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Strategic Communications Manager

Date: January 28, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Director, Communications and Marketing/Director, Integrated Marketing and Communications, MSC
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles):

Communications Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Communications Associate (co-op student),
Marketing Associate (co-op student)

Location: Waterloo Campus

USG 10

35 hr/wk



Co-operative Education & Career Action

Primary Purpose

This position provides research and communications support to the University of Waterloo’s Cooperative Education and Career Action (CECA) and Marketing and Strategic Communications (MSC) teams. The position is responsible and accountable for identifying and delivering strategic institutional communications content, used across multiple channels to advance the University’s image, profile and reputation with local, national and global audiences, including an annual report. The position works with the Executive Director and Communications and Marketing, CECA, and Integrated Marketing and Communications, MSC, as well as other departments on campus to ensure co-ordination and consistency of the university’s key messages, specifically in relation to experiential education. The incumbent will be responsible for identifying issues of importance to CECA, MSC and the University of Waterloo, conducting research, writing, and managing a variety of projects to carry out these duties. This includes letters, briefing notes, speechwriting, presentations and keynote addresses for a variety of campus and external events, industry relations, government relations, outreach and advocacy initiatives in addition to employer and student communication as required. This position would oversee the entire suite of print and digital communications produced by CECA’s communications and marketing team to ensure continuity of message and branding. The role would assess gaps and requirements for greater effectiveness of CECA communications and lead any changes required. This role would manage, coach and mentor the communication specialists and associated co-op students on the Communications and Marketing team. CECA.

Key Accountabilities:

1.  Develop key messages about the University of Waterloo’s leadership in experiential education, including co-operative education and apply them accordingly to create a consistent, clear and comprehensive narrative for a wide variety of stakeholders.


2.  Conduct research, collect data and facts about experiential learning, including co-operative education


3.  Create, manage and implement a comprehensive communications framework to support the University of Waterloo’s leadership in experiential learning, including co-operative education.


4.  Develop and manage budget associated with experiential education and CECA communication activities


5.  Act as CECA’s communications’ expert resource and provide back-up and support to the Manager, Outreach or the Marketing Program Manager in decision-making in the absence of either.


6.  Lead and manage direct reports and ensure the delivery of results in support of CECA mission, vision and guiding principles including:

Position Requirements


University undergraduate degree in communications or marketing or related discipline, or relevant experience.



MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other

AdvancedFull functional ability to use the features of Word with no training.

AverageUse of basic excel functionality in spreadsheet format: data entry, use of formulas, creation of charts etc. AdvancedThe ability to create branded presentations utilizing the full functionality and features of PowerPoint such animation and embedded exported media files within a presentation. Social media
Full functional ability to utilize social media channels effectively

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

With excellent organizational and administrative capabilities and time management skills, the Strategic Communications Manager has a high tolerance for multi-tasking and last minute changes.  The Strategic Communications Manager has excellent written, presentation and verbal communication skills, and brings a strong team work ethic and collaborative approach to their work. A high tolerance for ambiguity is a critical requirement coupled with a strongly self-motivated attitude that can manage conflict constructively. A flexible approach with a can-do attitude is essential. The incumbent must be approachable, people-oriented, and value building a strong team and constructive work environment.


Internal and External Contacts


The position will work closely and directly with the Executive Director of CECA, Director of Communications and Marketing, CECA and the Director, Integrated Marketing and Communications, MSC, and will interface with senior leadership and senior employees across CECA, MSC and the University. The position will be involved in highly sensitive, confidential matters that are critical to the deliverables of the University’s strategic plan.


The Strategic Communications Manager negotiates with vendors for the high quality production of materials from printing materials to the production of digital videos.

Level of Responsibility:

The position is responsible and accountable for the quality and accuracy of communications that can have a significant impact on the reputation of CECA, MSC and the University. The individual demonstrates a deep understanding of the political, cultural and social contexts in which CECA, MSC and the University operate and those affecting the campus community.


The Strategic Communications Manager role has specialized work with minimal supervision and has direct reports reporting to it.  The Manager manages the communications and marketing specialists, coaches the co-op students hired as part of the team and facilitates technical support/training to the co-op students. This position must participate in the co-op hiring and evaluation process two times a term. The Manager manages a co-op student on a daily basis, in addition to the Communications Specialist and Marketing Specialist.

Problem solving

The production of communications outputs requires time and budget management with an assurance of quality. The Strategic Communications Manager manages the end-to-end production of communications in a variety of formats. The activities are escalated when quality concerns, budget issues, timing issues or relationship management issues arise.


Financial Accountability

The Strategic Communications manager will be accountable to meeting project budget guidelines.

Decision-Making Authority:

This role works directly with the Executive Director, Directors, senior leadership and Communications and Marketing staff to determine strategic approaches, messaging and plans.

The Strategic Communications Manager makes decisions related to creating the experiential education and co-operative education materials. The Strategic Communications Manager also ensures brand compliance.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

This role requires minimal exertion of physical or sensory effort resulting in moderate fatigue, strain or risk of injury. The demands are typical of those found within an office working environment.

Working Environment:

This role involves minimal psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to hazardous, disagreeable or uncomfortable environmental conditions.  This role involves occasional travel for events, occasional unusual hours or schedules due to event-driven deadlines, lack of control over work pace due to externally-driven deadlines, occasional irregular and/or high volumes and multiple and/or tight deadlines beyond one's control due to project deadlines, and constant interruptions due to phone and email.