Recognizing the threats and opportunities the Columbia Gorge faces daily, the organization is in search of a communications & engagement director to oversee the outward-facing efforts of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. For the purposes of this position, communications and engagement includes:
• Media Relations
• Digital & Print Communications
• Web & Social Media
• Outdoor Programs
• Youth Education Programs
• Community Engagement Programs

The position currently manages a three-person team as well as a variety of consultants supporting Friends’ efforts. The communications & engagement director also promotes and responds to mission-related issues faced in the Columbia Gorge, as well as strengthening and broadening the brand identity of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust with members, stakeholders, and general public.

Beyond the communications and engagement team, the position engages across teams with advocacy, land trust, legal, government affairs, philanthropy, and administrative staff to create communications and public engagement efforts that support the protection, preservation, and stewardship of the Columbia Gorge. The position serves as the keeper of Friends’ brand identity and ensures consistent messaging across programs and channels.
As such, we are looking for an outstanding writer, visionary thinker, strong leader, and gracious team player.

Strategy and Planning
• Helps develop and implement a creative and results-oriented communications and media plan to raise levels of awareness, engagement, impact, and support for the work of Friends of the Columbia Gorge
• Works with the board of directors, land trust trustees and staff providing the training and tools necessary to ensure they are effective communication ambassadors
• Ensures print, digital, and verbal communications conform to brand guidelines
• Identifies emerging communication strategies and recruits consultants and volunteers to assist in improving communication efforts
• Communicates progress to executive director, other staff, and board of directors
• Works with staff directors to develop, implement and monitor public engagement budgets and fundraising plans

Media Relations
• Builds and maintains media presence and visibility, proactively seeking out and securing earned-media coverage
• Secures, builds, and maintains media relationships with reporters, editorial writers, columnists, and broadcast media to advance our work
• Drafts and distributes media messages, talking points, op-eds, press releases, advisories, and statements; prepares press materials and organizes press events as necessary
• Develops paid-media campaigns and helps identify funds to market them

Digital Comms, Web & Social Media
• Oversees digital communications work, ensuring content and messaging support strategic and branding objectives

Engagement Programs
• Oversees engagement efforts around our outdoor, youth education and community programs, ensuring activities support strategic and branding objectives

Collaborates with Staff and Teams to Increase Effectiveness
• Works with staff to integrate communication and public engagement strategies into advocacy, land trust, legal, and fundraising objectives
• Provides support to organizational spokespeople as they work with the media regarding mission-related issues, challenges, and opportunities
• Serve as a staff director, advising the executive director and participating as a positive force within the six-person director leadership team


Managing Staff to Support Growth and Excellence
• Supervises communications & engagement staff, supporting training and leadership development

Conducting Research and Staying Updated on Communications and Public Engagement Strategies
• Reviews literature and public documents on a continuing basis to assist in developing Friends’ strategies and policies
• Identifies emerging issues related to communications and public engagement and/or recruits consultants and volunteers to conduct research on priorities as identified in the strategic plan
• Prepares, edits, reviews, and disseminates consultants’ and volunteers’ reports regarding research findings

• At least seven years of communications and media relations experience and at least three years of management experience
• Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing communication and/or public engagement campaigns
• Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively interact with Friends’ staff, board members, and larger community
• Outstanding people skills
• Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice and its role in furthering the organization’s mission
• Commitment to the protection and enhancement of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

• College degree or equivalent experience
• Knowledge of Columbia Gorge, conservation issues, and political climate
• Bilingual (English/Spanish)

We are interested in finding the best candidate for the job even if that candidate does not have all the skills listed above. A successful candidate may come from a less-traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for this role as a wide variety of life experiences may equip you with the skills needed for this position. We encourage BIPOC folks, women, LGBTQ+ folks, religious minorities, immigrants, and differently abled people to apply.

Salary range is $78,000 – $85,000 commensurate with experience and education. Excellent benefits include generous vacation time and holidays, generous health insurance for employee and dependents along with an employer-matched retirement plan.

Bringing together a broad and diverse coalition of people who share a common love for the Columbia Gorge is vital to Friends’ long-term success. The Gorge will be a healthier, more vibrant place when a diverse and inclusive collection of advocates, stewards, and volunteers are at the table. Friends has included Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) as part of its 2018 – 2021 strategic plan and we are using it as a lens as we finalize our new 2022 – 2025 plan. Every department and individual are expected to understand and work to integrate relevant components of this plan into their work.

All staff members are expected to commit to personal growth and learning, taking initiative to expand your understanding of DEIJ and related principles, issues, and practice and how they apply to our work. Staff members will participate in organizational trainings and workplace groups (DEIJ committee, staff social committee, lunch & learns) and other opportunities to shape our organizational culture.

Everyone will work to apply the skills and practices needed to create an inclusive organizational culture where everyone feels they belong including (but not limited to): clear and kind communication, giving and receiving feedback, mutual accountability, self-care, and boundaries.

Friends is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other protected status in accordance with local, state and federal law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoffs, recalls, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Full time within the typical 9:00 am – 5:00 pm office hours. Other hours would include earlier morning, evening, or weekend work for events or meetings. Friends currently works in a flexible hybrid environment and staff work with their supervisors to determine their schedule working from home or the office. Friends’ offices are interchangeable for staff and include workstations with sit/stand options. This position will spend time working in front of a computer.

Please combine cover letter and resume into one document and send to jobs@gorgefriends.org with “Communications & Engagement Director” in the subject line. Please state where you saw the posting. Deadline for applications is Friday, September 23, 2022.

About Friends of the Columbia Gorge

Friends of the Columbia Gorge was founded in 1980 and has more than 5,000 members in Oregon, Washington, and beyond dedicated to preserving, protecting, and stewarding the Columbia Gorge. With offices in Portland and Hood River, Oregon and Washougal, Washington, the organization uses an array of tools (advocacy, litigation, land acquisition, community partnerships and public education) to ensure the Columbia Gorge remains a wondrous and vibrant place. In 2005, Friends launched the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) supporting organization, to acquire spectacular landscapes within the Columbia Gorge.