Executive Director, Creative Strategy

Job Id: 
Santa Clara University
Job Type: 
Job Start Date: 
Application Closing Date: 
Contact Name: 
Santa Clara University
Contact Phone: 
(408) 554-4392
Contact Email: 

Executive Director, Creative Strategy

Santa Clara University

Department: Office of Communication & Mktg

Part Year: No

FLSA Status: Exempt

Standard Hours (hours per week): 40

Position Purpose:

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications, the Executive Director, Creative Strategy (Executive Director) creates, directs, and influences the overall design, brand, and execution — from strategy to concept to completion — of a wide variety of highly visible and strategic communications initiatives for Santa Clara University. The Executive Director will oversee the evolution and execution of integrated marketing communications that carry the brand messages and essence of Santa Clara University.

The Executive Director has responsibility across multiple intersecting platforms including print, web/online, video/multimedia, photography, and environmental, and develops innovative, creative, comprehensive, and integrated communications and visual experiences to support and enhance SCU's multi-tiered branding and marketing campaigns.

The Executive Director recommends university-wide guidelines and ensures all projects align with the university's strategic direction and reflects established standards of excellence. The position has significant responsibilities in shaping and managing the university's reputation and relationships with internal and external constituencies. He/she will develop and maintain strong alliances and collaboration with other senior communicators in UMC and across campus, Public Relations and university leaders to advance institutional goals and priorities.

This position will serve as a core and strategic member of the senior leadership team for UMC , contributing to the overall leadership of assigned departmental operations, key initiatives, and related functions of office management. The Executive Director will act on the AVP's behalf as requested and needed.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Provide leadership and strategy to develop key messages, communication plans, visual identity systems and additional tools that speak with a common voice.

2. Work closely as a strategic and creative partner to provide coordination and collaboration with university leaders, campus communicators and other partners to achieve shared goals and vision.

3. Plan and implement comprehensive campaigns that leverage each method or medium to its fullest advantage.

4. Initiate and oversee a wide variety of integrated marketing and design projects that maintain consistent yet innovative and robust visual style that supports and best portrays Santa Clara University as a leading, elite, institutional brand in higher education.

5. Serve in a pivotal creative role and provide leadership and direct supervision to the core Creative Services team to help create and support strategic content and visual goals with inspired messaging, art and design direction.

6. Possess superior knowledge and mastery of digital technology; provide industry-leading production guidance in a variety of mediums and platforms; drive development and continued evolution of visual standards; and make knowledgeable, industry-current, high-level and brand-appropriate aesthetic choices across platforms.

7. Demonstrate superb ability to clearly communicate concepts, ideas, vision into actionable assignments and project guidelines for a diverse and integrated staff and client base.

8. Serve as a design director, visionary lead, and key collaborator with team members who specialize in graphic design, multimedia, photography, video, web design and development, social media, and other integrated marketing initiatives.

9. Devise processes for the efficient flow of messaging and creative project traffic through internal and external resources and ensure that production quality meets and exceeds identified objectives.

10. Strive to build a strong community with timely communications to faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and others who care about Santa Clara University.

11. Manage and utilize project management methodologies in overseeing staff and projects. Set and adhere to clearly articulated deadlines, budgets and schedules. Formulate mitigation measures and alternatives.

12. Provide leadership for university’s campaign communications plan and in collaboration with the AVP University Marketing & Communications, VP of University Relations and development senior leadership, develop and provide campaign materials for use with various constituents across the donor lifecycle.

13. Work cohesively and collaboratively with the UMC team and external resources to develop and execute specific tactical pieces that support University Relations, Office of Development, and University goals and priorities. These tactics may include marketing brochures, giving websites, social media, newsletters, proposals, case statements, videos, presentations, reports, multi-media, surveys, etc. All pieces are to be integrated within established University standards. Repurposing content and reaching all audiences is a constant goal.

14. Upon request or in the AVP’s absence, supervise staff, attend meetings and make decisions on AVP’s behalf, making sure that the department runs as it needs to on a daily basis.

15. Assist the AVP with financial projections and analyses of existing programs, policies and procedures.

16. Ensure all program initiatives align with SCU’s and UMC’s core values and culture.

17. In partnership with the AVP , participate in developing and implementing a strategic plan that supports the organization’s vision and goals; translates the strategic plan to staff to ensure support; and modifies the plan in response to changing internal and external factors.
1. Recommend initiatives and implement changes to improve quality and services.

2. Keep informed of business trends and developments in marketing, communications and organizational management.

3. Identify and determine cause of problems; develop and present recommendations for improvement of established processes and practices.

4. Maintain contact with external constituents and solicit feedback for improved university relations.

5. Maximize productivity through use of appropriate tools; planned training and performance initiatives.

6. Research and develop resources that create timely and efficient workflow.

7. Prepare progress reports; inform supervisor of project status and deviation from goals.

8. Ensure completeness, accuracy and timeliness of all operational functions.

9. Prepare and submit reports as requested and required.

Provides Work Direction:

1. Manage personnel, resources and budgets.

2. Direct supervision of directors of messaging and content strategy, digital and emerging strategy, and designers. Matrix supervision of story tellers, Santa Clara Magazine, media and internal communications, social media, web designers, and photographer/videographer.

3. Hire, supervise and evaluate professional staff.

4. Oversee the work by contracted design firms and printers, contracted and staff writers, copy editors, photographers, illustrators, as well as faculty and student contributors.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The items below are representative of the knowledge, skills, abilities, education, and experience required or preferred.
This position requires the ability to effectively establish and maintain cooperative working relationships within a diverse multicultural environment.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, the California Fair Employment & Housing Act, and all other applicable laws, SCU provides reasonable accommodations for qualified persons with disabilities. A qualified individual is a person who meets skill, experience, education, or other requirements of the position, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

1. In addition to extensive work with laptop or desktop computer, regularly requires travel throughout campus and the San Francisco Bay area.

2. May require travel out of the area or internationally.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
1. Typical office environment.
2. Mostly indoor office environment with windows.
3. Offices with equipment noise.
4. Offices with frequent interruptions.


a. A history of successful and close collaboration with senior leadership is essential.

b. Demonstrated expert-level understanding of the creative process, including, but not limited to the formulation of editorial and design concepts and the ability to execute projects which satisfy articulated communications objectives.

c. Evidence of progressively responsible management duties including successfully managing financial resources, personnel and enterprise-level projects.

d. Demonstrated knowledge in the areas of: copywriting and editing, photo and video production, graphic design practices, print production practices, higher education marketing and understanding of recruitment, retention and outreach efforts.

e. Expert level knowledge of digital and social marketing efforts including but not limited to web, social, mobile applications, multimedia, and emerging technologies (AR/VR, etc.).

f. Knowledge of higher education marketing and communication practices.

g. Understanding and appreciation of the mission of Santa Clara University and the vision and values of a Jesuit Catholic educational institution.


a. Outstanding writing and editing skills, including breadth and depth and creativity in approaches to finding and telling stories.

b. Experience developing editorial content across multiple platforms, including the Web, blogs, and social media.

c. Experience with Adobe InCopy, Acrobat, and other components of Adobe Creative Cloud; fluency with project management software and familiarity with content management systems, and versatility with print and digital design and publishing on Mac platform are required.

d. Excellent organizational skills and follow-through, with ability to meet deadlines and maintain a high level of performance in a fast-paced environment.

e. Must be a goal oriented and self-motivated individual who can demonstrate accountability, initiative, creativity and focus in a rapidly changing and intellectually stimulating environment.

f. Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate, build alliances, and achieve results within a population that may possess competing interests, opinions, and /or expectations.

g. Demonstrate strong active listening skills and ability to negotiate positive outcomes.


a. Demonstrate a level of comfort working and communicating with top executives, community leaders and/or university leadership. Ability to motivate, build long term relationships with and gain the respect of internal and external clients.

b. Ability to supervise creative, communications and technical personnel.

c. Ability to manage complex projects with dependencies, deadlines, budgets and outside resources.

d. Ability to initiate ideas, develop concepts and review the effectiveness of processes to ensure professional standards and high quality.

e. Ability to assess the needs of internal clients and suggest appropriate measures to meet those needs.

f. Ability to operate in an environment in which skilled relationship management and consensus-building is required to deliver successful outcomes.

h. Ability to shepherd the creative development efforts which include:

• Creative concepting through to final deliverables.

• Fostering ongoing improvements in creative processes and methodologies.

• Ensuring that the Creative Services team priorities are aligned with the greater creative objectives.

• Managing the orderly sequencing of development to maximize the strategic impact of design efforts.

• Ensuring the team is producing work at the highest quality.

i. Ability to work on the road and/or work at odd hours and on weekends.

Education and/or Experience:

a. Bachelor’s degree required.

b. Graduate degree highly desirable.

c. Twelve plus years direct experience in communications and marketing preferably in higher education. Direct experience in a management role overseeing a division/department.

d. Experience in serving in a second-in-command role.

Salary Information:

Close Date:

Open Until Filled: Yes

Special Instructions to Applicants:

To view the full job posting and apply for this position, go to http://apptrkr.com/1033628

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offering its 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s, Ph.D., and law degrees.

Distinguished by the highest retention rate and ranked second among all master’s universities in the West by U.S. News and World Report, Santa Clara University is California’s oldest operating institution of higher-education. The University is focused on creating an academic community that educates citizens and leaders who will build a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

Santa Clara University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence through diversity and inclusion, and, in this spirit, particularly welcomes applications from women, persons of color, and members of historically underrepresented groups. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.

Santa Clara University annually collects information about campus crimes and other reportable incidents in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. To view the Santa Clara University report, please go to the Campus Safety Services website at http://www.scu.edu/cs/. To request a paper copy please call Campus Safety at (408) 554-4441. The report includes the type of crime, venue, and number of occurrences.

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