Director of Communications and Public Affairs

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the largest and most trusted philanthropic organizations in California. Its grantmaking is focused on supporting the well-being of our most vulnerable communities and those facing the most adversity. The Foundation's bold mission is to build lasting and equitable solutions that make California the healthiest state in the nation and end domestic violence. On average, the Foundation awards over $30 million a year in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs across California.

Job Overview

Blue Shield of California Foundation is seeking a seasoned, senior communications leader to create and execute cutting-edge communications strategies that meaningfully and measurably advance the foundation’s mission and reputation. The successful candidate will play a critical frontline role in positioning the foundation at the regional, state and national level.  This individual will be given significant responsibility to demonstrate their leadership capabilities through close collaboration with the President and senior staff, including sitting on the Foundation’s Executive Team which sets organizational strategy and priorities.  As the senior communications executive of the foundation, the successful candidate must be a creative and flexible strategic thinker with the presence and poise to work effectively with diverse stakeholders.  Additionally, this individual must possess a desire to learn and adapt, outstanding written and verbal skills, have substantive experience working on branding, messaging, digital and social media, and be comfortable serving as an expert and primary spokesperson for the organization. 

Key Responsibilities 

  • Strategy: Create, lead and execute the foundation’s long-term strategic communications plan. Direct and execute local, state, regional, and national communication efforts including branding, reputation, thought leadership, media relations, and digital communications to support priority issues and programs. Ensure that effective internal and external communications tools, processes and procedures are in place to successfully articulate the organization’s mission, goals, and programs to key internal and external audiences.
  • Reputation: Lead the foundation in strengthening its brand and reputation by developing campaigns to increase awareness of the foundation’s mission, priority issues, and impact with target audiences. 
  • Media relations: Serve as an expert spokesperson for the organization. Develop clear and compelling messages to support foundation priorities. Arrange and monitor interviews between media and foundation program leaders and CEO. Maintain and execute crisis communications plan.
  • Digital communications: Develop strategies for and oversee the foundation’s digital channels, including website, social media, and email marketing. Implement an annual editorial strategy, set goals for and monitor key performance indicators, and define audiences and issues to prioritize across channels.
  • Issues management: Proactively identify potential 'hot' issues and assist in developing strategies and messages to manage those issues. Capitalize on these issues by tailoring materials and information to influence key audiences.
  • Media and journalism grantmaking: Design and manage a portfolio of grants to media organizations to increase the visibility and impact of the foundation’s key issues with an annual budget of more than $1 million.
  • Emerging opportunities: Track and cultivate new opportunities for the Foundation to further advance communications impact. Explore, define, and develop work around topics like narrative change, social listening, and sensing to monitor conversations and evolving trends.
  • Management: Lead and develop communications staff with an emphasis on promoting staff learning and engagement. Sit on foundation executive team to provide guidance on organizational strategy and practice. Provide oversight of department’s grant and contracts budget. Manage relationships with external agencies and related contractors.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism or related field required. 
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field desired (e.g., Public Health, Public Policy).  
  • Strong management experience including building high-performing teams and oversight of budgets, internal, and external resources. 
  • Ten years of successful senior communications experience in a medium to large organization (corporate, nonprofit and/or foundation) required. 
  • Ten-plus years of successful experience working with media, establishing productive working relationships with editors, reporters, etc. required. 
  • Ten-plus years of successful experience planning and managing communications campaigns, preferably issue-based efforts focused on policy change and/or constituency engagement required. 
  • Knowledge of and/or a strong interest in health, domestic violence, or related fields required. 
  • Demonstrated ability to look at the big picture and develop strategic ideas into action plans for short-term and long-term implementation.
  • Excellent creative, innovation, and critical thinking skills. Exceptional writing, editing, verbal, and interpersonal communications skills.  
  • Understanding of and experience with AP style.  
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Expertise and prior experience in developing and assessing the effectiveness of public relations campaigns (media, direct mail, HTML etc.) and planning relative to target audiences. 
  • Demonstrated ability and comfort in working independently and as a member of a cross-functional team. 
  • Experience shaping organizational priorities and strategies across functions is valuable. 
  • Assertiveness, diplomacy, and effective listening skills are crucial. 
  • Strong initiative and self-starting approach; the ability to deal effectively with pressure, and deadlines; the ability to organize and prioritize work quickly in response to changing needs and a highly developed service orientation.

Physical Requirements  

Office Environment - roles involving part to full time schedule in Office Environment. Based in our physical offices and work from home office/deskwork – Activity level: Sedentary, frequency most of work day.

External hires must pass a background check/drug screen. Qualified applicants with arrest records and/or conviction records will be considered for employment in a manner consistent with Federal, State and local laws, including but not limited to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regards to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status or disability status and any other classification protected by Federal, State and local laws.