Communications and Knowledge Center Manager

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Palo Alto, CA, US

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment seeks an experienced communications professional to produce content and report findings related to freshwater, ocean and public health research produced by its centers and programs. Housed in the Institute, this role will serve Stanford’s Program on Water, Health & Development (WHD) half time, with remaining time split between the Program on Water in the West (WitW) and the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS). All three research initiatives are working to create the knowledge and solutions needed to solve water, public health and ocean challenges around the world.


Core responsibilities of the role include raising the profile of Stanford water, public health and ocean researchers and their findings, tools, experts, and events, as well as managing the curation and flow of data and findings to key funders. The manager will co-develop, implement and monitor communications plans that advance the Woods 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; produce the quarterly WHD e-newsletter for external constituents; produce and post content for social media channels and websites; and serve as a knowledge manager on key grants where data must be reported back to funders


The Communications Manager reports to the Institute’s Associate Director for Communications and the Director of the Program on Water, Health of Development, and will coordinate closely with the Center for Ocean Solutions communications manager.


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. 




With supervision from 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.




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 Woods communications director and center/program leadership, 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.

    • 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 WHD, WitW and COS 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 researchers with media relations needs to develop strategies and tactics for facilitating effective communications.

  • 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

    • Proactively solicit coverage and facilitate media requests.

    • 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

  • Work with center/program 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 Stanford water, public health and ocean researchers have 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 WHD website content and oversee work of web development/maintenance contractors; ensure ease-of-use, updated, relevant and organized content and site analytics.

  • Working with project investigators, develop and implement a knowledge management plan to meet requirements of ongoing grants.

  • Participate in regular meetings with Woods, WHD, WitW and COS researchers and communications staff.

  • Serve as a project manager responsible for meeting deadlines and milestones related to WHD 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.

Additional 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.


  • 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,

Application Process: 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.
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 the job.