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Executive Director, Media Relations

University of Pennsylvania

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Executive Administration Jobs
C-Level & Executive Directors
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Executive Director, Media Relations

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Executive Director, Media Relations

Job Profile Title
Director E, Arts and Media, Communications and Marketing

Job Description Summary
The Office of University Communications is seeking an Executive Director of Media Relations. University Communications is Penn's central office for University news and promotes and protects the brand of the University through strategic communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, and storytelling across digital publications, websites, multimedia, and social media platforms. This newly created position reports to the Vice President of University Communications.

The Executive Director of Media Relations will develop and implement a media relations and reputation management strategy encompassing campus, local, national, and international media, and serve as a spokesperson for the University. The successful candidate will be responsible for high-volume inbound media inquiries and issues management. This role will develop messages and talking points, working closely with campus communicators and administrative departments to understand Penn's priorities.

The position requires a deep knowledge of the current national media landscape, including an understanding of the issues facing higher education, news judgment, and ability to quickly analyze and prioritize rapidly emerging issues. With a performance-driven orientation, this leader will not only have an exceptional and diverse set of experiences, but a seasoned and mature point of view, as well as the energy, drive, and confidence to operate within a complex organization.

Job Description

Job Responsibilities
  • In collaboration with the Vice President, Associate Vice President, and other senior leaders, build proactive strategies and execute rapid responses to time-sensitive issues. Develop and manage an effective crisis and issues management program.
  • Respond to media inquiries, write statements/or interview talking points in coordination with campus units and subject-matter experts.
  • Participate in the development of strategic communication and media relations plans, including long-term and short-term goals, with methods of measuring the plan's impact on and contribution to the institution.
  • Actively monitor both existing and emerging issues and proactively ensure the institution communicates positions on various issues to media and other stakeholders.
  • Provide strategic media counsel to campus communicators and administrators on local and national issues. Prepare experts/other spokespersons and staff media interviews (e.g., background material, key messages, media prep/coaching).
  • Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with local and top media organizations and individual journalists.
  • ​Other duties as assigned.

  • Bachelor's degree and 10+ years of progressively increasing experience in media relations roles. Experience as an advisor to a political leader, university administrator, or a high-profile executive.
  • Strong on-the-record experience with print, digital and broadcast media.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills, and ability to foster collaborative decision-making, and strong relationship building.
  • Track-record of success in navigating complicated, high visibility issues on a national level.
  • A demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to take on complex, challenging situations in a dynamic organization; and the ability to envision, articulate, and realize both process and program improvements within the communications function.
  • Proven experience working collaboratively with communications groups, colleagues, and key stakeholders.
  • Strong experience with techniques for research, reporting and media monitoring tools such as Meltwater, Cision, Muck Rack, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in deadline, fast-paced and high-pressure situations.
  • Ability to work non-traditional work hours, including nights, and weekends.
  • A commitment to promoting and supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion.

        Job Location - City, State
        Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

        Department / School
        President's Center

        Pay Range
        $110,850.00 - $195,000.00 Annual Rate
        Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

        Affirmative Action Statement
        Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

        Special Requirements
        Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

        University Benefits
        • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
        • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
        • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
        • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
        • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
        • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
        • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
        • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
        • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
        • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
        • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
        • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

        To learn more, please visit:

        To apply, visit

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        Welcome to the University of Pennsylvania! Penn is the largest private employer in Philadelphia and is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation.  

        Across our 12 highly-regarded schools, more than 25,000 students, and more than 4,000 faculty members, we become one university: a wide-ranging, ever-changing community that draws its strength from a multitude of races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, historical traditions, ages, religions, disabilities, veteran status, interests, perspectives, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

        Penn carries on the principles and spirit of its founder, Benjamin Franklin: entrepreneurship, innovation, invention, outreach, and a pragmatic love of knowledge. Franklin's practical outlook has remained a driving force in the university's development. To learn more, visit About Penn



        As engines of knowledge and new ideas, universities have the unique potential to define the future rather than be defined by it; to pioneer change rather than merely manage it. To do so requires a plan both visionary and pragmatic. The Penn Compact 2022 motivates community members to innovate, be radically inclusive, and positively impact their local, national, and global communities. 


        Penn’s fundamental priorities — increasing access, integrating knowledge and engaging locally, nationally and globally — are supported by the three core values that make us uniquely Penn: inclusion, innovation, and impact. 


        Learn about the signature initiatives of the Penn Compact 2022:  




        Understanding and appreciating diversity is one of Penn's most important priorities and is fundamental to success in today's world. 


        Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class. 


        To learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at Penn visit: 




        Penn offers a wide range of benefits and perks - from Penn's retirement Matching Plan to bike repair stations to access to the full LinkedIn Learning library to adoption assistance to workshops at the letterpress and book arts studio and much more! 


        Campus and Beyond


        We invite you to explore our campus and its stately buildings and state-of-the-art facilities. 


        Try our self-guided tour! Come and visit


        Learn about sustainability at Penn




        Stay up-to-date with Penn's response to COVID-19: Coronavirus Information & Resources


        Penn supports news publications that tell the ongoing story of the University community, communications services for external media, telephone and video services, and other media resources: Campus Media 


        Connect with us!  


        Instagram: @uofpenn 

        Twitter: @Penn 



        Company info
        (215) 898-7372
        3451 Walnut Street

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