Communications Manager (Natural Capital Project)

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Palo Alto, CA, United States 🇺🇸

Job #76437


The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment seeks an experienced communications professional to assume primary responsibility for promoting the research, initiatives and expertise of scholars working with the Natural Capital Project (NatCap), a joint venture of Stanford, the University of Minnesota, World Wildlife Fund, and The Nature Conservancy. The partnership melds world-class academic research with influential conservation practice. NatCap’s Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) software suite enables decision-makers to quantify nature’s values, assess tradeoffs associated with alternative land-use choices, and integrate conservation and human development into land- and water-use and investment decisions.


As the primary communications officer for the Natural Capital Project, the Communications Manager will coordinate and drive the efforts and contributions of NatCap’s partner-communicators as they support NatCap’s mission of developing practical tools and approaches to account for nature’s contributions to society, so that leaders of countries, companies, communities, and organizations worldwide can make smarter decisions for a more sustainable future.


Core responsibilities of the role include raising the profile of the Natural Capital Project and its findings, tools, experts, and events, as well as facilitating communications internally across the initiative’s partner organizations. The manager will develop and implement communications plans that advance the NatCap’s goals for linking research to action; conceive of and produce editorial content and audio/visual collateral such as news releases, research briefs, social media posts and video/animation scripts; curate NatCap’s monthly newsletter for internal staff; produce a quarterly e-newsletter for external constituents; manage NatCap’s social media channels and website content; staff and promote the Initiative’s annual symposium and other events; and provide essential day-to-day project management and coordination to ensure the project is effectively leveraging the communications resources of its four partners.


The Communications Manager reports to the Natural Capital Project’s Chief Strategy Officer, and coordinates closely with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Associate Director, Communications.


LOCATION: This role is based in Palo Alto at the Stanford Campus, with opportunities to telecommute from locations within the greater San Francisco Bay Area – Monterey Peninsula area. 



Under minimal supervision of senior management, provide support in planning, coordinating, and implementing communication programs.  Develop internal and external written communications, and design and coordinate media relations programs and efforts.


The Communications Manager drives all communications initiatives in support of the goals outlined in NatCap’s Strategic Plan.



Develop, execute and oversee written communications of moderate complexity, including presentations, speeches, news stories, web content, talking points, and correspondence and social media posts.

  • In coordination with NatCap leadership and partner communications directors, develop and drive implementation of short- and long-term comprehensive, dynamic communications plans with key components including objectives, strategies, target audiences, messaging, tactics, and program metrics/measurement.
  • Produce content of moderate complexity, including, news stories, social media posts, web content, video scripts, talking points, speeches and correspondence.
    • Conceive, write, and edit editorial content for print and digital formats and provide editing and message development support for communications as well as research staff. 
    • Develop initial drafts and edit materials for use by internal and external audiences. Material development may include website content, social media, newsletters, backgrounders, “how to” guides, Q&As, and brochure copy.
    • Provide editing and proofreading support when requested by NatCap directors, faculty, researchers and staff.
    • Ensure all written materials developed by the communications team are of the highest quality and adhere to established writing standards.
  • Assist in developing strategies for brand managements, reputation management, and issues management of moderate complexity. 

Participate in regular meetings of key researchers with media relations needs to develop strategies and tactics for facilitating effective communications.

  • Coordinate communications activities across the NatCap partnership (e.g., Stanford, TNC, WWF, University of Minnesota) by building a functioning collaboration with communications professionals at each partner institution. Leverage these resources to build strong a communications function that performs at its full potential, across all partnerships.
  • Develop and implement proactive strategies and tactics for all traditional and social media channels. Develop and oversee a tiered media strategy for proactive outreach across print, web, broadcast and social media.
    • Develop segmented media lists of reporters and bloggers using Cision
    • Act as primary contact for top-tier news media.
    • Coordinate media opportunities including partnering with research program leads and partner institutions.
    • Track and report on earned media hits as well as social media metrics
  • Working with NatCap and Woods leadership, develop and implement an internal communications plan to keep scientists, policy experts, collaborators, staff, and University leadership current on major milestones and ongoing progress across multiple programs.
  • Work with NatCap team members to hone oral and written communications messages and skills.
  • Work with Stanford Woods Central resources to provide presentation and media skill development/coaching to ensure the NatCap team has the communications skills needed to promote their work and expertise to decision makers and the media.
Assist in identifying and maintaining professional relationships with key press and community leaders.

Assist in preparing content for internal or external newsletters. Understand email and digital content distribution.


Identify individuals/groups to attend and/or speak at public meetings or other events.


Coordinate media, community or government relations, and ensure logistics and preparations are handled.

  • Draw on Stanford resources to coordinate media, community or government relations and ensure logistics and preparations are handled.
 Additional Duties include:
  • Maintain NatCap’s website content and oversee work of web development/maintenance contractors; ensure ease-of-use, updated, relevant and organized content and site analytics.
  • Coordinate the NatCap’s promotional activities with Woods Central communications and other key partners, in addition to serving as a meeting facilitator and communications project manager.
    • Participate in regular meetings with NatCap leadership and Woods communications staff.
    • Serve as a project manager responsible for meeting deadlines and milestones related to NatCap communications deliverables
  • Serve as a project leader for miscellaneous public relations activities of small to moderate complexity.

* – Other duties may also be assigned

Education & Experience:

Bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant experience or combination of education and relevant experience.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent written communication skills, reporting skills, and skills in conceptual editing, copy editing, and proof reading.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with internal communications groups across campus.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills in working with a variety of people.
  • Capacity to write and synthesize materials and communicate information in a manner easily understood.
Desired qualifications include:
  • A solid working knowledge of science communications with an emphasis on conservation and ecosystem services, and related policy challenges and issues.
  • Possess a strong media relations background with experience cultivating media contacts, building targeted media lists, and conceiving, writing, and editing news releases as well as short-form pitches.
  • Ability to work with an external graphic designer to produce websites, factsheets, and other collateral.
  • Comfortable and experience with technology, specifically the Microsoft Office and Adobe software suites, blast email services such as Mailchimp or iContact; website CMS systems; and CRM software such as Cision and SalesForce.  
Certifications and Licenses:
  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.
  • Frequently stand/walk, sit, use a telephone, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, speaking.
  • Occasionally grasp forcefully, writing by hand.
  • Rarely sort/file paperwork.

* – Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

  • Occasional work on evenings and weekends.
  • On call and ability to respond 24/7.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,
To be considered, candidates will include a cover letter, resume and three writing samples. Please note a background check will be required for all final candidates.  For more information, please visit our website at

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.