our College, including its cultural and ethnic diversity.


  • In coordination with the VPEC, create and implement an overarching marketing, branding, and communications program that is innovative, progressive, and proactive, and extends across all media and vehicles
  • Build and manage an outstanding strategic marketing and branding program which can be considered best-in-class in higher education and beyond
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and success of Colby’s positioning, brand, and communications vehicles with different internal and external audiences on an ongoing basis
  • Strategically invest time and resources in market research, competitive landscape analysis, brand and marketing refinement, and creative execution; as appropriate, utilize internal and external counsel as well as agencies and service providers capable of supporting Colby and its units across all platforms and vehicles
  • Build strong, collaborative, and collegial relationships with communications teams and staff across the College, understand their specific priorities, and identify ways to support individualized programs that integrate with the College’s positioning and brand overall
  • Establish an ambitious, bold, modern, elegant, and energetic brand identity and communications style
  • Set clear direction and priorities for the marketing and communications staff. Continually assess staff strengths; recruit and retain a high-quality, diverse team
  • Maintain a leadership style that is open, fluid, and empowers staff through active communication and delegation, placing their work with the context of Colby’s strategic priorities and mission; celebrate current achievements and set clear expectations for future success
  • Foster an environment that rewards new ideas and risk-taking, builds confidence, and encourages teamwork and collaboration within the office and across the College; create and contribute to a work environment of creativity, openness, candor, and mutual respect
  • Perform additional duties as assigned; duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice


  • Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in education and experience; advanced degree preferred
  • Seven to ten years of experience leading, envisioning, and implementing a successful strategic marketing, branding, and communications program that can be leveraged across an enterprise with multiple constituencies and a wide variety of audiences
  • An unwavering focus on diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism, and understanding of how this work is amplified in the language, images, and channels that are used by the College
  • A deep appreciation for and ability to articulate to diverse audiences the mission, achievements, and contributions of Colby College
  • A record of success as an innovative and collaborative leader in a complex, mission-driven organization with global reach, numerous and distributed stakeholders, and ambitious goals
  • Exceptional knowledge of the latest digital and integrated marketing tools with experience in leveraging internal skill sets and assets as well as hiring and managing external media agencies
  • A record of success as an innovative and collaborative leader in a large, complex, mission-driven organization with numerous and distributed stakeholders, shared decision making, and often rapidly shifting priorities
  • Demonstrated ability to craft substantive and cohesive messages based on an institution’s strategic goals, communicate them successfully to key audiences, and adapt and adjust as appropriate over time
  • Superior strategic skills with a strong grasp of industry best practices and a holistic understanding of all aspects of marketing, positioning, and branding; substantial experience evaluating the strengths of existing programs and identifying opportunities for improvement
  • Keen creative and design sensibilities, with a strong understanding of the marketing and communications process from creative concept through production and fulfillment
  • Ability to increase efficiency and effectiveness of marketing programs and vehicles without sacrificing quality and impact; also, the ability to inspire innovative solutions to scale across an enterprise
  • Solid understanding of the advantages and drawbacks of both traditional and digital media, the potential for and hazards of paid media, and how best to convey information in ways that engage and excite constituents
  • Collaborative and collegial orientation, eagerness and ability to engage a diverse client base and build strong relationships across an institution; a convener who synthesizes many ideas and produces work products that address a wide variety of goals and objectives
  • Proactive with a spirit of initiative and the ability to juggle priorities, programs, and projects in a fast-paced environment
  • A record of creative and entrepreneurial management; the ability to build, lead, mentor, and motivate staff; a strong commitment to personal and professional development; and the ability to foster a robust, autonomous, and collaborative team
  • A sharp eye for operational efficiency and optimal use of resources; deep understanding of budgets and proven success managing them; an aptitude for using data and metrics in decision-making and evaluating the success of people and programs alike
  • Superb personal communications skills, both written and oral
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to work well with people at all levels of an organization; the ability to hear what is not being said and perceive what is not understood
  • Strong personal and work ethic; persistent and persuasive; and a robust and resilient sense of perspective
  • A desire to deeply engage in the local and College communities; a keen understanding of the role diversity and intercultural understanding play in achieving excellence
  • Valid driver’s license required and must meet the College’s Fleet Safety Policy requirements


This position has significant interactions with employees including faculty, senior staff, deans, directors, supervisors, other members of the campus community, and outside constituencies.


General open office and campus environment. Position involves sitting, although frequent movement is necessary.

Position involves sitting, and frequent computer usage involving repetitive hand/wrist motion is necessary. Ability to move around campus is crucial. Some travel is required.


Jack Gorman, from the search firm Isaacson, Miller, is leading this search with Elizabeth Neustaedter and Jocelyn Wickersham. For more information, to submit a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit:

(Do not click the Apply button on this page)




Diversity Profile: University



View more

Learn more on Inside Higher Ed's College Page for University

Arrow pointing right
Job No:
Posted: 10/9/2020
Application Due: 4/8/2021
Work Type: Full Time